Libya,  Obama

Obama’s “pro-war” female “troika”

When last we heard from prominent US conservative Frank Gaffney, he was claiming that Islamists were infiltrating the American Right, and that this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference had come under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now comes the latest from Gaffney, on a website run by rightwing attack dog Andrew Breitbart:

What I find particularly concerning is the prospect that what we might call the Qaddafi Precedent will be used in the not-to-distant future to justify and threaten the use of U.S. military forces against an American ally: Israel.

… I am praying that Barack Obama and his anti-Israel troika of female advisors will not take us all down a road that seems ripe for another, ominous application of this precedent, with truly horrific repercussions – for Israel, for the United States and for freedom-loving people elsewhere. A Congress that was effectively sidelined by Team Obama in the current crisis had better engage fully, decisively and quickly if it is to head off such a disastrous reprise.

Following the Galloway Precedent, I pledge to pay Gaffney a thousand pounds (or the dollar equivalent) if Obama ever threatens to use military force against Israel. And unlike Galloway, I don’t expect to have to renege on that offer.

Gaffney’s post includes lots of other crazy stuff too, reminding me of some of our more feverish commenters. But what interests me most is the reference to Obama’s “troika of female advisers” who backed the intervention in Libya– namely Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and National Security Council staffer Samantha Power. (Power, who reported from Bosnia in the 1990s, is the author of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Problem from Hell, which argues for the moral responsibility of the US and other nations to prevent genocide and mass killings.)

Elsewhere Gaffney calls them “Team Obama’s leading ladies – Mesdames Clinton, Power and Rice,” and makes a mysterious argument that their support for the action in Libya is somehow connected to their alleged hostility to Israel.

But Gaffney isn’t the only one who has latched onto the female troika angle. At the leftwing Nation magazine, Robert Dreyfuss writes:

So three or four of Obama’s advisers, all women, wanted war against Libya. [He adds NSC staffer Gayle Smith to the mix.]

We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less prowar, but in the Obama administration at least it appears that the bellicosity is worst among Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power. All three are liberal interventionists, and all three seem to believe that when the United States exercises military force it has some profound, moral, life-saving character to it. Far from it. Unless President Obama’s better instincts manage to reign in his warrior women—and happily, there’s a chance of that—the United States could find itself engaged in open war in Libya, and soon. The troika pushed Obama into accepting the demands of neoconservatives, such as Joe Lieberman, John McCain and The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, along with various other liberal interventionists outside the administration, such as John Kerry. The rode roughshod over the realists in the administration.

“We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less prowar…”? Why would we like to think that?

While Gaffney tosses around dismissive and sexist references to “leading ladies,” Dreyfuss (who formerly worked for political oddball Lyndon LaRouche) seems to think women should be too sensitive and nurturing to support the Libyan operation. The notion that women (or men) could believe that sometimes military actions are necessary to save lives is apparently beyond him. And of course the final decision was up to President Obama, a male.