The Antioch Doctrine and the War in Libya

April 1st, 2011

By Tom Carter

Rebel Song BookAntioch College died in 2008 but is expected to rise from the dead like Lazarus this year or next.  It was for many years the exemplar of ideal leftist education — not much learning, not much time in classes, but lots of leftist consciousness and revolutionary zeal.  The Obama Administration seems to be operating on the basis of what might be called the Antioch Doctrine:  Rebels anywhere engaged in revolution against an established order are, by definition, good and worthy of respect.

The liberals who run the Executive Branch these days have embarked upon a “war” of sorts against the Gaddafi regime in Libya.  This reportedly happened at the urging of three senior hawkettes in the Administration, over the wimpish objections of less important voices on military issues such as the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  After a period of dithering by the President, who was using words in lieu of missiles and jets, things changed.  According to a New York Times report:

The change became possible, though, only after Mrs. Clinton joined Samantha Power, a senior aide at the National Security Council, and Susan Rice, Mr. Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, who had been pressing the case for military action, according to senior administration officials speaking only on condition of anonymity. Ms. Power is a former journalist and human rights advocate; Ms. Rice was an Africa adviser to President Clinton when the United States failed to intervene to stop the Rwanda genocide, which Mr. Clinton has called his biggest regret.

The stated objective of this war, if that’s what it is, is to defend innocent civilians from being killed by their government.  Other objectives may or may not include supporting the opposition rebels in overthrowing the Libyan regime and providing them with arms and training.  Whether these are actually objectives depends on whom you listen to — the State Department, the Defense Department, the White House, the UN, NATO, or various European heads of state.  But the President was firm about one thing — there will be no U.S. boots on the ground in Libya.  Now that it’s been reported that the CIA is on the ground in Libya, “boots on the ground” has been further defined as applying only to the military.

So, who are these rebels we’re supporting, the ones the Administration apparently hopes will overthrow the Gaddafi government and assume power?  Well, we don’t know, exactly.  But they’re rebels and they’re apparently trying to mount a revolution, and that makes them virtuous in liberal circles, according to the Antioch Doctrine.  There may be a few — just a few, mind you — al Qaeda folks fighting with them, but what the heck.

All this brings to mind an incident that happened at Antioch College a long time back, when the Administration’s hawkettes were forming their liberal worldviews.  As recounted by George Will in a 2007 column:

During the campus convulsions of the late 1960s, when rebellion against any authority was considered obedience to every virtue, the film “To Die in Madrid,” a documentary about the Spanish Civil War, was shown at a small liberal arts college famous for, and vain about, its dedication to all things progressive. When the film’s narrator intoned, “The rebels advanced on Madrid,” the students, who adored rebels and were innocent of information, cheered. Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, had been so busy turning undergraduates into vessels of liberalism and apostles of social improvement that it had not found time for the tiresome task of teaching them tedious facts, such as that the rebels in Spain were Franco’s fascists.

President Obama didn’t bother to get an authorization for use of military force from Congress; he didn’t even consult the folks at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.  (That’s what President Bush was in the habit of doing, which is apparently sufficient reason not to do it.)  Never mind that Obama himself has said previously that presidents cannot employ military force without authorization by Congress — the UN authorized it, and the President of France was all for it, and the hawkettes had him cornered, and March Madness was underway, and the beaches of Rio beckoned….

So here we are, waging war with little or no U.S. interest involved.  There are other repressive regimes in the region that are also killing their citizens, where significant U.S. interests do exist, but we’re not attacking them.  Perhaps conditions in these other Middle East countries fail to meet the tests of the Antioch Doctrine — not rebel enough, not revolutionary enough … or something.

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4 Responses to “The Antioch Doctrine and the War in Libya”

  1. Dan Miller |

    This story from the Somaliland Press may, if true (or even if it isn’t), cast the Libyan rebels in a different light than at present.

    In the past two weeks, more than 100 Africans from various Sub-Sahara states are believed to have been killed by Libyan rebels and their supporters.

    According to Somali refugees in Libya, at least five Somalis from Somaliland and Somalia were executed in Tripoli and Benghazi by anti-Gaddafi mobs. Dozens of refugees and immigrants workers from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Mali and Niger have been killed, some of them were led into the desert and stabbed to death. Black Libyan men receiving medical care in hospitals in Benghazi were reportedly abducted by armed rebels. They are part of more than 200 African immigrants held in secret locations by the rebels.

    In many disputes involving Libyan residents and black Africans, the Libyans are turning in the Africans as mercenaries.

    Thousands more Africans caught up in this mercenary hysteria are terrified. Some barricaded themselves in their homes, while others hid in the desert. Insulted, threatened, beaten, chased and robbed. Their only crime was being black and therefore treated as “mercenaries” of Gaddafi.

    True? False? Both? Beats me. Maybe the CIA can ask the Department of Justice for assistance in looking into it.

  2. Brian Bagent |

    Dan, what I want to know is where are Louis “Here comes the Mothership” Farrakhan, “Weird” Al Sharpton, Jessie “Hymie-town” Jackson, and Sheila “Can you guys drive that thing to where the American Flag is planted” Jackson-Lee on the racist atrocities being committed by Arabs against African-Africans?

  3. Dan Miller |

    Maybe they don’t read the Somaliland Press? We should make every effort to get a link to them.

    Perhaps they would also like to know the truth about President Obama’s place of birth, as revealed here and clarified here. Minister Farrakhan would have a keen interest in the clarifying comment.

  4. Tom Carter |

    Brian, I don’t think the worthies that you cited are going to raise much of a stink about any of this. Of course, if President Bush (or probably anyone except Obama) were in the White House, I’m sure they’d be screaming to high heaven. Everything, it seems, is relative….

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