Earlier this month, former Speaker of the House and current presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was hammering President Obama for not intervening in Libya. Asked, “what would you do about Libya?” Gingrich responded:
Exercise a no-fly zone this evening. … We don’t need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening.
During appearances that same day, Gingrich also said that he would provide help to the Libyan rebels on top of the no-fly zone: “This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.” He later mocked Obama for filling out an NCAA bracket while France took the lead on intervention.
Now that Obama has initiated a no-fly zone over Libya, Gingrich has completely reversed his position with no apparent explanation. He told Politico over the weekend — less than 24 hours after Obama took action — that “it is impossible to make sense of the standard for intervention in Libya except opportunism and news media publicity.” This morning on the Today Show, he said plainly, “I would not have intervened”:
GINGRICH: The standard [Obama] has fallen back to of humanitarian intervention could apply to Sudan, to North Korea, to Zimbabwe, to Syria this week, to Yemen, to Bahrain. … The Arab League wanted us to do something. The minute we did something, the Arab League began criticizing us doing it. I think that two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a lot. I think that the problems we have in Pakistan, Egypt — go around the region. We could get engaged by this standard in all sorts of places. I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region we could have worked with. I would not have used American and European forces.
Speaking of “opportunism and news media publicity,” there is no other reasonable explanation for Gingrich’s complete flip-flop, which went unchallenged by Today Show host Matt Lauer.
In an additional dose of hypocrisy, Gingrich said of the Libyan intervention: “This is about as badly run as any foreign operation we’ve seen in our lifetime.” This shows once again that Iraq War hawks like Gingrich have very short memories.
ThinkProgress has compiled a video featuring Gingrich’s flip-flop: