Washington Post Opinion Quiz: War With LIbya—From the Left or From the Right?

Washington Post Opinion Quiz: War With LIbya—From the Left or From the Right?

Washington Post Opinion Quiz: War With LIbya—From the Left or From the Right?

A blog about politics, sports, media, stuff
March 17 2011 12:14 PM

Washington Post Opinion Quiz: War With LIbya—From the Left or From the Right?

For readers' convenience, the Washington Post has now divided its opinion articles into separate online sections, " Left-Leaning " and " Right-Leaning ." A cynic might see this as a confession by the Post that it views opinion writing as nothing more than partisan propaganda-making—that its writers are shameless hacks who pretend to be thinking through the issues for the benefit of the public while they simply type up whatever deceptions or outright lies they believe will help their factions.

But maybe the Post is just trying to emphasize the diversity of its columnists' opinions, and the labels are there to help readers recognize the ideological and intellectual range of the section. Below are 10 quotes, collected from two Post opinion columns—one by Left-Leaning columnist Richard Cohen , calling for war against Libya; the other by Right-Leaning columnist Marc Thiessen , calling for war against Libya. Can you tell the left-wing argument from the right-wing argument?  

1. When President Ronald Reagan retaliated for the La Belle attack by bombing Libya, Gaddafi got the message and quieted down.

2. The United States helped the contras remove the Sandinista regime from Nicaragua and helped Afghans drive out the mighty Soviet Red Army, without sending ground forces. We can help the Libyan rebels drive Gaddafi out without sending the Marines to the shores of Tripoli.

3. It’s the United States that matters. We have the bucks. We have the expertise. We have the military. We lead, they follow.

4. If the Libyan dictator survives, he is not likely to resume being the benign Gaddafi of recent years, who handed over his weapons of mass destruction, renounced terrorism and made nice with the West. More likely, he will be the brutal Gaddafi of old.

5. Allowing Gaddafi to prevail would embolden the extremists and invite further acts of terror. It would also embolden dictators from Iran to North Korea, who would see America’s lack of resolve against Gaddafi and assume they are free to wreak havoc without fear of a decisive American response.

6. In a Post interview, Ben Rhodes of the National Security Council propounded what the Wall Street Journal has rightly called "The Obama Doctrine." It goes like this: You first.

7. Try? When the president of the United States declares that a dictator must go, he needs to do better than try — he needs to succeed.

8. The president is a thinker; Gaddafi is a killer. Unless Obama and the West do something, there’s a bloodbath coming.

9. If he succeeds in putting down the rebellion, Gaddafi would probably emerge angry and emboldened — a dangerous combination.

10. Gaddafi is no mere desert provincial. He underwent military training in Britain and Greece. He undoubtedly has taken the measure of Obama and found him a muddled puddle.


(1. Richard Cohen, Left-Leaning. 2. Marc Thiessen, Right-Leaning. 3. Cohen 4. Thiessen. 5. Thiessen. 6. Cohen. 7. Thiessen. 8. Cohen 9. Thiessen. 10. Cohen.)