Newt Gingrich Completely Changes Position on Libya in 16 Days

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 23 2011 12:44 PM

Newt Gingrich Completely Changes Position on Libya in 16 Days

A pretty direct hit from ThinkProgress , if you ask me. Here's Newt Gingrich on March 7, on what he would do in Libya.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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VAN SUSTEREN: What would you do about Libya?

GINGRICH: Exercise a no-fly zone this evening, communicate to the Libyan military that Gadhafi was gone and that the sooner they switch sides, the more like they were to survive, provided help to the rebels to replace him. I mean, the idea that we're confused about a man who has been an anti-American dictator since 1969 just tells you how inept this administration is. They were very quick to jump on Mubarak, who was their ally for 30 years, and they were confused about getting rid of Gadhafi. This is a moment to get rid of him. Do it. Get it over with.

VAN SUSTEREN: And why do you think -- you say you think it's ineptitude is why the pause or there's different political...

GINGRICH: Look...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... or different diplomacy?

GINGRICH: I think the most generous comment would be ineptitude. It's also an ideological problem. The United States doesn't need anybody's permission. We don't need to have NATO, who frankly, won't bring much to the fight. 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. And we don't have to send troops. All we have to do is suppress his air force, which we could do in minutes. And then we have to say publicly that he is gone, that the military should switch sides now, and we should help the rebels. And if that means getting them weapons or whatever it means, the fact that there's no more Libyan air power and the fact that the United States has publicly come out for decisively replacing him, I suspect the military will dump him.

Here's Newt Gingrich from March 23.

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. This isn't a serious standard. This is a public relations conversation.

...

LAUER: Do you think Moammar Qaddafi has to go as a result of this intervention?

GINGRICH: Let me draw the distinction. 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.

Anyone want to try and reconcile these two interviews? It's not just the flip-flop on intervention -- the flip-flip on whether humanitarian needs make the intervention justified or not is breathtaking. Either that's a standard or it isn't.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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