A List of Liberals & Leftists Who Supported the Bombing of Libya

I was struck by how many prominent liberal and leftist pundits and journos took no position, at least none than I could find. (I’d argue that not speaking out against intervention — a euphemism for what was clearly a war of aggression from the outset — is a failing only slightly smaller than supporting it.) There were also people like Spencer Ackerman who opposed intervention, then said they were wrong for doing so when it appeared (to them) to be a success. Chris Hayes opposed intervention then said he was wrong to have done so then said he was right to have done so.

It’s not always clear what constitutes support for intervention. For example, Laurie Penny cheered the No Fly Zone, then changed her mind shortly after. That is, she supported the UN No Fly Zone but opposed the US-NATO intervention. As did — to my surprise — Noam Chomsky. Yet a No Fly Zone necessitates bombing, and the UN intervention led to the second and, perhaps more to the point, the UN intervention was driven by the US and NATO. So, yes, both Chomsky and Penny make the list.

You’ll likely quibble with my classifications. Is Robert Pape really a liberal? No, probably not, more of realist, but he’s generally seen as anti-intervention, so. And while I generally didn’t include government officials, I cited AM Slaughter, who worked State at the time, because I felt that any list of cruise missile liberals would be incomplete without her.

Very few of those listed below have written much, if at all, about Libya since Qaddafi’s death. Juan Cole is a notable exception.

*scroll down

Gilbert Achcar

Jonathan Alter

Hend Amry

Ben Armbruster

Aaron Bady

Peter Beinart

Zack Beauchamp

Michael Berube

Bob Cesca

Jonathan Chait

Noam Chomsky

Juan Cole

Howard Dean

EJ Dionne

Kevin Drum

David Graeber*

Max Fisher

Imani Gandy

Shadi Hamid

Tom Hayden

Christopher Hitchens

Murtaza Hussain

John Judis

Fred Kaplan

Nick Kristoff

Marc Lynch

Tom Malinowski

Michael O’Hanlon

George Packer

Robert Pape

Laurie Penny

Bill Press

Joy Reid

Ed Schultz

Eugene Robinson

AM Slaughter

The New Republic

Michael Tomasky

James Traub

Tom Watson

Daniel Wickham

Philip Weiss

Ian Willians

Paul Woodward

Robin Yassin Kassab

Posted in Blog
7 comments on “A List of Liberals & Leftists Who Supported the Bombing of Libya
  1. I would be honored to be included in this list of fine liberals.

  2. Nu'man Abd al-Wahid says:

    This is a list of all the “Islam” scholars that supported the intervention:


  3. Yet yetty says:

    Noam Chomsky went as far in his Book ‘Making the Future’ that Gaddafi was a brutal dictator with responsible for the murder of 1.2 million people and that the bombing averted the massacre of non- violent protestors (he conveniently forgets these peaceful protestors attacked an army barracks and murdered Black people from day 1) despite all the evidence we now have to the contrary, he continues his lies and sadly John Pilger is quoted on the cover of this book saying Naom “speaks the truth”.

  4. Add Medea Benjamin to this shameful list.

    “While most of the protestors demonstrated on the sidewalk, Medea Benjamin and Tijhe Barry snuck inside the Libyan mission and took down pictures of Qaddafi.”

  5. Austin G Mackell says:

    My name needs to be on this list thanks.

    • DaMizner says:

      I’m sorry, I don’t think you’re prominent enough. But take heart, if you keep supporting US/NATO wars, you will be!

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  1. [...] appears Hussain has learned something. But when asked by David Mizner, who is keeping a running tally of lefts and liberals who supported the Libyan intervention here, about his second thoughts, [...]

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