Newt Gingrich Contradicts Self on Libya, Tries to Explain

Mar 23, 2011 5:39pm

ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports:

Newt Gingrich this morning said he would not have sent American forces to help institute a no-fly zone. Earlier this week he called the President’s decision to involve the U.S. in the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya as “amateur opportunism.”

But it turns out that Gingrich, who is a potential Republican candidate for President, was for a no-fly zone before he was against it.

“What would you do about Libya?” Gingrich was asked by Fox News’ Greta van Susteren back on March 7th.

“Exercise a no-fly zone this evening. … 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,” he said on Fox March 7th.

Gingrich’s own plan is quite like what ultimately happened and the likely Presidential contender has taken flak all day online about the discrepancy between his March 7th position and his March 23rd positions.

The discrepancy was first pointed out by the liberal watchdog Think Progress.

This afternoon, in a Facebook post, Gingrich tried to further clarify, arguing that in between the statement of his own two positions, the President said that Gadhafi must go. This changed everything, according to Gingrich.. It turns out he now thinks the US must “support the mission and see it through.”

He also makes the very valid point that the U.S. is intervening in Libya on the grounds of humanitarianism, but on that basis, should perhaps also be intervening in “Sudan, Syria, Zimbabwe, Yemen and more countries.”

“From the moment of the president’s declaration (that Gadhafi must go), he put the prestige and authority of the United States on the line.  After March 3, anything short of a successful, public campaign for regime change would have been seen as a defeat for the United States,” writes Gingrich on Facebook.

"Given the President's public statements and the multitude of other humanitarian crises throughout the world, the only rational purpose for an intervention with US forces in Libya is to replace Gaddafi, he says.

Read the full Facebook posting HERE.

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