CHANGE OF HEART

06.18.14

Glenn Beck Thinks Liberals Were Right About Iraq, but He Spent Years Attacking Them Over the War

Following the twists and turns of the conservative talk-show host’s own record.

The words “Glenn Beck” and “liberal” don’t often go together.

But, the recent uptick in violence in Iraq, prompting considerations of intervention by the Obama administration, has brought the conservative talk-show host and the left together. Beck said “liberals” were right about the fact that “we couldn’t force freedom on people.” That’s a big shift for a guy who once said that withdrawing from Iraq would be “America’s most shameful act of immorality since slavery.” The surge in unrest has prompted many to change their tune on what has been the largest foreign policy conundrum the U.S. has reckoned with in decades, but for Beck, this concession is a major departure from an extensive series of comments praising the Iraq War in years past. Here are some of the greatest hits:

The positive side of war, 2006: “Maybe, there’s another side of the story,” Beck said during a segment on CNN. “A side the media doesn’t talk about because the headlines just aren’t as sensational as death and destruction.” He went on to cite vaccinations, school infrastructure and trained members of the Iraqi Special Police force as positive side effects of U.S. involvement.

The American public is wrong: During a segment on Beck’s old show Headline Prime, he referenced a poll in which 64 percent of Americans believed that the costs of continued involvement in Iraq would outweigh the benefits. He then compares it to a poll showing ambivalence from the American public about entering World War II, both of which Beck thinks are stupid.

Colin Powell was also wrong about the fight against terror: “Who cares what the rest of the world thinks?” Beck yelled into the camera during a 2006 segment, criticizing the former Secretary of State.

Beck predicted a potential change of heart: “War is constantly changing, strategies will change as well,” Beck said during a 2007 segment. “What is surprising is how many people are changing their position on fighting the war.” He then launches into an extended segment criticizing Hillary Clinton for changing her position on the Iraq war.

As long as you honestly question: Beck appeared on a segment of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes in 2003, around the time that he was hosting his Rally for America tour, praising the U.S. military. “I find it very offensive for people to say that the one side is trying to shut down the other side’s opinion,” Beck says of opposing voices in the United States. “That is so un-American.”

Throughout his disjointed and mercurial discourse over the past decade, Glenn Beck has tried to pin down a perspective on politics that is truly “American.” That has ordinarily meant a steadfast hawkish support of U.S. military operations, but now Beck finds himself a victim of his own bemoaned change of heart.

“This must end now,” Beck said on his show Tuesday. “Now can’t we come together on that?” Beck should know we can’t.