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The Ideologues Who Wrecked Libya

Out of the New York Times last week came a report that slave auctions are now a reality in Libya [1]. This was hardly breaking news—those who have followed the plight of that traumatized North African country know horrid human rights abuses have been rampant for years—but the existence of such auctions, unheard of by most Americans outside of weirdly macabre Disney World rides [2], still arouses fresh alarm. Lawless Libya has become an escape route to the Mediterranean for thousands of migrants seeking asylum in Europe, which has given rise to human traffickers promising them safe passage, only to brutalize them and even sell them as chattel. How did this happen? According to the Times: “The migrant crisis in Libya originated with the collapse of the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi six years ago.”

Really? Gaddafi’s regime just collapsed, did it? Maybe it was blown over by a strong gust of wind, or perhaps cheers were heard from a distant party of Jenga players? Strong though some of its reportage is, the Times article completely overlooks the Obama administration’s 2011 war that killed Gaddafi and plunged Libya into anarchy. Absent also is any mention of Hillary Clinton who, according to a previous Times account [3], was instrumental in convincing a circumspect Obama to intervene. Missing, too, was her subsequent cry of victory over Gaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died” [4] (that describes a lot of Libyans these days). The left-leaning Times couldn’t even muster up a shot at Marco Rubio who supported the Libya mission on the jejune grounds that [5] “we would love to see, to the extent possible, peaceful countries run by people that are in search of prosperity.”

Instead, the Times portrayed the Libyan crisis as all about refugees, with European leaders indicted for trying to stem the human flow out of Africa. The migrant problem is a knotty one and deserves consideration, but it isn’t the root cause of Libya’s woes: that would be the 2011 invasion, which led to human trafficking and horrors beyond. Into the post-Gaddafi vacuum were sucked two and at times three different governments, each claiming legitimacy over Libya, with a honeycomb of militias in between. The regime presently supported by the United States, the Government of National Accord (GNA), wields authority that’s shaky at best. Its rival, the House of Representatives in Tobruk, exerts substantial military control over eastern and central Libya, boosted by the Russians. Just last week, the army forces of former Gaddafi nemesis General Khalifa Haftar, which are allied with Tobruk, threatened to exercise “military might” [6] if a political solution isn’t reached within six months. That presumably would mean an invasion of Tripoli, which, were Haftar successful, could end with Libya being forcibly reunited under the rule of a single military officer.

How familiar.

Away from the halls of power, the lives of average Libyans have been turned upside-down, with electricity flickering on and off during heat waves, banks turning away prospective withdrawers with empty pockets, the economy trapped in the doldrums. The AFP last year [7] interviewed several Libyans who openly yearned for the days of Gaddafi. “I hate to say it but our life was better under the previous regime,” said one, adding, “Everything is three times more expensive [now].” The turbulence has radiated outwards: from Tunisia to Egypt to England, terrorist attacks have been traced back to Libya, where lawlessness provides an ideal nesting ground for jihadists. Until late last year when a rare concerted military operation drove them out [8], Islamic State fighters were using the city of Sirte as a sort of auxiliary capital to their stronghold in Raqqa. And Gaddafi’s weapon stocks, smuggled out of the country after the dictator’s downfall, have fueled violence from Mali [9] to Syria [10].

The invasion of Iraq seems now the relic of a bygone era, one doped up on American idealism only to crash into the hazy desert. But Libya was of a different time. The United States had supposedly been chastened for its recklessness, culminating in the election of a candescent young president who crushed two pro-war challengers. That Obama went on to make the same mistake Bush did—toppling a dictator in a tribally riven country without even a plan for the aftermath—almost beggars belief. We had a template for what would happen and we went ahead with it anyway. All the more fatuous, then, that some commentators now pronounce that our real blunder in Libya was not deploying more troops during the war’s aftermath. Why would that have turned out any differently than in Iraq where our forces became targets for millenarian jihadists and civil war raged on regardless?

Other excuses abound. Some claim that were Gaddafi not deposed, Libya would have turned into another Syria, bloodier than it is today with a maniacal dictator flinging bombs at the innocent. This is utterly at odds with the timeline of the war, which by mid-March 2011 saw Gaddafi-aligned forces retake the critical western city of Zawiya [11], edge towards Libya’s all-important oil refineries [12], and press the attack on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi [13]. Pockets of resistance might have persisted but the bulk of Libya’s conflict was over and the regime had won—indeed, much of the pro-war argument in 2011 hinged on the assumption that Gaddafi was going to triumph unless we stopped him. It was Western airstrikes that prolonged the violence by shifting momentum behind the rebels. [14] That leads to the next excuse: a Gaddafi victory would have enabled untold atrocities against civilians, which we had an obligation to stop. There’s little question Gaddafi committed war crimes before we intervened, but was the alternative any better? According to the International Crisis Group, [15] “the protest movement exhibited a violent aspect from very early on” and “the demonstrations were infiltrated by violent elements,” including Islamist ones. Given how civilians have fared since Gaddafi was toppled, invoking them to defend the intervention doesn’t at all add up.

Ultimately, neocons and liberal internationalists have mostly stayed quiet on the subject of Libya, perhaps because second-guessing the mission based on the short-term results isn’t really the point. As with Iraq, this was at its core an ideological project, eliciting its most ardent support from those who still believe, however clandestinely, that it is the unshakeable purpose of the United States to avenge the downtrodden and be liberalism’s missionary. From that viewpoint, what are temporary military setbacks against bright starbursts of principle? And what are a few years of mayhem in the greater context of the “long war”? Those who subordinate reality to abstract ideology rarely learn from their mistakes, which is why, even after that supposed post-Iraq chastening, we are fighting at least five wars, none of them going particularly well. And then it’s on to Iran next, with a pit stop in Yemen along the way, even as the Gulf State campaign against the Houthi rebels flounders there. The war ideologues gesture ever forward, even as they clamber over the wreckage of the latest cities their policies have destroyed.

change_me

However extreme these beliefs might be, they’ve become the bedrock of D.C.’s foreign policy brain trust. Last year, the Washington Post [16] profiled several members [16] of what it termed the “foreign policy elite” and found “remarkable consensus,” with nearly everyone in agreement that America needed to be more militarily involved in the world, and particularly in Syria. The return of the slave trade to Libya is Exhibit A of why that unanimity is no longer sustainable, why it so often leaves nations worse than they were before. As the groupthink continues—as the neocon cat enters its next life and Tom Cotton’s name is bandied about for CIA director—the words of William F. Buckley should at some point be allowed to intrude: “Just as Woodrow Wilson was set on making the world safe for democracy, breeding instead Stalin and Hitler, we rail against despotism and breed public chaos.” How many more must suffer before we adjust for this error?

Matt Purple is the managing editor of The American Conservative.

49 Comments (Open | Close)

49 Comments To "The Ideologues Who Wrecked Libya"

#1 Comment By Youknowho On December 4, 2017 @ 10:45 pm

Hillary is vile, indeed.

Were she not have been running against Trump, I would not have voted for her…

Better a wicked man than a fool…

#2 Comment By CRMH On December 4, 2017 @ 10:52 pm

Where is the accountability in our foreign policy? None can be found anywhere. The price paid has been in lives and impoverishment. Terrible. When will it change?

#3 Comment By The Wet One On December 4, 2017 @ 10:54 pm

A reckoning huh?

You mean like the people who instituted torture in America’s name? That kind of reckoning?

Let’s face it people. There’s no principle, law or decency in terms of foreign policy or how the U.S. acts in the international arena. No one can hold the U.S. to account, so the U.S. is not held to account.

That’s just the way it is. Playing domestic political games with the matter for partisan advantage is just petty, small and completely irrelevant to anyone whatsoever. No one is going to hold the king of jungle to account for its actions, because no one can. Least of all any domestic actor.

#4 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 4, 2017 @ 10:56 pm

Blaming the U.S. government overlooks that NATO powers, particularly France, were going to back the Libyan opposition anyway. When the first bombs fell, the cry from the opposition was “Thank you Sarkozy.”

Libya was a comedy of errors, except it wasn’t funny. It may be true that Hillary never saw a foreign military intervention (since Vietnam) that she didn’t like. Gotta kick that Vietnam syndrome once and for all. She’s also the one who told John Kerry he shouldn’t vote against the second Iraq war if he intended to run for president.

It was quite true that Qadaffi would have unleashed a blood bath on peaceful protesters. Its also true that the leaders of the peaceful resistance were utterly unprepared to actually take power. They had literally no military force at their disposal. So, the US and NATO destroyed the only national military force there was, and since all were determined not to put any boots on the ground, this left the country at the mercy of a variety of militias who were better armed than the nominal opposition, but each had their own agenda.

Everyone missed the oldest lessons in the world about intervening in a civil war. The first rule is don’t. The second is, if you do, pick a side. Then make sure your side wins. We only kinda sorta picked a side, and didn’t do whatever it took to make sure our side won. If we weren’t prepared to do both, we created more of a bloodbath than we averted.

#5 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On December 4, 2017 @ 11:57 pm

Youknowho,

Hillary is vile, indeed.

Were she not have been running against Trump, I would not have voted for her…

Better a wicked man than a fool…

Then you must not have read the article. It neatly shows that she’s precisely a vile fool. Thrice as stupid as Trump would ever become, even if all the ominous prediction in regards to his presidency come true. As maladroit as Dubya has been, he at least made some attempts to get the oil profit out of the Iraq War. In Libya, Hillary didn’t even try to bring the conflict about the way that would allow to control Libyan oil wells even in theory. She simply waged that war because ideology. Demented ideology.

Every person any close to being reasonable would prefer a squad of conscious villains like Cheney and a platoon of relatively harmless braggarts like Trump to one single fool with a farcically inflated missionary complex like her.

#6 Comment By Mark Thomason On December 5, 2017 @ 12:46 am

Due for a reckoning? Yes. About as likely as a reckoning for Dubya. They own us, and do what they like.

#7 Comment By Fran Macadam On December 5, 2017 @ 1:54 am

“As with Iraq, this was at its core an ideological project, eliciting its most ardent support from those who still believe, however clandestinely, that it is the unshakeable purpose of the United States to avenge the downtrodden and be liberalism’s missionary.”

Please wake up Matt. As a former President put it, that stuff is just B.S. for the Bubbas, in order to manufacture public opinion in favor of the wars that are really for empire booty and the incredible profits to be made from war for influential elites.

Democracy would be great, but as the hidden realities of the planners are exposed, that is not at all the agenda of those who are running the forever wars.

In fact, the wars are incompatible not only with democratic accountability abroad where they are fought, but erode accountability to the public at home, eviscerating liberty as is always the effect of war. That was once seen as a temporary sacrifice, but the Washington consensus is now that they will go on forever.

#8 Comment By muad’dib On December 5, 2017 @ 7:43 am

The problem here is that Gaddafi (born in 1942) would have died sooner or later, is there any reason to believe that his death five years (from natural causes) from now would have led to a substantially different outcome?

The problem here is that Gaddafi like many dictators never created the structures necessary for the country to function after his death.

You can blame Obama & Hillary all you want, but they did nothing more than accelerate events which would have occurred at his death anyway.

Now you can be an optimist and assume that Gaddafi would have picked a competent successor, who would have managed to maintain the peace and kept the country running. That’s a lot of optimism…

#9 Comment By GEDDES On December 5, 2017 @ 7:47 am

The invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with American idealism or for oil. Saddam would have given us all the discounted oil we needed to let him keep his dictatorship. The decision to invade was made in Tel Aviv and transmitted to AIPAC and other local Israeli quislings. Then it happened? Libya? Probably a similar event? AIPAC has never heard of a War Declaration by the U.S. Congress that they liked. Just get a bully boy like GWB to unleash our dogs of war for their purpose. Please bring Phil Giraldi back. These are desperate times and we need our best and brightest.

#10 Comment By ground zero On December 5, 2017 @ 8:39 am

Poor Libya. Poor Yemen. Poor Syria. Poor Honduras. “Pivot to Asia” (HA HA). “Reset with Russia” (HA HA).

The worst Secretary of State ever. Virtually all the big things she touched burst into flames. I’m damned if I can think of a single even relatively modest success.

Whether she would have been the worst president is the question many tried to decide last November, but there was never really much doubt: it was clear that whoever we elected would be the worst president in our history. The real question was which would be worse.

So far, I still think Hillary would have been worse by at least a few hairs, those being the Supreme Court and government rhetoric (if not reality) on immigration.

But the foreign policy and ForeverWar situation is even worse under Trump than it was under Bush II and Clinton/Obama. Instead of getting us out of the Middle East, Trump is preparing new wars and heating up old conflicts and hatreds there, and he’s also putting boots on the ground in Africa and East Asia.

And in the shadow of the Bush/Obama/Trump wars, the destruction of American freedoms and civil liberties by our own government continue, and attacks on the basic dignity of the American citizen and the devaluation of citizenship by mass immigration continue.

#11 Comment By VikingLS On December 5, 2017 @ 9:12 am

@Youknowwho

I can understand your choice, though I opted for other sociopathic liar.

#12 Comment By wasted vote On December 5, 2017 @ 9:16 am

I deeply regret my vote for Trump. Until I see a photo of Hillary Clinton.

#13 Comment By VikingLS On December 5, 2017 @ 9:45 am

We must not allow Libya to be swept into to the great American memory hole, despite the people, both powerful, and people who are emotionally invested in the idea either of the goodness of their nation, or the goodness of their political faction, who would prefer we do just that.

I worked with Iraqis for years, and then Libyans, and the similarity between their stories is stunning.

#14 Comment By Michael Kenny On December 5, 2017 @ 10:39 am

The author’s point is very clear from the reference to Syria: capitulate to Putin. Libya is just a coat hanger on which to hang that argument. By the way, according to a recent book, the flood of refugees into Europe is a CIA-backed operation designed to undermine the EU, a perfectly credible thesis in the light of other facts.

#15 Comment By Stephen J. On December 5, 2017 @ 11:19 am

Here is an article with much info on Libya. See link below.
December 5, 2017
Was This a Gathering of Ghouls?
[17]

#16 Comment By Chris in Appalachia On December 5, 2017 @ 11:32 am

While the average uninformed American voter thinks America is the benevolent savior of the world, the USA-Isreal-Saudi axis of evil is actually the wrecker of large swaths of the world.

#17 Comment By Paul On December 5, 2017 @ 11:40 am

Thanks for this strong and intelligent piece. I wake up every day wondering how the architects of murder and madness in the Middle East are able to go on with their lives as if the last fourteen years never happened.

#18 Comment By Kent On December 5, 2017 @ 11:56 am

Outwardly, liberal interventionism is the libertarian belief that bringing democratic capitalism to the world will end war, as war becomes unnecessary when all things can be traded.

Inwardly, liberal interventionism creates opportunities for American banks to put the world in debt and to control each nations assets.

Outwardly, neo-conservatism is that people need war and religion to place their higher interests in the state instead of concerning themselves with the deterioration in their day to day lives.

Inwardly, neo-conservatism is the opportunity to profit from the massive expenditures associated with warfare.

And American banks are directly or indirectly, the major shareholders of the military industrial complex.

And Hillary is truly loathsome.

#19 Comment By Stephen J. On December 5, 2017 @ 12:16 pm

kudos to the writer and the American Conservative. We as a supposedly “civilized society” need to take a hard look at what is being done in our name, with the use of our tax dollars

#20 Comment By b. On December 5, 2017 @ 12:28 pm

“The left-leaning Times couldn’t even muster up a shot at Marco Rubio who supported the Libya mission …”

The “left-leaning” NYT is pro-war, pro-establishment, and wants to be considered part of the “serious” foreign policy “elite”. It is, however, not incompetent enough to publish criticism of a Rubio position that would invite comparisons to the actions of Obama or Clinton, who, like Rubio, are considered “serious” policymakers in their own right.

The NYT might or might not be “athwart”, but is certainly not “left” in any meaningful sense. Keep in mind that Trump’s first blatantly illegal act of aggression – attacking regular Syrian military without UN authorization and without Congressional authorization – was universally applauded by NYT, Post and other elite “centrist” media as an indicator that Trump was finally getting “serious” on foreign policy.

With respect to mainstream US foreign policy, there is no “left” or “right”, there is only radical disguised as “sensible”. No man ever forewent profit or career advancement for supporting another pointless, criminal intervention. In the eyes of the mainstream, “even” somebody as “deranged” as Trump can find redemption in bombing for praise and profit.

#21 Comment By Professor Nerd On December 5, 2017 @ 1:04 pm

Overheard Trumpistas pulling the “whatabout” with the Flynn situation by yelling about Benghazi. One claimed he knew Clinton was a murderer because his friends in the military were told to “stand down.”
Meanwhile, any rational discussion of Middle East policy is reduced to cheerleading for my “side” or the other.
This is where we’re at.

#22 Comment By Will Harrington On December 5, 2017 @ 1:15 pm

To be fair to Wilson, who is not my favorite president, if he had had his way and could have restrained the UK and France in their desire for revenge, Hitler would likely never have risen to power. I would also be really interested in what you think Wilson could have done to prevent Stalin succeeding Lenin. More military intervention in the Russian Civil War perhaps? Wouldn’t that undermine the rest of your essay’s argument. This was a particularly egregious and ignorant slap at a president who, if you don’t like him. had plenty of real faults to rant about.

#23 Comment By Will Harrington On December 5, 2017 @ 1:19 pm

Muad’dib.

Why not? Nassir did it.

#24 Comment By Will Harrington On December 5, 2017 @ 1:24 pm

Michael Kenny

Have you ever made a comment on here that didn’t claim the writer wanted us to capitulate to Putin?

#25 Comment By Joe the Plutocrat On December 5, 2017 @ 1:38 pm

Instead of re-hashing the past, TAC would do well to focus on the ideologues who are presently wrecking the United States of America.

#26 Comment By Stephen J. On December 5, 2017 @ 1:50 pm

June 18, 2017
We

We are the war criminals, and we are free
We destroyed a number of countries across the sea
We have “honorable” fancy titles and appear on the world stage
We get the serfs to do the fighting in the wars we wage

We invaded Iraq and thousands are still dying
It had no weapons of mass destruction, we were bloody lying
Then we attacked Libya and NATO did the bombing
Now that country is in chaos after all our plotting

Then we sent ISIS terrorists into Syria, as well
Now that country is reduced to a living hell
Hundreds of thousands are dead or maimed
And we refuse to admit, to having any blame

Now we are bombing in Yemen and thousands are dead
We are part of the coalition that is bringing more bloodshed
The children of Yemen are starving, and there is Cholera too
That country is in ruins because of what we do

We are the war criminals too powerful to jail
We rule the countries that caused all this hell
We talk about “law and order” and the “land of the free”
This is who we are: because war criminals are we…

[more info at link below]

[18]

#27 Comment By Dan Good On December 5, 2017 @ 2:15 pm

The French played an active role in creating the crisis. One person in particular who has vanished from the press was Bernard Henri Levy who actiely promoted the Libyan action by inviting the so called rebels to France. He even made a film about his role at the time. [19]

#28 Comment By Youknowho On December 5, 2017 @ 2:29 pm

@VikingSL

Yes, we had a great choice last November did we? The fire or the frying pan…

#29 Comment By RinTX On December 5, 2017 @ 2:46 pm

GEDDES says:
“Please bring Phil Giraldi back.”

I had read on some other thread that TAC had fired Phil Giraldi. I could not find anything that explained why. Why was he fired?

Unless it was something totally egregious, I agree. Bring Phil Giraldi back.

#30 Comment By Youknowho On December 5, 2017 @ 3:27 pm

@Viking SL

About last years’ election, Cavafy said it best

“The almighty gods ought to have taken the trouble
to create a fourth, a decent man.
I would gladly have gone along with him.”

#31 Comment By El Rio On December 5, 2017 @ 3:44 pm

If my memory serves me correctly, this all started with Ronald Regan and the American government had been persistent every since.
Seems the black man would be the best scapegoat considering the government always dings a fall guy to take the heat.
The mission was already in play and who better to be the puppet? The black man.
Truth is this is the American government fault not just the ex- black president.
This government always lies about everything especially their involvement in murder.
Stop blaming Obama like he went in and committed that murder himself.
Dishonest government still lives

#32 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On December 5, 2017 @ 4:16 pm

muad’dib,

The problem here is that Gaddafi (born in 1942) would have died sooner or later, is there any reason to believe that his death five years (from natural causes) from now would have led to a substantially different outcome?

Yes. You might want to read some books about the political history of Latin America. Without external interferences caudillos are followed by other caudillos. The new caudillo may hate the old one, but he’s a military man, hence practical. He will use his power structures to solidify his own positions instead of destroying them. The same applies to the Middle East, even when it doesn’t come to a father-son succession, as it happened in Syria.

You can blame Obama & Hillary

No one blames Obama. There’s no such thing as “Obama’s foreign policy” past the very beginning of his presidency. It was joyridden by Hillary in no time. There are reasons to criticize the man, but the foreign policy is not among them. He was not factually in charge.

***

Will Harrington,

Have you ever made a comment on here that didn’t claim the writer wanted us to capitulate to Putin?

No, he hasn’t. In fact, the poor fellow possesses a unique ability to find Putin even in those articles where Russians are not even mentioned.

***

Joe the Plutocrat,

Instead of re-hashing the past, TAC would do well to focus on the ideologues who are presently wrecking the United States of America.

Don’t you know that these ideologues are the same people who did it in the past?

#33 Comment By Lerty23 On December 5, 2017 @ 4:20 pm

No, the cause of Libya’s woes is the inability of the Libyan polity to resolve its differences peacefully. It is silly to blame Obama/Hillary/Europe/US when a fractious, horribly bigoted, tribal society erupts into chaos. Foreigners aren’t robots without minds, free will, or agendas of their own. They are perfectly capable of screwing up their own countries and do so with easy determination and without any US encouragement.

We are better off not trying to solve the messes of backward countries.

#34 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On December 5, 2017 @ 6:18 pm

El Rio,

This article and the majority of commenters justly blame Clinton, not Obama, if you haven’t noticed.

#35 Comment By Donald ( the left leaning one) On December 5, 2017 @ 6:54 pm

“Michael Kenny

Have you ever made a comment on here that didn’t claim the writer wanted us to capitulate to Putin?”

Not Kenny, but to answer your question, I think I remember one that didn’t. I was surprised.

On the post, I agree, but for the foreseeable future I don’t expect honest admission of our crimes, let alone a reckoning. The leadership of both parties are heavily pro interventionist. Trump is hated or mistrusted because he is incompetent, but he is an interventionist too. At best you can hope some decent people in both parties will be able to stop atrocities like the one in Yemen.

#36 Comment By GEDDES On December 5, 2017 @ 6:57 pm

[20]

Keep abreast of the truth with Phil Giraldi

#37 Comment By Joe the Plutocrat On December 5, 2017 @ 8:38 pm

Alex (the one that likes Ike) – never suggested otherwise. Plutocracy/Oligarchy is an ideology, albeit an ideology which is the property of an “elite” class of ideologues. My larger point is; US history has no shortage of examples demonstrating how US “interests” (foreign policy) “wrecked” (destabilized) this nation or that. That said, ALL Americans should focus on the “bust out” (see: Goodfellas/Sopranos) taking place at home. Be it land (Utah), the economy (“tax reform”), the education (student loan bubble), or endless war (massive budget cuts, but ballooning DoD budget – financed by debt); the oligarchs are “shorting” just about every “position” in their portfolio. I feel for the people in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Niger, I am more concerned about the people in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Alabama, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.

#38 Comment By VikingLS On December 5, 2017 @ 10:58 pm

“The problem here is that Gaddafi (born in 1942) would have died sooner or later, is there any reason to believe that his death five years (from natural causes) from now would have led to a substantially different outcome?”

Yes, actually. Even if there was an internal power struggle, which was likely, it’s very difficult to believe that the entire structure would have broken down.

In all likelihood we’d just be looking at another general taking power, not the Libyan Pool Party we ended up with.

#39 Comment By VikingLS On December 5, 2017 @ 11:04 pm

“The author’s point is very clear from the reference to Syria: capitulate to Putin.”

I wonder if Putin ever looks at things like this and thinks “man, I wish I WAS as powerful as this doofus thinks I am.”

#40 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On December 5, 2017 @ 11:58 pm

Joe the Plutocrat,

I feel for the people in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Niger, I am more concerned about the people in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Alabama, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.

Me too. And, I’m afraid, the student loan bubble will be one of the most damaging things in the long run.

#41 Comment By Alan Soulis On December 6, 2017 @ 2:31 am

Oh yes!!!! There have NEVER been any wars before America came on the world stage. LOL Africa NEVER had any warfare until the White Man ruined the humble Nubian tribes. All races and all religions are now or have been in the past VIOLENT!!! The “ones” that are somewhat peaceful now will be aggresive and territorial in the future. GROW UP!!!

HANNIBAL???? BLAME AMERICA

GENGHIS KHAN??? BLAME AMERICA

ALEXANDER THE GREAT??? BLAME THE FRENCH

HOW ABOUT PUTIN??? BLAME RONALD REAGAN

#42 Comment By Dan Green On December 6, 2017 @ 9:08 am

Our history is clear. We suck up to dictators when it serves our interest, and we kill them when we are done with them. Our support someone other influence to kill them.

#43 Comment By C. L. H. Daniels On December 6, 2017 @ 9:10 am

<iNo, the cause of Libya’s woes is the inability of the Libyan polity to resolve its differences peacefully. It is silly to blame Obama/Hillary/Europe/US when a fractious, horribly bigoted, tribal society erupts into chaos.

…So what, you’re just going to gloss over the fact that their differences were well on their way to being settled before we decided to show up and bomb the government into oblivion? We basically destroyed the existing power structure, and so of course their society erupted into chaos. Anarchy is what naturally happens when you destroy the governing institutions of a society. If we had left well enough alone, Gaddafi would very likely have restored order. Brutally and violently, yes, but as the article points out, it could hardly have been worse for the majority of the population than what’s happened instead.

This should also be taken as further evidence that not every society, everywhere, wants or is prepared for liberal democracy, and killing of dictators does not in any way guarantee that what comes after them will be an improvement. Idealistic pronouncements to the contrary run rather against the grain of our lived reality and are evidence of nothing so much as a form of quasi-religious hysteria in my opinion.

#44 Comment By mf On December 6, 2017 @ 10:45 am

So when did Obama err?

When he intervened in Libya?

or

When he did not intervene in Syria?

Which is it, Mr “Conservative” armchair quaterback?

#45 Comment By Kele On December 6, 2017 @ 10:58 am

CLH Daniels;

If the differences in Libya were on their way to being settled, there would not have been a refugee exodus into Europe.

You’re suggesting that Libyans had NO OTHER CHOICE but to dissolve into murderous anarchy because we bombed the government. No, tribal chaos does not inevitably result in every society when the government is bombed into oblivion. A quick perusal of the history of WW1 and WW2 will show you this. Look at the underlying configuration of society and its value system and you’ll see why. Some countries consist of unified people, others do not.

If we had left well enough alone, plenty of people would be blaming the US for not doing anything and for prolonging the refugee flood into Europe. The US is damned if we do and damned if we don’t – reason enough to support a non-interventionist policy and let these dysfunctional societies stew in their own problems until they decide to fix them.

#46 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On December 6, 2017 @ 1:19 pm

mf,

So when did Obama err?

When he intervened in Libya?

or

When he did not intervene in Syria?

Which is it, Mr “Conservative” armchair quaterback?

[Sigh] Why y’all commenting articles without having previously read them? This one doesn’t blame Obama at all. It explicitly says that Obama’s administration screwed its foreign policy because of the actions of a hawkish politician whose photo you can behold above the aforementioned article. A hint: her surname begins with a C and ends with an N. Much like Obama, she’s a former senator, but not from Illinois. You know the lass. Restless. Bloodlusty. Joyrides foreign policies.

#47 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 6, 2017 @ 1:41 pm

I remain caught up in the fictional Madam Secretary. It highlights the US in an almost spiritual rightness, even when it does wrong. They embody the US with a mystical ability to gain information about known threats. It is that breed of pro-US media craft one longs for because it is in many ways inspiring — one cannot but get caught up in the ideal, even when acknowledging with “guffaw” multiple scenarios.

I think there is something to be said for a reckoning. But this manner of comprehension,

“A quick perusal of the history of WW1 and WW2 will show you this. Look at the underlying configuration of society and its value system and you’ll see why. Some countries consist of unified people, others do not.”

I am not sure you have an accurate reading of history.

1. While devastating, after WWI the powers that began the conflicts remained in power in but a few countries — even the German government remained in place. But missing from your comments is the the violent and destructive revolutions that took place in in Russia, and elsewhere. Furthermore ignoring that these conflicts took place over a period of nearly ten years, sideswipes the violence experienced by others such as Syria, Libya and the Iraq . . .etc.

The truth that people not choose violence ignores the violence that led to the conditions. It is self serving and escapist. I have made that observation — people are choosing a turn they could otherwise reject. True enough, but that does not absolve the initiators, and ‘sustainers’ of that violence. This article is followed by a slew of escpaist notions dismissing responsibility,

He would have died anyway.

True there would have been a bloodbath against the innocent — something not all certain, if not unlikely.

These people are animals anyway (paraphrased)

2. WWII

It’s a comparison for which there are no parallels. The axis powers were totally demolished in the place of previous governments the Allied powers established their own as replacements and in at least the case of Japan overhauled their previous system – entirely except keeping the emperor.

That is not the case in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. In each of these cases the US tweaked the system — they din’t run it.

Furthermore, the players in WWII included player who were very familiar and had long intermingled relations with the powers in question.

In asia, China and others erupted into a violent civil wars.

I enjoy Madam Secretary, it not as engrossing and overwhelming as the Crown — which utterly devastates the viewer by engrossing them in events, social and political dynamics, including some matters of faith and practice. But because if its docudrama introduction of actual events — it escapes not the reckoning of consequences by nefarious or even innocent errors in judgement.

Where TAC and differ and we differ in general on several issues is the idea that so called experts and established leaders in this field want heap blame on the current executive without so much as a wince at their accountability for the messes they have fostered.

Someone is going to reap a whirlwind for skipping accountability or even acknowledging the wrongs, if not them then the country as a whole. Not all the Jews shunned God’s mandates required to be the chosen people, but eventually the entire country was held to account, despite the perceived or real failings of others.

They do it too
they are worse
It’s justified
They are dumb
They are unworthy

Does not excuse our own culpability in lieu of the mirror we place to indict them but reflects us.

It’s their fault won’t cut it.

#48 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 10, 2017 @ 12:19 pm

I watched the War Machine with this week. And despite its atte,mpt to disparage the the military command in Afghanistahn.

Lughing. One could not escape the writers attempt to justify his initial portrayals of that command as somehow out of touch. I found myself in the same place at the end the program that I was at the end of the actual sytory —

the reporter over stepped his bounds and his motives in what he was invited to report on and the eventual story that was told.

Despite opposing the ivasion if the first place, I found my self far more sympathetic to the command that reporter or the executive.

No. I don’t think that the previous Pres had any intention of regime change when he went into office. And while he had forces that forced a shift in his policy agenda.

He alone must own that he made those choices. The country would have been better off had he actually battled out his agenda going in.

#49 Comment By MrTea On July 24, 2018 @ 4:26 pm

Curious that no one in the comments considers the possibility that the primary outcome of this fiasco–effectively the Islamic invasion of Europe that began in the 8th Century–was the intention? Is it possible that those crazy right wingers who said that Obama is an Islamist to the core, or is at least emotionally rooted with the 3rd World (and fundamentally hostile to the White West) were right all along?

Watching the Iraq fiasco devolve, I kept wondering–did the foreign policy brain trust–yeah the CFR mafia Gary Allen pointed out stayed in charge no matter who was elected–have any idea what was to come, or did they just not give a damn? The way they disbanded the Iraq military, turning the dogs loose on our own military–it’s hard to find anybody who took responsibility for this critical decision. Ex-CIA Iraq operative Robert Baer pretty much “called the shot” of what was to come, the inevitability of the Sunni-Shia civil war.

Do these maniacs have a “plan”? Or is it just to make manufacture chaos, thus ensuring “Endless Enemies”–and not coincidentally, the perpetual necessity for…more policy elite hackademics to counsel everybody on why it’s messed up and what to do next! Not that anybody is going to take their advice unless it suits what they already wanted to do anyway.