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Obama and the Dumb, Rash Wars He Supports

Supporters of destabilizing regime change can’t accept responsibility for the chaos they help create:

Both Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continue to argue that it wasn’t the removal of Gaddafi that caused the chaos, but rather the failure to prop up a stable government in the days following. An ISIS affiliate has since gained a foothold in the country, and the U.S. has carried out airstrikes against “ISIS camps” as recently as February.

That’s a lesson I now apply when we’re asked to intervene militarily [bold mine-DL]. Do we have a plan for the day after?” Obama said in an interview with the BBC that aired two weeks ago.

Ed Krayewski responded to this quote with the appropriate ridicule:

That ought to be a shocking statement. After all, U.S. history is littered with interventions that failed in their aftermath.

It’s not as if Obama needed the example of regime change in Libya to teach him that overthrowing a foreign government would produce instability and violence. Someone ought to ask him why he hadn’t already learned this lesson from the Iraq war or from any previous violent overthrow of a government. It’s the most obvious danger posed by violent regime change, and Libya shouldn’t have to have been plunged into chaos to teach it to him. Hawks often fault Obama for supposedly “overlearning” the lessons of Iraq, but in the case of Libya he somehow forgot some of the most important ones. Back when he was first speaking out against the proposed invasion of Iraq, Obama liked to boast that he was against “rash” and “dumb” wars, but in Libya and now in Yemen with the Saudi-led war he has learned to make exceptions. If allies or clients want the U.S. to be involved in a dumb, rash war, Obama seems to have no problem with it.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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