EnduringSense

“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato

  • Daily Quote:

    Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

    George Orwell

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 91 other followers

  • Subscribe

Archive for the ‘Libya’ Category

Left Gives Obama Pass on Benghazi Scandal

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 8, 2014

It is remarkable and sad how the Left and the mainstream media refuse to hold President Obama accountable for any policy failures or scandals that have plagued his administration.  The list is long and includes the IRS scandal, lies on Obamacare, the Solyndra scandal, targeting reporters who oppose Administration policies and the Benghazi tragedy.

The Benghazi scandal is currently making publicity with the Congress announcing a Select Committee to investigate the events.  Democrats in unison cry foul claiming that the Republicans are on a witch-hunt or out for merely political gain.  While it is accurate that the Republicans seek political gain from the investigation, that goal is no more partisan or political than the Democrats who would give the President a complete pass on the matter.

The Benghazi matter is a tragedy that resulted in the deaths of four Americans including our Libyan ambassador.  The evidence is clear that Pres. Obama and his administration fabricated and perpetuated the false narrative that the terrorist attack on the Benghazi consulate was merely a protest against some innocuous video that offended Islam.  Why was this false story created and perpetuated?  Why was the American ambassador in Benghazi and unprotected when other Western countries including the British pulled out?  Where was the President on the evening of the attack and what role did he play in the inadequate response over that eight hour period of the attack?  These are all legitimate questions, answers to which the American people are owed and deserve.

Below is a video that exemplifies the Left’s continued efforts to trivialize and cover-up the Benghazi scandal.  Political analyst Brit Hume reacts rather strongly when former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman attempts to bury the story as an “intelligence failure.”  To this Hume appropriately responded:

The question was whether in the aftermath of the attack, when the administration sent its U.N. ambassador out to explain it to everybody, and she did so falsely, that there wasn’t a conspiracy to create the false talking points that she used.  I’m not talking about the CIA talking points,  I’m talking about the talking points used on that program that day, which were monumentally misleading, that since have been shown to be false, and based on no intelligence of any consequence that we know of.”

The Left curiously calls Obama’s Benghazi miscues an “intelligence failure”.  Compare this to how they responded to Bush’s mistaken call of WMDs in Iraq.  This difference is telling and speaks to the corruption of Washington politics.

Posted in Libya | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chris Matthews Takes Off on Administration’s Benghazi Actions

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 30, 2013

Another example of Barack Obama losing his backing from the mainstream media is included in the video below.  Hard Left reporter and Obama supporter, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, takes off after the Obama Administration’s lack of response and transparency concerning the Benghazi attack that occurred over one year ago in which four Americans, including the ambassador, were killed.

During the interview of former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb, Matthews asks: “Where were the people that could’ve come or tried to get there within how many hours it took to save the lives of the people still living?  Where were they and why weren’t they called to do it?  I’m going to ask that question until I get an answer.”  These questions have been on the minds of many Americans for over a year.  However when asked, Obama responds by calling such questions a witch-hunt in search of a false scandal.  The fact that unapologetic Obama supporter Matthews is now asking the questions is a telling sign for this president.

Posted in Chris Matthews, Libya | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

CNN Reports CIA Personnel Threatened into Silence on Benghazi Attack

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 5, 2013

CNN, a left of center cable news network, on August 1 released a story demonstrating that the Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans including our ambassador is no phony scandal.

Since the Benghazi attack 11 months ago, the American people have yet to hear directly from survivors of the attack or from US operatives on the ground. We now know why.   CNN’s Jake Tapper reports that the Obama Administration is using threats against CIA operatives in efforts to keep them silent.  According to Tapper:

CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency’s Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.

Since January, some CIA operatives involved in the agency’s missions in Libya, have been subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according to a source with deep inside knowledge of the agency’s workings.

The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress.  It is being described as pure intimidation, with the threat that any unauthorized CIA employee who leaks information could face the end of his or her career.

In exclusive communications obtained by CNN, one insider writes, “You don’t jeopardize yourself, you jeopardize your family as well.”

CNN’s report comes out just a few days after Pres. Obama and his mouthpiece Jay Carney have started the talking points of the so-called “phony scandals” in an effort to make the scandals go away.  It remains to be seen whether the President’s intimidation tactics will be successful or whether the cover-up will cause more political damage than the original scandal.

Barack Obama is looking more Nixonian by the day.

Posted in Libya | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hillary Clinton Loses it at Senatorial Committee Hearing

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 23, 2013

 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on the Hill today answering questions concerning the attack on America’s Benghazi, Libya consulate that resulted in the death of four Americans including the US ambassador.  Apparently some of the questioning by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson struck a nerve with Ms. Clinton losing it, as shown the video clip below.

Remarkably, Clinton said: “With all respect, the fact is we have four dead Americans was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans.  What difference at this point does it make?  It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”

Someone should remind Ms. Clinton, with all due respect, that she and the rest of the government employees in Washington, including the President, work for the People.  The People were given false information for weeks about the attack in Benghazi, first of blaming it on the scooter video that had nothing to do with the attack.  If this false information was supplied for the purpose of misleading the People for political reasons, We the People have a right to know.  Is more than transparency, it is our right.

Posted in Libya | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Accountability Missing in State Department’s Mishandling of Benghazi Consulate Security

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 30, 2012

The U.S. State Department’s Accountability Review Board released its findings earlier this month concerning the September terrorist attack that led to the killing of America’s Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.  That report was highly critical of the State Department’s handling of the affair, especially it related to the security supplied for the diplomats.

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to investigate the Libyan debacle and hold those responsible accountable.  While elegant words, this was a stall tactic designed to avoid accountability from any connected with his Administration before the election.

Since the report was released, it has been reported that four State Department officials were merely reassigned to other duties.  They include an assistant Secretary of State, two of his assistance, and a deputy assistant secretary responsible for Libya.  This indicates that the President is not holding those responsible accountable.

With four Americans dead due to incompetence in the State Department, the fact that merely four employees were reassigned is a grotesque example of the lack of accountability within government.  All responsible for allowing the tragedy to occur, as found in the State Department’s own report, should be immediately fired.  This action is appropriate not only to remove the incompetent employees from government, but also as a warning for remaining employees who might fall down on the job.

It is not surprising that the State Department’s Accountability Review Board found paper-pushers to be at fault for the failings in Libya.  A government with unlimited funds to spend via its cash printing press has unstoppable momentum for growth.  While companies are forced to downsize when budgets get out of line, the government has no such constraint and therefore becomes bloated with incompetents.  Instead of using the State Department’s report for the Libya failing to trim the fat of the bureaucrats, these same bureaucrats will use the report to demand more funds for their incompetent department.

Posted in Libya | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Report Blames Benghazi Debacle on State Department

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 18, 2012

Today’s New York Times headline publicly explained what most Americans already knew.  US governmental incompetence played a part in the actions that led to the murder of four Americans in Benghazi on 9/11, 2012, including the US ambassador to Libya.  The article, Inquiry Into Libya Attack Is Sharply Critical of State Dept, reviewed the just-released findings of an independent commission led by career diplomat Thomas Pickering that faulted the US State Department for incompetence.  Specifically, the commission found that the US State Department ignored warnings of imminent threats to US diplomats in Libya, as well as their requests for increased security.  It also concluded that State Department offices did not properly coordinate security and that its leaders showed bad judgment.

The finding by the commission of poor coordination between the various State Department offices is especially troubling.  This is the same type of failure that the 9/11 Commission found relating to coordination between various law enforcement agencies.  It is unconscionable that similar coordination problems remain over 11 years later.

The State Department responded to the commission’s report with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton informing Congress by letter that it has accepted all of the panel’s recommendations.  That will be little comfort for the families of the four Americans killed as a result of the incompetence.

During the campaign, President Obama repeatedly indicated that when the studies of the Benghazi attack were concluded, no matter where the facts led, those responsible will be held accountable.  It is now time for the President to act on this commitment.  While this includes appropriate retaliatory actions against those who perpetrated the attack, it also requires appropriate accountability of those in government who acted irresponsibly and incompetently.  That should start with the immediate firing of Secretary of State Clinton and other higher-ups in the State Department that the independent commission found to be responsible.

When there is a failing in the private sector at any level, government elitists, especially Progressives, are quick to look for blame and seek retribution.  However, when failings in occur in government, even those that lead to the killing of Americans, no one is truly held accountable. Remarkably, these same Progressives continually seek to turn more power and authority over to incompetent government and expect more positive results.

Posted in Libya | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Un-transparent Response to the Libyan Tragedy

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 28, 2012

One of Barack Obama’s broken promises was that of transparency.  In fact, the Obama Administration has been the least transparent since that of Richard Nixon.

Colorado 9News reporter Kyle Clark interviewed President Obama who once again refused to answer direct and relevant questions about important policies.  In the exchange Clark asked the President when Americans could expect answers concerning the Administration’s actions relating to the Libyan attack of the Benghazi consulate.  The President’s evasive response included:

The election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened.  Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do,” and “Well, we are finding out exactly what happened.  I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives.  Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.  Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again.  Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.  And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe.  These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.

The video is evasive/non responsive and pure Obama.  He acts as if he were still a Community Organizer rather than the president of the United States.

 

Posted in Libya, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wasserman-Schultz Spanked by Piers Morgan Over Libyan Comments

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 11, 2012

Yesterday, DNC Chairwoman and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was a guest on CNN’s Piers Morgan’s show.  It wasn’t a pretty sight for Schultz.

During the interview, Morgan asked Schultz about the Obama Administration’s missteps relating to the 9/11 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of four Americans including ambassador Christopher Stevens.  He specifically asked about the Administration’s initial contentions that the attack was supposedly related to an offensive video asking: “It was very clumsily handled.  Was it scandalously handled?  Should heads roll?” To that Schultz went into the Democratic spin trying to deflect blame to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stating: “What we need to do when the United States has been attacked, when Americans have been killed while serving our country; we don’t need to have Mitt Romney and the Republicans in Congress taking their first instinct, being to take cheap political shots–

Morgan would have none of Schultz’s deflection correctly stating: “Let me stop you there.  Because it’s not about Mitt Romney or what he did…what’s equally inappropriate though is the suggestion that Ambassador Rice and others made public statements which were deliberately misleading in the sense of blaming this video when in fact it has to be known after four or five days that it was much more likely to have been a terrorist attack that had been plan.”

The video below of Wasserman-Schultz is both humorous and sad.  It is humorous to watch the DNC Chairwoman make a fool of herself.  At the same time, the showing by Wasserman-Schultz is a pitiful example of the ill-prepared politicians that help write the Country’s laws.  It also seems to indicate desperation on the part of supporters of Barack Obama.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUupvZG-5ko_eiXAupbDfxWw&v=9uJwP3kxJAM&feature=player_embedded

 

Posted in Libya, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Administration Admits Al Qaeda Link to Libyan Attack

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 27, 2012

Earlier this month America’s Benghazi, Libya consulate was attacked resulting in the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.  For a couple weeks the Obama Administration blamed the attack on ad hoc demonstrations in opposition of an amateur YouTube video that was offensive to Muslims.  The Administration went out of its way to perpetrate this false conclusion.  For example, on September 19 US United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice went on the talk-show circuit claiming the attack was merely the result of spontaneous protests; the subject of this Blog’s posting titled Obama Administrations Libyan Cover Up.

Now, some three weeks later, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admits what many Americans knew the day after the attack given its occurrence on 9/11 and that it involved approximately 100 heavily armed fighters.  The Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism that was planned and not caused by the offensive video.  In fact, Clinton said it is likely that the terrorist organization al Qaeda was involved in organizing the attack.

Sen. Susan Collins, ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, said: “The administration’s position seems to be evolving with the pass of each day”, and “I have been perplexed that the administration has been slow in coming to that same conclusion.”  Ms. Collins is showing excessive civility and naivety with these comments.  The Obama Administration is attempting to hide the reality behind the Benghazi attack for political gain. Calling it and the Cairo protests for what they are, terrorist and radical inspired, points to the failure of the President’s foreign policy in the Middle East and to the greater Muslim community.

Posted in Libya | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Strategic Failure in Libya

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 18, 2012

With the start of the Arab Spring nearly two years ago, some in the West saw this as an opportunity to spread Western-style democracy in the region.  These “visionaries” included President Obama and many on the Left including most in the mainstream media.  This was a romantic vision that was not only incorrect, but not based in reality.

During the past week we have begun to see the unintended consequences of the overthrow of the Middle Eastern dictators.  The killing of the four Americans including the US ambassador to Libya in Benghazi started a tumultuous week that has seen a rise of anti-American feelings spread throughout the Middle East that is unprecedented.  It is not coincidental that this has occurred during the presidency of Barack Obama who started his term with an apology tour for American exceptionalism that included Europe and the Middle East.  What the President envisioned as a friendship gesture was interpreted by the radicals in the Middle East as weakness from one they consider an enemy.

George Friedman of Stratfor has posted an article titled that ties together the recent violence in the Middle East and the Middle East policies of the Obama Administration and NATO.  From Gadhafi to Benghazi is republished with permission of Stratfor with some of its conclusions first bulleted below.

  • In beginning to make sense of these attacks, one must observe that they took place in Benghazi, the city that had been most opposed to Moammar Gadhafi.
  • The NATO approach to Libya assumed that the removal of a tyrant would somehow inevitably lead to a liberal democracy.  Indeed, this was the assumption about the Arab Spring in the West, where it was thought that that corrupt and tyrannical regimes would fall and that regimes that embraced Western principles would sprout up in their place.  Implicit in this was a profound lack of understanding of the strength of the regimes, of the diversity of the opposition and of the likely forces that would emerge from it.
  • The events of last week represent unintended and indirect consequences of the removal of Gadhafi.
  • It is also not clear what momentum this has created for jihadists in the region, but it will put NATO, and more precisely the United States, in the position either of engaging in another war in the Arab world at a time and place not of its choosing, or allowing the process to go forward and hoping for the best.
  • To guarantee the outcome requires that the country be occupied and pacified, as was Germany or Japan.
  • Removing Gadhafi was morally defensible but not by itself.  Having removed him, NATO had now adopted a responsibility that it shifted to a Libyan public unequipped to manage it

From Gadhafi to Benghazi, By George Friedman

Last week, four American diplomats were killed when armed men attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  The attackers’ apparent motivation was that someone, apparently American but with an uncertain identity, posted a video on YouTube several months ago that deliberately defamed the Prophet Mohammed.  The attack in Benghazi was portrayed as retribution for the defamation, with the attackers holding all Americans equally guilty for the video, though it was likely a pretext for deeper grievances.  The riots spread to other countries, including Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, although no American casualties were reported in the other riots.  The unrest appears to have subsided over the weekend.

Benghazi and the Fall of Gadhafi

In beginning to make sense of these attacks, one must observe that they took place in Benghazi, the city that had been most opposed to Moammar Gadhafi.  Indeed, Gadhafi had promised to slaughter his opponents in Benghazi, and it was that threat that triggered the NATO intervention in Libya.  Many conspiracy theories have been devised to explain the intervention, but, like Haiti and Kosovo before it, none of the theories holds up.  The intervention occurred because it was believed that Gadhafi would carry out his threats in Benghazi and because it was assumed that he would quickly capitulate in the face of NATO air power, opening the door to democracy.

That Gadhafi was capable of mass murder was certainly correct.  The idea that Gadhafi would quickly fall proved incorrect.  That a democracy would emerge as a result of the intervention proved the most dubious assumption of them all.  What emerged in Libya is what you would expect when a foreign power overthrows an existing government, however thuggish, and does not impose its own imperial state: ongoing instability and chaos.

The Libyan opposition was a chaotic collection of tribes, factions and ideologies sharing little beyond their opposition to Gadhafi.  A handful of people wanted to create a Western-style democracy, but they were leaders only in the eyes of those who wanted to intervene.  The rest of the opposition was composed of traditionalists, militarists in the Gadhafi tradition and Islamists.  Gadhafi had held Libya together by simultaneously forming coalitions with various factions and brutally crushing any opposition.

Opponents of tyranny assume that deposing a tyrant will improve the lives of his victims.  This is sometimes true, but only occasionally.  The czar of Russia was clearly a tyrant, but it is difficult to argue that the Leninist-Stalinist regime that ultimately replaced him was an improvement. Similarly, the Shah of Iran was repressive and brutal.  It is difficult to argue that the regime that replaced him was an improvement.

There is no assurance that opponents of a tyrant will not abuse human rights just like the tyrant did.  There is even less assurance that an opposition too weak and divided to overthrow a tyrant will coalesce into a government when an outside power destroys the tyrant.  The outcome is more likely to be chaos, and the winner will likely be the most organized and well-armed faction with the most ruthless clarity about the future.  There is no promise that it will constitute a majority or that it will be gentle with its critics.

The intervention in Libya, which I discussed in The Immaculate Intervention, was built around an assumption that has little to do with reality — namely, that the elimination of tyranny will lead to liberty.  It certainly can do so, but there is no assurance that it will.  There are many reasons for this assumption, but the most important one is that Western advocates of human rights believe that, when freed from tyranny, any reasonable person would want to found a political order based on Western values . They might, but there is no obvious reason to believe they would.

The alternative to one thug may simply be another thug.  This is a matter of power and will, not of political philosophy.  Utter chaos, an ongoing struggle that leads nowhere but to misery, also could ensue.  But the most important reason Western human rights activists might see their hopes dashed is due to a principled rejection of Western liberal democracy on the part of the newly liberated.  To be more precise, the opposition might embrace the doctrine of national self-determination, and even of democracy, but go on to select a regime that is in principle seriously opposed to Western notions of individual rights and freedom.

While some tyrants simply seek power, other regimes that appear to Westerners to be tyrannies actually are rather carefully considered moral systems that see themselves as superior ways of life.  There is a paradox in the principle of respect for foreign cultures followed by demands that foreigners adhere to basic Western principles.  It is necessary to pick one approach or the other.  At the same time, it is necessary to understand that someone can have very distinct moral principles, be respected, and yet be an enemy of liberal democracy.  Respecting another moral system does not mean simply abdicating your own interests.  The Japanese had a complex moral system that was very different from Western principles.  The two did not have to be enemies, but circumstances caused them to collide.

The NATO approach to Libya assumed that the removal of a tyrant would somehow inevitably lead to a liberal democracy.  Indeed, this was the assumption about the Arab Spring in the West, where it was thought that that corrupt and tyrannical regimes would fall and that regimes that embraced Western principles would sprout up in their place.  Implicit in this was a profound lack of understanding of the strength of the regimes, of the diversity of the opposition and of the likely forces that would emerge from it.

In Libya, NATO simply didn’t understand or care about the whirlwind that it was unleashing.  What took Gadhafi’s place was ongoing warfare between clans, tribes and ideologies.  From this chaos, Libyan Islamists of various stripes have emerged to exploit the power vacuum.  Various Islamist groups have not become strong enough to simply impose their will, but they are engaged in actions that have resonated across the region.

The desire to overthrow Gadhafi came from two impulses.  The first was to rid the world of a tyrant, and the second was to give the Libyans the right to national self-determination.  Not carefully considered were two other issues: whether simply overthrowing Gadhafi would yield the conditions for determining the national will, and whether the national will actually would mirror NATO’s values and, one should add, interests.

Unintended Consequences

The events of last week represent unintended and indirect consequences of the removal of Gadhafi.  Gadhafi was ruthless in suppressing radical Islamism, as he was in other matters.  In the absence of his suppression, the radical Islamist faction appears to have carefully planned the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.  The attack was timed for when the U.S. ambassador would be present.  The mob was armed with a variety of weapons.  The public justification was a little-known video on YouTube that sparked anti-American unrest throughout the Arab world.

For the Libyan jihadists, tapping into anger over the video was a brilliant stroke.  Having been in decline, they reasserted themselves well beyond the boundaries of Libya. In Libya itself, they showed themselves as a force to be reckoned with – at least to the extent that they could organize a successful attack on the Americans. The four Americans who were killed might have been killed in other circumstances, but they died in this one:  Gadhafi was eliminated, no coherent regime took his place, no one suppressed the radical Islamists, and the Islamists could therefore act.  How far their power will grow is not known, but certainly they acted effectively to achieve their ends.  It is not clear what force there is to suppress them.  It is also not clear what momentum this has created for jihadists in the region, but it will put NATO, and more precisely the United States, in the position either of engaging in another war in the Arab world at a time and place not of its choosing, or allowing the process to go forward and hoping for the best.

As I have written, a distinction is frequently drawn between the idealist and realist position.  Libya is a case in which the incoherence of the distinction can be seen.  If the idealist position is concerned with outcomes that are moral from its point of view, then simply advocating the death of a tyrant is insufficient.  To guarantee the outcome requires that the country be occupied and pacified, as was Germany or Japan.  But the idealist would regard this act of imperialism as impermissible, violating the doctrine of national sovereignty.  More to the point, the United States is not militarily in a position to occupy or pacify Libya, nor would this be a national priority justifying war.  The unwillingness of the idealist to draw the logical conclusion from their position, which is that simply removing the tyrant is not the end but only the beginning, is compounded by the realist’s willingness to undertake military action insufficient for the political end.  Moral ends and military means must mesh.

Removing Gadhafi was morally defensible but not by itself.  Having removed him, NATO had now adopted a responsibility that it shifted to a Libyan public unequipped to manage it.  But more to the point, no allowance had been made for the possibility that what might emerge as the national will of Libya would be a movement that represented a threat to the principles and interests of the NATO members.  The problem of Libya was not that it did not understand Western values, but that a significant part of its population rejected those values on moral grounds and a segment of the population with battle-hardened fighters regarded them as inferior to its own Islamic values.  Somewhere between hatred of tyranny and national self-determination, NATO’s commitment to liberty as it understood it became lost.

This is not a matter simply confined to Libya.  In many ways it played out throughout the Arab world as Western powers sought to come to terms with what was happening.  There is a more immediate case: Syria.  The assumption there is that the removal of another tyrant, in this case Bashar al Assad, will lead to an evolution that will transform Syria.  It is said that the West must intervene to protect the Syrian opposition from the butchery of the al Assad regime.  A case can be made for this, but not the simplistic case that absent al Assad, Syria would become democratic.  For that to happen, much more must occur than the elimination of al Assad.

Wishful Thinking vs. Managing the Consequences

In 1958, a book called The Ugly American was published about a Southeast Asian country that had a brutal, pro-American dictator and a brutal, communist revolution.  The novel had a character who was a nationalist in the true sense of the word and was committed to human rights.  As a leader, he was not going to be simply an American tool, but he was the best hope the United States had.  An actual case of such an ideal regime replacement was seen in 1963 in Vietnam, when Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam was killed in a coup.  He had been a brutal pro-American dictator.  The hope after his death was that a decent, nationalist liberal would replace him.  There was a long search for such a figure; he never was found.

Getting rid of a tyrant when you are as powerful as the United States and NATO are, by contrast, is the easy part.  Saddam Hussein is as dead as Gadhafi.  The problem is what comes next.  Having a liberal democratic nationalist simply appear to take the helm may happen, but it is not the most likely outcome unless you are prepared for an occupation.  And if you are prepared to occupy, you had better be prepared to fight against a nation that doesn’t want you determining its future, no matter what your intentions are.

I don’t know what will come of Libya’s jihadist movement, which has showed itself to be motivated and capable and whose actions resonated in the Arab world.  I do know that Gadhafi was an evil brute who is better off dead.  But it is simply not clear to me that removing a dictator automatically improves matters.  What is clear to me is that if you wage war for moral ends, you are morally bound to manage the consequences.

Posted in Libya, Radical Islam | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »