Paul wrote earlier today about the trove of Libya-related emails that Sidney Blumenthal has turned over to a House committee. The emails are embarrassing to Hillary Clinton because she received the emails from Blumenthal, but apparently failed to produce them to the committee. For the most part, these emails have not yet been made public, but National Review has exclusively obtained one of them; it is reproduced in full below.
This memo is dated August 22, 2011, immediately after the fall of Qaddafi’s government. It is interesting for several reasons. First, it shows Blumenthal giving Hillary political advice. Second, it confirms that Libya was intended to be Hillary’s great accomplishment as Secretary of State, for which she was to take full credit. Third, it is striking how Blumenthal’s comments about Libya sound as though he was talking about Iraq.
First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it.
When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation house. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment.
The most important phrase is: “successful strategy.” …
This is a very big moment historically and for you. History will tell your part in it. You are vindicated.
This is deeply ironic and, at this point, embarrassing to Mrs. Clinton. The fact that Hillary wanted Libya to go down in history as her great achievement is not new; we wrote about it here and elsewhere. The problem with Hillary’s “successful strategy” is that she had no plan for what would follow after Qaddafi’s overthrow. (She may have had a wish, but a wish unaccompanied by the ability to influence events on the ground is not a plan.) What happened was that the vacuum caused by Qaddafi’s removal was filled–predictably–by Islamic extremists. Libya became a terrorist playground. This is why, a year after Hillary and Sid were patting each other on the back, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were murdered in a terrorist attack. It was the ultimate proof, but by no means the first or the last proof, of the failure of Hillary’s policy. Critics of Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State should talk less about Benghazi and more about Libya.
Blumenthal goes on to put Hillary’s Libyan triumph in the context of the Obama administration’s poor foreign policy record:
Be aware that some may attempt to justify the flamingly stupid “leading from behind” phrase, junior types on the NSC imagining their cleverness. To refute this passive construction on US policy and help remove it as an albatross from the administration as it enters the election year, do not be defensive but rather simply explain that the US had a clear strategy from the start, stuck with it and has succeeded.
“Flamingly stupid,” indeed. This is the first time I can recall agreeing with Sid Blumenthal.
Blumenthal goes on to supply Secretary Clinton with talking points on the reasons for overthrowing Qaddafi:
Do not skimp on the reasons in the US interest behind the successful strategy: We prevented a humanitarian tragedy on a vast scale. … The US has demonstrated its principled belief in the rule of law and acted on the basis of the United Nations resolution. We have supported the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy and freedom. We have ousted a murderous dictator who has been terrorism, civil war throughout Africa and a prop for dictators elsewhere. By acting in Libya we have helped advance the cause of democracy and freedom throughout the Arab world. … We have put Assad on notice that the sands of time have run out for him as well. Our successful strategy in Libya stands as a warning that our strategy will work again.
Sid Blumenthal, neocon. Of course, one basic difference between Iraq and Libya is that the Bush administration had a plan for what would happen after Saddam was gone, and they executed it, with mixed results. The almost incredible fact is that the Obama administration–most notably, Hillary Clinton–had no meaningful plan for what would follow Qaddafi. The result was, almost immediately, a disaster. This is the fact that should be pounded home whenever Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State is under discussion.
Here is the Blumenthal memo of August 22, 2011: