As John has explained, Hillary Clinton doesn’t just have a Benghazi problem; she has a Libya problem. More than anyone else, Hillary Clinton pushed for, and helped effectuate, the overthrow of Moammar Qaddafi. As a result of his overthrow, Libya became a playground for terrorists, a haven for ISIS, and a failed state.
Clinton’s recently released Benghazi emails confirm her leading role in creating the Libya fiasco. They confirm that, in the words of her deputy chief of staff, Hillary was “instrumental in securing the authorization [to intervene in Libya], building the coalition [that intervened], and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.”
The emails also confirm that Hillary had no real plan preventing the chaos that ensued in Libya following the overthrow of Qaddafi. She had ample warning that chaos stemming from the rise of Islamist militias and terrorists was a distinct possibility. Sidney Blumenthal’s reports from the ground, which she read and distributed, discuss this potential problem.
What, then, was the State Department’s plan for coping with it? The recently released emails, especially ones written by Clinton aide and confidant Huma Abedin, show that the plan was to encourage the emerging Libyan government to be “inclusive” in order (as Abedin puts it) to “nurture its legitimacy.”
To make sure that the government didn’t let Abedin and Clinton down, it would sign a pledge.
Apparently, then, Hillary Clinton’s plan was this: tell the new government to be nice and secure its pledge to do so. A college dean would be embarrassed to have come up with something this naive and jargon-ridden for dealing with, say, fraternity misconduct.
Is there more to Clinton’s approach than comes through in the emails? Conceivably. But her book, Hard Choices, suggests not. Her chapter on Libya ends with this:
I was worried that the challenges ahead would prove overwhelming for even the most well-meaning transitional leaders. If the new government could consolidate its authority, provide security, use oil revenues to rebuild, disarm the militias, and keep extremists out, then Libya would have a fighting chance at building a stable democracy.
If not, then the country would face very difficult challenges translating the hopes of a revolution into a free, secure, and prosperous future. And, as we soon learned, not only Libyans would suffer if they failed.
Worrying isn’t a strategy and neither is “if.” Will Clinton be permitted to walk away so casually from the “suffering” — not only by Libyans, but by four Americans including an ambassador — her policy produced?
She will, I fear, if the mainstream media has its way. It grills Republican presidential candidates about the decision to go to invade Iraq in 2003, even though none of the major ones had anything to do with it (but Hillary did). It seems far less interested in Clinton’s central role in the Libyan intervention.
It will be up to the Republican presidential candidate to drive home the connection between the Clinton inspired intervention, the absence of a serious plan in its aftermath, the Benghazi attacks, and the rise of ISIS in Libya