Without a doubt, the decapitation of Libya’s government and the transformation of the country into a failed state ranks at the top of the many foreign-policy failures of Barack Obama and his administration. In its way it’s worse than the Obama decision to pull out of Iraq because this decision was entirely of his own making, born out of the arrogance of Obama and Hillary Clinton that they would show how America could do regime change on the cheap and carve out a new doctrine of intervention. It turned immediately into a disaster, and even Obama now admits that it’s his biggest failure.
When it comes to Hillary, though, Libya was a smashing success that was only tarnished by the Libyan people. In last night’s CNN debate, Wolf Blitzer asked Hillary whether she owes some regrets, and got this surprising answer:
BLITZER: — the issue of national security and foreign policy. Secretary Clinton, President Obama says the worst mistake in office that he made over these past seven and a half years was not preparing for Libya after Moammar Qadafi was removed. You were his secretary of State. Aren’t you also responsible for that?
CLINTON: Well, let me say I think we did a great deal to help the Libyan people after Qadafi’s demise. And here’s what we did. We helped them hold two successful elections, something that is not easy, which they did very well because they had a pent up desire to try to chart their own future after 42 years of dictatorship. I was very proud of that. We got rid of the chemical weapons stockpile that Qadafi had, getting it out of Libya, getting it away from militias or terrorist groups. We also worked to help them set up their government. We sent a lot of American experts there. We offered to help them secure their borders, to train a new military.
They, at the end, when it came to security issues, Wolf, did not want troops from any other country, not just us, European or other countries, in Libya. And so we were caught in a very difficult position. They could not provide security on their own, which we could see and we told them that, but they didn’t want to have others helping to provide that security. And the result has been a clash between different parts of the country, terrorists taking up some locations in the country. And we can’t walk away from that. We need to be working with European and Arab partners…
BLITZER: Thank you.
CLINTON: — with the United Nations in order to continue to try to support them. The Libyan people deserve a chance at democracy and self- government. And I, as president, will keep trying to give that to them.
“Two successful elections”? The government’s writ doesn’t even run in all parts of Tripoli, and militias control the rest of the country. The leader of the last “successful election” had to arrive by boat from Tunis to take office, and then hold a press conference to assure everyone that he made it alive to the government center. Hillary’s boast is akin to noting the excellent and successful positioning of the deck chairs on the Titanic … after it sunk.
And this quote is sheer chutzpah:
We got rid of the chemical weapons stockpile that Qadafi had, getting it out of Libya, getting it away from militias or terrorist groups.
First, George W. Bush got Qaddafi to give up his nuclear program without firing a shot. That happened when we deposed Saddam Hussein and made it clear we weren’t going to leave Iraq. But more to the point, the chemical weapons wouldn’t have gotten into the hands of the militias at all if we hadn’t wiped out the Libyan command and control structure in the first place. Qaddafi wasn’t the one making chemical weapons available to the militias — we did that. Hillary wants credit for cleaning up her own mess.
Even David Axelrod wondered why Hillary couldn’t just admit that the policy turned out to be a disaster (via Twitchy):
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) April 15, 2016
The fact that she still argues that Libya was an American success story should have lots of other people regretting her current position as a potential nominee as president, at least.