British Parliament panel condemns 2011 NATO war in Libya

A British Parliament panel is condemning NATO’s 2011 war in Libya, which left Muammar Gaddafi dead and the country in chaos. Via The Guardian:

Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, who chairs the select committee, said the original aim of the military intervention to protect Benghazi was achieved within 24 hours.

“There is a debate about whether that intervention was necessary and on what basis it was taken, but having been achieved, the whole business then elided into regime change and then we had no proper appreciation of what was going to happen in the event of regime change, no proper understanding of Libya, and no proper plan for the consequences,” he said.


The report also found there were major issues with intelligence gathering and strategy as bombs started falling.

The result of the French, British and US intervention, the report finds, “was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of Isil [Islamic State] in north Africa”.

It adds: “Through his decision-making in the national security council, former prime minister David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy.”

In his evidence, Richards made clear he opposed the politicians’ decision to switch the strategic goal of the intervention from the protection of the people of Benghazi, threatened by Gaddafi, to regime change. The report finds: “If the primary object of the coalition intervention was the urgent need to protect civilians in Benghazi, then this objective was achieved in March 2011 in less than 24 hours.

“This meant that a limited intervention to protect civilians drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change by military means.”

Who was one of the biggest champions of Libyan intervention? If you guessed Hillary Clinton, then you’d be right. In fact, she’s got zero regrets on what happened in Libya, even though the evidence shows the country is even more of a hellhole because of the military action she supported. It was her arm-twisting which got the Obama Administration to sign off on another war without end.


This could be why no one has really bothered to bring up Libya during the presidential campaign or last Monday’s debate. It was mentioned offhand, but there wasn’t a deep discussion about what’s going on in the country. You’d think this would be because the mainstream media isn’t interested in really causing problems for the Clinton campaign. But it should also be pointed out Clinton isn’t the only presidential candidate who supported interventionism into Libya.

If you guessed, Donald Trump, you are 100% correct. From his own YouTube page in February 2011.

He changed his tune in August, but the video doesn’t lie: Trump supported involvement in Libya before he didn’t support involvement in Libya. So everyone who thinks Trump will become some sort of non-interventionist wunderkind, who will keep the U.S. out of wars it shouldn’t be involved in, are just deceiving themselves.

You’d think the press corps would be willing to hammer Trump in the debates on this (and his nonsensical foreign policy to begin with) but that’s not happening. It’s probably because they don’t want to bring up the fact Clinton was the one who helped initiate the Libyan War in the first place.

There is one candidate out there who is being consistent in his foreign policy, and that’s Libertarian presidential candidate Governor Gary Johnson. Yes, the same Gary Johnson who couldn’t think of a world leader he respected, and the same Gary Johnson the press spent several days essentially calling an unserious candidate. But Reason’s Matt Welch (who gets major kudos for pointing out the Libya report) calls out the media at CNN for focusing on Johnson’s “oops” moment without looking at Libya at all.


Aside from a handful of mostly ideological outlets, the US news media declined to even note that the Democratic presidential nominee suffered a comprehensive rebuke to her oft-repeated assertion that Libya represented American “smart power at its best.” As The Atlantic delicately put it, “The British public has been engaged in a debate about war that has been largely absent from the U.S. presidential election.”

Ah, yes, but did you hear the one about Gary Johnson not being able to come up on the spot with the name of his favorite foreign leader? Disqualifying! And also, oddly, nearly ubiquitous in the same media that couldn’t be bothered to reexamine a Hillary Clinton policy that has adversely affected countless human lives.

We have come to expect a certain unseriousness from a press corps that spent several weeks in 2012 snickering over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women.”

What’s new this time around is the add-on concern-trolling aimed at those of us who have no intention of voting for either of the most hated of modern major-party presidential nominees. It must be so hard for you, our well-meaning friends say, that your candidate turned out to be such a flake.

Want to know what Johnson really thinks about foreign policy? Watch this:

It’d be nice if Johnson would show this fire during televised town halls, but it shows how consistent he is in his beliefs, and how he really isn’t the idiot marijuana user people like to portray him to be. Is it any wonder why Johnson has everyone from Trump to Clinton scared about what he’ll end up doing in November? Or why the media won’t bother asking questions at the debates which would actually help him?


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John Sexton 8:40 PM on September 21, 2023