Three whole years after an eight month bombing campaign of Libya, undertaken with some absurdly romantic notion of furthering an “Arab Spring” by militarily supporting a nascent and inept “revolution” in Libya involving a number of disparate militia groups, leaderless Libya remains in a state of lawless chaos. In 2014 it’s an open invitation for bad guys everywhere to come in and set up their own fiefdoms. Libya’s government is unable to control dozens of former “rebel” groups and a hodgepodge of “militias” who fought for their own self-interests in the “revolution” and now fight each other for power and a share of oil resources. Its elected government has fled the capital city of Tripoli for precarious sanctuary 650 miles to the east in Tobruk as a number of more extremist Islamist groups have seized the capital and established their own government. Libya has become a failed state on the verge of another all-out civil war.
This was supposed to be the US Secretary of State’s “great crowning foreign policy achievement” upon which she would levitate right up to the White House throne in 2016.
The largest forces in the east near the border with Egypt are led by former Libyan army general Khalifa Haftar. Haftar emerged after the last civil war three years ago as a renegade commander fighting Islamists but has recently entered into a frail alliance with the “government” in Tobruk. To those few who have followed the saga of Libya for the past 30 years, the name of Haftar is familiar indeed. It is especially familiar to the CIA people who had been trying unsuccessfully for a very long time to rid the world of Libya’s former dictator, Gadhafi – an effort that began in earnest under President Reagan’s administration way back in the 1980s. That old guy Haftar, who’s been around forever, is definitely a survivor – despite, or because of, some old Langley guys.
“Cold” War Games
In March 1986 a brief ill-advised “David and Goliath” engagement between a US Navy carrier battle group deployed in the Mediterranean and a few small Libyan naval craft in the Gulf of Sidra off the coast of Libya resulted in the deaths of about 35 Libyans and the sinking or damaging of several small Libyan naval craft. The next month the Libyans blew up a nightclub in West Berlin popular among young US military personnel stationed in the Walled City. (The direct involvement of Libyan diplomatic and intelligence personnel working in East Berlin was clearly shown by NSA intercepts of their communications.) Three people were killed and around 230 injured; two of the dead and 79 of the injured were American military personnel. When included in the seemingly endless list of such incidents that characterized the “Cold” War beginning even before the end of World War II in 1945, these two incidents fade into nearly insignificant obscurity. But not for those involved. In 1986, West Berlin, occupied by the US military, had also long been a favorite safe training ground for new CIA case officers.
The long “Cold” War pitted two powerful military alliances, each led by a nuclear military super-power, in a global stand-off that took top precedence for both. Each side also sought to make in-roads against the other by manipulating local events to their advantage. And a number of minor regional players periodically took advantage of the situation for their own objectives. Libya, under the dictatorship of a rather unstable Muammar Gadhafi, was one of those troublesome regional players, working all sides to its middle advantage, and it employed a rather brutal intelligence service both at home and abroad.
For the first quarter of a century of the “Cold” War, a lot of nasty stuff instigated by each side took place in the shadows, usually orchestrated either by the US’s CIA or Russia’s KGB. This included proxy wars, official lies and deception, political assassinations, propaganda, political blocs of friends and allies, covert arms sales and shipments, dirty tricks, fomented revolutions, even rigged elections – in addition to a number of rather public regional wars around the globe. In the 1970s aftermath of the long Vietnam War, the US Congress, primarily working through the investigative work of the Church Commission, began to delve deeply into some of that nasty shadowy stuff, found a lot of embarrassing and shameful things, and eventually passed a number of laws designed to restrict such activity in the future while also protecting the rights of American citizens from other secret government activities. One of those activities involved the rather nasty business of assassinations. After a long series of often macabre CIA efforts to kill the leader of little communist Cuba (“the mouse that roared”) became public knowledge, President Ford took the initiative from Congress and issued a Presidential Executive Order that banned assassinations by the United States Government. Without Ford’s preemptive action, the subject, with very strong public support, would have become a matter of law, permanently hamstringing all future presidents and government agencies. After all, Americans had certainly been very vocal in strident opposition to other states allegedly involving themselves in the very nasty business of political assassinations. Then there was the matter of the possibility that America’s own president and/or senior officials could themselves become targets of foreign assassination efforts, which had been the very strong suspicion when President Kennedy was assassinated.
That Executive Order 11905 (Gerald Ford) was followed by EO 12036 (Jimmy Carter) and EO 12333 (Ronald Reagan). They all maintained the ban on US involvement in assassinations: “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” It seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? The definition of “assassination” is: “To murder a prominent person or leader by surprise attack, as for political reasons.” The definition does not describe the means of accomplishing the murder, nor does it describe what constitutes a “prominent person or leader“. It’s essentially based on the Judeo-Christian moral imperative “Thou shalt not kill”, which is included as one of the Ten Commandments (a moral imperative which does allow “justified” killing in the context of capital punishment, survival in war, and self-defense). (See “Armed Drones” Footnote #1: Assassination Policy Rationale.)
The presidential ban (Executive Order, limiting his own actions and those of the Executive Branch of government which the President directs and which includes both the CIA and the Defense Department) did make it easier to protest against any foreign attempts to assassinate Americans or friendly others, especially political leaders, including the President. (In 1998, President Clinton sought to “reinterpret” the ban which he, too, had signed, but National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, to his credit, was unable to conclude that a US military missile attack on bin Laden in Afghanistan was really an effort to capture him. President Clinton went with the military missile attack against bin Laden anyway; it missed.
A far better, but more difficult, approach would have been to arrange clandestinely a proxy assassination similar to the suicide bombing which al Qaeda used to kill Ahmad Shah Massoud, a powerful Afghan political and military leader who had been an effective military commander fighting against the ten-year Soviet occupation of his country – just two days before the 9/11/2001 attacks on the US. That critical assassination-by-proxy preemptively deprived the US military of its best ally leader in Afghanistan. But the CIA, which had simply walked away from Afghanistan after the departure of Soviet forces ten years earlier, had no real assets in Afghanistan to whom it could turn for assistance.)
Then three days after the attacks of 9/11/2001, on 14 September 2001, US Senate Joint Resolution 23 granted the President (Bush) the power to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against “persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” This reopened the assassination door by implicitly authorizing the killing of those specifically involved in the attacks of 9/11. (Fourteen years later the CIA was still operating under this authority with its drones, even though it was assumed that those involved in the 9/11 attacks had been thoroughly “decimated”.)
It was the assassination ban before 9/11, however, that led to all sorts of crazy stuff that came to involve Khalifa Haftar.
Assassination Ban Work-Around
Libya was ruled by a dictator who had long been involved with covert terrorist activities directed against Western interests within competing interests of the long “Cold” War. After the Berlin nightclub bombing, President Reagan naturally wanted some significant retaliation against Gadhafi – who had to have ordered it. However, with no CIA assets in Libya with which to somehow carry out an assassination-by-proxy, without getting actually involved itself, he turned to the US military to do the dirty work. Someone in the Reagan Administration had determined that a military attack is not an assassination attempt after all. (In 2003 the first military target, even before the “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq was launched, was the country’s leader.) The CIA under Director Bill Casey was not a strong supporter of the proposed military operation, believing that a failure would only strengthen Gadhafi’s hand, but nevertheless did carry out its portion of the President’s directive.
Apparently, now if an assassination is carried out by remote control, by US weapons of war in the air, even if there is no war, then it’s alright. You have to hand it to those Baby Boomer Beltway Bureaucrats, coming up with a way to enable a president, and an aging Greatest Generation president at that, to violate his own ban, to rationalize around his own clear and unambiguous directive, to unilaterally change even the definition of words. Something which I have always found curious is that those rationalizing such nonsense never consider how they would make the rationalization if the exact same tactic was used against them. We definitely did NOT make a similar rationalization in 1940 when the Germans bombed London, in 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. It’s always a self-serving “truth according to me” thing. So, even though I was a full supporter of President Reagan’s broad aggressive approach to the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact during the 1980s, I had considerable reservations about this particular decision. Such responses to bad things in the world usually fill Americas with a temporary sense of macho satisfaction, but unfortunately they also set precedents for future such activity, by anyone on the world stage who wants to invoke that precedent. They also usually set in motion all sorts of “unintended consequences.” Simply stamping your foot and screaming, “Do as I say, not as I do!” doesn’t really cut it on the world stage. Precedents have a way of always coming back to bite you in the ass. (Today, for example, China is following the playbook the US wrote for its own 20th century rise, and that seems to upset those in the West who don’t know their own history. The same ignorance garners concern for a Russia, which has repeatedly been subjected to catastrophic attacks from the West, now shoring up its national defenses in anticipation that an ever more aggressive “NATO” military alliance on its western doorstep, a superpower-led “defensive” alliance that has already attacked three non-member countries in a dozen years, will repeat that Western history against Russia.)
Once you start relinquishing the moral high ground, it gets harder and harder to play the Good Guy – so, if you’re going to do nasty stuff, it’s best you do it in secret. This is especially true if you don’t want to make life more and more difficult for your ground soldiers. A military operation involving ships and planes is pretty difficult to keep secret, and the use of those ships and planes to attack another nation is a deliberate, clear and unambiguous, act of war. And with each such US decision comes a further erosion of the constitutional war powers of the American people’s representatives in Congress and a corresponding shift of that power to an imperial presidency – the very antithesis of the reasons why the United States was founded. Such actions are re-active, and usually emotional, conducted in a vacuum of the here and now; they are not pro-active, usually logical, and conducted within the context of a broader strategy for the future. Such self-serving rationalizations are why the US military has evolved from “The People’s Defender of the Nation” to “The President’s Very Own World Cop”.
At least President Reagan’s national security team had to carefully consider potential responses to their action from a powerful opposing force in the Warsaw Pact – the very real and potentially very dangerous “unintended consequences”. Today there are no such breaks on American impetuosity, and that impetuosity is exercised ever more frequently – especially once we placed weapons of war in the hands of bureaucrats operating in secret and not bound by US military law, discipline and accountability or even by international standards; once we started placing novices with no proven record of expertise in positions of great foreign affairs influence solely to buy votes; and once our government greatly expanded the number of contractors doing God-knows-what out there in the shadows, we have been steadily undermining our own checks and balances, our own institutional system of avoiding or mitigating potentially catastrophic errors. Even worse, our current presidential administration has ceded very much of its authority for “foreign affairs” to unelected American women appointed to very high places who simply have no sense of accountability, of responsibility for others, including those who have to follow all of us, much less to those American soldiers who will have to pay the price on the battlefield.
El Dorado Canyon
While Berlin police were still sifting evidence at the bombed-out nightclub, on 15 April 1986, a major attack on Libya was carried out by the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps via air strikes under Operation El Dorado Canyon. The main aircraft were Air Force bombers flying out of Great Britain, all the way 1,700 miles (2,700 km) to the north of Libya. But the planes were denied permission to fly over France, Spain, and Italy as well as to use continental European NATO bases, forcing the Air Force portion of the operation to be flown around France and Spain, over Portugal and through the Straits of Gibraltar, adding another 1,300 miles (2,100 km) each way and requiring multiple aerial re-fuelings via big KC-10 tankers. The French refusal was imposed despite the fact that France had itself been the target of terrorism directed by the Gadhafi government in Libya. (France refused to grant clearance because the US refused to give to the French military all of the details about the operation. France under de Gaulle in 1966 abruptly left NATO, kicked the alliance headquarters out of Paris, and coasted free under NATO’s umbrella until 2009, 43 years later.) So, even though the mission was already a major task involving a round-trip flight of over 3,400 miles (5,500 km), European “Cold” War politics made it a non-stop 6,000 mile (9,500 km) round trip. (Although 30 of the then super-secret F-117 stealth bombers had already been delivered in 1986 to secret bases in Nevada, it was decided not to employ them in the Libya raid for fear of compromising their capabilities too soon to the Soviet Union; they were unveiled two years later and first used in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 – after the Warsaw Pact had imploded and the Soviet Union was gone.)
Eighteen F-111F strike aircraft supported by four EF-111A Ravens flying from two RAF bases in England made the trip. (The F-111 has a maximum speed of Mach 2.5 (1,650 mph, 2,655 km/h) at altitude; Mach 1.2 (915 mph, 1,473 km/h) at sea level. It has a ferry range of 3,700 mi (6,000 km) with external drop tanks.) (The “F” designation is for the primary utility of “fighter”, but the planes are routinely used as bombers (“B”).) The long-range Air Force bombers were joined off Libya by US Navy A-6, A-7, F/A-18 attack aircraft and EA-6B Prowler Electronic Warfare planes from the aircraft carriers USS Saratoga, USS America and USS Coral Sea on station in and near the Gulf of Sidra. Together they struck five targets in Libya at 02:00 on 15 April, with the stated objective that the destruction of their targets would send a clear message and reduce Libya’s ability “to support and train terrorists.” The attack was an impressive undertaking, but not flawless. It lasted about twelve minutes and dropped 60 tons of munitions. Twenty-four A-6 Intruders and F/A-18 Hornets launched from the carriers bombed radar and anti-aircraft sites in Benghazi before bombing the Benina and Jamahiriya barracks. A number of their bombs missed their targets and hit residential areas as well as a number of Western diplomatic missions in Benghazi. The twenty-two F-111 bombers hit Tripoli airfield, a frogman training center at a naval academy, and the Bab al-Azizia barracks (the “main target”) in Tripoli. The bomber attack had achieved total surprise, and Libyan anti-aircraft fire still functioning after the initial fighter attacks did not begin until after the planes had passed over their targets. But some of the F-111 bombs also landed off-target, striking diplomatic and civilian sites in Tripoli, and narrowly missed the French embassy. During the bombing of the Bab al-Azizia barracks, an American F-111 was shot down by a Libyan surface-to-air missile (SAM) over the Gulf of Sidra, resulting in the death of two airmen. At least 30 Libyan soldiers and 15 civilians were killed.
An SR-71 reconnaissance over-flight the next day confirmed that all intended targets were hit. It also showed that some civilian targets had also been hit; those innocent bystanders on the receiving end eventually filed damage law suits in US courts. (Those suits were finally settled 22 years later – with money provided by Gadhafi, not the US.)
The US did receive political support from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Israel (the usual suspects) and 25 other countries. But the attack was condemned by most other countries. Confronting the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact with ever greater aggressiveness under President Reagan was scary enough, but engaging in military attacks on the side just added to the overall “Cold” War tension even as the Red Army encircled Poland ever ready to move in. (Was another objective of the attack on Libya also to send an implied threat to Soviet Russia?) The Russians did not react militarily in an overt manner to the Libya raid, but the Reagan Administration’s doctrine of unilaterally declaring war on what it called “terrorist havens” was not repeated until 1998, long after the Warsaw Pact was gone, when President Clinton ordered missile strikes on six al Qaeda terrorist camps in Afghanistan – just as he was also embroiled in a public scandal involving his sexual relations with a female White House intern. (Few things are as effective at shifting focus away from a domestic political problem than a dramatic US military action abroad, especially if it involves an attack on another sovereign country undertaken without US congressional authority. It can now even immediately bestow “strength” on an inherently weak president.*) Of course, President Clinton in 1998 didn’t have to worry about a potential reaction from another military super-power, so there was little real risk to his rationalized decision (at least at that brief moment in time).
The broad objective of Operation El Dorado Canyon had been to send a powerful message that the US would respond in the strongest way possible to terrorist attacks, and this objective was met. But the primary target of Operation El Dorado Canyon had been Libya’s dictator, Muammar Gadhafi, at his residence at the Bab al-Azizia barracks in Tripoli, and the US military failed to kill him with the incredibly expensive bombing run. So CIA Director Casey, still hamstrung by the assassination ban, turned to other options.
Army In Exile
In 1986 Libya had also been engaged in a running southern border battle with Chad. Soon after the US military bombing failure, which Gadhafi was quick to exploit for publicity purposes (even though his daughter, as initially thought, had not been killed), the Libyans suffered a crushing defeat in that running war with Chad. With a sudden major offensive along the border, the Chadians overwhelmed Libyan forces and captured their military leader, Colonel Khalifi Haftar, and a whole bunch of his men. Gadhafi was naturally upset about losing so many men and so much equipment and blamed Haftar. So he let Haftar rot in a Chadian prison, along with the other captured Libyan soldiers.
Enter the CIA, which already had the Chadian president in its pocket. Seven months after his capture in Chad, Haftar was visited in prison in early 1987 by none other than the Chadian president – who conveyed an offer from the CIA: Languish in prison or put together and lead a disparate ragtag bunch of Libyan exiles in Chadian prison and elsewhere around the region and shape them all into a secret revolutionary army in exile, and then mount an invasion of Libya to overthrow Gadhafi. He and 300 of his captured men agreed to form the “Libyan National Army” – trained and equipped by the CIA. Then the “old warrior” Bill Casey left the agency in January 1987 and died four months later. Undeterred by the loss of Casey, the CIA kept working on their new project, and by 1988 the CIA had a small Libyan army in exile ready to go.
Unfortunately, other events, as they are wont to do, intervened.
Gadhafi, seemingly, was busy with other schemes. In July 1988 the US Navy guided missile destroyer USS Vincennes shot down commercial Iran Air flight 655 en route to Dubai over the Persian Gulf, killing 290 civilians. The Iranians, of course, were not predisposed to accept the American explanation of an “accident” under President Reagan, especially since the Americans even declined to apologize. (The American hostages held by Iran were released on the day Reagan took office in 1981, believing that a rash “cowboy” Reagan would send the full force of the US military very aggressively into Iran to free the hostages.) Five months after the Iran Air disaster, in December 1988, commercial US Pan-Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie Scotland, killing 243 mostly American passengers plus 11 on the ground. Were the Iranians announcing that they could play the same game they believed the Americans were playing with civilian airliners? Among the passengers were the deputy COS Beirut and an Army attaché major at DIA/DAO/AmEmbassy Beirut, their two State security bodyguards, plus a rumored fifth unnamed “US government official.” (US Embassy Beirut was bombed in April 1983 by a pro-Iranian group calling itself the Islamic Jihad Organization – Hezbollah. That truck bomb exploded directly beneath the DIA/DAO offices.) Initial “leaks” cited by the Washington Post did, in fact, place the blame on Iran, and this widely-accepted belief continued for a couple of years thereafter. (While many still believe Pan-Am 103 was an Iranian act in retaliation for the shoot-down of their own airliner, the CIA said in 1991 that it was a Libyan op, and almost everyone else, including the FBI, accepted this story. The FBI issued arrest warrants for two Libyan nationals in November 1991, eight months after the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War. Despite Libya’s heated protestations of innocence, the world quickly imposed stiff sanctions on Libya and froze Gadhafi out of everything.) The CIA, still single-mindedly determined to get Gadhafi, pressed ahead with plans for the Haftar army as President Reagan left office in January 1989, to be replaced by his vice president, George H.W. Bush, himself a former CIA director (1976-77). (Was this fixation on Gadhafi based on some personal animosity?)
Unfortunately, not according to plan, in 1990 the pro-US Chad president and government were overthrown by Chadian rebels who were not pro-US, and right there in front of God and everyone, just as the Iron Curtain in Europe was disintegrating, sat a foreign army in Chad preparing to invade Libya. Chad’s new leaders now wanted them out, and fast. It was pucker time for the CIA.
Fortunately the world’s attention was focused on truly momentous world-altering events in Europe. The world had indeed changed. Everyone on planet Earth was focused on the absolutely incredible events taking place on the European continent, as the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact imploded and faded quietly into history. The constantly terrifying 45-year long global “Cold” War was over. Universal euphoria was intoxicatingly palatable.
So the CIA went into Chad with Air Force C-130s and picked up its secret army. But just what do you do with a rebel army? First they were flown to Nigeria, then Zaire, then Kenya – each ever further from Libya. NO one wanted them. Solution? Bring them to the US, naturally. Haftar was settled comfortably in suburban VA, down the road from Langley, and his 300 men were spread over 25 states – where they sat for the next 20 years, on the CIA’s dime. Not a bad gig at all – for losing a border war and then getting busted out of POW prison by the CIA.
Then … BOOM! “The World Changed.” Again. And only a decade after the Baby Boomers, now on top, went home to play in the domestic sand box, safely under the protective wing of the world’s only military super-power. American “leaders” involved in “foreign affairs” no longer had to think – for all of one childish decade, until it all just blew up right in front of god and everyone. “Surprise!”
After watching the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 and the powerful US military response, including the massive 2003 invasion of Iraq against an even more powerful and hated dictator in Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi felt his days were numbered by a really angry US running hither and yon with its military might. So he saw the light, switched sides and went strongly into business with the US and the West. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair met with Gadhafi in the Libyan desert in March 2004. The following month, Gadhafi travelled to the headquarters of the European Union (EU) in Brussels, signifying improved relations between Libya and the EU, the latter ending its remaining sanctions in October. (1) With his government suppressing domestic extremist Islamism, Gadhafi began calling publicly for direct Libyan involvement in the global “War on Terrorism” against Islamic militant extremism. The CIA was happy to oblige with a mutually beneficial secret partnership in intelligence collection, “renditions” and proxy interrogations while other matters were also laid to rest on the public stage.
Libya had a major on-going chemical weapons program and had been trying to develop both nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles. Nine months after the US military invaded Iraq, in December 2003 Gadhafi, after secret discussions with US and UK officials, announced that he was ready to eliminate them all, declaring 25 tons of mustard gas and 1400 tons of chemical precursors, plus 3500 chemical weapon munitions (artillery shells). The US and the UK quickly assisted Libya in removing equipment and material from its nuclear weapons program and shipping them to the US. (The nascent missiles were deemed as not yet credible threats.) Libya then began destroying its chemical munitions in 2004 under direct US and international supervision; by 2011 the Libyans had destroyed 40% of their precursor materials and 55% of their mustard gas, as well as 3500 chemical weapon munitions, and the remaining materiel had been moved to central secure storage facilities where they could not be readily used. (2) Gadhafi had relinquished his WMD (weapons of mass destruction).
Then there was responsibility for the Berlin nightclub bombing and the downing of Pan-Am 103, the latter for which Gadhafi continued to deny responsibility. In order to remove the Pan-Am 103 major stumbling block so that Libya could resume normal relations with the US, Libya agreed to accept responsibility and accountability for both bombings. In July 2008 Congress unanimously passed the Libyan Claims Resolution Act, which President George W. Bush signed into law the following month. The Act provided for the restoration of Libya’s sovereign, diplomatic, and official immunities before US courts if the Secretary of State certified that the United States Government had received sufficient funds to resolve all outstanding terrorism-related death and physical injury claims against Libya. (The same US government that encouraged law suits in US courts with the flimsiest of evidence against the government of Libya over the Lockerbie event has repeatedly blocked such law suits with far more compelling evidence against the government of Saudi Arabia over the events of 9/11/2001.) On 14 August 2008, the United States and Libya signed a comprehensive claims settlement agreement. (3) In October 2008, Libya paid US $1.5 Billion into a fund used to compensate the following victims and their relatives:
>Pan-Am 103 Lockerbie bombing victims (who were given an additional US $2 million each after having been paid US $8 million earlier – for a total of $10 million each);
>American victims of the 1986 Berlin nightclub bombing;
>Libyan victims of the 1986 US bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi.
(4) Full US-Libya diplomatic relations were then restored between the two sovereign nations.
This guy went into the “reinvention” game like a pro, even showed up at the UN to deliver an insane tirade against all of his enemies everywhere. Libya was now an equal member of the world community of sovereign states. He was now an “untouchable” fully cooperating international partner. In October 2010, the EU even paid Libya $65 million to stop African migrants passing through Libya into Europe; Gadhafi encouraged the move, saying that it was necessary to prevent the loss of European cultural identity to a new “Black Europe”. He was still unstable, of course, but he was definitely cooperating — with giving up his WMD and with full payment for past bombing sins and with intelligence on al Qaeda and even with proxy prisons and interrogators for CIA renditions.
Libya under Gadhafi, was “with us”, not “against us”, in the greater “War On Terrorism”.
(5) By the end of 2008 Libya represented zero threat to the United States, to US citizens or to US interests, or to any other country.
Ten years after 9/11/2001, however, things inside Libya started to get out of hand with home-grown “rebels” suddenly running around everywhere. The naïve “Arab Spring” herd euphoria (first set loose with free “purple finger” elections in Iraq in 2005 and 2009) was rampant (and obviously being agitated), and all sorts of foreign instigators were streaming into Libya to join domestic groups for the fight and its spoils. Among them were several ruthless al Qaeda franchises united by the Islamic militant extremist ideology who had their eye on Gadhafi’s huge weapons stores. In 2011, Gadhafi, thinking the Americans had his back, went to work trying to restore order in his country. He was dead wrong about the Americans – who saw only quick and cheap opportunity in a “civil war” (even if it was a “popular uprising” civil war not of huge crowds, but rather of all sorts of armed “militia” groups, criminal gangs and jihadists).
Less than three years after the two countries shook hands and exchanged diplomatic representations as sovereign countries, Libya was inexplicably in America’s crosshairs. The situation in Libya offered a new Administration an easy political ride on the “Arab Spring” bandwagon, which would look real nice in President Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s résumés, especially at election time. The Obama Administration was already in campaign mode for the 2012 election, and everyone else was already planning for the 2016 election of Mrs. Clinton. The strongest “rationale” for bombing Libya was that Libyan government forces trying to retain control over their own state were killing some of its citizens – a “rationale” the same people were NOT about to apply to the Ukrainian government forces just three years later. (And you won’t see similar arrogance when China clamps down on its own people, either. Mentally deficient bullies only go after those they perceive as weaker. Libya, yes. China, no. There’s something really perverse about the American view of “self-determination”.) Plus, there were still some old CIA guys at Langley, running on auto-pilot, who had been trying their whole careers to “get Gadhafi”. So the Beltway spin was that bad things might happen in Libya and therefore must be averted before they happen. The Defense Department very strongly disputed the “diplomat” view of imminent doom in Libya, but, as usual, did so only quietly in the background; the military knew that the narrative of pending humanitarian atrocities in Libya was entirely bogus but kept its mouth shut in public. Nevertheless, President Obama, with a nod to four women he had appointed to very high places, primarily to buy the votes of women, ordered the bombing campaign to assist the “rebels”, whoever they were – under a UN resolution addressing a “NATO” “humanitarian” mission. The “emergency human rights” angle enabled the Administration to avoid the US Congress. The “Liberation Of Libya” was supposed to become the biggest feather in Hillary Clinton’s planned 2016 run for the White House, trumpeting her “vast foreign policy experience and major accomplishments abroad”. (See Footnote #1.) And some in the now politicized CIA were happy to oblige, even as others in the same agency were busy using Libya for their own sinister purposes. (Sometimes with the CIA you need a scorecard.)
The bombing campaign began in March 2011 under a UN resolution supposedly to protect human life in Libya (“cease fire”, “end of attacks”, “no fly zone” banning military flights, “sanctions”, mitigate civilian casualties, etc.). (Liberals firmly believe that it’s a million times more important to get the UN to sanction a President’s foreign military action than it is to secure the prior approval of the US Congress – those elected representatives of the people who actually provide the soldiers and dollars needed to logically defend their nation, not to emotionally play world cop – the American people in whose name it’s all theoretically conducted.) There was “no need for the US Congress to declare war on Libya” since the US military would be engaged in a strictly “humanitarian” mission – a “humanitarian” mission to be executed solely by bombs. (Think about that a moment.) The four American women even sold this absurd notion to the Russians, needed to pass the resolution. (UN Security Council members Russia, China, Germany, India and Brazil abstained; Russia and China could have, and would have, vetoed the resolution if they had known the truth about American intentions.) Someone should have told the Russians that you never ever turn your back to birthright entitled American women; having lived their whole lives never challenged, never held accountable, never risking anything, these arrogant ideologues are world class experts at lying, cheating, rationalizing and scheming – who will stab you in the back in a second if it’s advantageous to them to do so at any given moment. (See Footnote #1 and Footnote #2, below.)
The ink wasn’t dry on the document before the Russians knew they had been taken for fools, that, rather than protect innocent life, the Americans fully intended to destroy the country and its government and hand it all to .. someone. The “no-fly-zone” stipulated in the UN resolution was established across the entire country in less than 48 hours; thereafter there was no UN justification for further bombing. French pilots were the first to rush in, going after some rather surprising sitting duck targets, even racking up “kills” by shooting planes parked or taxiing on the ground, in the back, plus blowing up some undefended Libyan government buildings. Libya was now a feeding frenzy free-fire zone for boys and their toys – compliments mostly of US and UK taxpayers. (As usual, the Americans provided most of the planes, bombs and money, but Italy even outspent “gung-ho” France. Germany, under the very astute Angela Merkel, simply refused to take the bait, but some “macho” US Republicans were easy patsies.)
The first 72 hours of the attack were led by the US Air Force with British, French and Italian participation. Once the humanitarian “no-fly zone”, authorized by the UN resolution, was fully established, command of the operation was passed to “NATO” (mostly senior European military officers). “NATO”, apparently operating under its own made-up authorization, then continued the “humanitarian” bombing campaign for the next eight months using air, naval and intelligence assets that were over 80% American with costs that were also over 80% borne by US taxpayers.
Many, including many Russians, strongly suspected that Libya’s oil was the prize sought by the imperialist “NATO”, but actually the motives were entirely political and self-serving, everywhere. Unfortunately the situation on the ground in Libya was extremely chaotic and confused. The “rebels” were at least twenty different groups, all with their own self-interests, and some of them were battling each other as well as Gadhafi’s forces. Some were criminal gangs masquerading as “militia”. Others were clearly al-Qaeda-affiliated franchises. Worse, they were using the “NATO” bombers to kill other “rebels” by purposefully misdirecting their attacks. And, of course, none of the bombing countries wanted to send in absolutely essential ground forces, preferring instead to engage solely in a more “antiseptic” war by killing people and destroying stuff from a very safe distance. (A lot of contemporary morons even insanely rationalize that, “Bombing is ok, since it’s not really war unless you put boots on the ground”. (Maybe we should give the Japanese a do-over for Pearl Harbor, the Germans for the UK Blitz. It’s doubtful, of course, that those morons would retain such a stupid rationalization for long if the bombs were dropping on them. The “NATO” attack on Libya was indisputably “war” – an aggressive military act that clearly required a concise declaration by the US Congress. And its sole intention from the very beginning was always “regime change” in a sovereign country.)
So the CIA resurrected Haftar from 20 years of comfortable exile in Virginia to go back to Libya to unite the “good guys”, whoever they were. Haftar, not “NATO”, would provide the ever-essential friendly “boots on the ground” and take over Libya once Libyan forces were destroyed and Gadhafi was eliminated. It was simply an inconvenient detail that the UN resolution never authorized anything resembling “regime change”, or that the US Congress never authorized a war against another sovereign state, yet this was clearly the mission of all those “NATO” planes bombing the country for the next eight months. A month after the bombing started, Haftar and a few of his aging junior officers were in Libya “taking command” – with “NATO” functioning as their “air force”, and with covert CIA Special Activities Division (using US military personnel) doing some rather haphazard flight control and ground coordination functions.
When you don’t have American soldiers on the ground, but are using American air power, including drones, the results are inevitable, even when the CIA is relying on local stooges for its drone targeting information: Those targeted will be political or sectarian enemies of those doing the targeting, who simply will be using US air power to strengthen their own position and usually at the expense of innocents caught in the conspiracy. The probability of this increases with the number of different groups involved in the fighting, which was the case in Libya. (Yemen has been a CIA-drone free-fire zone since 2002, and the CIA admits to killing 900 “militants” there during that period. But most objective observers conclude that at least a quarter of those 900 were innocent bystanders (“acceptable levels of collateral damage”) and the actual number of deaths is much higher. Furthermore, at the end of 12 years of such remote-control tactics, even with a few US military special operations personnel on the ground, Yemen remains exactly the same bloody dysfunctional extremist recruiting ground as it was in the beginning. A rational person would conclude that the US “strategy” for Yemen has been “killing for the sake of killing – because we can, and because there’s no risk to very special me.” All of this, of course, also applies to Pakistan, with whom we are also not at war, but where the CIA has killed far more people than the US military killed in Afghanistan, where we were at war. And no one has ever explained why it is necessary to provide very potent weapons of war to unaccountable civilians operating in the shadows. None of this stuff makes sense.)
In Libya it was one unbelievably long agonizing mess, but eventually Gadhafi’s people withered under all the incessant high-tech bombing, mostly on very easy table-top deserts. From the beginning, the Libyan regime never stopped trying to reason with the Americans, and even Gadhafi’s son repeatedly communicated the regime’s desire to meet any American demands; such communication included some very well-placed HUMINT assets inside Libya. But the Americans just refused to listen, refused to recognize the white flag. When things finally got desperate for Gadhafi, he vanished, and the CIA went hunting for him with the usual technology toys. Using communications intercepts and drone surveillance, they soon picked up his ragtag convoy heading out across the desert and used a Predator drone and some “brave” French pilots to nail the convoy, twice, forcing Gadhafi and some of his remaining people to flee on foot just ahead of some really nasty “rebels”.
End of Gadhafi, right there in a sewer pipe.
The CIA had finally gotten their man, a nice win.
What Just Happened?
But Obama, Clinton, Libya, the US and the US military lost – because no one ever asked, much less answered, “What comes next?” And the negatives went far beyond Libya.
How does all this fit into the Big Picture, the Long Range, the Grand Strategy? What are the “unintended consequences”? After generations of righteous indignation over the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the US had attacked and destroyed a sovereign country that represented zero threat to the United States, to American citizens, or to American interests. This unprovoked military action abroad was undertaken without a prior declaration of war by the US Congress – by a President who had grown up in Hawaii. The US had attacked that country only after it had surrendered its usable WMD program, which sent a clear and unmistakable signal to countries like Iran about what the Americans can do to you after you relinquish your nukes, after you play by all the rules demanded by the Americans. It denied US intelligence a valuable resource in the war against the Islamic militant extremism ideology. Innocent people have been dying in Libya every day since the bombings stopped three years ago, far more than were dying before the bombings began. The great irony, of course, is that the Norwegians incredibly awarded President Obama, within months of his assuming office with zero foreign experience, the Nobel Peace Prize, citing his promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and a “new climate” in international relations, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world. With the war against Libya he deliberately undercut both. (If he had been a conservative, the Norwegians would have demanded their prize be returned.)
If a secondary objective with the “NATO” bombing was to entice the Europeans into stepping up to their responsibility in the world, it failed miserably. If the Four Sisters were playing the American people and the United Nations, the Europeans were playing the Four Sisters. Not only did the US and UK pick up the usual 85% of the costs and weapons, the Europeans were notably and shamefully absent for the hard stuff. The Europeans had always assumed that the US would be forced to place the required ground forces in Libya to hold the country together – to help fix what they had broken – until a new regime could govern the whole country better than the previous regime had done. When they saw that the US had no such intention, they also refused to place the required “boots on the ground” – ensuring that the country would continue to disintegrate. The Four Sisters had tried to play the Europeans, but the Europeans had no intention of taking the bait. They proved themselves eager participants in a remote “shooting gallery war” (from a very safe distance of course), on American and British taxpayers’ dime, but they definitely were not about to put the requisite “boots on the ground” to help restore order and security to the country’s citizens and institutions. Everyone stupidly ignored the experience in Iraq and assumed that all you had to do was remove the dictator and his immediate henchmen, and render the country’s security forces impotent, and everyone else would come together to dance around the flagpole and create instant democracy. After the bombing stopped, the Europeans simply walked away, leaving Libya (and the Americans) high and dry.
The Europeans were even unwilling to accept any of the hundreds of thousands of refugees the bombing campaign had created, and many of those refugees died at sea trying to reach safety in Europe. (Three years later Libyan refugees trying to reach sanctuary in Europe were still dying at sea, and others were being executed by Islamic militant extremists on camera along the shores. Approximately 280,000 migrants from a 1,700 mile-long Northern Africa “Arab Spring” front attempted to reach Europe across the Mediterranean in 2014, or about 765 a day; an estimated 3,300 died at sea. They depart from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and (mainly) Libya trying to reach Spain, France, Italy and Greece for points throughout Europe. But the Europeans, who for decades have been highly critical of American efforts to control migrant flow and reduce dangers along its southern border, won’t even mount a continuous search and rescue operation to reduce deaths in the Mediterranean, instead (naturally) expecting the US Navy to do the European coast guard job for them. And, of course, these migrants are rapidly altering the cultural, ethnic and religious composition of Europe.)
And finally, adding to Russian fears, that supposedly “defensive” “NATO” alliance had again been used for purely offensive activity and to impose its will well beyond the European theater. By no stretch of the imagination could the “NATO” campaign be considered “defensive” for its members in accordance with the alliance’s charter; the campaign was clearly an offensive operation against a sovereign country outside Europe that represented zero threat to any “NATO” member state, including the United States. This had also been the case for the “NATO” involvement in Afghanistan; “NATO” clearly was no longer a purely defensive military alliance. Others, including Russia, simply could no longer afford the luxury of viewing “NATO” as of no threat to their own national security interests, despite what ignorant politicians keep saying. It’s not what you say that counts; it’s how your unambiguous actions are perceived by others. There is absolutely nothing “humanitarian” about effecting “regime change” through relentless bombing that engineers the destruction of a nation’s security forces and the ultimate murder of a nation’s recognized leader in a sewer. If “NATO” could simply elect to attack an entirely non-threatening Libya, it could attack any state at will. Thus, all non-member states had no choice but to adjust their own defensive posture in order to be able to counter a potential attack from “NATO”. Russia’s subsequent actions in Ukraine were the first direct, and entirely predictable, defensive response to the dramatically changed “NATO” charter.
The Libyan “civil war”, assisted by a massive “NATO” US bombing campaign, made a mess of the whole long-ongoing US chemical weapons destruction program in Libya. Some storage sites were left unguarded during the bombings, other previously unknown (and unguarded) stores were discovered, and some of the chemical weapons were spirited away in the chaos to extremist groups in the country and throughout the region. (Two years after the bombing ended with Gadhafi’s death, as of September 2013, 1.6 metric tons of mustard blister gas artillery rounds, 2.5 metric tons of congealed mustard agent, and 846 metric tons of chemical weapons ingredients remained to be destroyed. But just five months later, the New York Times reported that the United States and the “new Libyan government” had discreetly destroyed what both sides said were the last remnants of Gadhafi’s lethal arsenal of chemical arms, using transportable oven technology. If this is accurate, and it’s doubtful that it is, then it applies only to those stocks that were accountable after known sites were finally secured long after the shooting stopped, i.e., they destroyed what could still be accessed.)
However, there remains considerable concern over an unguarded mother lode of smaller weapons and hundreds of shoulder-fired missiles, including SA-7 SAMs that could be used to bring down aircraft (especially helicopters), many thousands of anti-tank missiles and RPGs, plus thousands of 122mm Grad rockets, that had gone missing all over the country during eight months of “NATO” bombing. Many of these were detected moving to other al Qaeda-fanned combat zones in the region such as Mali, Syria and Nigeria, even Gaza. Gadhafi’s arsenal had included hundreds of French-made Milan guided missiles and Russian SA-24 missile launchers plus some 20,000 older short-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). Great Britain had also sold Gadhafi $260 million worth of small arms and ammo in just the first nine months of 2010 – less than a year before the UK started bombing the country. (Of interest to those today wishing to arm the Ukrainians so they can “better stand up against the Russians” might be the fact that in 2007–08 Ukraine supplied more than 100,000 rifles to Libya.) The bombing campaign had provided cover for dozens of weapons storage sites all over the country to be looted by anyone who could cart the stuff off, by any means possible. The primary mission of the secret CIA base later established in Benghazi (which came under attack on 9/11/2012) was to try to track down as many of the missing SAMs as possible, if they were still inside Libya. The mother lode of Gadhafi’s vast weapons stores was scattered to the winds, finding its way to bad guys everywhere, including at least one (and probably two) whole ship load that made its way to the “rebels” in Syria (with CIA help? Israel is still not sure.).
Haftar, now 71, is still there in Libya, holed up in a small stronghold in the east close to the Egyptian border, across which he may flee for his life at any moment. Almost four years after the beginning of the bombing campaign, Libya is ungovernable, in chaos and about to go fully onto the “extremist bad guy” column – right under Europe’s belly. A half dozen Muslim states and another half dozen Islamic groups in the region are already circling like vultures, gradually moving in with what could all just blow up Big Time – while US attention is once again back in Iraq, with another potent extremist group very well armed with captured weapons.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, you shouldn’t do it.
“What comes next?” That, as usual, is anyone’s guess.
This is the question the Russians have been asking the Americans for the past 15 years. They never seem to get an answer. But let’s look at things from their perspective. (Viewing the board from the other side is a talent often found among those who are not all wrapped up in narcissistic “me”; it’s also absolutely critical to success in such endeavors as chess, diplomacy and warfare.) The Americans had used an “emergency human rights” excuse to avoid having the matter examined in and approved by a declaration of war in the US Congress. But “NATO” needed some authorization, some official sanction, before taking action that was supported only by some of the “NATO” member states. So they went to the United Nations. If the Americans at the UN had said that they intended “regime change” in Libya, the Russians would have vetoed the resolution, thus effectively precluding any “NATO” action. So the Americans stuck to a “humanitarian” spin and went solely after an authorization for a “no-fly-zone” to “preclude innocent bloodshed.” It’s pretty difficult for anyone to take an official stand against such an intent. But, of course, both the condition on the ground in Libya and the intent of the UN resolution were simply calculated lies advanced by the American women. As soon as the ink was dry on the resolution, the French, followed by the Brits and the Americans, went on the attack, under a “NATO” flag, determined to decimate Libyan armed forces and its internal police forces, paving an open avenue for the “rebels” to seize power from a dead Gadhafi. Because there were so many different groups jockeying for power in the chaos the bombing created, the bombing went on and on, seemingly forever, killing far more people than ever would have been killed by Gadhafi’s forces in restoring order inside their own country.
Still viewing the board from the other side, the Russians already know the Americans lied to them in order to avoid their veto. So, how can a guy like Vladimir Putin witness the ignominious death of Gadhafi in a sewer pipe and NOT wonder if he and his own country are next? How can Putin not consider that it was a defensive anachronism still called “NATO” that relentlessly attacked another sovereign country for eight months until it was a dysfunctional rubble – the same “NATO” ever eager to push its arrogantly offensive nose right up to the Kremlin gate? Clearly “NATO” was no longer a purely defensive alliance, but had now been used to effect offensive “regime change” in a sovereign country that represented no threat to its member states. Then he watched the Americans manipulating events in Kiev leading to what was, in effect, the overthrow of another sitting leader in favor of one who wanted Ukraine to join “NATO” and deprive the Russian navy of warm water access. Why would Putin sit and wait for the arrogant Americans to come, especially after being so shamefully lied to by those American women about Libya and then stacking the “interim” government in Ukraine with their own stooges? I’m an American, and I wouldn’t trust those women for a second; why would the Russians? Since the Russians are not stupid, their move on Crimea was a foregone conclusion from the moment “NATO” was targeted against Gadhafi. The drive to shore up the western border and re-build fortress Russia predictably went into overdrive.
Just how “brilliant” is it to move the world BACKWARDS forty years to the darkest days of LAST century’s ‘Cold” War? And how incredibly small and self-serving is it to effect such monumental stupidity for purely temporary domestic political advantage? And therein lies the main purpose of the “responsibility to protect” doctrine under the “human right” dogma – cheap domestic politics and pathetic self-aggrandizement.
Only self-anointed “special” people, unconcerned about the consequences, securely above accountability, could ever act in such an irresponsible manner on behalf of the nation. The main thing that a single super-power status does for those who own it is obviate the need for them to think.
Sir John Sawers, who served as chief of the British MI-6 for the previous five years, stepped aside in February 2015. In his brief farewell speech he spoke diplomatically about “the law of unintended consequences”, of the “unpredictability of outcomes”. He used Libya, where that fickle law of unintended consequences delivered catastrophic results, as his example, but everyone knew that the outcome in Libya was, in fact, NOT unpredictable by anyone who knew what they were doing. He made these observations as many tens of thousands of people were using a lawless Libya as a path to a better life across the Mediterranean in a Europe that doesn’t want them, even as many hundreds of those people were drowning at sea. A “NATO” “humanitarian” mission had created a far greater humanitarian disaster – which no one wanted to address. He made those observations as Islamic extremist groups were using a lawless and ungovernable Libya as an open base of operations. All western governments have now vacated their diplomatic missions from the bloody lawless territory that was once a country – and Russia, seeing no end to the lengths the American women won’t go, is rapidly strengthening its military defenses.
If you’re going to invoke Albright’s emotional doctrine of “Responsibility To Protect”, of using military force for “humanitarian” purposes under the mantle of “human rights” dogma, the first thing you have to do is avoid doing greater damage, to fully consider the immediate “unintended consequences” in advance, to know full well what you are doing. You also have to understand how your behavior will be perceived by others, and the far-reaching “unintended consequences” those perceptions will have elsewhere. The next thing you have to understand is that you are also playing god, by presuming the right to pick and choose whose human rights you want to protect, and whose human rights you elect to ignore. You even get to decide what “human rights” are, at any moment in time. “The rules are whatever supremely perfect “me” says they are, whenever I want to!”
It’s not just ironic, but entirely shameful that these dedicated champions of “open and transparent” societies elsewhere, can be so despicable in the shadows on their own society.
At least in the Libyan adventure no American soldiers paid the price (until the “Benghazi incident”). But, still, it’s impossible to come up with anything that was objectively a positive consequence of the 2011 bombing of Libya, while the list of negatives is long indeed. Americans these days spend all their time focusing on baubles that momentarily bounce up in front of their eyes, with very little if any thought to the bigger picture, the long range, tomorrow, to the causes and effects, … to a sensible overall STRATEGY. Worse, they have a dozen different players on the field at the same time all dancing to their own tune, their own agendas, each with little, if any thought as to how their little self-interested ditty fits into the symphony. America has become something akin to a really huge child’s playground, safely, for a while, under the protection of the US military.
These are the people we now have “leading” us in an exceedingly complex and ever more dangerous world. So far, their chief accomplishment has been to make it all far worse.
Wait A Minute!
Let’s rewind this story for a minute, all the way back to 1986 – 28 years ago. Americans today have gotten so used to whiz-bang toys that it’s easy for them to forget that some of those toys have not always existed. I forgot to mention one key item: Gadhafi could have been history way back in 1986, with just a little very old fashioned “technology”.
First, just why was it necessary to fly a whole squadron of F-111 bombers on a 6,000 mile trip to make a statement that could easily have been delivered by those three carrier battle groups sitting off the coast of Libya? No one has ever explained that one to me. There are few things on planet Earth more potent than a single US Navy carrier battle group, and right there sat three of them. The only thing that seems plausible is simply that the Air Force insisted on playing, too, even if it meant moving Heaven and Earth to do so after the closest F-111s that could get host government clearance to take off were located all the way up in Great Britain. (Later, during the 1990s, high on their new stealth bomber technology, the Air Force was actually publicly claiming, in all seriousness, that all future wars would involve only the Air Force and its nifty toys, and that the Army would be relegated solely to guarding Air Force bases, people and toys.)
Then there’s the most important aspect of all.
Gadhafi habitually lived in a big Bedouin tent residence set up in the middle of his huge command compound at the Bab al-Azizia barracks. If you’re going to get a guy with bombs dropped from above, you need to ensure that the guy is going to be patiently waiting where the bombs are supposed to fall. Gadhafi was known to usually retire to his tent in the late evening. But the Predator drone had not yet been born, and other overhead surveillance platforms couldn’t linger over a heavily defended city without setting off all sorts of alarm bells.
So CIA turned to Mosaad, Israel’s intelligence service, which obligingly provided a small on-site human surveillance team. They went into Tripoli and set themselves up on the roof of a building overlooking the compound and watched for hours as evening approached. While they were getting in place, the bombers were launched from England. The Mosaad team remained in place well into darkness and finally relayed that Gadhafi had, in fact, entered the tent at the expected time of his retiring for the night. As the bombers rapidly approached along their 3,000 mile incoming flight path at well over 1,000 mph (1,600 km/hr), the team left the area. 3,000 miles is a rather long trip, even for US war planes, but forty minutes later, the bombs fell, their explosions lighting up the dark Tripoli sky.
An SR-71 flight the next day confirmed that the bombs had fallen on target.
But there was an uninjured Gadhafi right there ranting on global TV.
The bombs fell forty minutes after the Mosaad team departed their perch. In those forty minutes something caused Gadhafi to leave his tent. Humans are like that – wont to do human stuff. I often wonder what would have happened if, as the SEAL team flew into Abbottabad in 2011, bin Laden decided to slip out for a beer at the local pub. Such normal human things always take me back to the Son Tay raid into North Vietnam back in 1970, one of the very few most dangerous and complex – and flawless – raids in US military history – that still came up empty-handed.
Second, in the end, there’s really no substitute for a soldier with a rifle there on the ground with other humans. If the Mosaad team was able to linger for hours and eyeball Gadhafi, a sniper team at the same spot could have taken out Gadhafi directly, with the precision of a surgeon and better than a 99.9% probability of success. And this precision, without any “collateral damage”, could have been accomplished for the cost of just one of the bombs dropped that night from all those dozens of nifty planes. But a pilot is just dropping bombs to kill people, while a sniper with a rifle is engaged in “assassination”. No, there’s no logic involved here. It just is – really stupid and entirely self-serving rationalization. It’s just another of those self-serving rules that “policy wonks” in Washington make up on the fly when the situation calls for actual brilliance far beyond their capabilities, when they find themselves boxed in by past self-serving rules also made up on the fly with little or no consideration of the future “unintended consequences”. That’s why you can charge a soldier risking his life with a war crime, but a pilot safely far removed is just doing his job – for achieving a far less precise result. I’ve never been able to figure out just who makes up these asinine rules, but I do know that it is NOT a ground soldier (or anyone who knows how to think).
All in all, I’d have to rate US involvement in the 2011 demise of Gadhafi as one of the most stupid and shameful events in all of American history. (See “Conversation With A Young Lady“, posted as the bombs began to fall.) The most important thing a single super-power status does for its owners is obviate the need for them to think. As long as you have all those nifty toys and know that no one can counter them, you don’t need any experience, knowledge, or even much of any brains at all. You can even make up your very own self-serving “truth”. If things go wrong, you can just use your military dog-on-a-leash to fix it. It’s just like a 17th century monarchy. The more the US Congress cowardly cedes its constitutional powers to an ever more imperial presidency, the easier it is for such marginal players to act on their self-interested whims – in a “game” that can, and one day definitely will, easily have truly catastrophic consequences.
And what about assassinations? The United States now openly engages in remote control political assassination as a matter of routine, even proudly managed from a “hit list” maintained right there in the Oval Office. This, after a half century of wagging its sanctimonious finger at the Kremlin and its Soviet satellite states for similar despicable alleged activity, executed with far greater precision.
If pressed, I’d have to admit that I’ve always felt that Iran, rather than Libya, was the moving force behind the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. I also believe that this view is shared by some of those who were tasked with pursuing the case in Scotland.
And Americans hold themselves up as the world’s altruistic conscience? Just how is it possible to counter an opposing ideology when you have so thoroughly corrupted your own? Every day I seem to grow more ashamed of being an American man, much less an American soldier. Sooner or later you have to ask yourself if Americans who are this stupid really deserve being defended.
P.S. All of this is an excellent example of how American women now teach our children, at home and in the schools, how to “think” – with girly emotion, self-serving rationalization, and, of course, “acceptable” double standards … for “very special me”. It’s all about easy answers, short cuts and quick fixes, for the here and now, damned what comes next. And these twisted humans have managed to create two whole generations of male morons all eager to kiss their royal asses.
* In addition to the Lewinski scandal, the 1998 missile strike also served to divert public attention away from the release of a 400-page CIA inspector general report which admitted that the CIA had been directly involved with Latin American drug cartels in the movement of large quantities of weapons and drugs into the US. The most damning allegation, never proven, was that proceeds from these illegal shipments – well over $1.5 Billion – were used to fund clandestine CIA programs, including systematic murder, banned by Congress during the Reagan Administration, directed against perceived communist inroads in several Central American countries, especially Nicaragua. In March 1998 the CIA report acknowledged that the CIA had covered up its involvement with Nicaraguan Contra drug dealers for more than a decade. Several years earlier, in 1996, the mainstream news media, including the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, evidencing a certain jealous rage, had attacked the character, veracity and integrity of a reporter (Gary Webb) for the small San Jose Mercury News who had broken the story in a series titled “Dark Alliance”. Using high-level CIA sources, those major “news” organizations chose to attack the messenger and his minor lapses rather than use independent sources and far greater resources to further pursue his original story – in which high-level CIA personnel would have been complicit. The hatchet job against one of their own was not a proud day for American journalism. Gary Webb was never able thereafter to earn a living as a journalist. Seven years later he was found dead in his apartment; his death, from two gunshot wounds to the head, was ruled a suicide. A major part of the problem was and remains the large number of competing US federal agencies, with their really huge budgets, personnel and vested interests, involved with the traffic in illegal drugs, including the FBI, the DEA, the CIA, the ATF, the Justice Department, the State Department, and Immigration. The later lumping of many of these agencies under the gigantic Homeland Security and Directorate of National Intelligence bureaucracies has only exacerbated that problem.
Footnote #1. Madeline Albright, The Four Sisters, and Nicolas Sarkozy.
‘Human Rights’ and ‘Responsibility To Protect’.
(or How To Subvert The United States Constitution)
Since the end of the “Cold” War, Madeline Albright has been aggressively advancing a theory of using military force under a “Responsibility To Protect” banner, which itself is the action arm of the “Human Rights” mantra. “Human rights” are whatever emotional women and their clones decide they are, and, as with all rights claimed by American women, the rights come without responsibilities, much less accountability, for one’s own choices, one’s own behavior. Under this theory, if emotional ladies spot some perceived injustice, or “pending” injustice, in the world, they can engineer the use of the US military to go forth and correct that perceived injustice. It’s essentially a quick and easy way to force “someone else” to go die for your emotional cause of the moment because, of course, you are far too “special” to do it yourself. A critical aspect of this ideology is the creation and fanning of “great urgency” among huge herds of emotional nitwits. It’s that “emergency” part that enables the speedy use of the US military in deadly war without bothering with that irritating US Constitutional requirement to have the matter thoroughly examined, debated, decided and declared through due deliberation of the people’s elected representatives in Congress. It’s the perceived exigency aspect, usually about something awful that “might” happen, that enables such ideologues to circumvent the US Constitution, to fan fear for profit.
This “exigency” practice grew out of minor Constitutional adjustments legislated by Congress during the early days of the “Cold” War, a war of wills that saw two enormously powerful and very deadly powers – the United States and its NATO military alliance and the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact military alliance – faced off against each other in a 45-year global struggle for dominance. It essentially pitted the democratic capitalist ideology against the socialist communist ideology, each of which used great military power to both protect and advance its interests throughout the world. Since the centerpiece of each side’s military power were huge arsenals of incredibly powerful nuclear weapons and their various intercontinental delivery systems, for most of this long struggle any mistakes made by either side could very easily have had very rapid and truly catastrophic consequences for humanity. This reality placed the highest possible premium on very cautious, detailed and clear thinking and analysis, on both sides, while also facilitating speedy responses to relevant actions on the other side. At the forefront of every analysis were the potential “unintended consequences”, of trying to reduce as much as humanly possible the “unpredictability of outcomes”. Those conducting the constant exacting analysis always had to both ask and answer “what comes next” with each and every move, and then extend that process out many steps into the future with extremely rigorous and complex examinations. Always present in every considered move was how that move might be perceived by the other side. At stake was nothing less than the further existence of mankind, so very intelligent and disciplined logic and comprehension ruled the day.
Those adjustments to US Constitutional law enabled a President to very quickly commit the US military to counter major threats to the continued existence of the United States nation, such as that clearly presented by the imminent attack of hundreds of intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missiles each armed with individually-targeted multiple nuclear warheads aimed at every major city and strategic target in the country. Constitutional law was adjusted in order to defend against an imminent existential threat to the nation, and the fact that the President could quickly respond to such a threat without going through Congress was considered an integral part of the nation’s overall defense posture. The procedure did, however, place truly enormous responsibility on the shoulders of the President.
When this imminent existential threat to the nation and all of mankind faded with the end of the “Cold” War (and the fall of the Warsaw Pact), women like Albright saw an opportunity to continue the constitutional short-cuts for self-serving political objectives, beginning with the very first post-“Cold” War administration of President Clinton during the 1990s. (This was the first American Baby Boomer administration, and it included a rather large number of affirmative action appointees.) A super-power with no credible super-power counter automatically removed enormous pressure from the President’s shoulders, permitted very considerable flexibility, and significantly reduced the consequences of mistakes in thinking. Compared to the previous 75 years, the Greatest Generation, as their final act in 1990, handed to their Baby Boomer children a world that was a very safe sand box in which to play; the Boomers’ first act was to cut the military in half and spend the Great Peace Dividend on themselves. Since the consequences of error were now enormously smaller, it was considered a “safe” time to experiment with ways to win women’s votes by appointing women to very high places who had never accepted responsibility for anything and who as “perennial victims” could not be held accountable for anything, either. It wasn’t even possible to criticize such women; only fawning praise was permitted. (Of course, such practices steadily lowered standards everywhere. If you’ve been living in the real world for most of those 75 years, like I have, you’d know that the way Americans, with all their whiz-bang toys, conduct themselves in today’s real world, is just incredibly embarrassing.) Their second act was to twice attack little Yugoslavia behind a “humanitarian” “NATO” cover, in pampered Europe’s own front yard (Albright). Their third act was to fail to protect the nation from a tracked gang of known crazies armed with little knives on 9/11/2001 (Rice). Ever since the last Greatest Generation President was tossed out on his ear (presumably for allowing the Iron Curtain to fall peacefully and decisively winning the fastest war in American history), it’s ALL been a steady downhill race. Freed of the adult responsibility to focus on survival, they could shift to the childish right to focus on the inane, and pile mistakes on top of mistakes. Everyone could even pretend in the sand box that the same intense gravity of the “Cold” War was still in play.
Even though there was no longer an existential threat to the nation, Congress made no changes to the “Cold” War practice that vested so much power in the Executive Branch, so the practice became “institutionalized”. The “great emergency” for the nation’s survival rationale for the “Cold” War devolved into a “great emergency” for human rights protection rationale. The underpinning of the new rationale was no longer masculine logic, but girly emotion. It enormously expanded the already inflated power of the office of the President – by altering an unavoidable sacred responsibility into an elective political right. The new “reasoning” enabled, not powerful US military defense of the nation and her critical allies (“Leader Of The Free World”) against real and powerful foreign military aggression, but enforcer of “international human rights law” wherever that was expedient (“World Cop Enforcer”) as determined by herd emotion (and domestic political benefit).
You will never get any of these emotional ideologues to state precisely how this or that military action they are pushing is actually in the best national defense interests of the United States. Over 95% of those actions are based on patently false premises, so the objective is to couch the rhetoric in terms specifically designed to hide that fundamental truth from the American people. (And you will never see these ideologues volunteering to lead the way in.) The US military is no longer protecting its own nation; it is protecting other peoples according to the values of those orchestrating things in the White House.
(If you listen to most Americans today, including their politicians and bureaucrats, you’d have to wonder just what our schools have been teaching our kids. You’d swear that we were still living in 1975 – 40 years ago – trying to survive the terrifying “Cold” War against the Big Bad Soviet Bear and its massive Warsaw Pact – a full quarter of a century after the “Cold” War ended and both the Communist Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact disappeared. Yes, it’s just ignorance and stupidity, on a grand scale. Today Canada is a much bigger power than Russia. But, then, the Baby Boomer herd has never demonstrated much of a knack for original thought from that sand box with its deplorable day-care schools.)
The fact that the US military emerged from the “Cold” War as a single unchallenged military super-power, however briefly, thus facilitated the use of that military for purposes never envisioned under the US Constitution – which was first and foremost concerned with limiting the power of a single head-of-state, with ensuring that any head-of-state could not become a dictator operating without effective checks and balances. So, the first effect of a single super-power military was to obviate the need for its owners to think. It enabled them to ignore the “law of unintended consequences”. (How many mistakes, errors in “thinking”, would you make if there was a loaded shotgun aimed at your head? How concerned would you be if that shotgun was only aimed at someone else’s head?) While their parents had to consider all of the potential consequences of their actions, including the impact on their children twenty years down the road, their children didn’t have to consider anything beyond “me” and “now”, and didn’t. We could now just blunder in, with little or no adult consideration of what comes next, of the unpredictability of outcomes, or of who or what else is impacted by our actions, either today or generations from now. If you are the only one with a military super-power, you don’t have to worry about making mistakes, about faulty thinking, because you can always use that military to fix any mistakes made.
Or so the “thinking” goes. Eventually you realize that any nit-wit on any street corner can become President and order the US military to do whatever that person wants done anywhere in the world, and almost always for self-serving domestic political objectives. You get to pick and choose where America’s soldiers die. You can be as arrogant and offensive and myopic and stupid as you want to be. You can even play god. In the age of “social media”, clever manipulators can very quickly get really huge herds or morons bobbing their heads in unison and then stampeding faster than a shot from a Springfield carbine. All you have to do is generate chatter about some “human rights” matter somewhere, fan emotion among huge “social media” herds, manufacture a little propaganda and lies, and get a President, viewing those herds as voters, to send the military off to “fix” it. The voters thus get their pathetic vicarious machismo and self-worth pumped up for free, damned the “unintended consequences” elsewhere.
The US military is now “The President’s Very Own World Cop” – as if we were living in 17th century Europe under our very own royal monarch (like in those fantasy video war games). The US military is now used by the state to protect the rights of others even as the rights of Americans are steadily trashed and withdrawn by that same state.
The main trick is to never allow an examination of the fundamental premises, of why the action is in some measure in actual defense of the United States, of why others should not be doing what we are doing, of why there are no better alternatives to the chosen path, etc.. Avoid the premises, cloud it all in emotion, and ignore the unintended consequences. (“Who cares about a few thousand dead guys who were paid to play dumb ground soldier? Just hand their survivors a folded flag and say they died defending the country. Everyone laps up that phony line.”)
It all has to be done quickly, before those flighty herds move on to other matters and the US Congress starts to wonder if it should be playing a role, too. You can even use your State Department and USAID commercial contractor companies hidden in the shadows to generate and engineer the requisite pretext of some “immediate response” need. If the US military must remain in place long after the herds have moved on to other momentary interests, then so be it; those military people are, after all, only widgets and spare parts serving “very special me” and “my” emotional wants of the moment. “I have rights! I do NOT have responsibilities! Everyone else has the responsibility for ensuring whatever rights I demand! As Queen I can order the military to do whatever I want!” (If you want to get one of these things moving really fast, just focus on some “girls” or “women” somewhere whose “human rights” might somehow be in danger. “Expendable” boys or men getting slaughtered will never garner anyone’s attention; they’re just not “special”. It’s “equality”. (Only the living can be victims with “human rights”; the dead are just dead.)
The key is to focus on some interest group somewhere just like narcissistic “me”, and then demand that “someone else” go risk their inconsequential lives to save them. You can focus on some kidnapped girls in Nigeria while ignoring thousands of slaughtered boys in Nigeria; you can focus on the self-determination right of people “just like me” in Ukraine while denying the right of self-determination of those ethnic Russians in Ukraine who are not “just like me”. You can focus on people dying in a civil war in Syria while ignoring millions of humans living in permanent hell as a result of a never-resolved war in Korea a half century ago. You can shove a military alliance right up to the Kremlin gates that you would never tolerate appearing anywhere near your own shores. You can be a powerful champion of “self-determination”, but only when the self-determination brings converts to your own clique (Kosovo), but hypocritically not when it leads to people joining some other clique (Georgia). You can support insurgents opposed to the government in Libya as “rebels”, while supporting Turkey’s genocidal war against Kurdish “terrorists” opposed to their government. You can bow before dysfunctional states possessing nukes while bombing other states into oblivion as soon as they hand over their nukes – all while demanding that everyone also hand over their nukes, too (as if they were total morons). You get to play around at rearranging the world according to “very special me” just like the “entitled aristocracies” did at the end of WWI, setting the stage for WWII. You get to turn the US Constitution into totally meaningless mush – which NO ONE understands. In short, you get to play capricious god. In emotional social media, the self-serving choices are endless. It’s the sort of madness that happens when people stop learning how to think, and are instead just taught what to think, when they trade in sound logic for girly emotion.
Of course, it only works until the messes you create everywhere simply overwhelm ANYTHING’S ability to fix, and that includes that mighty US military super-power.
And, of course, none of it has anything to do with defending the nation’s security. It’s all about “we” doing elective things that are actually done by a very tiny few of us, some dumb inanimate widgets “we” “pay to die” to make “us” feel better for not doing anything at all.
An “undeclared war” is simply an oxymoron. All it signifies is the inability of cowardly members of an irrelevant Congress to think, and act.
A war is declared whenever someone lobs the first bomb.
Note that now the US doesn’t really need credible military “allies”; all it needs are token “allies” who can be used to convey an “international coalition” flavor as cover for whatever the US military is ordered to do unilaterally. Also note that these emotional ideologues don’t need the US Congress, either (other than to fork over the necessary money after-the-fact); the real work is now done in the UN, where it is perfectly acceptable to lie to other members about your own true intentions – just to get the UN to “approve” your actions and lend it a certain “international respectability”. (You’d have to be brain-dead to think that most other countries are not happy to give these ideologues any approval they want so as to avoid having to use their own “military forces” to do it. These countries are always looking for ways to get such easy patsy emotional ideologues to get the US military to do things which their own countries should instead be doing.)
Among Madeline Albright’s most devoted disciples are Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and Susan Rice. Together they are The Four Sisters. Then you can add women like Victoria Nuland who literally permeate the State Department and USAID. When you view the US military as your very own “enforcer of human rights”, it’s a guaranteed given that you will vehemently oppose its use for any purpose that is not in full and immediate compliance with your own ideology and solely under your own direction. Being able to use the US military for your own self-aggrandizing political purposes is so “empowering”. The fact that expecting “someone else” to sacrifice their own lives for your particular cause is the epitome of the cowardly effete gets lost in all the emotional bullshit. (Maybe we can get all four women to go into Libya now and show the rest of us dummies how to sort out the mess they created there. If they succeed in Libya, then we might send them to Moscow to fix that really stupid mess, too. And then there’s Syria, North Korea, etc..)
Maybe it’s time we started drafting women into a separate armed forces so these women can have their very own military to go forth and enforce their causes of the moment.
The strongest supporter of the “NATO” bombing campaign in Libya and the country most dedicated to killing Gadhafi was France, then under the leadership of President Sarkozy – who previously had been a strong and vocal supporter of Gadhafi and had also refused to support the revolutions in both Tunisia and Egypt. Sarkozy’s sudden reversal of views with Libya played right into the plans of four American women appointed to very high places: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, White House Advisor on Human Rights Samantha Power and Chair of a “group of experts” at NATO in 2010 Madeline Albright. But why the sudden and dramatic and inexplicable Sarkozy reversal? French national police have been trying ever since to prove that Sarkozy had accepted $65 million in illegal political campaign funds from Gadhafi in 2006-07, but the investigation has been severely hindered, not surprisingly, by the death of Gadhafi. It also should not be overlooked that nothing happens in the Obama Administration without the stamp of approval of the President’s closest Personal Advisor On Everything – Valerie Jarrett.
Former Secretary of State Albright, born in Czechoslovakia, raised in London, and first appointed by President Clinton, endorsed and supported Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign and has remained Clinton’s close friend, serving as her top informal advisor on foreign policy matters. Albright, a very privileged immigrant who doesn’t know a thing about military matters, was the principal architect of sending the US military into the former Yugoslavia under the usual phony “NATO” and “human rights” banners in the late-1990s – an action which even required her President to lie to the American people three times about how long their soldiers would be required. That action, which defied international law, the United Nations, the US Constitution, and NATO’s own original charter by waging an aggressive war outside its defensive perimeter against Yugoslavia, transformed NATO from a defensive to an offensive alliance. (Yugoslavia was not a member of “NATO” and thus could not claim immunity from attack by members of “NATO”, and Russia was at that moment too weak and disoriented to make its loud protests meaningful.) Although the Europeans actually took little aggressive action behind the Americans in Yugoslavia, the Russians were quick to pick up on the dramatically altered philosophy behind “NATO” and naturally went into their own defensive mode. Russia would be stupid not to do so, and her leaders entirely negligent if they did not quickly adapt to this new use of “NATO” as an aggressor, as a clear and present threat to Russian national security despite “NATO’s” asinine verbal protestations to the contrary. Russians are not as stupid as European elitists would like to imagine. What Russia has done over the past twenty years is a direct response to “thinking” advocated and implemented by idiots like Albright – arrogantly and incessantly pushing “NATO” and new member states, plus America’s missiles and high-tech toys, right up to the Kremlin walls in a purely aggressive stance behind the behemoth American military-industrial machine. These ideologues even pushed the “right” of “self-determination” in Kosovo, while denying the same “right” to people in Georgia, and later in Ukraine. These people never graduated from the “Cold” War they had read about in school.
Then in 2010 Albright chaired an elitist “group of experts” in Europe holding “seminars, consultations and meetings” in an effort to “reassess” NATO and come up with “brilliant” recommendations to craft a “strategic concept” and ensure the “alliance” continued to have actual relevance in the 21st century (mostly on the backs of the US taxpayer, of course). In other words, the group’s mission was to find something, anything, for that political anachronism “NATO” to do, so as to somehow justify, however tenuously, its continued existence. Because “NATO” had proven such an incredible failure for eight long years in Afghanistan, it was critical that someone come up with something that this useless political bureaucracy could do. But, despite that failure in Afghanistan, Albright was, of course, still urging an offensive role for “NATO” throughout the world – attacking targets according to priorities established by elitist “very special me”, one presumes. As is appropriate for political groups, neither Albright or any of her entourage knew anything about military matters. At any rate, Libya in 2011 fell smack into her and her three sisters’ sights. It was the perfect confluence of a whole range of ulterior motives. Unfortunately, while the French president was using the four women for his own purposes, the Europeans took the bait only so far, and then, once again, predictably left the dumb Americans holding the bag. (Angela Merkel, who knew full well what was going on, refused to allow her Germany to be suckered into the scheme.) The Europeans have repeatedly proven themselves ok with killing people and destroying stuff from a very safe distance, comfortably under the protective American military wing, but are not keen at all on building stuff and helping people up close and personal on the very dangerous ground, with or without American soldiers. Only America has “boots” or “troops” who can be readily sacrificed in actually dangerous environments.
So “NATO”, using American and British tax dollars and high tech weapons with the usual tokenism from several others, attacked Libya and turned it to rubble. President Obama held to his promise of “no boots on the ground” – which was intended to signal to the Europeans that this ball was in their court. But the Europeans, predictability, looked the other way. When a destroyed Libya, with no requisite follow-on European ground forces to provide stability, predictably went south and the US Consulate Benghazi story broke on the eve of a US presidential election, all four of these women, and their countless cabal members in the State Department and White House, went into full fanatical “protect Hillary” mode. When you’re an American woman appointed to a very high place, you can make up your own rules and lies as you go along with no thought to, or understanding of, what comes next, all while using the US military as your principal bully “negotiation” and “fixer” tool, of course – and never be held accountable. The only thing these women ideologues consider is themselves. The US military has become a dumb tool to be exploited primarily for domestic political, rather than for foreign strategic, purposes. I, for one, don’t believe anything these creepy women say. Isn’t it convenient to claim perpetual victimhood so as to avoid responsibility, to scream “sexism” to avoid criticism – and always be able to blame “someone else” for your own shortcomings, mistakes and stupidity?
These twisted minds have no trouble labeling American wars that cost incredible amounts of American blood and treasure as “imperialist” wars, but their own wars that cost mostly the blood and treasure of others are perfectly acceptable “interventionist” wars – even though both realize absolutely nothing of value to the US and always involve “someone else” doing all the really hard stuff. What it really boils down to is an infantile, “Wars launched by conservatives are evil; wars launched by liberals are virtuous.” In the end, it’s all just stupid rationalization. Conservatives are always eager to send their military off to punch someone; liberals are always eager to send their military off to save someone. Each are easy patsies for the other in this utterly childish nonsense that has nothing at all to do with defending the nation – as long as “someone else” does the hard stuff.
(For the past quarter of a century, “NATO” has been a meaningless political bureaucracy of pompous politicians pretending to be a military alliance of any relevance – a silly but very costly anachronism designed for the LAST century that should have been abandoned by the US when its mission was completed in 1990, freeing the US to forge a new alliance with new partners, including Russia, actually designed for THIS century. NATO was created specifically to defend western Europe from further military encroachment by the former Soviet Union. Make no mistake about it: The primary mission of “NATO” since the fall of the Warsaw Pact back in 1990, when its mission concluded, has been to re-create the Russian bogeyman needed to justify its defensive existence, to keep the dumb American taxpayer picking up Europe’s defense bills and the US military doing Europe’s heavy lifting, while providing very cushy jobs to tens of thousands of hyper-self-inflated politicians and bureaucrats playing around with pseudo-“military” stuff. Leftist “NATO” politicians speak one game, and act an exactly opposite game (and most of them don’t know the difference). And the Russians, being smarter, know this. Russia is no more responsible for the rising tensions between the two sides than is “NATO”, but “NATO”, like the women of the US, is interested only in viewing the board from its own “enlightened” side, not from the other. And, even worse for leftist Europe, the leader of the other side is on the right or conservative side of the political spectrum. The Europeans don’t want to play aggressor; they just want the US military to keep defending them – from anything that might threaten their comfy lives – and to vanquish “right-wing” conservatives from the face of the Earth forever. So anything that supports those ends is just fine. The best thing possible for the Europeans is keeping the dumb American taxpayers and soldiers on their leash.)
If there is one thing that recent history has demonstrated above all others, it is this: Baby Boomers in government can screw up ANYTHING. These simple-minded self-inflated children are so stubbornly wedded to their own self-serving dogma that it is impossible for them to view the board from the other side, or to consider just how silly they appear with their droning nonsense. They are incapable of realizing the extent to which, even in the tiny “wins” they manage to chalk up, always at stupendous cost, they were played by much smarter others. Remove the US military and its dead soldiers from all these twits, and the whole world would easily see that the emperor has no clothes. And none of those soldiers would have died defending the nation.
Since 1992, the nation has been in the hands of the most incompetent bunch of nitwits in American history who make even “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight” look like seasoned pros. It’s too late for the super-spoiled Boomers and their children, but it’s time for younger Americans of both genders to stop playing Pretend, grow up, and accept their equitable share of the responsibility for all of us. It’s long past time for the great national embarrassment to end. If it doesn’t, we are finished.
Footnote #2. (The following is quoted in its entirety from the Washington Times. It’s gratifying to see everything I’ve been writing for the past three years about Libya be confirmed by physical evidence and reported in a tiny corner of the “mainstream media.” Four women appointed to very high positions (Clinton, Rice, Power and Albright – plus Valerie Jarrett) were determined to jump on “The Arab Spring” bandwagon so as to provide some tangible credentials-on-the-cheap to underpin Clinton’s plan to become the next Commander-in-Chief – and the dogmatic women’s cabal at State were 110% behind the scheme, and still are. Incredibly, certain CIA officials, who knew what the truth was, still supported The Four Sisters, State’s scheme and their manufactured lies. These fanatics don’t care one bit about ANYTHING except ensuring that their queen ascends to the throne as her “birthright”.) ((Comments contained in double parentheses are mine.))
Secret tapes undermine Hillary Clinton on Libyan war
Joint Chiefs, key lawmaker held own talks with Moammar Gadhafi regime
The Washington Times – Wednesday, January 28, 2015
by Jeffrey Scott Shapiro and Kelly Riddell
Top Pentagon officials and a senior Democrat in Congress so distrusted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s 2011 march to war in Libya that they opened their own diplomatic channels with the Gadhafi regime in an effort to halt the escalating crisis, according to secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.
The tapes, reviewed by The Washington Times and authenticated by the participants, chronicle U.S. officials’ unfiltered conversations with Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s son and a top Libyan leader, including criticisms that Mrs. Clinton had developed tunnel vision and led the U.S. into an unnecessary war without adequately weighing the intelligence community’s concerns.
“You should see these internal State Department reports that are produced in the State Department that go out to the Congress. They’re just full of stupid, stupid facts,” an American intermediary specifically dispatched by the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Gadhafi regime in July 2011, saying the State Department was controlling what intelligence would be reported to U.S. officials.
At the time, the Gadhafi regime was fighting a civil war that grew out of the Arab Spring, battling Islamist-backed rebels who wanted to dethrone the longtime dictator. Mrs. Clinton argued that Gadhafi might engage in genocide and create a humanitarian crisis and ultimately persuaded President Obama, NATO allies and the United Nations to authorize military intervention. ((“might engage in genocide and create a humanitarian crisis”. It was all just baloney. The French, under Sarkozy, had their own duplicitous reasons for suddenly wanting to kill Gadhafi.))
Gadhafi’s son and heir apparent, Seif Gadhafi, told American officials in the secret conversations that he was worried Mrs. Clinton was using false pretenses to justify unseating his father and insisted that the regime had no intention of harming a mass of civilians. He compared Mrs. Clinton’s campaign for war to that of the George W. Bush administration’s now debunked weapons of mass destruction accusations, which were used to lobby Congress to invade Iraq, the tapes show. ((Well, not quite. Bush actually believed what he was told by his intelligence agencies; Clinton and her cabal knew full well they were making up their own lies. They refused to accept hard intelligence facts and instead were putting out their own “intelligence” – and giving it to Congress.))
“It was like the WMDs in Iraq. It was based on a false report,” Gadhafi said in a May 2011 phone call to Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat serving at the time. “Libyan airplanes bombing demonstrators, Libyan airplanes bombing districts in Tripoli, Libyan army killed thousands, etc., etc., and now the whole world found there is no single evidence that such things happened in Libya.”
Seif Gadhafi also warned that many of the U.S.-supported armed rebels were “not freedom fighters” but rather jihadists whom he described as “gangsters and terrorists.”
“And now you have NATO supporting them with ships, with airplanes, helicopters, arms, training, communication,” he said in one recorded conversation with U.S. officials. “We ask the American government to send a fact-finding mission to Libya. I want you to see everything with your own eyes.”
The surreptitiously taped conversations reveal an extraordinary departure from traditional policy, in which the U.S. government speaks to foreign governments with one voice coordinated by the State Department. Instead, the tapes show that the Pentagon’s senior uniformed leadership and a congressman from Mrs. Clinton’s own party conveyed sentiments to the Libyan regime that undercut or conflicted with the secretary of state’s own message at the time. ((Highly classified intelligence generated by DIA was at direct variance with what State officials were putting out.))
“If this story is true, it would be highly unusual for the Pentagon to conduct a separate set of diplomatic negotiations, given the way we operated when I was secretary of state,” James A. Baker III, who served under President George H.W. Bush, told The Times. “In our administration, the president made sure that we all sang from the same hymnal.” ((But the President wasn’t orchestrating this scheme; Hillary Clinton and her cabal was. And she was behaving as if the US military was her very own dumb hired gun.))
Mr. Kucinich, who challenged Mrs. Clinton and Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, acknowledged that he undertook his own conversations with the Gadhafi regime. He said he feared Mrs. Clinton was using emotion to sell a war against Libya that wasn’t warranted, and he wanted to get all the information he could to share with his congressional colleagues. ((Rep. Kucinich, of course, was absolutely correct. But his efforts were undercut by dumb gung-ho politicians like Republican Senator McCain.))
“I had facts that indicated America was headed once again into an intervention that was going to be disastrous,” Mr. Kucinich told The Times. “What was being said at the State Department — if you look at the charge at the time — it wasn’t so much about what happened as it was about what would happen. ((The operant word is “might” happen. It was mostly a case of wishful thinking – for purely domestic political purposes.)) So there was a distortion of events that were occurring in Libya to justify an intervention which was essentially wrong and illegal.”
Mr. Kucinich wrote a letter to Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton in August explaining his communications in a last-ditch effort to stop the war. “I have been contacted by an intermediary in Libya who has indicated that President Muammar Gadhafi is willing to negotiate an end to the conflict under conditions which would seem to favor Administration policy,” Mr. Kucinich wrote on Aug. 24.
Neither the White House nor the State Department responded to his letter, he said.
A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton declined to provide any comment about the recordings.
The State Department also declined to answer questions about separate contacts from the Pentagon and Mr. Kucinich with the Gadhafi regime, but said the goal of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama was regime change in Libya. ((even if it completely undermined a whole range of other strategic objectives and resulted in One Big Mess. Furthermore, “regime change” was NOT how the intervention was sold in the US or at the UN. “Regime change” by military means is the clearest unambiguous act of war against another sovereign state – an act which, according to the US Constitution, requires a Declaration Of War by the US Congress – not a directive from a State Department appointee. Note that State by then had abandoned its original subterfuge of an urgent “humanitarian” mission.))
“U.S. policy during the revolution supported regime change through peaceful means, in line with UNSCR 1973 policy and NATO mission goals,” the State Department said. “We consistently emphasized at the time that Moammar Gadhafi had to step down and leave Libya as an essential component of the transition.” ((But the reasons why they wanted that were entirely fabricated. And “regime change” definitely was NOT authorized by their only authorization – the UN resolution. And no one had a decent grasp on what happens next, after a sitting and recognized government had been overthrown by United States bombs.))
‘President is not getting accurate information’
Both inside and outside the Obama administration ((AFTER she had secured the UN “humanitarian” resolution)), Mrs. Clinton was among the most vocal early proponents of using U.S. military force to unseat Gadhafi. Joining her in making the case were French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and her successor as secretary of state, John F. Kerry. ((I believe that aging senators McCain and Kerry, both former Navy men, were more concerned about “justifying” more Naval air power in defense appropriations by the US Congress. They certainly had never thought this stupid scheme through and thus were aptly used by the Clinton cabal.))
Mrs. Clinton’s main argument was that Gadhafi was about to engage in a genocide against civilians in Benghazi, where the rebels held their center of power. But defense intelligence officials could not corroborate those concerns and in fact assessed that Gadhafi was unlikely to risk world outrage by inflicting mass casualties, officials told The Times. As a result, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, strongly opposed Mrs. Clinton’s recommendation to use force.
If Mrs. Clinton runs for president next year, her style of leadership as it relates to foreign policy will be viewed through the one war that she personally championed as secretary of state. ((But only if American women allow this line of questioning, and only if a way can be found to absolve certain Republicans of their own role in the subterfuge.)) Among the key questions every candidate faces is how they will assess U.S. intelligence and solicit the advice of the military leadership.
Numerous U.S. officials interviewed by The Times confirmed that Mrs. Clinton, and not Mr. Obama, led the charge to use NATO military force to unseat Gadhafi as Libya’s leader and that she repeatedly dismissed the warnings offered by career military and intelligence officials.
In the recovered recordings, a U.S. intelligence liaison working for the Pentagon told a Gadhafi aide that Mr. Obama privately informed members of Congress that Libya “is all Secretary Clinton’s matter” and that the nation’s highest-ranking generals were concerned that the president was being misinformed. The Pentagon liaison indicated on the tapes that Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., a top aide to Adm. Mullen, “does not trust the reports that are coming out of the State Department and CIA, but there’s nothing he can do about it.”
In one conversation to the Libyans, the American intelligence asset said, “I can tell you that the president is not getting accurate information, so at some point someone has to get accurate information to him. I think about a way through former Secretary Gates or maybe to Adm. Mullen to get him information.”
The recordings are consistent with what many high-ranking intelligence, military and academic sources told The Times:
Mrs. Clinton was headstrong to enter the Libyan crisis, ignoring the Pentagon’s warnings that no U.S. interests were at stake and regional stability could be threatened. ((There WERE a number of important interests at stake if we DID do what Clinton wanted – and all those negative consequences were entirely predictable.)) Instead, she relied heavily on the assurances of the Libyan rebels ((sic)) and her own memory of Rwanda, where U.S. inaction may have led to the genocide of at least 500,000 people. ((Baloney. The ONLY thing she was considering was the 2016 presidential campaign. Furthermore, the US military was entirely correct about Rwanda in 1994, and entirely correct about Libya in 2011 – and in both cases was ignored, before the fact. Rwanda was solely the failure of the United Nations and the failure of US Ambassador Madeline Albright to get the UN to act on its own charter mandate to avoid genocide.))
“Neither the intervention decision nor the regime change decision was an intelligence-heavy decision,” said one senior intelligence official directly involved with the administration’s decision-making, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “People weren’t on the edge of their seats. Intelligence wasn’t driving the decision one way or another.” ((But some of it WAS being manipulated for ulterior purposes by the Clinton cabal.))
Instead of relying on the Defense Department or the intelligence community for analysis, officials told The Times, the White House trusted Mrs. Clinton’s charge, which was then supported by Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice and National Security Council member Samantha Power, as reason enough for war. ((It was Rice who lied to the Russians at the UN to avoid their veto. Power was White House Special Advisor to the President on Human Rights. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright was Clinton’s closest long-time advisor and teacher on such matters as her “Responsibility To Protect” doctrine under the “human rights” mantra. It was Albright who earlier actually told Powell, a decorated combat infantryman, in front of his subordinates, that he didn’t have any balls – over his reluctance to attack the former Yugoslavia without ground soldiers or knowing “what comes next”.))
“Susan Rice was involved in the Rwanda crisis in 1994, Samantha Power wrote very moving books about what happened in Rwanda, and Hillary Clinton was also in the background of that crisis as well,” said Allen Lynch, a professor of international relations at the University of Virginia. “I think they have all carried this with them as a kind of guilt complex.” ((Baloney. All three women are students of Albright who had failed in her UN diplomatic role and knows it’s a LOT easier to simply dictate to the US military than it is to actually do your job of negotiating successfully. Rwanda history provided them all the convenient “human rights” excuse for Libya. The situation on the ground in Libya was totally different from Rwanda. And, with an “urgent human rights” excuse, they were determined to engineer an attack that circumvented both the US Constitution and the US Congress – an attack on a country that represented zero threat to the US, to US citizens, or to US interests. To them, the US military is just the “President’s Very Own World Cop” – that can be wielded by State incompetents any way they wish.))
Humanitarian crisis was not imminent
In 2003, Gadhafi agreed to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction and denounce terrorism to re-establish relations with the West. He later made reparations to the families of those who died in the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. News media frequently described the apparent transformation as Libya “coming in from the cold.”
Still, he ruled Libya with an iron grip ((which, in view of steadily growing radicalism, was his only option)), and by February 2011 civil war ((sic)) raged throughout the country. Loyalist forces mobilized tanks and troops toward Benghazi, creating a panicked mass exodus of civilians toward Egypt. ((The Libyan government was trying to retain control, order, safety and security in its own sovereign country – as would have any other country.))
Mrs. Clinton met with Libyan rebel spokesman ((sic)) Mahmoud Jibril in the Paris Westin hotel in mid-March so she could vet the rebel cause to unseat Gadhafi. Forty-five minutes after speaking with Mr. Jibril, Mrs. Clinton was convinced that a military intervention was needed. ((The meeting was arranged, not by her nation’s intelligence services, but rather by French socialist pseudo-philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who also influenced French President Sarkozy’s abrupt about-face with regard to Libya. Lévy is a well-known European political “public thinker” whose “philosophy” is decidedly leftist; an influential “arranger” or “manipulator” who always shows up at the top levels of European socialist politics. He has no official government role. An effective speaker and writer, his thinking exhibits rather extreme intolerance and hatred of any thinking that comes from the right side of politics, while also ensuring that France comes out to its advantage in the best light. One of his principle tactics is to personally hand-pick those whose introductions he arranges, while ensuring that any alternate view is excluded from the discussion.)) ((See “Russia And “NATO”, posted separately.))
“I talked extensively about the dreams of a democratic civil state where all Libyans are equal, a political participatory system with no exclusions of any Libyans ((including jihadists)), even the followers of Gadhafi who did not commit crimes against the Libyan people, and how the international community should protect civilians from a possible genocide like the one [that] took place in Rwanda,” Mr. Jibril told The Times. “I felt by the end of the meeting, I passed the test. Benghazi was saved.” ((All pure in-the-moment emotionalism.))
So on March 17, 2011, the U.S. supported ((pushed)) U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 for military intervention in Libya to help protect its people from Gadhafi’s forthcoming march on Benghazi, where he threatened he would “show no mercy” to resisters. ((which is macho language as common in that part of the world as “hello” is in ours.))
“In this particular country — Libya — at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale,” Mr. Obama declared in an address to the nation on March 28. “We had a unique ability to stop that violence: An international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves.” ((This speech had to have been written by “The Four Sisters” (Clinton, Power, Rice and Albright), with Valerie Jarrett’s approval. It was 90% bullshit, but the President was getting his information from only the four women.))
Yet Human Rights Watch did not see the humanitarian crisis as imminent. “At that point, we did not see the imminence of massacres that would rise to genocide-like levels,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division for Human Rights Watch. “Gadhafi’s forces killed hundreds of overwhelmingly unarmed protesters. ((whom WE routinely write off as “collateral damage” – which is precisely what our own bombing did. And, of course, no one ever sends in FBI forensic teams to determine truth, so you get to make up your own self-serving “truth”.)) There were threats of Libyan forces approaching Benghazi, but we didn’t feel that rose to the level of imminent genocide-like atrocities.”
Instead, she said, the U.S. government was trying to be at the forefront of the Arab Spring, when many dictator-led countries were turning to democracy. “I think the dynamic for the U.S. government was: Things are changing fast, Tunisia has fallen, Egypt has fallen, and we’d better be on the front of this, supporting a new government and not being seen as supporting the old government,” Ms. Whitson said. ((Seen by whom? US women voters. It was precisely this opportunist/reactive stance to unfolding events when mobs were in the streets of Tehran in 1979 that led to colossal mistakes by the American team under President Carter. Rather than signaling to the Iranian military, vie existing US military relations channels, its tacit approval of their taking control of the situation until an orderly transition of power could be worked out, the Americans put their faith in some childishly romantic belief that they could ride a fairy tale of mob emotionalism and come out a winner. Not just the US embassy, but most of the world, has been paying the price of such naïve “thinking” ever since. Americans were still making such errors in “thinking” in 2011 when power shifted to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In this part of the world mobs do not form of their own volition; they ALWAYS form at the instigation of nefarious elements seeking to manipulate events to their own advantage.))
Clinton blocks Gadhafi outreach
On the day the U.N. resolution was passed, Mrs. Clinton ordered a general within the Pentagon to refuse to take a call with Gadhafi’s son Seif and other high-level members within the regime, to help negotiate a resolution, the secret recordings reveal.
A day later, on March 18, Gadhafi called for a cease-fire, another action the administration dismissed.
Soon, a call was set up between the former U.S. ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, and Gadhafi confidant Mohammed Ismael during which Mr. Ismael confirmed that the regime’s highest-ranking generals were under orders not to fire upon protesters. “I told him we were not targeting civilians and Seif told him that,” Mr. Ismael told The Times in a telephone interview this month, recounting the fateful conversation.
While Mrs. Clinton urged the Pentagon to cease its communications with the Gadhafi regime, the intelligence asset working with the Joint Chiefs remained in contact for months afterward. “Everything I am getting from the State Department is that they do not care about being part of this. Secretary Clinton does not want to negotiate at all,” the Pentagon intelligence asset told Seif Gadhafi and his adviser on the recordings.
Communication was so torn between the Libyan regime and the State Department that they had no point of contact within the department to even communicate whether they were willing to accept the U.N.’s mandates, former Libyan officials said.
Mrs. Clinton eventually named Mr. Cretz as the official U.S. point of contact for the Gadhafi regime. ((Brilliant choice – purposefully designed to accomplish nothing.)) Mr. Cretz, the former ambassador to Libya, was removed from the country in 2010 amid Libyan anger over derogatory comments he made regarding Gadhafi released by Wikileaks. As a result, Mr. Cretz was not trusted or liked by the family.
Shutting the Gadhafis out of the conversation allowed Mrs. Clinton to pursue a solitary point of view, said a senior Pentagon official directly involved with the intervention. “The decision to invade [Libya] had already been made, so everything coming out of the State Department at that time was to reinforce that decision,” the official explained, speaking only on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
As a result, the Pentagon went its own way and established communications with Seif Gadhafi through one of his friends, a U.S. businessman, who acted as an intermediary. The goal was to identify a clear path and strategy forward in Libya — something that wasn’t articulated by the White House or State Department at the time, officials said. ((It’s the question idiots never ask, much less answer: “What comes next?”)) “Our big thing was: ‘What’s a good way out of this, what’s a bridge to post-Gadhafi conflict once the military stops and the civilians take over, what’s it going to look like?'” said a senior military official involved in the planning, who requested anonymity. “We had a hard time coming up with that because once again nobody knew what the lay of the clans and stuff was going to be. ((And exactly who was the State Department, including its hidden contractors in the shadows, supporting? These questions were similar to those posed by the Pentagon in 1979 when the Shah of Iran was faced with internal insurgency, and the Iranian military was naively told by the Carter White House to stand down and not engineer a peaceful and orderly transition to a new government.))
“The impression we got from both the businessman and from Seif was that the situation is bad, but this [NATO intervention] is even worse,” the official said, confirming the sentiments expressed on the audio recordings. “All of these things don’t have to happen this way, and it will be better for Libya in the long run both economically and politically if they didn’t.”
Pentagon looks for a way out
The Pentagon wasn’t alone in questioning the intervention. The week the U.N. resolution authorizing military force was passed, Sen. Jim Webb, Virginia Democrat, expressed his own concerns. “We have a military operation that’s been put to play, but we do not have a clear diplomatic policy or clear statement of foreign policy. We know we don’t like the Gadhafi regime, but we do not have a picture of who the opposition movement really is. We got a vote from the Security Council, but we had five key abstentions in that vote.” ((Senator Webb, a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, had served as a Marine Corps officer awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts in Vietnam combat. Prior to winning his Senate seat he had also served as Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy, written ten books, taught literature at the Naval Academy and was a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics.))
Five of the 15 countries on the U.N. Security Council abstained from voting on the decision in Libya because they had concerns that the NATO intervention would make things worse. Mrs. Clinton worked to avoid having them exercise their veto by personally calling representatives from Security Council member states. ((Two of those countries – Russia and China – could have vetoed the resolution, and would have done so if the resolution had stipulated “regime change”. So just what did Mrs. Clinton and Ms Rice tell them about American intentions? UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya was adopted on 17 March 2011.))
Germany and Brazil published statements on March 18, 2011, explaining their reasons for abstention.
“We weighed the risks of a military operation as a whole, not just for Libya but, of course, also with respect to the consequences for the entire region and that is why we abstained,” Germany said.
Brazil wrote, “We are not convinced that the use of force as contemplated in the present resolution will lead to the realization of our most important objective — the immediate end of violence and the protection of civilians. We are also concerned that such measures may have the unintended effect of exacerbating tensions on the ground and causing more harm than good to the very same civilians we are committed to protecting.”
Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Russia‘s ambassador to the U.S., told The Times that history has proved those concerns correct.
“The U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya was meant to create a no-fly zone to prevent bombing of civilians,” said Mr. Kislyak. ((This is exactly what Rice and Clinton told Kislyak in order to get him to not veto the resolution. “It was solely to establish a “no-fly” zone in Libya.” No sooner had he abstained did the French start bombing Gadhafi’s palace headquarters, and the US quickly followed. It only took a few hours for the Russians to know that the American women had lied to them, that they were now engaged in an all-out war against the sovereign government of Libya, that “humanitarianism” had nothing to do with it.)) “NATO countries that participated in this intervention were supposed to patrol the area. However, in a short amount of time the NATO flights — initially meant to stop violence on the ground — went far beyond the scope of the Security Council-mandated task and created even more violence in Libya.”
On March 19, the U.S. military, supported by France and Britain, fired off more than 110 Tomahawk missiles, hitting about 20 Libyan air and missile defense targets. ((two days after the UN Resolution, at $1.6 million US taxpayer costs each. Just the missiles fired on that one day cost the US taxpayers over $180,000,000. Such targets could never have been used against civilians on the ground, and none were ever targeted against “NATO” aircraft. Libya was a free-fire zone for “NATO” airpower from beginning to end – and it still took eight months of bombing to “get Gadhafi.”)) Within weeks, a NATO airstrike killed one of Gaddafi’s sons and three grandsons at their the family’s Tripoli compound, sparking debate about whether the colonel and his family were legitimate targets under the U.N. resolution.
Mr. Gates, the defense secretary, said the compound was targeted because it included command-and-control facilities. ((If your objective is to stop the regime’s forces from doing harm, how does it help to sever the commo links between the regime and its forces? It doesn’t. You would know this if you knew how to think. You do such things when your objective is to destroy both a nation’s government and its defense forces.))
Even after the conflict began, U.S. military leaders kept looking for a way out and a way to avoid the power vacuum that would be left in the region if Gadhafi fell.
As the intelligence asset working with the Joint Chiefs kept his contacts going, one U.S. general made an attempt to negotiate directly with his Libyan military counterparts, according to interviews conducted by The Times with officials directly familiar with the overture. Army Gen. Carter Ham, the head of the U.S. African Command, sought to set up a 72-hour truce with the regime, according to an intermediary called in to help.
Retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, who was acting as a business consultant in Libya at the time, said he was approached by senior Libyan military leaders to propose the truce. He took the plan to Lt. Col. Brian Linvill, the U.S. AFRICOM point of contact for Libya. Col. Linvill passed the proposal to Gen. Ham, who agreed to participate. ((General Ham was “in charge” of the 2011 US military intervention of Libya. During the bombing campaign against Libyan forces he stated that “Our mission is not to support any opposition forces.” In this sense, the US military was destroying the Libyan regime in order to create a vacuum – and see what would fill it. This is NOT a rational US military mission. It’s just idiocy, killing for the sake of killing, because you can. Four-star General Ham, who had worked his way up from enlisted combat infantryman, was subsequently “retired” in 2013.))
“The Libyans would stop all combat operations and withdraw all military forces to the outskirts of the cities and assume a defensive posture. Then to insure the credibility with the international community, the Libyans would accept recipients from the African Union to make sure the truce was honored,” Mr. Kubic said, describing the offers.
“[Gadhafi] came back and said he was willing to step down and permit a transition government, but he had two conditions,” Mr. Kubic said. “First was to insure there was a military force left over after he left Libya capable to go after al Qaeda. Secondly, he wanted to have the sanctions against him and his family and those loyal to him lifted and free passage. At that point in time, everybody thought that was reasonable.”
But not the State Department.
Gen. Ham was ordered to stand down two days after the negotiation began, Mr. Kubic said. The orders were given at the behest of the State Department, according to those familiar with the plan in the Pentagon. Gen. Ham declined to comment when questioned by The Times.
“If their goal was to get Gadhafi out of power, then why not give a 72-hour truce a try?” Mr. Kubic asked. “It wasn’t enough to get him out of power; they wanted him dead.” ((Precisely. It was a familiar game – massive military power to assassinate a sitting head of state who was causing you problems. Vladimir Putin beware. That was also the agreement made with Sarkozy. The problem was that the US military had gone to war against a sovereign country on “humanitarian” grounds when the intention all along was “regime change” (the very definition of war waged against another country) – without the requisite constitutional authorization of the US Congress. Ms Clinton had elevated herself to Queen – even before ascending to the throne.))
Libyan officials were willing to negotiate a departure from power but felt the continued NATO bombings were forcing the regime into combat to defend itself, the recordings indicated. “If they put us in a corner, we have no choice but to fight until the end,” Mr. Ismael said on one of the recordings. “What more can they do? Bomb us with a nuclear bomb? They have done everything.”
Under immense foreign firepower, the Gadhafi regime’s grip on Libya began to slip in early April and the rebels’ ((sic)) resolve was strengthened. Gadhafi pleaded with the U.S. to stop the NATO airstrikes.
Regime change real agenda
Indeed, the U.S. position in Libya had changed. First, it was presented to the public as a way to stop an impending humanitarian crisis but evolved into expelling ((killing)) the Gadhafis.
CIA Director Leon E. Panetta says in his book “Worthy Fights” that the goal of the Libyan conflict was for regime change. ((The “humanitarian” subterfuge was just that – a lie. Now please explain just why the Russians would now be stupid enough to ever trust any American official again.) It’s not what you say; it’s how your actions are perceived by others.) Mr. Panetta wrote that at the end of his first week as secretary of defense in July 2011, he visited Iraq and Afghanistan “for both substance and symbolism.” “In Afghanistan I misstated our position on how fast we’d be bringing troops home, and I said what everyone in Washington knew, but we couldn’t officially acknowledge: That our goal in Libya was regime change.”
But that wasn’t the official war cry.
Instead: “It was ‘We’re worried a humanitarian crisis might occur,'” said a senior military official, reflecting on the conflict. “Once you’ve got everybody nodding up and down on that, watch out because you can justify almost anything under the auspices of working to prevent a humanitarian crisis. ((the ever-nebulous emotional “Human Rights” and the “Responsibility To Protect” dogma)) Gadhafi had enough craziness about him, the rest of the world nodded on.”
“If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking.” – General George S. Patton
But they might not be so quick to approve it again, officials say.
“It may be impossible to get the same kind of resolution in similar circumstances, and we already saw that in Syria where the Russians were very suspicious when Western powers went to the U.N.,” said Richard Northern, who served as the British ambassador to Libya during part of the conflict. “Anything the Western powers did in the Middle East is now viewed by the Russians with suspicion, and it will probably reduce the level of authority they’re willing to give in connection to humanitarian crises.” ((“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”))
Mr. Kucinich, who took several steps to end the war in Libya, said he is sickened about what transpired.
He sponsored a June 3 resolution in the House of Representatives to end the Libyan war, but Republican support for the bill was diluted after Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, proposed a softer alternative resolution demanding that the president justify his case for war within 14 days.
“There was a distortion of events that were occurring in Libya to justify an intervention which was essentially wrong and illegal because [the administration] gained the support of the U.N. Security Council through misrepresentation,” said Mr. Kucinich. “The die was cast there for the overthrow of the Gadhafi government. The die was cast. They weren’t looking for any information.”
“What’s interesting about all this is, if you listen to Seif Gaddafi’s account, even as they were being bombed, they still trusted America, which really says a lot,” said Mr. Kucinich. “It says a lot about how people who are being bombed through the covert involvement or backdoor involvement of the U.S. will still trust the U.S. It’s heart-breaking, really. It really breaks your heart when you see trust that is so cynically manipulated.” ((Their country was a sovereign nation with whom we exchanged full, friendly and cooperative diplomatic relations. So we stabbed them in the back with our military might and never once considered, “What comes next?” – the unintended consequences under the law of unpredictable outcomes.))
In August, Gadhafi’s compound in Tripoli was overrun, signaling the end of his 42-year reign and forcing him into hiding. Two months later, Gadhafi, 69, was killed ((in a sewer pipe)) in his hometown of Sirte. His son Seif was captured by the Zintan tribe and remains in solitary confinement in a Zintan prison cell.
Since Gadhafi was removed from power, Libya has been in a constant state of chaos, with factional infighting and no uniting leader. On Tuesday, an attack on a luxury hotel in Tripoli killed nine people, including one American. A group calling itself the Islamic State-Tripoli Province took responsibility for the attack, indicating a growing presence of anti-American terrorist groups within the country. ((Libya has been ungovernable ever since we killed its leader and destroyed its security forces – presenting an open invitation to all sorts of undesirable elements. As an example of “life” in contemporary Libya, on 15 February 2015 a video of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian fishermen who were kidnapped in the city of Sirte by members of the extremist terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was released to the public. It showed the summary beheadings of all 21 men, wearing orange jumpsuits, on a Libyan beach for what the video specifically stated was simply their Christian faith. This is precisely the type of activity Gadhafi had warned about. Sirte was Gadhafi’s hometown, and also where he was killed.))
© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC.
These women also succeeded in dragging the US military through their septic tank “thinking”.
Everyone involved in this shameful chapter of American history was trying to operate FAR beyond their competence level.
And the Fourth Estate seems singularly uninterested in looking into how many of Clinton Cronies profited from Hillary’s War.
Footnote #3. The Washington Times has finally begun to fill in the huge blank spaces behind the shameful 2011 “NATO” attack on Libya – huge blank spaces which most of the US news media has been trying hard to ignore for the past four years, primarily for political reasons. It has published an excellent story, but there are still big pieces missing. Here are some of the most obvious questions to ask Ms. Clinton:
>We all know that the main intent of the State Department in 2011 was to jump on the “Arab Spring” bandwagon and secure an easy tangible “accomplishment” for Mrs. Clinton’s “foreign policy” credentials that could then be used in her 2016 presidential election campaign. The US military clearly was used to serve purely domestic political objectives. Does Clinton have any regrets inasmuch as Gadhafi was fully cooperating with the United States in the “war on terrorism” against the Muslim militant extremist ideology and Libya is now just another completely failed and lawless zone in the volatile Muslim world – a lawless zone which we deliberately created? It was always apparent that the unprovoked US attack on Libya would actually be quite self-defeating.
>The United States attacked without provocation a sovereign country with which it had full diplomatic relations and which represented zero threat to the United States, to American citizens, or to US interests. It did so without any formal statement of intent, or any formal declaration of war. How does a President who grew up in Hawaii reconcile such an act in view of generations of American righteous indignation over just such a bombing attack on Pearl Harbor? (The notion that “it’s not war if you don’t ‘boots’ on the ground” is simply idiotic. What have the Brits been saying for the past 70 years about the Nazi Blitz on London?)
>Does the US military exist to defend the nation or to function as “The President’s Very Own World Cop”? (Will those who advocate the latter say so honestly to the parents, spouses and children of American dead soldiers? Are they willing to join those soldiers in their cause, or is that “beneath” them?) Just how many different emotional causes throughout the world should the US military be fixing at any one moment? Who decides which causes to take on and which to ignore? What is the criteria? Is this how a Commander-in-Chief Hillary Clinton will use the US military? Does she (and her sisters) intend to continue deceiving the American public to “justify” foreign military actions with emotional nonsense about things that “might” happen somewhere? This, of course, is a very slick way to circumvent both the US Constitution and the US Congress and deny the people’s elected representatives a say in the matter. How many more people did our eight months of bombing kill than “might” have been killed by Libyans in this “humanitarian” mission that was really all about “regime change”?
>It’s obvious that American women appointed to very high places, on behalf of the American people, lied to the Russians – who would be just stupid to ever trust the United States again. What exactly did official representatives of the United States tell Russian (and Chinese) officials about US intentions in Libya to avoid an expected Russian (and Chinese) veto of the pending UN resolution? Because of the “human rights” (or “humanitarian”) subterfuge, that UN resolution – to establish a no-fly zone, not to effect “regime change” – was the sole authority for the US military under the “NATO” cover to engage in war against another sovereign nation. If the “NATO” mission was solely to establish a “humanitarian” no-fly zone in Libya, in accordance with the UN resolution, there was no need for further bombing after the first two days – when Libyan planes stopped flying. What was the authority for the US military to continue to wage war? Why would any sane country want to alienate and then oppose its best potential ally – Russia – in its fight against global Islamic militant extremism in THIS century?
>After the US state-sponsored assassination of the recognized state leader (Gadhafi), everything negative that has unfolded in Libya was always 100% predictable. Did anyone in the State Department ever come up with an answer to the Pentagon’s burning question about What Comes Next? (The Russian Foreign Minister must have asked this same question a dozen times, in vain.) (The Americans also had no answer to the same question a little later over Syria, so, this time, the Russians simply refused to play ball. They did, however, throw the charging Americans a red-flag bone. They offered them a way out by instead concentrating on working together to rid Syria of its chemical weapons. The easily distracted Americans took the bait. Two years later Syria was still a deadly war zone and the main breeding ground for Islamic extremists, but most of Syria’s chemical weapons had been removed and destroyed. The winner in Syria was clearly the Russians (plus the Syrian regime); the losers were millions of Syrian citizens denied their “”human rights” – for years. These Russians are the people the US needs on its side, not on the “other” side.)
>We waited until after Gadhafi had surrendered all of his useable weapons of mass destruction before we attacked his then comparatively defenseless country. What affect has this action had on decades of US efforts in the nuclear nonproliferation arena, especially with countries like Iran and North Korea and Pakistan? Is the “brilliant” US position now, “Give us your nukes so we can then bomb your country to rubble.”?
>Why were certain CIA officials so intent on supporting the State Department spin when they knew full well that the spin was utter nonsense? Did anyone ever get a firm handle on the size of the mother lode of Libyan weapons, including thousands of SAMs and RPGs, that were parceled out among various lawless elements inside Libya and also shipped to extremist elements in Syria, ISIS, Niger, Mali, Gaza and elsewhere throughout North Africa and the Mid-east during and after the eight month bombing campaign? How many of those weapons were subsequently used to attack, kill or destroy US military, intelligence and diplomatic elements, including the US Consulate in Benghazi and the US Embassy in Tripoli? How many more people outside Libya were killed by those weapons than ever could have been killed inside Libya without the US intervention?
>What role was played by General Petraeus, before, during or after the eight-month bombing campaign against Libya? (Is this, or the Benghazi incident, the real reason why he has been kept silent? What were the real problems he faced as brief Director of CIA?) How about General Ham, and what were the real reason for his subsequent “retirement”?
>Why exactly was Senator McCain so easily sold on this idiotic scheme? Sometimes it seems like this guy is in favor of bombing just about anyone who pops up on his radar; with John McCain, it’s “all war all the time.” What was the final cost to US taxpayers of the “NATO” bombing of Libya (conducted mostly with US Navy and US Air Force weapons)? Is Senator McCain’s embarrassing involvement in the far larger Libyan bombing campaign the reason why the Republicans have had to concentrate on the much smaller Benghazi incident? (For some “macho” Republican politicians, ever eager to flex US military might as their best “solution”, all that the ladies had to do was toss some red meat into their kennel.) (The US military as National Viagra, for both genders, no brains needed. The US certainly has more than its share of “mentally challenged” “leaders”.)
>Does anyone in Washington recognize that these women, starting with Clinton’s close teacher and advisor Albright, in order to find something “useful” for that “NATO” anachronism to do (on the US taxpayer’s dime), have succeeded in transforming a static purely DEFENSIVE alliance operating for its members’ self-protection into a fluid mushy OFFENSIVE alliance operating far beyond its borders – an alliance that now cannot avoid being perceived as threatening to others, and especially to Russian national security? Does the US, operating under a “NATO” cover, now intend to do to the democratically elected President Putin what it did to Gadhafi? It’s absolutely certain that many governments around the world, including the one in Moscow, are seriously wondering just where this insanity from “the biggest bully on the block” stops and what they must now do to protect themselves from the impetuous, capricious Americans. (“End up with differences with the Americans, and they’ll just blow you to smithereens under some phony “humanitarian” or “human rights” subterfuge.”)
(The American women had already lied to him about their intentions in Libya, but once they had also engineered Gadhafi’s murder in a sewer pipe, Putin decided that he could not trust Russia’s (and his own) future to moderate Medvedev’s hands in a second term as President. Putin, who then felt that nothing was below the Americans, including his own murder, immediately opted to run for his third term and replace Medvedev. Once back in office, he has steadily increased his hold on the country and has steadily proceeded to re-build the Mother Russia fortress, first by shoring up strategic weaknesses in her western walls. Yes, The Russian government (just like the Ukrainian government) is its characteristic kleptocracy, but the Russian people have a thousand years of experience with this and with very strong leaders. Even under constant Western economic pressure, similar to that which the West imposed on Germany after World War I, Putin’s popularity among his own people remains far higher than for any other national leader. This man will never back down. It’s now even doubtful that Putin will ever relinquish his power before his death. The Americans, behind rabid Russian-hater Madeline Albright’s maneuvering, have finally succeeded in turning the clock backwards forty whole years – to the darkest days of the “Cold” War – just when Russia could have been our strongest ally in the fight against global Islamic militant extremism. Naïve Americans now are hoping that Putin is murdered by his own people, reacting to their efforts to exert severe economic pressures on Russia; such pathetic assassination-by-proxy hopes will be in vain. The more the West pushes, the stronger Putin will grow.)
>What exactly were the Sarkozy (French) government’s true motives for so aggressively and so rapidly trying to kill Gadhafi? In 2011 French air power immediately went to work like rabid dogs – against a state leader that until quite recently had been warmly and openly courted by France. (It’s been widely reported in France that Sarkozy has been under lengthy investigation for accepting huge illegal political campaign funding from Gadhafi, but evidence has been lacking since Gadhafi was killed.) Why, after Gadhafi was killed and the bombing finally stopped, did the French (and Italians) refuse to put the requisite peacekeeping forces on the ground in a nearly destroyed Libya that no longer had a capability to govern or defend itself? Did these countries, with their very long experience in Libya, renege on assurances previously given to the American women? Did France and Italy play the American women just as those women had played them?
>Does anyone in the current “foreign affairs” arena in Washington actually know what they are doing? Or is it all just about cheap domestic politics for the teeming dumb herds?
Now, just step back and watch all the self-serving political spin from EVERYONE on each of these items (and more). It’s easy when you don’t have a credible third (or fourth) party to play adult referee – which makes the Pentagon’s position so vulnerable. Truth is irrelevant when the only thing that counts is perception. What we almost never consider, of course, is how others perceive us.
P.S. A question often posed by American idiots: Does anyone believe that “President Putin” was democratically elected?
Answer: By global standards of “democracy”, including those in the US (where only about 55% of eligible voters bother to do so when just two behemoth parties run a stupid left-right, yes-no, black-white, he said-she said hegemony by buying millions of very poorly informed votes with trainloads of other peoples’ money), … most definitely. Just ask people like usually-correct Rep Dennis Kucinich, whose biggest problem is that he keeps telling truths no one wants to hear.