On Point: Libyan War Emerges to Haunt 2016 Presidential Campaign

by Austin Bay
March 1, 2016

An allied coalition is now waging overt and covert war in Libya. It looks a bit like the so-called coalition attacking ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq. We can't be certain, for the anti-ISIL coalition has as much political and military operational unity as a spilled box of Crackerjacks.

However, verified troop deployments demonstrate protecting Tunisia's nascent Arab Spring success is one Libyan war goal. That is a laudable goal. Britain seems to have the lead vis a vis Tunisia. British troops have joined Tunisian security forces along the Tunisia-Libya border.

Stabilizing Libya appears to be another war aim. British and perhaps U.S. special forces have entered Libya. France has an aircraft carrier off Egypt. Libyan stability is a laudable objective, and one that benefits Egypt.

However, like defining what constitutes an allied coalition member, stability is a vague notion. In diplo-speak, it usually means less chaos, but don't dare ask less compared to what. Vagueness gives diplomats and American presidents a mansion's worth of room for political and media wiggle. With sufficient wiggle, they evade responsibility.

But achieving genuine stability demands responsible and persevering leadership. You must fight and defeat violent, radical Islamists, and then you must remain there to train Libyan modernizers to defend themselves. Then, for another three decades, you back them up with military power and, when required, military presence.

At the moment, U.S. primary elections overshadow military deployments and terse Pentagon press releases confirming air strikes on ISIS enclaves.

But this is fact: Libya is definitely a theater of war involving American military personnel. I contend that Libya, in various overt and covert guises, is now stalking its second American presidential election.

In this election, the Obama Administration can't blame Libya's political intrusion on a sacrilegious video filmed by a California crank. The toxic lie that "the video did it" -- and toxic lie it demonstrably was -- shouldn't have succeeded in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. The lie was doubly toxic because the national press ignored abundant and immediately available evidence that the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012 was a terrorist attack. Moreover, it was a planned Islamist terrorist attack spawned amidst the relentless chaos and violence primarily spurred by violent Islamists. The NATO coalition -- which supported Libya's anti-dictatorship revolution -- failed to help Libyan modernizers combat the Islamist violence.

Please re-read the paragraph about what it takes to achieve stability. Libya 2011 was an unfinished revolution. The unfinished business exploded in 2012 as rampant terrorism. But recall "al-Qaida is on the run" was a key Obama 2012 presidential campaign theme.

Alas, Obama made certain his preferred narrative superseded geo-political reality.

If you think that President Barack Obama in the Rose Garden the day after the consulate attack called it a terrorist attack, parse the transcript. With rhetorical premeditation, he slickly finessed a compliant media. "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation..." is his direct quote. Note plural "acts." Wiggle wiggle. He evaded explicitly linking Benghazi to terror, though he would later claim he did.

Over the next two weeks, key administration biggies continued to claim the "video did it." On September 24, while taping a TV talk show, Obama didn't call it terrorism. On September 25 at the UN he also avoided the terrorist label.

We now have hard evidence that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew the truth. On the night of the attack, Clinton sent an email to her daughter admitting terrorists were responsible. "Two of our officers in Benghazi were killed by an al-Qaida (sic) like group," she wrote. Then she strolled off and blamed the video for inciting Muslims.

An ongoing investigation into Clinton's criminal failure to secure classified national security information produced the email. The politically correct can bark til Hell freezes Donald Trump. Clinton's problem isn't email; it's failure to comply with the clear and certain laws governing the protection of classified intelligence information. That is the legally correct frame.

Thus the Libyan Knot Clinton confronts ties Benghazi and her classified information scandal.

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To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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