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The Real Story In Libya

Yes, it is worse than you think. Creation Date Wednesday, 21 November 2012. Hits 2241

The Real Story In Libya

My fellow Conservatives often tend to complain that the left leaning media isn't telling the full story, and nowhere are their claims more amplified right now than in the Benghazi debacle in Libya. They point out that the media by and large ignored this story, and now they focus merely on the sex scandal surrounding David Petraeus. While I usually feel that these complaints are a bit overstated, this whole scenario in Libya has got me scratching my head, but not just because of the media coverage. I'm beginning to wonder if I am the only one that saw what just happened.

In order to understand the real travesty that has taken place here, one needs to look back a little further than September 11th. Therefore, I am going to give you a short and sweet documented (linked main stream media stories) summary of my case here.

  1. In 2003, Gaddafi agreed to disarm his WMD program. There is now much speculation about why he did so (some citing the Iraq war, others the Clinton era sanctions) and if he fully lived up to his agreement (there were claims that WMD were found following the uprising) but the accepted intelligence prior to the rebellion was that Libya no longer had WMD in their possession.
  2. Our support of the Libyan rebels while simultaneously recognizing their surrender of WMD sent a bit of a mixed message to the world. Why cooperate with us if disarmament only guarantees that you will be unable to defend yourself when we come after you? While I typically would not cite a North Korean paper, the North Korean Times reported that "North Korea on Tuesday said Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi's 2003 decision to give up his pursuit of a nuclear deterrent left his nation open to attack by outside forces." Propaganda? Of course. It's not like they were considering disarmament until this happened, but it is a valid point that will not go unnoticed by anyone who may be considering cooperating with our foreign policy demands.
  3. Shortly after the uprising started, Gaddafi claimed that the rebels were "loyal to bin Laden ... This is al-Qaida that the whole world is fighting." Now, should we take Gaddafi at face value and assume that since he said it it must be true? Of course not. But what if our intelligence sources could verify his claims?
  4. On March 24th, Hillary Clinton announced that, along with NATO, we would be enforcing a "No Fly Zone" over Libya to aid the rebels. 3 days later she responded to questions about the presence of Al Qaeda amongst the rebels by saying "the U.S. is still 'getting to know' the rebels." Admiral Stavridis (NATO Commander) answered the same question by saying "We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al Qaeda, Hezbollah; we've seen different things. But at this point, I don't have the detail sufficient to say that there's a significant al Qaeda presence or any other terrorist presence in and among these folks." Even President Obama weighed in on the concerns with the following. "Most of them are professionals, lawyers, doctors—people who appear to be credible. That doesn't mean that…among all the people who opposed Gadhafi, there might not be elements that are unfriendly to the United States and our interests."

Based on the above, can you see the issue that is developing here? You can make a case that we should have invaded Libya and stopped Gaddafi from potentially murdering his own people, but in making that case one would also be making the case for intervention in Syria would they not? After all, in Syria it isn't potential, the massacre there is ongoing. Yet we don't help them. Why not? According to the Washington Examiner, a Government Official told them that "We failed early on to have better insight into who opposition members were in Syria prior to the rebellion. Now we need to move quickly to see who we can trust before the waters get muddier." So you see here that our Government on some level is aware that we should know whom we are helping before we start helping them. Which leads us back to the point of the article in the first place.

Had we not known prior to Benghazi that we should be careful whom we aid, we would have known now wouldn't we? This Republican notion that President Obama wanted to hide the truth because he had declared Al Qaeda to be on their heels is silly. The narrative that needed to be protected was a much worse one. For better or for worse, we ignored the intelligence we had that indicated the presence of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups amongst the Libyan rebels and we rushed to their assistance anyway. A mere 6 months later those very groups attacked and killed 4 Americans on the very soil we had helped them secure. From this point forward, you can spin and deflect as your particular side sees fit, but those are the facts and they are undisputed.

Armed with these facts, I'm sure that some on the left would highlight that our intelligence thought the level of presence of these terrorist groups to be minimal. Meanwhile, some on the right would claim that this is approaching a treasonous act of lending aid and comfort to the enemy. You know how these things go. For what it is worth, here are my two cents on the issue.

I believe that President Obama meant well by going into Libya, but I don't believe that his primary objective was to help the Libyan people. I believe it was to help his campaign. Sound cynical? It isn't. Here is why I say that. Following the Benghazi attack our CIA states that they knew from day 1 that this was Al Qaeda. Yet President Obama pushed the story of an uprising sparked by a video. Let's not BS each other, that was political posturing. But notice what our intelligence was saying then? They saw "flickers" of Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. President Obama translated that into "elements that are unfriendly to the United States." If passing off men armed with mortars and rocket launchers as "protestors" is political posturing now, then why wasn't calling Al Qaeda "unfriendly to the United States" posturing then? If President Obama is nothing else, he is certainly consistent. It's not that I question his sincerity, I can just see what he is sincere about. If protection of human life was the motivating factor, then we would protect it in Syria. And if his recent coverup of a deal gone bad is a reaction to an unexpected outcome, than why did he use the same semantics prior to the deal kicking off? Nothing has changed. It was political spin to justify a maneuver that would help his campaign then, and it is political spin to cover up a negative side effect of the move now.

I disagreed with our actions in Libya, however, for a much different reason. I supported the war in Iraq, but I learned my lesson from that. I still think that we were right in that war, but the problem is that America doesn't have the guts anymore to see these actions through. The way I see it, there are only two options to resolving these issues in the Middle East.

  1. Long and protracted wars where we go in and topple a hostile regime that is mistreating its people and threatening its neighbors. We then stay in Country as long as it takes to secure our gains until that Country can stand on its own.
  2. We allow tyrannical dictators to kill their people. We recognize that at the end of the day that region does not like us, and there is little if anything we can do to change that. We understand that as long as they are killing each other, they do not have time to focus on killing us.

Option 2 is ugly and perhaps a bit barbaric, but that is now my preferred response to the region. Since we don't have the stomach to do option one, what other choice do we have? And before you try to tell me that the picture is not really that bleak and there has to be a third option, there is. We can pick a side, fly over, and drop bombs until the side we picked wins. But when the one side shoots down our planes in Scotland and the other side kills our Ambassadors, is either side really worth picking?

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