Why Obama's Actions in Libya Should Cost Him the Election

And why they likely won't.

The final presidential debate earlier this week was a tailor-made opportunity for Mitt Romney to rip into President Obama's inconsistent, value-free and at times incoherent foreign policy. And it was also an opportunity for the president to explain his administration's material misrepresentations on the murders of our ambassador and others in Libya. Instead, we heard silence from both of them on this topic.

One can conclude from this that the president uttered a silent sigh of relief when he dodged a bullet. And one can conclude that Romney wanted to look and sound presidential and emphasize his economic credentials and allay fears that he wants another war. Whatever the gain and whatever the strategy, this matter of American deaths in Libya is of vital importance to American voters.

It is important because it shows how far the American government has drifted from the confines of the Constitution and how far we as a people have drifted from the rule of law. The president bombed Libya last year in a successful effort to remove Col. Gadhafi from power. Gadhafi was a monster, but he kept the streets safe, the mobs from foreign embassies and consulates, and the terrorists in jail.

In 2005, President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair praised Gadhafi as a partner in the war on terror because he disposed of his nuclear weaponry and he arrested and resisted al-Qaida operatives. Obama, who last year claimed he did not have the time to seek authorization from Congress to bomb Libya as the Constitution requires, but did have the time to seek approvals from NATO and the Arab League, also claimed at the time and as recently as last Monday night that there were no American boots on the ground during the bombing. That, of course, is patently false and is known to be false.

American fighter planes (boots in the skies) would not be sent to bomb a foreign land without guidance from troops on the ground. I suspect that by "boots," Obama meant "uniforms." We know that American intelligence agents and American Special Forces -- neither of whose personnel wear uniforms, but most of whom no doubt wear boots on their feet in the Libyan desert -- were there, are still there and were providing intelligence about Gadhafi and his military to aid the assault by U.S. warplanes.

The assault was devastating not only to the Gadhafi government, but also to the Libyan people. It destroyed much of Libyan authority structures as they then existed. Not only were Libyan government personnel and buildings and equipment destroyed, but so were Libyan intelligence agents and assets, police stations, roads and bridges, and innocent civilians, as well. This resulted not only in the death of Gadhafi and the destruction of his government, but also in a vacuum into which moved the roving gangs of militias who reign there today. The militias opened up Gadhafi's jails and released many of the prisoners Bush and Blair had praised Gadhafi for incarcerating.

Fast-forward to September 11th of this year, and some of these al-Qaida-led and populated gangs murdered our ambassador and his colleagues. The Obama administration -- which knew of the al-Qaida role in all this and knew that the president's unconstitutional behavior facilitated that role -- denied what it knew and dispatched the American ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, to deliver lies to the American public. Rice claimed on five TV shows that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed by the spontaneous reaction of ordinary Libyans to a cheap Hollywood-made YouTube clip about Mohammed -- not by an organized terrorist gang.

Shortly after Stevens' murder, European newspapers began to speculate that though Stevens was the bona fide U.S. ambassador to Libya, he was also a member of the U.S. intelligence community, as were his now-murdered colleagues. Earlier this week, my colleagues at Fox News discovered that the building in which they were killed was and was known locally to be a CIA facility, and that the future Ambassador Stevens had used that facility to meet with Libyan rebels during the Gadhafi years.

Now we can connect some dots. If Stevens was a CIA agent, he was in violation of international law by acting as the U.S. ambassador. And if he and his colleagues were intelligence officials, they are not typically protected by Marines, because they ought to have been able to take care of themselves. And if Rice knowingly lied to the American public about a matter as grave as this, she should be fired, no matter who asked her to lie. And 14 days before a crucial presidential election, when both major-party candidates have an audience of 60 million voters, why were they mysteriously silent about all this? Might U.S. intelligence agents who routinely brief Romney have whispered the same instructions into his ear that they received from the president when they briefed him?

I still think Romney has a far better understanding of economic forces and a far superior appreciation for the free market than does Obama. But I had hoped he could demonstrate a better understanding of the proper role of the U.S. in foreign lands than has the president.

On this from Romney, thus far we have heard only silence; from the president, only boasts.

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  • ||

    Gadhafi was a monster, but he kept the streets safe, the mobs from foreign embassies and consulates, and the terrorists in jail.

    And Mussolini kept the trains running on time.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yeah....that isn't the best line of argumentation.

  • InlineSkate||

    Many of these dictators that the US has tried to overthrow in the name of democracy were at least keeping the region stable.

    Every single time the US attempts to "spread democracy" it ends up doing more harm than good.

  • MWG||

    "Many of these dictators that the US has tried to overthrow in the name of democracy were at least keeping the region stable."

    If by 'stable' you mean building up a bubble of resentment and rage through brutatlity and oppression, then yes, dictators have kept the region stable.

  • InlineSkate||

    Can it really be argued that overthrowing them has resulted in any better? Oppression by a dictator has simply been replaced with oppression by terrorist groups in many cases.

    Don't get me wrong I don't support how the dictators treated these people, but I just don't think it's the place of the US to be the bringer of democracy to the region.

  • MWG||

    "Can it really be argued that overthrowing them has resulted in any better? Oppression by a dictator has simply been replaced with oppression by terrorist groups in many cases."

    People have the right to overthrow oppression. Hell, it's written in the Dec. of Independance. If Gaddafi is replaced with another dictator (and that remains to be seen), the people will have every right to rise up again.

    "Don't get me wrong I don't support how the dictators treated these people, but I just don't think it's the place of the US to be the bringer of democracy to the region."

    On this point, you are correct.

  • Hoser||

    Dictatorship or Anarchy, the result is the same: tyranny. Who was it that concluded that given the choice between the two, that dictatorship is better?

    “Liberty or Freedom is not, as the origin of the name may seem to imply, an exemption from all restraints, but rather the most effectual applications of every just restraint to all members of a free society whether they be magistrates or subjects.” -Adam Ferguson

    You cannot institute freedom among people who are not willing to commit to a set of laws that apply to all people equally. Therefore, either tyranny of oppression or tyranny of anarchy must reign.

  • Ballz||

    mmm mmm mmm I love me some mother fucking anarchy.

  • jayjay||

    I agree. US can't police the world. Too much to do here.

  • JW||

    He brought that up to buttress his later claims.

  • jayjay||

    My concern is the unfair tax rate - Rich 15% vs. Poor 31%. A switch there would make me happy.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Gadhafi was a monster, but he kept the streets safe, the mobs from foreign embassies and consulates, and the terrorists in jail."

    Any libertarian that thinks dictators are the long term solution to such problems needs to think really hard about what it means to be a libertarian.

    I've defended cozying up with dictators myself, sometimes, when it serves American security interests to do so, but I don't think I've ever gone so far as to argue that supporting those dictators was in the best interests of the locals.

  • InlineSkate||

    I don't think it was in support of cozying up with Gadhafi. It was probably more along the lines of we shouldn't of got involved in overthrowing him.

    We don't have to cozy up with them, but we don't have to assist with their overthrowing either.

  • JW||

    ... The militias opened up Gadhafi's jails and released many of the prisoners Bush and Blair had praised Gadhafi for incarcerating.

    Fast-forward to September 11th of this year, and some of these al-Qaida-led and populated gangs murdered our ambassador and his colleagues.
  • Ken Shultz||

    Maybe that's what Napolitano is arguing here--that Gaddafi may not have been in the best interest of the locals, but he was working in America's best security interests.

    And that's a legitimate line of argument.

    Personally, I think Gaddafi was more of a liability than an asset. A disproportionate number of the world's jihadis hail from Libya, and I believe that was in no small part due to it being practically impossible for a man of integrity to work hard, say what he thought, and be successful in Gaddafi's Libya. I think cozying up with Gaddafi at that point was creating resentment against the U.S., just as it did when we cozyed up with the vicious dictatorships like Mubarak's and the one in Saudi Arabia.

    Strategies that made sense during the Cold War just don't make much sense anymore, but those legacy relationships are hard to unwind. Opposing Libya along with the rebels presented us with a rare opportunity to change course from our legacy commitments of the Cold War, and I think we were wise to do what we did.

  • ||

    How did this change our "legacy commitments"? We used to not have any commitments to speak of in Libya. Now we have a military presence and ambassadors getting murdered. Forward?

  • Brian from Texas||

    A lot of things should cost Obama the election, but at this point, I don't even think the economy (if you can call it that) will take away his second term.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    In a sane and just world, we wouldn't be talking about the things that would cost Obama an election, but the charges that would be raised during his impeachment trial.

    But alas, our world is neither sane nor just.

  • Rich||

    Well, HM, it's possible that the forthcoming NWO Obama desires will try him as a war criminal.

  • Brian from Texas||

    Obama and Bush both should be sharing a defendants' table at that trial.

  • jayjay||

    Save a seat for Romney at that defendants' table. Perjury at Stemberg trial made him RICHER.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    A Robespierre-esque fate for Obama would be cosmic justice.

  • jacob the barbarian||

    Cosmic,or comic??

  • MWG||

    "Col. Gadhafi from power. Gadhafi was a monster, but he kept the streets safe, the mobs from foreign embassies and consulates, and the terrorists in jail."

    Drone strikes, endless war, the PATRIOT act, and the NDAA are all horrendous, but hey, they keep us safe.

    See how that works judge?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Ooh, that one stung! I would like to see his answer to that.

  • ||

    The judge opposes all of those thins, but to the best of my knowledge has never advocated a European democracy overthrowing our president for our own good because those things are bad. See how that works?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "It is important because it shows how far the American government has drifted from the confines of the Constitution and how far we as a people have drifted from the rule of law."

    Incidentally, I'd like my support for what we did in supporting the rebels in Libya to be taken within the context of the argument we should have had as a nation...

    If Barack Obama had gone to Congress and asked for authorization beforehand, as he should have, I think Congress should have given it to him--so long as he he didn't put any boots on the ground.

    The rule of law is important, here.

    "I suspect that by "boots," Obama meant "uniforms." We know that American intelligence agents and American Special Forces -- neither of whose personnel wear uniforms, but most of whom no doubt wear boots on their feet in the Libyan desert -- were there, are still there and were providing intelligence about Gadhafi and his military to aid the assault by U.S. warplanes."

    There's an important difference between putting spotters on the ground and using an invasion force to hold territory and assume control.

  • R C Dean||

    The rule of law is important, here.

    If by "here", you mean "in the United States", I think you may be mistaken.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's important to me anyway!

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think there's another mistake a lot of people are making (not Napolitano) in that they attribute the revolution to American bombing or to Barack Obama.

    I maintain that the United States is less responsible for the success of the Libyan revolution than France was for the success of the American revolution, which is to say that the United States didn't win the Libyan revolution--the Libyans did. ...just like France didn't win the American revolution, the American colonists did.

    There's no doubt our bombing sped things along in Libya. There's an open question about whether the Libyan rebels would have won at all without the assistance of the Qataris. Regardless, it was the Libyan people who decided to fight to overthrow their dictator...The Qataris and us came along after the fight had already started.

    We didn't impose our will on Libya. What Libya chooses to become is up to the Libyan people. I hope they choose peace, freedom, justice, tolerance, and to be allies of the United States, but if they choose something else, if they choose to be our enemy, it won't be because the United States helped them overthrow the vicious dictator who was oppressing them.

  • ||

    The stupid is bursting out of every pore of that post.

    Libyans won their own revolution in the same sense that you win a bar fight when you go talk shit to the steroid head drinking Everclear from a pitcher, he takes you out back and starts beating the shit out of you, then 25 of your friends jump out of the shadows with baseball bats, beat him to the verge of unconsciousness, and then let you throw the knockout blow that could just as easily have been delivered by a 5 year old by that point, and give you credit for the stellar fight.

    We didn't impose our will on Libya.

    Certainly not. We did one better. We fought their war for them with no expectation of good relations afterwards. Saved us the disillusionment we felt when the same thing happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. At least our efficiency is improving though. It took us years of house-to-house fighting in those countries before we got them to a place where they could launch terrorist attacks and kill our diplomats. Forward!

  • tagtann||

    Sometimes you jsut have to roll with it man.

    www.Anon-UA.tk

  • Ken Shultz||

    Also, I don't think a lot of people know about what the people of Benghazi did to those who apparently initiated the attack on our consulate.

    I don't think most Americans are aware that tens of thousands of everyday Libyans in Benghazi rose up against the Islamist militia that perpetrated the attack on our consulate--and chased that militia out of town.

    There's no question that the Libyans have a lot of cleaning up to do before they normalize their country, and that a big part of that has to do with disarming various militias running around vying for power...

    But the people of Benghazi did react against what the militia that assassinated our ambassador did, and they did so specifically because of the assassination and on a pretty widespread basis, too.

    It seems to me that the assassination itself is being reported to most Americans and understood by most Americans as the general opinion of Libyans towards the United States--but for some reason, the story of Benghazi rising up against the militias isn't getting much or any coverage in the media at all...

    I suspect the reason the widespread pro-American reaction is getting short shrift is becasue Barack Obama himself blamed fanaticism among Libyans for the assassination of our ambassador.

    Barack Obama misdirecting American opinion and emphasizing the Libyans who resent us--just to deflect criticism away from himself in an election season--that's something president Obama should be horribly ashamed of.

  • MWG||

    "I don't think most Americans are aware that tens of thousands of everyday Libyans in Benghazi rose up against the Islamist militia that perpetrated the attack on our consulate--and chased that militia out of town."

    No, no Ken. You're wrong. These so called revolutionaries are nothing but a bunch of islamist extremists who hate America more than they hate the dictator they overthrew.

    /typical red blooded American

  • R C Dean||

    I don't think most Americans are aware that tens of thousands of everyday Libyans in Benghazi rose up against the Islamist militia that perpetrated the attack on our consulate--and chased that militia out of town.

    I had heard there was a protest, but I hadn't heard that the militia was actually run off. Got a link?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "BENGHAZI, Libya — Galvanized by anger over the killing of the popular American ambassador here last week, thousands of Libyans marched through this city on Friday, demanding the disarming of the militias that helped topple the dictatorship but have troubled the country with their refusal to disband.

    In a show of mass frustration at the armed groups, protesters seized control of several militia headquarters on Friday night and handed them over to Libya’s national army in what appeared to be a coordinated sweep. They also stormed the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia, a hard-line Islamist militia that has been linked to the attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other Americans.

    As members of Ansar al-Sharia fled their headquarters, protesters set at least one vehicle on fire, and Reuters reported that one person was killed. There were unconfirmed reports that several had been wounded by the departing gunmen.

    ...

    “We want justice for Chris,” read one sign among the estimated 30,000 Libyans, including families, who marched into Benghazi’s main square on Friday to protest in front of the chief encampment of Ansar al-Sharia.

    Some held signs reading “The ambassador was Libya’s friend” and “Libya lost a friend.”

    ----New York Times

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09.....ghazi.html

  • Ken Shultz||

    Ansar al-Sharia is widely considered to be the militia responsible for assassinating our ambassador.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Barack Obama misdirecting American opinion and emphasizing the Libyans who resent us--just to deflect criticism away from himself in an election season--that's something president Obama should be horribly ashamed of."

    If Barack Obama wins reelection, it will be, in part, due to his exploiting prejudice and bigotry against Muslims.

    Bill Clinton may have been a lot of things, but, whatever else he was, to me, he will also always be the man who executed someone who was functionally retarded just to prove that he was tough on crime.

    If Barack Obama wins reelection, whatever else he is, to me, he will also always be the man who exploited prejudice and bigotry against Muslims just to get himself reelected.

  • ||

    Interventionism is dandy if the intentions are good, and blaming Muslim terrorists for Islamic terrorism is racist. Jesus Christ Ken, did you fall asleep during a Chris Matthews marathon and the stupid just absorbed into your unconscious mind?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Intervention is dandy if it's in our best interests to intervene.

    Pandering to prejudice is exploiting bigotry. So, yeah, if Barack Obama made up a BS story about Muslims using various stereotypes, then he exploited bigotry.

  • jayjay||

    Ken, muslims prefer the Dream Act over no act. Exploitation? No!!!

  • T o n y||

    Nobody, not the Judge, not the (other) fatheads blowholing on FOX News, has clearly explained just what the wrongdoing here was, what Obama's motivation would be for a coverup, and generally what the hell they're talking about. The government wasn't quite sure in the minutes after the attack how much blame to assign to a coordinated attack vs. uncoordinated protests? Well holy fuck, impeach!

    Why can't all the people possessing such superior clarity of judgment on this matter realize when they're being fed a line of partisan bullshit from people who perpetrated some of the most idiotic, wasteful, tragic foreign policy fiascoes in the country's history?

  • RightNut||

    We have the emails Tony, The White House knew the attack was organized and not a mob action within hours. Obama said as much in an unaired 60 minutes clip, which was only recently released online. Then for weeks after EVERYONE involved said it was a mob action sparked by a anti-Mohammed video.

    Why did they lie, and then continue to lie? Was it malice or just utter and complete incompetence? Do you like having your president, secretary of state, and several others high up in the executive lie to your face?

  • jayjay||

    Mitt Romney lied UNDER OATH at the Stemberg divorce trial and he and his partner rode out with millions of dollars. Shouldn't TRUST and the Presidential oath carry the greater weight?

  • Rhino||

    You don't need boots on the ground to drop bombs. Only targets that are likely to move more rapidly than the delivery system and reliably get to it need an observer and we can also do that from the sky. There are many pilots qualified and capable of performing this task. it's called FAC (A) or Forward Air Controller (Aerial). Doesn't dismiss anything in this article. just wanted to point that outl

  • Gray Ghost||

    Are you planning on using drones for target discrimination? How do you plan on avoiding blue-on-blue? (maybe blue-on-teal's more appropriate?) Hard to do that, even from a drone, unless you take the attitude that anything in a tank, or other easily distinguishable vehicle's, fair game.

    Otherwise, even in an environment with no IADS or significant AAA, you run the risk of confusing, e.g, cameramen for guys with RPG's. Not that ground observers are perfect in that area either.

  • Matthew Brown||

    Sorry, I'm just not seeing the cause for outrage, bar partisanship — this all sounds like the standard real-world way things have been done for a while, under a whole bunch of presidents. US diplomatic staff with links to the CIA? Say it ain't so!

  • RightNut||

    Romney has been silent lately about Benghazi-gate because the last two times he opened his mouth to criticize Obama's handling of it the media rushed to the president's defense and made Romney out to be a dumb amateur. The fact many in the media are barely covering the scandal is just further proof that they don't want anything to get in the way of dear leader's reelection.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I don't see that this has anything to do with Party or Presidents; our foreign policy is illogical because it is usually based on our pathetic desire to have people think well of us. If we based it on our actual interests it would make a lot more sense and probably be a lot cheaper.

    In the case of Libya, we would have obliterated Q'daffy Duck the first time he backed a terror attack on U.S. citizens, and otherwise left the place alone. We would do the same with any country that is run by barbarians, occasionally sending diplomats to places like Saudi Arabia that have something we want, and only maintain embassies in countries that can be counted on to maintain civilized discourse.

    Such a blanket policy would not only save us a lot of grief and acid indigestion, it would probably make a lot of people a great deal less nervous - and those that it did make nervous would deserve it more. A foreign policy that is supposedly based on altruism, frankly, isn't very believable, and our insistence on one must puzzle the hell out of a lot of people.

  • jason||

    No this will not effect this election because the main agenda in this election is same as the old which is based on economy and jobs.

  • Cameroon||

    If you believe that Obama would use the extra $80 billion in revenue extracted from the rich to reduce the deficit, I have an 11-page glossy jobs pamphlet for you. And Obama's tax on the rich would hit more than 1 million small businesses, according to the Internal Revenue Service, which would make his tepid supply-side policy item—the kind of policy he regularly mocks, incidentally—useless.
    coach outlet, Still, according to a Bloomberg survey of selected economists, under Obama's plan, "13,000 jobs would be created in 2013, bringing the total to 288,000 over two years." That's hundreds of billion in spending—deficit spending—aimed at creating a few unsustainable jobs without the benefit of any real private-sector growth.coach outlet

  • jayjay||

    Curious: Why do the poor, middle classes kick so hard for rich politicians during campaigns? Sprewing hatred and using hurtful language doesn't get us an invite. I cannot believe the blogs. Voters kick and scream like teenage girls at a concert. News flash!!! There is no DREAM TEAM among politicians. Relax. Vote. 5% vs. 31% tax rate. There's your enemy. Jeez.

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