Forget Benghazi! "Libya is Now 'Scumbag Woodstock'"!

The Daily Beast's Eli Lake reports that Libya, the site of an American-enabled kinetic-action-lead-from-behind-super-duper NATO triumph that somehow led to U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens being croaked by really irate YouTube consumers, is now packed with more domestic terrorists than your neighborhood Tea Party HQ:

In the nearly 20 months since the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks, al Qaeda operatives and allied terrorists have flocked to Libya, making the fragile North African country a hub for those seeking to wage jihad from north Africa, current and former U.S. counterterrorism officials tell The Daily Beast.

Not only does al Qaeda host Ansar al-Sharia, one of the militias responsible for the Benghazi attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. But U.S. intelligence now assesses that leaders from at least three regional al Qaeda affiliates—al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and members of the organization of Al-Mulathameen Brigade loyal to Algerian terrorist, Mokhtar BelMokhtar—have all established havens in the lawless regions of Libya outside the control of the central government.

One U.S. military contractor working on counter-terrorism in Africa summed up the situation in Libya today as simply, “Scumbag Woodstock.” The country has attracted that star-studded roster of notorious terrorists and fanatics seeking to wage war on the West.

Actually, suggests a different U.S. offical channeling Israel Zangwill, post-Qaddafi Libya is more like "a jihadist melting pot." All that's left is for the foreign-policy equivalent of former New York Mayor David Dinkins to declare the place "a glorious mosaic."

With apologies to A.J. Benza: Foreign poilicy (read: half-baked, unconstitutional interventions that lead only to the next iteration of madness and mayhem), ain't it a bitch.

Following Qaddafi’s decision at the end of 2003 to turn over his nuclear program to the United States, even many U.S. politicians who supported Qaddafi’s ouster in 2011 credited him with cracking down on al Qaeda.

A 2009 State Department cable first disclosed by Wikileaks summarized a meeting with Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman and Qaddafi’s national security adviser when Lieberman “called Libya an important ally in the war on terrorism, noting that common enemies sometimes make better friends.”

Now Qaddafi is gone. But in Libya, those common enemies very much remain.

Read Lake's whole thing here.

I understand the Republican fixation on "Benghazi" from a political angle. It's a moment that encapsulates the utter failure of the Obama administration first to conceive of a meaningful foreign policy related to the War on Terror and then to acknowledge that it truly screwed up not just in operational terms (securing a consulate that was housing the American ambassador) but in strategic terms (what the hell exactly were we—are we—trying to accomplish in Libya these days other than building a "Scumbag Woodstock"?). Luckily that same sort of totally inane intervention didn't happen in Syria, mostly because of right-wing pushback.

However, here's where the Republicans, with very few exceptions, are totally out to lunch: Apart from the Justin Amashes and the Rand Pauls of the GOP, they really are using "Benghazi" (like "Chinatown" in the Polanski film, it's both a literal place and psychic space of unfixable horrors) as a cudgel to beat down Hillary Clinton's political future, not as the starting point of a meaningul and long-overdue (since the end of the goddamn Cold War in George H.W. Bush's only term!) conversation about U.S. foreign policy. Because the Republicans as a group aren't interested in setting basic principles that might limit future military actions now that they are convinced that not just the Senate but the White House is within their reach. Nor are they interested in revisiting all the mistakes made when the Bush administration was running the show.

Americans will suffer due to the lack of seriousness in reaching a foreign-policy consensus. We'll spill more U.S. blood and spend more borrowed dollars on actions that leave the world less stable, prosperous, and peaceful (see the past dozen years). But it's really the wretched of the Earth who will ultimately pay a much higher price for the intransigence of Democratic and Republican refusals to work out basic rules and guidelines that preclude erratic and almost-always ineffective military actions (again, see the past dozen years).

From May 2013, here's Reason TV's "3 Reasons Benghazi Still Matters":

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  • fuck you tulpa||

    Nor are they interested in revisiting all the mistakes made when the Bush administration was running the show.

    When did Gillespie becom a Buttplug?

  • The Last American Hero||

    I was told Obama was different. No more cowboy actions in the Middle East, a reset with Russia, and a restoration of respect from European Nations. I was told there would be a thoughtful man in the White House who would carefully contemplate foreign policy matters.

    All we got was Bush Pts III and IV.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    But no $1 trillion ground wars that kill 4500 US soldiers.

    The Libya = Iraq bullshit is so tiresome.

  • fuck you tulpa||

    I'll defer to your demonstrated expertise on being tiresome.

  • Free Society||

    The marginalizing of Libya bullshit is tiring. Obama could light a baby on fire and people like you will chant "FAKE SCANDAL!" when someone objects.

  • JWatts||

    Obama only lit one Baby on fire. Boosh was responsible for billions of brown babies being killed!

  • Free Society||

    Now that I think about it with all his droning of civilians in Pakistan and Yemen, Obama has lit a multitude of babies on fire. And his apologists do cry "fake scandal".

  • Harun||

    Its a scandal with many layers, which add up to more than the sum of its parts.

    1) Incompetence at State.
    2) No rescue attempted.
    3) Was the annex running weapons to AQ in Syria?
    4) Why blame the video? Sleazy politics.
    5) Promise the family that you will get that video guy, and State tells the Arab street that we will get that video guy, and then you send cops in the middle of the night to get that video guy? Not cool on so many levels.

    Now, if you only have 1 or 2 of these, its not much, especially 1 and 2, which can be accepted as just incompetence, bad luck, etc. much like Abu Ghraib was incompetent management, etc.

    3) is more interesting, if true, but even that can be accepted as Assad is not our friend.

    4 & 5 are where we get the true scandal.

    Hillary using the video as an excuse is not acceptable, especially to the family. State promising Islam that we will act as their blasphemy police is not acceptable. Then actually arresting the guy, on camera in the middle of the night looks really bad.

    We all know that the Feds can find charges on anyone they want. Do we really want the government going after minor film makers if it helps them get re-elected?

    Remember, we can't get Roman Polanksi arrested, but if enough of the Arab Street gets riled up, we can get this you tube guy.

  • KalkiDas||

    Yeah, and how much loss of life and treasure will there be someday to deal with the unintended consequences of the mess that is now Libya will there be? It's a gift that is waiting to be given, made possible by the current regime and future regime to be.

    The seen and unseen.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Every country in the Middle East is a basket case whether we tamper with them or not. Look at Syria where we sat out. Iraq is a hellhole where we dumped a $1 trillion nation-building. Egypt is a shithole. Saudi Arabia is fairly stable only because of our petro dollars and Bush French-kissing their King.

  • Jordan||

    Every country in the Middle East is a basket case whether we tamper with them or not.

    If that excuses Libya, then that excuses Iraq as well.

  • Free Society||

    Iraq is a hellhole where we dumped a $1 trillion nation-building.

    Money that was distributed politically.

    Saudi Arabia is fairly stable only because of our petro dollars

    Money earned through trade.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Hey Weigel.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    4500? You mean the least number of American troops ever killed in a ground war (by an order of magnitude)?

    (Not that I support the action...but just sayin'.)

  • Loki||

    There you go with your facts again.

  • Loki||

  • ||

    But no $1 trillion ground wars that kill 4500 US soldiers

    Last I checked we are still in Afghanistan and we stayed in Iraq for 5 years after Bush left office.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    I am sitting Afghanistan and can confirm that we are still here and I definitely see President Obama's picture on the wall at the top of the Chain of Command.

  • robc||

    3 and 4?

    Bush I was 1989-1993
    Bush II was 1993-1997
    Bush III was 1997-2001
    Bush IV was 2001-2005
    Bush V was 2005-2009

    This has been VI and VII.

  • R C Dean||

    How, exactly, do Bush policies lay the groundwork for Benghazi? Nick? Care to elucidate?

  • ||

    Say what you want about Bush's legacy, but I find it hard to believe that he would have left an Ambassador and a group of Americans to twist in the wind for EIGHT HOURS with no type of response or attempt at rescue no matter where they were.

    This isn't to excuse Bush for other issues, but the attitude at State reflects the Executive branch, and it's pretty clear that there was a difference in how we protect our Ambassadors.

  • ||

    Also he would not have blamed the attack on a youtube video in order to deflect criticism of his foreign policy.

    He would have blamed it correctly on terrorists and then used it as an excuse for expanding the war on terror.

    Not better then Obama especially that last part...but it would have been distinctly different.

  • Spawn of Nyarlathotep||

    The weapons-grade bullshit phrase "Kinetic Military Action" could only have come from Barry's administration. As if his being the only Nobel Peace Prize laureate with his own kill list weren't enough ...

  • Paul.||

    With all those drone attacks on Pakistani weddings, why hasn't he announced how many divorces have been saved?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The lesson being leave the iron boots in place, as the peoples in these regions will take to free-for-all killing of each other? As desirable as staying out of it may be, I don't think the GOP could sell that any more than the Dems could or would.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Missed a part:

    The lesson being leave the iron boots in place, as the peoples in these regions will take to free-for-all killing of each other without them? As desirable as staying out of it may be, I don't think the GOP could sell that any more than the Dems could or would.

  • Restoras||

    American-enabled kinetic-action-lead-from-behind-super-duper NATO triumph that somehow led to U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens being croaked by really irate YouTube consumers, is now packed with more domestic terrorists than your neighborhood Tea Party HQ

    That is some high quality snark. Well done, Jacket.

  • Free Society||

    ...and furthermore, the federal government should be destroyed.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I appreciate Nick's focus on the big picture issue of foreign policy incoherence of both teams, but I wonder that he didn't mention the obvious lying and obfuscation of O's administration in the form of blaming their policy failure on a youtube video.

  • Free Society||

    yes he did by way of pithy sarcasm.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Well, it's covered in the video, but other than mentioning it in the first paragraph he doesn't discuss it at all. I get that the piece is about a developing a broader foreign policy, but prior to being able to address that, we'll need to answer some of those specific Benghazi issues.

  • Free Society||

    American-enabled kinetic-action-lead-from-behind-super-duper NATO triumph that somehow led to U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens being croaked by really irate YouTube consumers, is now packed with more domestic terrorists than your neighborhood Tea Party HQ

    He does indeed mention it. If you are able to detect the whiff of sarcasm you might see it too.

  • MJGreen||

    "but other than mentioning it in the first paragraph"

  • Free Society||

    "He does indeed mention it." [indeed]- —used when making a statement that adds to or strengthens a previous statement

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Okay sweetie. You might want to whiff out some reading comprehension skills yourself.

  • Free Society||

    What was your objection again? That a half page blog post didn't delve into the youtube video narrative as numerous other Reason articles written by Gillespie already did.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Fuck off, asshole.

  • Free Society||

    You just called me sweetie, now I'm an asshole. I thought we could be friends and lovers.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    "You just called me sweetie, now I'm an asshole."

    They're not mutually exclusive. You seem to be a well intentioned dipshit.

  • Free Society||

    Oh I'm a dipshit now. You've definitely won the argument now.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Yes now.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Yeah, thanks. I agree.

  • Suellington||

    All blog posts about foreign policy should have at LEAST three paragraphs about Benghazi! That is the absolute minimum.

  • Brandon||

    Seriously, your complaint is that, even though he did mention it, he didn't harp on it enough?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Wow, lying and obfuscation? Jon Stewart did a special on that Bushpig specialty just last night.

    Remember how they planted the aluminum tube story then every single Bush liar claimed they were for nuclear centrifuges - knowing they were not?

    THAT is lying and subterfuge like we have never seen.

    Look it up - Stewart was brilliant last night.

  • TANSTaaFL||

    So lying is OK for your team as long as the other team's lies are worse? Wow, thanks for pointing out the reason you are equal in scum content to to the other guys and why anybody with a brain hates both of your "teams".

  • fuck you tulpa||

    We're talking about Obama and his foreign policy, thanks.

    Maybe you could save that for the "talking about boooosh while sucking a mediocre comedian" thread.

    LOL..you actually get news from Jon Stewart

  • Lord Humungus||

    but all the smart kidz listen to him!

  • sarcasmic||

    Well, yeah! I mean, smart people get their news from Stewart! So if you're dumb, and you get your news from Stewart, it will like make you smart and stuff!

  • Free Society||

    Getting your news from Jon Stewart is one thing. Boasting of that fact as if you think it's positive, is another.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Apparently Nick too. Look at the pictures above.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    PB subscribes to Reason for the pictures

  • Pathogen||

    LOL

  • fuck you tulpa||

    Wait wait wait, you actually think the presence of those pictures means he watches the show?

    Do you not understand how writing an article and the internet work?

    LOLOLLOL YOU ACTULLY THINK THAT MEANS HE WATCHES THE SHOW AHAHAAHHAHA

  • Loki||

    Maybe you could save that for the "talking about boooosh while sucking a mediocre comedian" thread.

    Isn't that pretty much what he tries to turn every fucking thread he comments on into?

  • ||

    LOL..you actually get news from Jon Stewart

    What is amusing is that there is no drought of "blame Bush for Obama's fuck ups" reporting out there.

    A comedian does it better then the actual hacks do.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Hey Weigel.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Good catch. I totally missed the connection when the title had nothing to do with pop music lyrics of old.

  • ||

    We are half-way into the light-bringer's second term and you are still on about Bush? Goddamn amazing.

  • Paul.||

    That's just how much damage Bush did. Bush was like a dirty bomb, he made presidential integrity a quiet neighborhood for the next 10,000 years.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You talking about Jon Stewart, the comedian guy?

  • JWatts||

    Jon Stewart makes serious and telling points. Until someone points out that he's being blatantly biased and cherry picking the facts. At that point, he's just a comedian telling a joke, and if conservatives weren't such humorless twats they'd understand that it was just a joke.

    Duh!

  • Pathogen||

    It reminds me of jihadis hauling ass to the safety of a mosque when loosing a firefight, other jihadis can burn it to the ground, but it's strictly off limits to the dirty kafir...

  • Loki||

    I'm suprised you're able to comment while taking double anal from Obama and Jon Stewart.

  • Pathogen||

    It's the only way it can get off.. now.

  • Brian||

    Palin's Buttplug:

    Wow, lying and obfuscation? Jon Stewart did a special on that Bushpig specialty just last night.

    Wow. He's really staying on top of current events.

    You know there's something rotten in Denmark when media personalities keep wanting to educate you about the horrors of the president from 10 years ago.

  • Harun||

    Let's keep in mind that Clinton also bombed Iraq in 1998 based on WMD stuff.

    So, if Bush is planting evidence, that means Clinton was doing it, too.

    Its not as if Clinton said there were no WMD's and Bush said "yeah, there are."

    Tony Blair actually helped bomb in 1998 and then in 2003 helped invade.

    To me, the large number of politicians who believed the evidence, from Labor to GOP to Democrat says that they thought it was fairly convincing.

  • Drake||

    How about we just try to get to the truth? We'll know if the Republicans are just want another beat-down or the truth based on the questions they ask.

    Who relieved Carter Ham from Africom Command during the attack? Why?

    What was the CIA doing? Was it a joint operation with State that went bad?

  • ||

    "What was the CIA doing? "

    What do you think they were doing? Running guns to Syria and operating a secret torture prison, you know, the shit that Obumbles put a stop to, except he didn't.

  • Drake||

    Yep - Perhaps the investigation could shine a little light it? Everyone in the Administration and media tried to make a pure coincidence that the CIA was hanging out in Consulate's backyard.

  • Pathogen||

    They were invited over for a cookout and some beers.. loose the tinfoil hat, teabagger!

  • Harun||

    The key is which Syrian rebels.

    I think we all know that if it were just to the "moderates" that it would not be a big deal.

    the way the admin went so fast to the video is only for two possible reasons:

    1) they were worried about GM Alive/AQ dead line being disproved...but really, do voters not understand that crazy Islamist stuff will keep on happening?

    2) The guns were going to AQ types. That's an election loser, right there.

  • JohnZeus||

    How about we put all of our formidable American effort behind total energy independence? That alone would go a long way toward giving us the ability to ignore most of that part of the world. And how about where we do have legitimate national interests outside of our own borders, we put in place a serious defensive structure that isn't there to initiate anything, but as a deterrent? But then, these ideas are pie-in-the-sky. After all, both major parties want power. Nothing else really matters. Expedience and the majority whim du jour are driving this bus. Trying to apply anything resembling logic and coherence to our foreign policy (any policy, really) is a fool's errand.

  • Jordan||

    Pining for energy independence is economic illiteracy. We get more oil from Canada and ourself than the Middle East anyway.

    Agreed that our foreign policy is utter lunacy though.

  • JWatts||

    Maybe, but adding enough oil and natural gas generation capacity so that North America produces more than it's level of demand is not economic illiteracy. And has a lot of positive long run consequences.

  • Ivan Pike||

    Maybe, but adding enough oil and natural gas generation capacity so that North America produces more than it's level of demand is not economic illiteracy. And has a lot of positive long run consequences.

    It would be better, long run, to build as many nuke plants to handle electricity generation, and use oil/natural gas for transportation. But with the public's irrational fear of nuclear, it won't happen until all other options are tried and fail.

  • JWatts||

    "It would be better, long run, to build as many nuke plants to handle electricity generation,"

    Absolutely! But either way, my statement remains true. In a Nuclear powered electrical economy natural gas demand would just be a lot lower, of course.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Our forgeign policy is always utter lunacy. A foreign policy based on a cold eyed assassment of which actions were in our national interest would have most of the population pitching a hairy catfit.

    Also, regarding energy independence. Why don't we ever discuss the option of sucking the oil out of the middle east as fast as possible. On the basis of, the sooner it's gone the sooner we can let these idiots sink back into the 13th Century.

  • JWatts||

    I personally think this is the only silver lining in the whole "let's keep northern Alaska pristine" meme. In 60 years, after Middle East oil is gone, the environmentalists will be ignored and we'll be drilling $250 per barrel oil out of the Alaskan tundra.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    Hillary lied about the video to the parent's of one of the victims, over their son's coffin. No one can stoop any lower than that.

    The foreign policy fuckup is one thing, but the lies to cover their pathetic asses is another.

  • Drake||

    She has to be a complete sociopath. It is one of the lowest things I've ever heard a senior American politician doing. I have far more respect for the simply corrupt taking bags of cash in return for votes.

  • ||

    Has she ever shown herself to be anything other than a sociopath?

    He throngs of fans are doing the same to her that the Obots do, they are projecting onto her what they wish she was and deliberately ignoring what is in plain sight.

    I remember some delirious Obot tearfully exclaiming that Obama "Oh my God! He's like the smartest man who ever lived! His IQ is off the charts!".

  • JWatts||

    They really do think that. If you were to ask almost any Obama supporter what his IQ was in relation to any other American supporter, they'll opine that he is smarter. Even though there's plenty of evidence to indicate that he's right in the middle of the pack.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    My Team above all else.

  • Free Society||

    Being a complete sociopath is a prerequisite for attaining federal office, especially a job in the executive branch. People unwilling to promote policies of kidnapping, extortion and murder of innocent people need not apply.

  • Bryan C||

    But can we at least select for more Dexter and less Dahmer?

    Competent sociopaths who don't leave a trail of failures everywhere they go?

  • Harun||

    Dexter is the top of the food chain. There must be more Dahmers just to keep him in action.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    The Grand Redundancy "Scumbag Woodstock"

  • Spawn of Nyarlathotep||

    I had always assumed Scumbag Woodstock to be Coachella, but apparently Libya is worse.

  • mr lizard||

    Heaven forbid that there might exist a large area not under the control of a central government....

    It's called survalience. If all the terrorists want to congregate in one central shit hole then let them.

  • Ron||

    It does make it easier to fry them when they all huddle in the same small area.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The site of an American-enabled kinetic-action-lead-from-behind-super-duper NATO triumph that somehow led to U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens being croaked by really irate YouTube consumers, is now packed with more domestic terrorists than your neighborhood Tea Party HQ:"

    I can't tell if this is all supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, or whether some of it is supposed to be serious.

    Chris Stevens wasn't "croaked" because of a YouTube video--Gillespie knows that.

    In regards to all of the terrorists, I've read of a couple of things going on.

    1) A large percentage of the international jihadis, especially fighting in Afghanistan, were originally from Libya--they're just coming home. Gaddafi's oppression was like a terrorist jihadi producing machine--and that situation wasn't going to improve so long as Gaddafi stayed in power. If toppling Gaddafi is making terrorists stay in Libya or retreat from the rest of the world and go home, I'm not sure that's a bad thing from an American security standpoint.

    2) Like what happened in Iraq, the "dead-enders" are becoming "terrorists".

  • Ken Shultz||

    Regardless, I only support America propping up vicious dictators when its in our best interests to do so, and propping up Gaddafi wasn't in our best interests.

    In fact, it still seems to me that other foreign assistance, like what the Libyan rebels were getting from invading Qatari troops, was more important than what we did from the air in toppling Gaddafi.

    This wasn't us inflicting freedom on the Libyan people like we did in Iraq--this was the Libyan people rising up against their oppressor. What we did certainly helped and sped things up, but I'm not sure it was necessary if toppling Gaddafi was the goal.

    Anyway, I'm glad we didn't put any troops on the ground.

    "in strategic terms (what the hell exactly were we—are we—trying to accomplish in Libya these days other than building a "Scumbag Woodstock"?

    Are we doing almost exactly what we should?

    Almost nothing.

  • ||

    It is worth pointing out that there is no 'Libyan people' or 'Iraqi people'.

    In that part of the world each 'country' is a place inhabited by numerous tribes, each of whom is continually trying to dominate and enslave the others. Knocking down whoever is dominant at the moment will only result in another one taking their place.

  • Free Society||

    Knocking down whoever is dominant at the moment will only result in another one taking their place.

    Or worse.

  • Ken Shultz||

    An order will emerge there, and I hope the people who live in that region we call Libya, who might, therefore, be referred to as "Libyans" as a matter of convenience, will choose something better than they had.

    So long as the rest of the world keeps its distance, I suspect they will choose something better, eventually.

    It really is up to the Libyans, and that's the way it should be. If after achieving something more like autonomy, they manage to avoid a bloody civil war over an issue like slavery, they'll be doing a lot better than we did. And we didn't fight that war for, what, more than 80 years after declaring our independence?

    The important thing is that it really is up to them and not us. Few Americans, if any, saw the Civil War as a great reason why we should have stayed under the boot of the British, and the Libyans may come to the same conclusion over time. In the meantime, talking about what happens in Libya as if it was up to us is a great way to convince people that we should do something ourselves.

    If we criticize Obama and Hillary for the current state of Libya until the American people become critical too, Obama or Hillary aren't going to think, "The American people are right: let's do even less than the nothing we're doing now!" Criticize them for the current state of Libya, and they're likely to start doing something.

    I mean, sheesh, if these people will exploit bigotry to help them win elections--they're capable of anything.

  • ||

    "An order will emerge there, and I hope the people who live in that region we call Libya, who might, therefore, be referred to as "Libyans" as a matter of convenience, will choose something better than they had."

    No. The order that will emerge will be indistinguishable from the one that emerged before. I wish I were wrong, but I am not.

  • Ken Shultz||

    To bet on it being better than it was under Gaddafi really is a pretty safe bet.

    That bar is set really, really, low. Whomever is gonna have to try really hard to edge under that limbo stick.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "To bet on it being better than it was"

    That depends entirely on what the "it" is

  • robc||

    And yet, the current regime has managed it already.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The "current regime" is a pretty convoluted bunch. I expect they'll experience something like what happened in Egypt but more complicated.

    In Egypt, lots of people wanted the Muslim Brotherhood--because they trusted them over Mubarak and the secularists. Once the Muslim Brotherhood got in office, they realized the MB didn't give a damn about freedom or constitutional rights!

    That's educational point#1.

    Educational point#2 belongs to the MB--learning that people will only take so much of your bullshit. If you want to maintain power, you have to take minority rights and interests into consideration--or you will quickly lose your legitimacy.

    Educational point#3 comes if and when the Egyptian people realize that overreacting to MB authoritarianism isn't in their best interests either.

    None of these educational points would have been possible to learn--from within Egyptian society--except that Mubarak was overthrown and the MB came to power. And I suspect Libya may have to go through a similar process.

    But it isn't right to look at any one point during that process and say, "See, they never should have overthrown Gaddafi". It's up to Libyans what they want. They might even decide they want another strongman for a while, but I suspect the only people who want Gaddafi back are the people from within the regime who lost their power when he fell.

  • Free Society||

    To bet on it being better than it was under Gaddafi really is a pretty safe bet.

    And you call ME Tulpa? You just provide one argument after another in support of liberal interventionism. If you really don't think it could get any worse than Gaddafi? Here I thought Islamists and terrorists in control of a government armed with Western military hardware, is about as bad as it gets.

  • Harun||

    You are about to learn a hard lesson. It can always get worse.

  • Harun||

    Qaadaffi was winning. We did the propping up, of the rebels.

    Previous to the civil war, we weren't exactly pro-Qadaffi.

  • Free Society||

    I can't tell if this is all supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, or whether some of it is supposed to be serious.

    Chris Stevens wasn't "croaked" because of a YouTube video--Gillespie knows that.

    Of course he's not being serious. You desperately need to re-calibrate your sarcasm detector if you didn't detect any...

    Regardless, I only support America propping up vicious dictators when its in our best interests to do so, and propping up Gaddafi wasn't in our best interests.

    Well that's a sociopathic sentiment. You'd support the systemic oppression and murder of others, so long as it's in your best interest. How noble of you.

  • Free Society||

    How do you reconcile your sociopath foreign policy outlook with libertarian principles? "My rights end where yours begin...unless it's in my best interest."

    you've heaped a load of logically inconsistent bullshit, once again.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It works that way with domestic policy, too!

    Aren't we generally better off when we look after our own interests, rather than inflict a drug war on other people's children--for their own good?

    The purpose of our military is to protect our rights from foreign threats. To whatever extent doing something will help protect us, it's an American interest. What I'm saying is an attempt to minimize what the American military does abroad.

    If only we had limited what we did in Iraq to what we did in Libya! To whatever extent protecting American interests can justify actions like what we did in Libya, it also rejects doing things like what we did in Iraq. Why would avoiding mistakes like Iraq be unlibertarian?

    You want to go to war? At the very least, I want to see some kind of American interest at stake. That isn't a blank check to go do whatever you want. It's a limiting principle, with Iraq making an excellent example. That limiting principle is why Bush Sr. and Jim Baker didn't invade Iraq. Ignoring that principle is why the Cheney Administration did invade Iraq.

  • Free Society||

    I freely admit there are times when the downsides aren't worth it, but there are other times when they are.

    Yeah sometimes it's just good policy to prop up murdering dictators.

    Aren't we generally better off when we look after our own interests, rather than inflict a drug war on other people's children--for their own good?

    False dichotomy much? I don't think the alternative to not oppressing people overseas is the drug war at home.

    Why would avoiding mistakes like Iraq be unlibertarian?

    How in the world is rejection of immoral foreign policy an argument in support of the Iraq War? You type out paragraphs or red herrings, strawmen and false assertions and then tell me to defend arguments I didn't make. You must win a a lot of debates by exhausting your opponents with more bad arguments than can be addressed concisely.

    Financial and military support of dictatorships is not exactly a sound means of avoiding wars and atrocities.

  • Bryan C||

    "Yeah sometimes it's just good policy to prop up murdering dictators."

    Yeah, sometimes it is. Between a horrible alternative and a catastrophic alternative, horrible wins.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Of course he's not being serious. You desperately need to re-calibrate your sarcasm detector if you didn't detect any..."

    It's packed in with other statements that I think are supposed to be completely serious.

    If I hadn't detected any sarcasm, I wouldn't have described it as "tongue-in-cheek".

  • Free Society||

    American-enabled kinetic-action-lead-from-behind-super-duper NATO triumph that somehow led to U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens being croaked by really irate YouTube consumers, is now packed with more domestic terrorists than your neighborhood Tea Party HQ

    Which of those statements looks "completely serious"? Is it the 'super-duper' part?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Well that's a sociopathic sentiment. You'd support the systemic oppression and murder of others, so long as it's in your best interest. How noble of you."

    If and when American interests have depended on making nice with vicious dictators, yeah, I think we should do so. I freely admit there are times when the downsides aren't worth it, but there are other times when they are.

    What are you, one of those people who wants to argue over China's MFN status again? Do you think we shouldn't work with dictators who are fighting communist insurgencies or terrorists--specifically because they're dictators?

    Anyway, some of the biggest mistakes we've made in foreign policy in recent history haven't been the result of making nice with vicious dictators--it's been presuming to act for the benefit of the locals.

    I remember when invading Iraq was about fighting Al Qaeda elements that Saddam was supporting and as a response to things like the anthrax with which we were attacked. When those American interests turned out to be bogus, suddenly We've always been at war with Eastasia the war had always been about giving the Iraqi people democracy...

    Which I suppose always was the goal of the policymakers at the time! But it turns out that we'd have done a lot better for ourselves if we had focused on our own interests--rather than the best interests of the Iraqi people.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Ken - It's either Mary or Tulpa. Don't feed it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, my tulpitude meter just went off the hook.

    Oops!

    Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Free Society||

    Bertrum has sand in her vagina and I disagree with Ken "King of Verbosity" Shultz, so I must be Tulpa or Mary. Sounds legit.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You argue like Tulpa.

    You think like Tulpa.

    You act like Tulpa.

    You probably quack like Tulpa.

    That's why people think you're Tulpa.

    Even if you aren't Tulpa, we might as well treat you like Tulpa. ...especially after that pathetic remark.

  • Free Society||

    Ad hominem is the crutch of a crippled intellect with no argument. Do you have an argument? You type paragraph after paragraph of garbage and no real arguments there, just baseless opinion and ad hominem.

    Everyone who disagrees with Ken Shultz is Tulpa or some other miscreant. Good to know.

  • JWatts||

    "Ad hominem is the crutch of a crippled intellect with no argument."

    Two comments up you kick off the name calling and now you are complaining about an ad hominem argument in response? That's pathetic.

  • Free Society||

    I didn't kick it off. He called me Tulpa and his lady friend was telling me to fuck off and calling me a dipshit a few threads up. I described him as the King of Verbosity, which is simply saying that he writes a paragraphs to say something that would be better said in a sentence.

    Secondly, I don't owe him anything. I treat everyone with respect at first and when they use ad Hominem I no longer owe them the courtesy. And I still never called him a dipshit, I called him verbose. You could hardly call that ad Hominem.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Look it up - Stewart was brilliant last night.

    Any scrotum in a storm, eh, Shreeek?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Apart from the Justin Amashes and the Rand Pauls of the GOP, they really are using "Benghazi" . . . as a cudgel to beat down Hillary Clinton's political future, not as the starting point of a meaningful and long-overdue . . . conversation about U.S. foreign policy."

    Benghazi shows that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton exploited bigotry against Muslims to deflect criticism away from themselves and further their own political careers.

    Amongst the American people, I suspect the ideological battle about foreign adventures has been largely won for the time being. How many of them truly grok that their champions in the Democratic Party disgustingly exploited bigotry to avoid criticism and further their own political careers?

    Hillary Clinton is incompetent. I'll always stand against an imperial presidency, but if we're going to have an emperor over my objections anyway, I'd rather have a competent one. Benghazi unmasks Hillary and shows how incompetent she is. Moreover, Benghazi chips away at her legitimacy even before she become president (if she becomes president). If we're going to have an imperial presidency, I'd rather the people had doubts about the legitimacy of the emperor from day one.

    ...and is there anything that makes public figures seem less legitimate in the eyes of the general public, right now, than blatant bigotry? That's what Hillary has all over her face. Why not mention it?

  • Free Society||

    I'll always stand against an imperial presidency, but if we're going to have an emperor over my objections anyway, I'd rather have a competent one.

    So you'll always stand against an imperial presidency, unless one imperial president is more competent than another.

  • R C Dean||

    they really are using "Benghazi" . . . as a cudgel to beat down Hillary Clinton's political future

    Works for me. If that's all they do, and never get around to the bigger "conversation", I think its a win.

  • Harun||

    If only to kill the dynastic bs.

  • John||

    We should have never gotten involved in Libya. It was an illegal war and our involvement was pointless. That said, I don't see any good options there or in Syria. You can't prop up vicious dictator in the name of "stability" forever. Yet, if you don't, the Islamists come in and make the place a living hell and the only way to stop them is to forever occupy the place. That is not an option either.

    Ultimately, the Libyans and the Arab world in general are either going to have to get their shit together or it is going to end very badly for them. I don't see how anyone can help them. What is the solution here besides a full return to colonialism? If there is one, I don't see it.

  • Rich||

    Ultimately, the Libyans and the Arab world in general are either going to have to get their shit together or it is going to end very badly for them.

    1) "NO!! It is YOU who are wrong!!"

    2) "Why are there no Arabs on Star Trek?"

  • John||

    ????

  • Lord Humungus||

    Profit!

  • JWatts||

    ":2) "Why are there no Arabs on Star Trek?""

    Because, Khaaaaannnnn!

  • Harun||

    The King of Jordan made a cameo on ST:TNG.

  • robc||

    We could leave it alone.

    Maybe that means the Islamists come in. But then again, these other regimes got power somehow, so its not inevitable.

  • John||

    I agree. When I say "there is no solution", I mean that the only option is to leave it the hell alone.

  • Free Society||

    Let's just agree to not to subsidize oppression. There would be a whole lot less injustice in the world if western governments would stop externalizing the costs of those policies away from the perpetrators.

  • John||

    I don't know that we "subsidize oppression". I think we should act in our own best interests. Sometimes that may mean dealing with people who are lousy. It sucks but that is the way the world works.

    I agree with you to the extent that the cold war is over and the rise of asymmetric warfare has made subsidizing dictators who are on our side no longer feasible. The Islamic world is going to fight a civil war over the coming decades and there is nothing we can do to stop it. We might as well just get the hell out of the way.

  • Free Society||

    I don't know that we "subsidize oppression".

    What is foreign aid if not a subsidy? Is it charity? Do we typically give foreign aid to countries with good governance?

    Sometimes that may mean dealing with people who are lousy. It sucks but that is the way the world works.

    "Dealing with them" would be trade which is great. Handing them cash and military hardware is material support for their policies.

    The Islamic world is going to fight a civil war over the coming decades and there is nothing we can do to stop it. We might as well just get the hell out of the way.

    I agree. If the Islamic world is ever going to leave the dark age, they'll have to do it on their own.

  • ||

    Actually a perpetual war between an Arab Muslim dictator and Islamists which the US has no involvement is hugely advantages for the US.

    Especially if we are looking for an exit strategy from our decades of intervention in the middle east.

  • ||

    Ukraine also presents a great opportunity for the US to pull out of Europe.

    Maybe if we are lucky Japan and North Korea will get into a low grade war and we can get the fuck out of there as well.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Apart from the Justin Amashes and the Rand Pauls of the GOP, they really are using "Benghazi" (like "Chinatown" in the Polanski film, it's both a literal place and psychic space of unfixable horrors) as a cudgel to beat down Hillary Clinton's political future

    "Senator Rand Paul ‏@SenRandPaul 14m
    Find out why I think @HillaryClinton needs to be subpoenaed now. #SelectCommittee #Benghazi"

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/353.....show-clips

  • John||

    At the highest levels, in fact: an American Ambassador was murdered on her watch, and the White House obfuscated the almost-literal Hell out of it until after the 2012 elections. Hillary Clinton should have resigned as an apology. Instead, she infamously asked what difference it made, and that has set the tone on this issue ever since.

    And the Democratic leadership doesn’t want to hear this, partially because it makes the Obama administration look horrifically evil, and partially because if it isn’t Hillary Clinton it’s going to be Joe Biden in 2016, and partially because people don’t like to think of themselves as villains. So they’re screaming; problem is, there’s a limit to how often you can scream and mock and dismiss something as being irrelevant before people start thinking that you’re protesting too much, particularly if the press isn’t playing along. And enough of them are not this time to make the strategy a little too obvious.

    http://moelane.com/2014/05/05/.....nd-effect/

  • creech||

    We should all be putting "Biden 2016" stickers on our cars.

  • John||

    We should be if for no other reason than if a Democrat is destined to win, Biden would be a hell of a lot better than Hillary.

    That is no endorsement of Biden. It is just Hillary is just that bad.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    For as bad as Hillary is, she'd be a drastic improvement.

  • John||

    Sadly you are right about that. Hillary would at least have a feral sense of political survival. Obama doesn't seem to even have that. Every other President I can think of would at least react and change course a bit when his fuck ups started to really hurt his party's election chances. Not Obama, he just continues with the stupid.

  • Paul.||

    No reason Biden couldn't be Hillary's running-mate.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The lesson here is that the political "elites" of this country are a gang of uniformly unprincipled sociopathic thugs who would stop at nothing to impose their twisted idea of "society" on others by force as a means of enhancing and consolidating their own power.

    Shocking, really.

  • Free Society||

    ...and furthermore, the government should be destroyed.

  • ||

    I think that sums it up very nicely P.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "is now packed with more domestic terrorists than your neighborhood Tea Party HQ:"

    You mean, one?

    Doesn't somebody read these things before they get posted? I expect this kind of hyperbole from independent blogs, not from the site of a magazine I respect.

    OK, maybe I missed something. I don't watch the news (I don't watch TV), so I could have missed the discovery of a terrorist somewhere who was actually connected to the Tea Party somewhere outside the heads of Liberal hysterics.

    So; who was it? What are the details?

  • Free Society||

    He was pointing out the absurdity of the leftist narrative. tea party terrorists, murderous youtube videos, kinetic actions blah blah blah. C'mon, it's not hard to see the sarcasm here.

  • ||

    Make yourself another cup of coffee C.S.P.

    Nick's statement is dripping with sarcasm.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    It would be easier to detect sarcasm if so much of the political spectrum didn't make statements as absurd in complete seriousness.

  • Free Society||

    American-enabled kinetic-action-lead-from-behind-super-duper NATO triumph that somehow led to U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens being croaked by really irate YouTube consumers, is now packed with more domestic terrorists than your neighborhood Tea Party HQ:

    Which part struck you as particular serious? Was it the "kinetic-action-lead-from-behind-super-duper NATO triumph", quip or was it the "Chris Stevens being croaked by really irate YouTube consumers" line?

    For me it was the part where he said "super-duper NATO triumph" when I knew he was dead serious. /derp

  • Free Society||

    I put the /derp in there so you would know I'm being sarcastic FYI

  • JWatts||

    I'm willing to bet if that paragraph were posted on The Huffington Post, no one would think it was sarcasm. They'd just nod their heads and agree with an author that was willing to "tell it like it is".

  • Pathogen||

    Truth to powah™..

  • AlmightyJB||

    Needs moar droanz.

  • Warren||

    Nor are they interested in revisiting all the mistakes made when the Bush administration was running the show.

    O RLY?

  • JW||

    they really are using "Benghazi" (like "Chinatown" in the Polanski film, it's both a literal place and psychic space of unfixable horrors) as a cudgel to beat down Hillary Clinton's political future

    I'm actually OK with this. They should re-animate Nixon and Alinsky as consultants.

    not as the starting point of a meaningul and long-overdue (since the end of the goddamn Cold War in George H.W. Bush's only term!) conversation about U.S. foreign policy.

    Grasps for the fainting couch.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    they really are using "Benghazi" (like "Chinatown" in the Polanski film, it's both a literal place and psychic space of unfixable horrors) as a cudgel to beat down Hillary Clinton's political future


    I have zero problems with this -- zero.

    Because the Republicans as a group aren't interested in setting basic principles that might limit future military actions now that they are convinced that not just the Senate but the White House is within their reach. Nor are they interested in revisiting all the mistakes made when the Bush administration was running the show.


    Well... duh. Only way that will happen is if an adult is in charge, and that discussion will happen behind closed doors rather than in some wonky public policy debate.

  • John||

    Pretty funny to hear people who spent five years beating George Bush to death over Iraq and the Patriot Act, only to continue the war in Iraq and put the civil liberties abuses associated with the Patriot Act into overdrive once they took over bitching about the Republicans just wanting to use Bengazi to beat down Hillary.

    I guess it is forever different when they do it.

  • B.P.||

    Right. To paraphrase Nick, "The GOP shouldn't use Benghazi as a political cudgel because they're not doing it in service of transitioning to my positions on foreign policy." Now, I happen to share Nick's positions on foreign policy, and find the GOP's screw-ups in that realm to be inexcusable, but the Benghazi fiasco is still worth pursuing on its own. It's become apparent that the media isn't going to do it.

  • John||

    It is worth pursuing for no other reason that people who fuck up and get other people killed ought to be held accountable.

    Bengazi isn't about foreign policy or interventionism. It is about the Obama administration's incompetence getting four people killed.

    That Nick bitches and moans about trying to hold the people responsible for that incompetence accountable, is just more evidence he is really the beltway establishment douche bag his worst critics suspect him of being.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    It is about the Obama administration's incompetence getting four people killed.

    I disagree, to a point. If it was indeed possible to mount a rescue, I agree. I don't think given the information available and the time frames we are talking about, that a credible rescue was feasible. In such a seat of the pants attempt, you are MUCH more likely to get the rescuers killed, in such an attempt, as well. I'd be willing to give the administration the benefit of the doubt on their call to not mount a rescue attempt.

    HOWEVER, as is the case with most scandals, it's not about the act itself. It's about the cover-up.

    This shitbag intentionally lied for two weeks after the fact. He did it because he was facing an election and thought his call would make him look bad. He is without ANY honor or character. He's a sociopath, a megalomaniac and is, by far, the worst "human being" to ever occupy the White House.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    In such a seat of the pants attempt, you are MUCH more likely to get the rescuers killed, in such an attempt, as well.

    Proof reading, how does it work?

  • John||

    The reason why this isn't about foreign policy is because an ambassador was murdered. We didn't have any troops on the ground there at least publicly. Even if we hadn't intervened we would still have had an ambassador and it still would have been the DOS's job to ensure he didn't get murdered.

    Could there have been a rescue? There seems to be conflicting opinion about that and I would like to find out for sure. Even if there could not have been one, DOS still had put an ambassador in an unsecured compound outside of the capital for reasons no one has ever explained. They put that guy out there as a big fat unsecured target for our enemies and sure enough our enemies murdered him. That, I think is something Hillary and everyone involved should have to answer for.

    I also agree with you that the cover up is a big deal. They fucked up and then lied and used a racist slur against Muslims as a way of deflecting blame. That is pretty appalling.

  • Eric Bana||

    Don't forget the threats to free speech the shitbag made.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Don't forget the threats to free speech the shitbag made.

    Sadly, I almost forgot about that. And you're right, those comments may have been the most egregious act he committed...or should have been considered such.

  • John||

    And worse than that was the outright coordination with the media to use the event as a justification for restricting speech. How many media people got those talking points directly from the White House and went out and argued for the need to restrict speech? A whole bunch.

    That is as much as anything why I think the media wants this story to go away. It is not just because they want to protect Hillary, they certainly do. It is also that they are part of the scandal. The video lie would have never lasted more than a few days without the media acting in concert with the White House and selling it.

  • Free Society||

    Bengazi isn't about foreign policy or interventionism. It is about the Obama administration's incompetence getting four people killed.

    I don't think you give Obama enough credit. His incompetence may shine on many issues, but not here. He made a political calculation when he allowed those people to be murdered by the people he armed. It's hard to get reelected when the terrorists you armed turn on you quite publicly.

  • John||

    Well there is that as well. I was being polite and pretending this was just rank incompetence.

    In all seriousness, wouldn't it be nice to seem someone's career end over a fuck up like this? Just once?

  • Free Society||

    It would be nice. But politics is entirely about externalizing one's costs onto others. So when there is a murderous shit-show sponsored by our Dear Leaders it seems only natural that the cost of that fuck-up be externalized onto others. In this case the payers are those who died in Benghazi and at least this time it's government personnel paying that price.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    But politics is entirely about externalizing one's costs onto others.

    Well put.

  • 110 Lean||

  • GILMORE||

    The picture of people sitting on the stairs where 'sitting is strictly prohibited' is Grand Central Terminal.

    Every now and then when I see people doing that, I walk right through/around/over them, forcing them to shift themselves around, disrupting their happy bubbleworld, etc. even though there's still 1/2 a stairway wide open.

    Cause that's how I roll. You'd understand if you were one of the million people trying to get through the place twice a day.

  • ||

    God friggin damn it.

    Rape that website with a baseball bat covered in barbedwire.

    Why can't websites just work rather then slam my computer with ads that nearly freeze-crash my browser.

  • Paul.||

    Posted here before. My favorite is the 'after eight' chocolate being eaten at 7:59.

  • GILMORE||

    " to acknowledge that it truly screwed up not just in operational terms (securing a consulate that was housing the American ambassador)

    Nick

    The location where ambassador Stevens was killed was "Not a Consulate", and certainly did not 'house the ambassador' as it was not a recognized US Diplomatic facility or anything acknowledged by the Dept of State

    http://y2u.be/1Ldkfl3n-0w

    Repeating that it was implies that there was some mission of state ongoing there at the time, which there was not.

    As Bob Shieffer rightly asks after being told this, 'Why was he there?'. Something no one seems to bother asking in all of the noise around this issue.

    Correction, please...

  • GILMORE||

    FYI the intended link was to @1:11 in the video

  • Mike M.||

    In all likelihood, Stevens probably wasn't even an employee of the State Department.

    It's far more likely that he was a CIA Agent and that the so-called "consulate" was really a top secret black site being used to funnel weapons and who the hell knows what else to Islamic terrorists and other Libyan rebels.

  • ||

    In fairness the weapons went to Libyan rebels and then the weapons went to Islamic terrorists while the CIA under orders, from the Obama administration and Hilary's State department, to turn a blind eye.

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