Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio Has Trouble Remembering How the Debate Over Libya Went

The hawks' argument was not that Qaddafi's downfall was inevitable. It was the opposite.


The Qaddafi/Trump debates were the high point of Amero-Libyan history on Earth-503.
U.S. Navy

Back in 2011, Marco Rubio was a loud advocate of getting involved with the Libyan civil war. Here's how he handled the topic when it came up in at tonight's Republican presidential debate:

We didn't topple Qaddafi. The Libyan people toppled Qaddafi. The only choice before America that this president had to make is, Does it happen quickly or does it take a long time? And I argued if it takes a long time, you're going to have rebel forces emerge like these radical Islamists to take advantage of the vacuum. And that's what happened.

We've been over this stuff before, but it bears repeating: This is a highly misleading account of how Marco Rubio sold the war. It was in no sense clear that Qaddafi was bound to be overthrown either "quickly" or in "a long time," especially given that Rubio seems to define "a long time" to mean eight months. The argument for intervention was that if U.S. didn't insert itself, Qaddafi would—in Rubio's words—"get away with crushing [the rebellion] through brutal force."

Qaddafi's regime, the Rubio of 2011 declared, "has brutally massacred its own people for simply expressing their desire to live in a free and peaceful Libya….We should unflinchingly support the Libyan people's legitimate demands to build a freer and peaceful country." He did not add, "Of course we all know that the revolution will succeed sooner or later."

NEXT: Republican Candidates All Agree: Apple Should Be Obligated to Work for the FBI

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  1. Marco Rubio could not wait to fight Hillary Clinton's war.

  2. Marco Rubio Has Trouble Remembering How the Debate Over Libya Went

    Wrong thumb drive installed?

  3. Kadaphee was a bad fellow. What followed him is even worse. There are no good choices over there.

    1. That Ben Gasi dude seems like a bad egg.

  4. So, this whole Trump KKK rally thing: imagine a bunch of libertarians show up to a Bernie event with Che shirts and paramilitary gear, talking about the coming socialist revolution and the massacre of the bourgeoisie at the hands of the proletariat. How do you think the media responds? Do they a) not even bother reporting on the event, b) spin it as the foment of the excited progressive base, or c) actually bother to report that it's a tongue-in-cheek demonstration by libertarian agents provocateur?

    1. D) link to "far right libertarian militants" backed by Koch money.

      1. E)Call in the FBI and have this hate-group arrested.

    2. b), definitely b)

    3. Try it and find out. Wear a balaclava so it's harder to identify you.

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  6. "The argument for intervention was that if U.S. didn't insert itself, Qaddafi would?in Rubio's words?"get away with crushing [the rebellion] through brutal force."

    There's 1) The way things were sold by Obama, 2) the way Rubio and the Republicans sold it, and 3) the way things really were.

    1) Obama sold the intervention as if the United States didn't intervene right then and there, Gaddafi was going to keep his word and slaughter the people of Benghazi for daring to defy him.

    2) Most of the Republicans that opposed Obama's handling of the war opposed it because Obama refused to commit ground troops. They didn't oppose the intervention in Libya on anti-war or strategic principles. They opposed Obama not sending in ground troops.

    3) The way things really were?

    If the United States hadn't joined in, the UK, France, and (perhaps most importantly) Qatar were going in without us. It wasn't absolutely necessary for the U.S. to get involved--despite what Obama said--but he didn't want to look like his leadership was superfluous and stand by watch the UK and France take a leadership role.

    It is also true that no matter whether the U.S. and the Europeans had intervened, Libya was headed for Civil War anyway. Chances are that Libya would look more like Syria today if it hadn't been for the intervention. It would look like a Iraq/Afghanistan quagmire if we'd sent in ground troops.

  7. Real takeaway?

    You can't expect to get clear yes or no answers about Libya from candidates running for elections. The truth is just to hard for average people to understand.

    Supporting the intervention to avoid a Syria type situation is an honest and rational answer. Opposing the intervention on the basis that there wouldn't have been a civil war in Libya if the U.S. hadn't intervened is weird psychological projection wrapped up in PTSD. People always talk about the current war as if it were the last one . . .

    If we hadn't invaded Iraq, there wouldn't be an ongoing civil war there--but the Arab Spring in Libya wasn't like the U.S. intervening in Iraq. Sooooooooooo many people conflate our intervention in Libya with the aftermath--like it's Iraq--but they would have had a civil war anyway, just like in Syria--with or without our intervention.

    Peace and harmony simply wasn't one of the options in the Libya. The menu consisted of A) a vicious dictator making his country a jihadi factory, B) an anarchic period in the aftermath of a popular revolt, or C) a long drawn out American occupation a la Iraq. In the real world, sometimes you have to pick from among shitty options. If we had done nothing, it would have been A or B anyway. I'm glad we ended up with B and left it for the Libyans to figure out for themselves. There is no substitute for people acquiescing to respect each others' rights.

    I just wish Obama had done it all Constitutionally.

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