Barack Obama

Obama Admits Haphazard U.S. Intervention in Libya 'Worst Mistake' of His Presidency

Says it taught him to make sure interventions included plans for the aftermath.

|

In his first interview on Fox News Sunday since becoming president, Barack Obama admitted that "failing to plan for, the day after" the U.S. intervention in Libya was the worst mistake of his presidency.

Obama mentioned the same failure two weeks ago in a BBC interview. "That's a lesson I now apply when we're asked to intervene militarily," Obama said. "Do we have a plan for the day after?"

That ought to be a shocking statement. After all, U.S. history is littered with interventions that failed in their aftermath. The lootings in post-invasion Iraq, the bloody campaign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and the large-scale humanitarian disaster that remains North Korea are just a handful of examples of the consequences of U.S. interventions that any U.S. policy maker ought to be expected to know, let alone the U.S. president.

Obama, of course, is likely wrong. It was not just a lack of adequate post-intervention planning that turned Libya into a failing state and hotbed for radical Islamist terrorist groups—the U.S.-led intervention itself did that. It's hard to imagine what kind of planning, short of installing a dictatorial puppet regime, would've prevented the power vacuum in which subsequent instability has thrived.

The lesson of Iraq should have been sufficient. Although the U.S. failed to plan for the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, even when the U.S. started getting serious about "nation building" in Iraq that couldn't be a guarantee of success. The perceived intelligence, or lack thereof, of George W. Bush and members of his administration could not alone account for the failure in Iraq. After all, the Obama administration's military "surge" in Afghanistan, which was coupled with a "political" surge of State Department bureaucrats, did not have better results in that country.

But the importance of the admission of a total lack of planning should not be understated. It's frustrating, but unsurprising, that a president whose supporters celebrate for his "intelligence" would do something so spectacularly stupid as commit to a regime-changing intervention without an inkling of what would come next, especially on the heels of a successor, Bush, whose entire presidency was defined by his failure to do the same in Iraq.  In fact, the idea that President Obama has some kind of remarkable intelligence only contributes to failures like Libya. The man did not have a plan for what to do after Col. Qaddafi was removed from power in Libya. That's a display of stunning ignorance, trumped only by the unequivocal inability of the Congress, in 2011 or since then, to assert its role in war making and hold the Obama administration accountable for making war without its consent.  

The Obama administration, for its part, denied regime change was a goal of the 2011 intervention. That was a legalistic framing that served to confuse the issue. The Obama administration may not have felt sure enough of the legal ground under it to admit its goal in Libya was to depose Qaddafi, but members of the administration cannot plausibly argue, and do not argue, that regime change was an unforeseen consequence of the 2011 intervention.

Democrats tell themselves that their leaders are smarter than Republicans. It's often their last refuge when their candidates, like Hillary Clinton, end up being functionally just as pro-war as the Republicans they so whole-heartedly oppose. Obama's admission should stand as evidence that that's not true and of the damage those kinds of illusions can cause.

U.S. foreign policy is unlikely to improve irrespective of who wins this year's presidential election. As Obama's admission illustrates, it's critical for Congress to reclaim its responsibilities in the foreign policy decision-making process. Victims of America's wars, from Libya to Yemen, from Obama's wars to Bush's wars to wars long forgotten, deserve more than an American anti-war movement animated solely by partisan concerns.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

117 responses to “Obama Admits Haphazard U.S. Intervention in Libya 'Worst Mistake' of His Presidency

  1. Does he plan for the day after he orders a murder-droning?

    1. Another murder-droning, duh.

    2. Cocktails and high-fives! What else would he need to do before he hits the links?

  2. As someone previously pointed out, I guess he hadn’t learned from the Iraq war. Because he is just that smart.

  3. At least he publicly admitted it.

    And without blaming Bush somehow!

    1. he’s

      1. never mind.

        Jesus.

            1. I was expecting “plastic jesus” from Cool Hand Luke

          1. DON’T YOU THINK I KNOW THAT?

    2. It’s the Libertarian Moment in action!

  4. A russkie don’t take a dump without a plan, son.

    Christ, he thinks the problem was, “not enough planning”? This strikes me as a handy fallback excuse for when the things you *did plan* failed.

    Washington has an over-abundance of plans. That’s the problem.

    1. Of course it was the plan. Any other possibilities would implicate the system itself.

    2. another reason this whole thing is 100% bullshit =

      he pretends like ‘what’s done is done’! and the bad things happened because of ‘not enough plans’, and well, what can you do? (throws up hands)

      When in fact its been 5 fucking years of socom kidnappings and targeted killings of militia-leaders, attempts to force-feed some solutions to the warring parties, and most recently, a seaborne landing of a so-called “Unity Government” which needed to sneak into its own country like a teenager who’d been out drinking too late.

      Because really, *if only the plans had been more detailed*, none of this bullshit would have happened. They have top men for this sort of work!

    3. To be fair I’m sure he would have planned to back moderate rebels. That seems to be work well!

  5. “Just like you, I read about the Libya intervention in the newspaper. And I also learned – from that New York Times article – that planning for the aftermath of the intervention is important as well. It was a very informative article.”

    /typical Obama response

    1. “But, let me be clear. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had no responsibility for this foreign policy blunder. Really, the diplomats and the military just kind of do whatever they want while we play golf and give speeches to Goldman-Sachs.”

  6. Obama should have stuck to the time-tested American formula for foreign interventions:

    1) Send the military in to topple a dictator which is really none of America’s business.
    2) Supply weapons and support to anyone who assures you that they are moderate democracy-loving liberals.
    3) Act super surprised when said liberals become dictators or terrorists and do something horrific.
    4) Repeat

  7. “That’s a lesson I now apply when we’re asked to intervene militarily,” Obama said. “Do we have a plan for the day after?”

    Nothing says Nobel Peace Prize Winner like starting at second base when asked to go to war.

    1. If you think he’s bad, just wait until Hillary is President.

      1. I could be mistaken, but didn’t Hillary have just a little bit to do with the Libya thing? And wasn’t she bragging to anyone within earshot about Qaddafi having seen and died?

        1. Yes, and yes. Just wait until she’s actually the CinC.

    2. The plan for the day after was to arrest the guy who made the video and blame everything on him.

  8. Have Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice ever been thoroughly questioned about Libya? Not Benghazi, but the invasion itself?

    Everything will be different once hold high office!

      1. TOP WOMEN!

        1. I’ve always thought of Hillary as more of a Power Bottom.

          1. I always saw Hillary as more of a bear top.

  9. Wait, is this or is this not smart power at it’s best? I’m getting my prog talking points confused

    1. smart power was with the Russians, IIRC; the reset button thing.

      1. “But, Mr. Putin, are you sure that’s the *reset* button you’re pressing?”

    2. Good observation. Maybe this is Obama’s way of hitting back at Hillary after Bill recently bemoaned the economic lousiness of the Obama years. After all, she keeps bragging about what a smashing success Libya was. I wouldn’t put it past Obama to start whispering to the media that she was the one who masterminded the whole thing, and that he messed up by trusting her judgment.

      1. Nah, he needs her more now more then ever. She is his best hope of keeping Obamacare intact. The Burn would ruin it so quickly by trying to giving away even more shit which would hopeful show it is just poor policy no matter how you spin it. If Cruz wins it is repealed within the first year. If Trump wins who the fuck knows what he would do but it will be great and yuge because he said so.

        1. I don’t dispute the logic of your argument. I just think Obama is a thin-skinned, petulant man who also happens to dislike the Clintons on a personal level. Or at least, I am fairly sure he dislikes Bill. I think he figures he can tweak her a little bit without deliberately tanking her candidacy.

          1. I begin to wonder if Obama doesn’t want a Republican to win in November. The economy is likely to go into recession, either later this year or next at the latest. The world is only becoming more chaotic. And Obamacare is going to collapse no matter who is in charge of running it.

            If a Republican is President when all of this happens, the Democrats and the media can blame the whole mess on them: ‘Everything was going great as long as Obama was in office! Now look at what a mess things are!’

            Then the voters turn against the Republicans en masse, and President Elizabeth Warren (or whoever else Obama the kingmaker decides to throw his support behind) takes office in January 2021 with solid Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress.

            1. I have wondered about that scenario, too. If nothing else, maybe it is Obama’s Plan B. I never thought he was wild about Hillary succeeding him and stealing his thunder of being the first black president by being the first woman president. If she loses the election or is forced to drop out because of her email scandal, then I think the Clintons are pretty much a spent force in the Democratic Party. That leaves Obama as the obvious party leader and king maker.

            2. I begin to wonder if Obama doesn’t want a Republican to win in November.

              Apr?s moi le d?luge

  10. “Obama, of course, is likely wrong. It was not just a lack of adequate post-intervention planning that turned Libya into a failing state and hotbed for radical Islamist terrorist groups?the U.S.-led intervention itself did that.”

    For the millionth time, if Obama had not participated in the Libyan Civil War, the Libyan Civil War would have happened anyway.

    The French and British were going in with or without us. The Qataris were going in on the ground with us or without us. The Libyan people were rising up with or without us.

    The Libyan Civil War was going to happen–with us or without us.

    Not everything that happens in the world happens because of the United States, and there are plenty of things that would have happened with or without the United States.

    The Syrian Civil War, for instance, would have happened anyway, much as it has, without our intervention. The alternative to American participation in the Libyan Civil War was not that there wouldn’t have been a war. The alternative to American participation in the Libyan Civil War was a Libyan Civil War without American participation.

    Considering British, French, and Qatari participation, it probably would have ended much as it did anyway. Otherwise, it would probably be dragging on like Syria. Sometimes foreign affairs in the real world present us with a selection of shit flavored options. It’s sort of like choosing between Trump, Hillary, or Bernie Sanders for President.

    1. Then, let those other nations’ leaders do it. Not only did hte US participate, but one of the leading candidates for president is bragging about her role in Qaddafi’s ouster and death. Seeing as how the action of those involved created a clusterfuck, a sane nation would say there is no way this woman should be promoted to a higher level of incompetence.

    2. if Obama had not participated in the Libyan Civil War, the Libyan Civil War would have happened anyway.

      i think that’s true

      The Syrian Civil War, for instance, would have happened anyway, much as it has, without our intervention.

      This, i don’t think so. At least from what’s known now. When the Syrian protest-movement morphed into a shooting-war over the course of 2011, and there began to be large defections from the army… this was all happening concurrent w/ the Libyan mess. I think what was seen as ‘success’ in Libya encouraged wildly optimistic support for the same in Syria (from the US as well as regional allies like the Saudis et al) and its possible much of the subsequent 5 years of war might never have happened otherwise.

      1. It also happened on the heels of successes in Tunisia and Egypt.

        1. It also happened on the heels of successes in Tunisia and Egypt.

          I wasn’t suggesting that the Syrian revolt happened simply because they “saw what happened”. I’m saying that the US and others actively funded/supplied and encouraged armed revolt, and expected similar results

          That has fairly little to do with Tunisia and Egypt, where the change of power wasn’t forced by armed revolt

      2. Syria had uprisings before, in some of the same locations, and Papa Assad put them down by killing tens of thousands. Syrians weren’t looking at Libya as some model of rebellion that they had never imagined before.

        1. Syrians weren’t looking at Libya as some model of rebellion that they had never imagined before

          No, and i agree (as i point above). I’m saying that they were convinced to arm-up and go to war w/ Assad (and 10s of thousands leave the army) because there were enthusiastic outside forces willing to fund & support them due to what they saw as ‘similar success’ in Libya.

    3. If Obama had not participated in the Libyan Civil War, the Libyan Civil War would have happened anyway.

      It was already underway, and it was looking like Qaddafi was going to win. We intervened to keep him from winning.

      And this is what we got. A failed state/terrorist haven/trigger for the Muslim migration to Europe.

      1. I’m not sure it was looking like he was going to win.

        It was definitely looking like he was going to do to Benghazi what the Nazis did to Leningrad.

        1. I think he was very, very close to winning. But he was also old, so when he died, either his kid would take power, or they’d have a similar civil war.

          Same with Iraq. Saddam would have died and they would have had a civil war.

          Same with Syria – papa Assad died, and the kid had a civil war.

    4. This is right on. The Libyan civil war was going on, and Obama was avoiding getting involved. When the Qadaffi forces were about to slaughter rebels in Benghazi and the British and French were poised to go, we went in with them. Obama was criticized for not being “strong” enough compared to the French and British. The alternative was probably a bloody battle in Benghazi followed by lingering civil war.

      As Mr. Shultz says, it’s not always about us and what we did or could have done. The US has done just about every combination in this part of the world, including initiating, reacting to events, getting involved in a big way, small way, trying to rebuild the country, not rebuilding ourselves, forcing out leaders, not forcing out, and staying out entirely.

      The two things various US actions have in common are (1) bad results follow, and (2) Hit and Run commentators would have done the opposite of what was done, and things would have been so so much better.

      1. No one’s proposing counter-factuals.

        In fact, its people suggesting US actions had little/no real significance in context that are proposing that “Sans US roles” it would have all been the same.

    5. And?? If America hadn’t participated in a failure then we’d still be better off. Just ’cause the horrendous failure would happen with or without America doesn’t mean we SHOULD get involved with the horrendous failure. Let the Brits and French keep failing at nation-building, let’s keep out of it and not bog ourselves down with Euro-failure.

      1. I don’t think Ken was implying that we should.

      2. I think that our European Allies cashed in some chips to get us involved in Libya. IIRC, we mostly played a support role that they couldn’t manage, correct? Refueling, recon, logistics, etc.

    6. I’m sure Sheldon Richman will insist that every bad thing in the world is the fault of the US………..and JOOOOOOOSSSSSSS!!!!!

  11. Victims of America’s wars, from Libya to Yemen, from Obama’s wars to Bush’s wars to wars long forgotten, deserve more than an American anti-war movement animated solely by partisan concerns.

    Reparations? That is, given that deserve’s got anything to do with it.

  12. “It’s hard to imagine what kind of planning, short of installing a dictatorial puppet regime, would’ve prevented the power vacuum in which subsequent instability has thrived.”

    Yeah, that’s what Gaddafi said would happen. And Assad. And Saddam Hussein. And George III. And Louis XV.

    Let’s not fall victim to the classic arguments of tyrants. Libertarians seemingly advocating for authoritarianism and order is . . . unseemly.

    Because freedom leaves the future uncertain is no reason to oppose toppling a vicious authoritarian dictator. . . . not to a libertarian.

    1. DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO THINK, KENNETH

    2. where exactly in the Middle East, does freedom rule the day? Nasty as they were, Qaddafi and Saddam kept internal problems internal. They are not among the noted exporters of radical Islam, like the Saudi royals or the Iranians or even Assad’s daddy.

      We tried imposing freedom in Iraq. Everyone saw the pictures of citizens with ink on their fingers as a symbol of how they participated. And then what happened? I don’t recall ISIS being on the Iraqi ballot.

      1. Actually, Iraq still technically has elections. The Kurdish areas are a bright spot as well.

        Saddam of course exported his problems. Iran/Iraq war. Kuwait. Saddam also financed suicide bombers.

        1. as a matter of scale, Saddam was nowhere near the level of the Saudis or Iranians. And at one time, he was our guy, supplied and backed by us with regard to Iran.

          If US policy is going to be direct confrontation against those who do or sponsor anything bad, when do the launches on Tehran and Riyadh start? I am particularly curious about the Saudis. Yes, I get we buy oil from them but commerce works both ways.

    3. Yeah, that’s what Gaddafi said would happen. And Assad. And Saddam Hussein. And George III. And Louis XV.

      Let’s not fall victim to the classic arguments of tyrants.

      Gaddafi assured the Western powers that their bombs were being dropped in support of Al-Qeada and worse. He wasn’t wrong and there’s no reason to think he was lying. Assad had been saying the same thing when the Western powers started talking about it being his turn. He was also not lying.

      It’s a sad fact that the “classic arguments of tyrants” holds more water than the classic arguments of democratically elected demagogues.

      1. Because freedom leaves the future uncertain is no reason to oppose toppling a vicious authoritarian dictator. . . . not to a libertarian.

        1. when did being libertarian start involving a desire to solve everyone else’s problems?

        2. Because freedom leaves the future uncertain is no reason to oppose toppling a vicious authoritarian dictator. . . . not to a libertarian.

          I’m not sure where to find the clause in my Libertarian Cookbook that says there is a responsibility to engage in war to topple icky heads of government elsewhere in the world

          Nor do I think it’s the case that “freedom” is the thing leaving the future uncertain when the US government sets about deposing dictators.

          1. Indeed. Removing one government doesn’t really mean freedom when there are plenty of other assholes ready to step in. Which is what usually happens when you remove a dictator.

            1. You’d think that eventually people will stop assuming that when you create a power vacuum in the middle east, that liberals/moderates/libertarians/ et al are either 1) in existence and 2) ready and able to swoop in and fill the void after defeating all the other vicious contenders.

          2. “I’m not sure where to find the clause in my Libertarian Cookbook that says there is a responsibility to engage in war to topple icky heads of government elsewhere in the world”

            I didn’t say you had to support wars elsewhere in the world.

            I said libertarians shouldn’t oppose toppling authoritarian dictators because what people will do with their freedom the future is uncertain.

            I certainly hope you don’t say things like that and then claim to be some kind of anarchist.

            I opposed the Iraq War for strategic reasons, for cost vs. benefit reasons, and for moral and humanitarian reasons. I didn’t oppose it because I was afraid what the Iraqi people might do with their freedom.

            Would you oppose the Second Amendment because you’re afraid of what people might do with their freedom

            Generally speaking, I don’t think libertarians should oppose overthrowing authoritarian dictators on the basis that without a dictator, people might do scary things with their freedom. Isn’t that an anti-libertarian argument on its face?

            Tell me you didn’t want to topple Gaddafi for strategic reasons or Constitutional reasons or a number of other reasons, I could be on board with that. Tell me that if it wasn’t for a vicious dictator, there would be chaos, and I’m going to point out that practically every dictator in history has used that to justify their authoritarianism. That argument doesn’t impress me. I’m a libertarian.

            1. If overthrowing authoritarian dictators involves the initiation of force, how could a libertarian NOT oppose it?

              1. You must be joking.

                1. It was a serious question. Because the last time I checked we regularly bitch about Uncle Sugar thinking he needs to play world police

                  Are you seriously saying that it’s our job, as America, to topple regime’s that haven’t aggressed against us? Or are you saying that we should support the local population in their uprising against tyranny?

                  Because I can get behind one of those (at least in spirit). (If you want to support it in more physical ways, we should be prepared for things to end badly or for those we are helping to not exactly be pro-liberal* freedom).

                  *liberal as in liberty

            2. I said libertarians shouldn’t oppose toppling authoritarian dictators because what people will do with their freedom the future is uncertain.

              That’s a very unique framing of the Libyan situation to be sure. But alas no one has even argued that. I see that you continue to rattle on about anarchism and cost benefits and you really let the strawman have it good and hard, but no one argued, especially not me, that “we shouldn’t intervene because Libyans can’t be trusted with freedom”.

              Since you clearly didn’t read what I actually argued, and as usual you preferred to take on arguments that I didn’t make, I’ll repost the actual argument for you.

              Gaddafi assured the Western powers that their bombs were being dropped in support of Al-Qeada and worse. He wasn’t wrong and there’s no reason to think he was lying. Assad had been saying the same thing when the Western powers started talking about it being his turn. He was also not lying.

              No one said they don’t trust Libyan dirt farmers with freedom. What was argued is that these “freedom fighters” vying for the reins of the Libyan state, these people to whom you afford unqualified moral legitimacy, they were almost nothing but Islamists and terrorists with a few number of “moderates” and Islamists posing as moderates.

        3. I don’t think it is a good enough reason to get involved either, though. To a libertarian or otherwise.

          1. Oppose it for some other reason is what I’m saying.

            Don’t go around telling people that authoritarians shouldn’t be deposed–specifically because free people are scary–and then tell them you’re a libertarian.

            1. Specifically because the “free people” in question is a fantasy. It wasn’t the soft spoken secularists, westernized Muslims, moderates, liberal democrats nor the unicorns, that were fighting to take power from Gaddafi. It was always the Islamists and terrorists that stood to gain the most and so were investing the most. The west conducted a bombing campaign in support of terrorists and it was easy to pull the wool over people’s eyes and convince them that the rebels were freedom fighters since their enemy was a real jerk. It even gets people like you Ken, to think they’ve earned some moral credit because they supported this disaster of a policy. You can even demand that others hand over their libertarian cards because they hate free people or something.

              1. Not everyone in Libya is Islamist. Libyas revolutionaries had a very democratic, everyman feel to it: yes, you had islamist groups shipping in foreign fighters, but you also had computer programmers, mechanics and gas station attendants picking up arms. , no human being deserves to live in a country ruled by a psychotic despot like qaddafi. That is an absolute, moral argument. At least part of the reason that you guys are arguing over each others heads is that youre insisting on meeting an absolutist moral argument with a consequentialist argument. Youre both right … revolutions are often pointless excercises in murder & mayhem, islamist or no. But we must be careful in how we respond to such failures; a successful revolution that allows millions of people to live free is an incredibly valuable thing that is worth fighting for.

  13. “The lesson of Iraq should have been sufficient. Although the U.S. failed to plan for the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, even when the U.S. started getting serious about “nation building” in Iraq that couldn’t be a guarantee of success. “

    And I think we’re drawing the wrong conclusion about what Obama is really saying here.

    I don’t think he’s really saying that he shouldn’t have joined in the intervention. I think he’s saying that he should have put troops on the ground.

    The reason the outcome in Libya is insanely better than the outcome in Iraq is because we didn’t put troops on the ground in Libya. If Obama thinks the situation in Libya would be better if only we’d sent in American ground troops, then Obama is wrong to say that he should have planned for the aftermath.

    It is true that we should always have an exit strategy before we engage in any foreign war. Sometimes the exit strategy is occupation. Sometimes it’s bringing in the UN. And sometimes, it’s simply picking up our bat and ball and going home. That’s what we did in Libya. If the UN wasn’t about to take over occupying in Libya, then we did the right thing by just going home. Sending in American ground troops would have led to the worst possible outcome.

    1. The reason the outcome in Libya is insanely better than the outcome in Iraq

      Uhhhh…. really?

      1. We’ve spent, what 3 trillion in Iraq?

        How many American casualties?

        How much did Libya cost–a few hundred million?

        How many American casualties? Were there any at all during the war?

        1. Just the ones Hillary murdered later.

    2. The reason the outcome in Libya is insanely better than the outcome in Iraq is because we didn’t put troops on the ground in Libya.

      I think Libya to date has turned out worse than Iraq to date, at least as far as its impact on other countries goes. Its a close call, what with ISIS taking over a chunk of Iraq as part of its war in multiple countries, but Libya has metastasized into a number of African countries, as well.

      1. The impact of America’s participation in the Libyan War has not been worse than the impact of America’s participation in the Iraq War.

        Even just looking from America’s perspective, one of the worst outcomes of the Iraq War was that it cemented Iran’s power and influence in region.

        1. Well, there’s the evisceration of the Constitution at home. Say what you will about the shitshow that was Iraq, it was popular in 2003, and W got approval from Congress.

          Barry just called it a “kinetic military action” and invaded with the full knowledge that he wouldn’t be able to get authorization for it.

          1. Yeah, the Constitutional argument is a good one.

    3. I think he’s saying that he should have put troops on the ground.

      Then he would go from simply being delusional to being an outright moron. We DID have boots in Iraq, lots of them for a long time. And the place still went to shit because the region has concept of freedom and the idea would have died no matter when the last US troops pulled out. THAT was the object lesson from Iraq.

      1. “has NO concept of freedom”

      2. We needed to keep some guys there for a decade or two, until their new military actually had experienced commanders. That would have made a great deal of difference.

    4. Good point.

      Planning implies you’re going to do something different, not do something at all.

    5. If Obama thinks the situation in Libya would be better if only we’d sent in American ground troops, then Obama is wrong to say that he should have planned for the aftermath.

      As I already noted – I think his claim that there ‘wasn’t enough planning’ is simply a headfake to divert people from the reality which is that his (and Hillary’s) plans failed miserably, and now they’ve washed their hands of it.

  14. Says it taught him to make sure interventions included plans for the aftermath.

    One would think a grown-ass man would know this already.

    1. Also, there’s this thing called the Powell/Weinberger) Doctrine.

      That’s like point 5 of it.

      “Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powell_Doctrine

      I’ve known about it since the Berlin Wall came down. Why hasn’t the President? Is he really that ignorant?

      You don’t go in without an exit plan. Incidentally, it works the same way with any investment. You don’t go in unless you know how you’re getting out.

      1. It’s not about ignorance. It’s never brooking an opposing opinion, and it’s about living in a fantasy world where neither your sycophants nor the media dares ask difficult questions.

        When no one ever holds you accountable for the decisions you make, then you have no reason to ever given the options due consideration.

        1. As someone who knows a couple of Obama insiders, I can vouch for this. They would rather be ass-kissed than hear the truth, any day.

  15. Obama’s admission should stand as evidence [to Democrats] that that’s not true and of the damage those kinds of illusions can cause.

    Oh Ed, you beautiful sweet naive magnificent bastard. Don’t ever let anyone take that dream away from you.

  16. The lesson of Iraq should have been sufficient. Although the U.S. failed to plan for the aftermath of the 2003 invasion,

    WRONG.

    They had a plan. A very detailed plan. To leave by the end of 2004.

    This is my point about “planning” above. Of course they have plans. They have plans for the plans. They have backup plans for when those fail. Its just that ‘planning’ doesn’t mean shit when you’ve got your dick stuck in a meatgrinder.

    1. Can you recommend any good meat grinders?

      1. STOP. I think we have enough euphemisms as it is.

    1. meant as reply to Crusty

  17. The lootings in post-invasion Iraq, the bloody campaign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and the large-scale humanitarian disaster that remains North Korea are just a handful of examples of the consequences of U.S. interventions that any U.S. policy maker ought to be expected to know, let alone the U.S. president.

    I think the primary consequence of our intervention in Korea is not that North Korea is a humanitarian nightmare, but that South Korea avoided that fate.

    1. Yeah, that was an odd addition for Ed.
      He is just as bad as Adam Lanza.

      1. SomismHitler. Hitler is as bad as Adam Lanza.

  18. So, he didn’t learn that from Afghanistan or Iraq?

  19. “Admits” implies that he was right. “Claims” is more like it. This probably doesn’t make his top five mistakes.

  20. In fairness, the Libya mistake was made during the Arab Spring, when it looked like people in Northern Africa and the Middle East were rising up on their own in favor of democracy, and therefore needed only a little help. Obama made the same mistake as Bush and his Neo-cons, assuming that a country run by a dictator, with no governmental institutions other than those controlled by the dictator, could quickly stabilize itself as a democracy. It never works. That’s the lesson. It worked at the end of WWII with Japan and Germany, but that was after an all-out war and total defeat; it included occupation and reconstruction.

    1. In Germany, at least, there was some decent cultural background for a parliamentary democracy.

      Hell, even Japan had the Diet, which I don’t think was a total sham before the militarists took over.

      I don’t think any MENA/Islamist country has even the most minimal cultural roots for democracy and small-l liberalism.

    2. Wait – we still have bases in both Japan and Germany. So how is it that it “worked” there?? It fucking worked because we goddamn well had large bodies of armed men to ensure that those countries didn’t revert to their authoritarian tendencies. The fact is that the Greatest Generation – for all of their flaws – perfectly understood that is what it would take. A large-scale, long-term, military occupation designed to ensure the institutions and cultural imprimatur required for democracy. And you could make a very compelling case that Germany and Japan were already way more embedded with the cultural necessities to allow for the growth of democratic institutions than anything the Middle East has ever produced.

      Anyone who suggests otherwise is fucking stupid.

      But both W and Obama/Hitlery thought we would just do it in a jiff.

      I submit they always knew better, but they also know the American public has no appetite for that kind of commitment any more.

  21. Want to meet a girl? come on http://goo.gl/ESXruj
    the Best adult Dating site!

  22. OK wow man lets roll with it dude.

    http://www.Web-Privacy.tk

    1. So you’re cool with having your ass fucked with a large pineapple? Awesome dude!

  23. I’d say his worse mistake was becoming president. Surely he is the offspring of LBJ and Nixon.

    1. Nixon wasn’t nearly as bad as LBJ (who makes my list of “five worst presidents in the history of America” ahead of Obozo).

  24. Notice he stopped well short of hanging it on Hillary

  25. Obozo is a fool and a jerk. What more need you to know?

  26. What’s the plan after Iran puts thermonuclear contraptions atop guided ballistic rocketry, the House of Saud responds similarly and fossil fuels needed for 75% of the world to survive more than two weeks stop flowing?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.