2016 Republican Convention

The Hillary Clinton Foreign Policy Defense: It's Obama's Foreign Policy

Trump whipped up fear about a world Clinton's policies have helped make more dangerous.

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MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA/Newscom

A new idea is taking hold in response to criticisms of Hillary Clinton based her tenure as Secretary of State—that the decisions were Obama's and not hers. Trump said in his acceptance speech Hillary Clinton had been put "in charge" of U.S. foreign policy when she was appointed Secretary of State. "Trump wrong again," the Washington Post's Josh Rogin tweeted. "Hillary Clinton was never 'in charge' of U.S. foreign policy. If so, she would have done a lot of things different."

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, meanwhile, insisted on CNN this morning that a cabinet member wouldn't go against the president, or they wouldn't be a cabinet member much longer, thus answering why Clinton was not in any way responsible for any global instability today.

That's not quite how it works. Cabinet members are supposed to advise the president, not simply agree with them. And Barack Obama, as he was forming his first cabinet, was reported to have been inspired by Doris Goodwin's Team of Rivals, an account of the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, who chose William Seward, the 1860 Republican presidential frontrunner he defeated for the nomination, as his Secretary of State.

The Washington Post reported after the 2008 election:

"All of our latest discussions about Lincoln centered around diversity of thought and vigorous debate on issues and being able to surround yourself with people you disagree with without being disagreeable, because you feel that it's going to lead to a better answer, the best answer," said Marty Nesbitt, one of Obama's closest friends and basketball companions in Chicago.

While Hillary Clinton has so far insisted she has had no regrets about the 2011 Libya intervention, of which she was a primary advocate, even as President Obama has acknowledged failing to plan for the aftermath of the Libyan intervention the "worst mistake" of his presidency. In Afghanistan, Clinton pushed a "diplomatic surge" that ended up being a giant exercise in bureaucratic infighting. Clinton rejected intervention in Syria at the tail end of her tenure, saying the situation was not as grave as it had been in Libya. Four years later, her likely defense secretary pick is advocating for stepping up intervention in Syria, against ISIS and Bashar Assad, beyond what President Obama has committed. Had Clinton been completely in charge of U.S. foreign policy under Obama, and stuck around for four more years, things could have been even worse.

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  1. She’s not incompetent, she’s inexperienced?

    Sounds like the cop who claimed he was shooting at the autistic kid when he hit the black guy.

    This is not a defense.

    1. They’re likely hoping the voting public won’t make that obvious logical next leap.

      1. You mean noticing that if she has no responsibility for foreign policy during her tenure because none of it was her doing, then her supposed ‘experience’ is meaningless?

        1. She did the same thing when she ran for office before. Anything that polled well regarding Bill Clinton’s tenure became her experience while things that had become politically unpopular or inconvenient became Bill Clinton’s stance, not hers. Politicians talk to us like we’re idiots because it works.

      2. The only leap the majority of the voting public is capable of is following the rest of the Lemmings off the edge of the cliff.

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  2. That’s not quite how it works. Cabinet members are supposed to advise the president, not simply agree with them.

    Yeeeeah, well… if there’s anyone I feel like I could count on to surround himself with bobble-headed yes-men, it’s the ignorant boob currently occupying the Oval Office.

    Not that it justifies Herself’s actions, of course.

    1. He can do any of their jobs better than they could

  3. “Had Clinton been completely in charge of U.S. foreign policy under Obama, and stuck around for four more years, things could have been even worse.”

    Hey, Ed. Hope you get some royalties from Obama when he publishes his memoir, “Things Could Have Been Even Worse.”

  4. Hillary’s press sycophants are going to toss Obama under the bus? Oh God, please make this happen.

    1. I think if Herself starts to lose consistently in the polls, they’ll get desperate and do exactly that. “Sorry, man, you had your time in the spotlight, now we gotta sacrifice you to keep Trump from getting elected.”

      1. As you say, they may have to it. My normally loyal Democrat friends are across the board ashamed of what happened in Libya and Syria. 2 actually say they’ll vote GJ. Make them choose between Obama and Hillary, even without O running, Hillary will lose that battle.

    2. my first thought exactly. And I particularly like the certitude behind the WaPo guy’s tweet. It’s almost like he’s angling for a job if she wins.

      1. Press Secretary.

  5. The coming Trumpian benevolent dictatorship vastly overshadows the lurching inconsequential that is Hillary.

    Nothing in the scattered hibiscus and black leaves points to Democrats winning the next White Hovel. All reporting, journalizing, commentating, and posting is being dispensed toward a trim zombie in grandmother skin.

    1. I don’t know about benevolent, have you read the alt-right comment sections? American Brown Shirts.

      1. Benevolent of the Trumpian fractal.

        1. Ah yes, fractaly benevolent. It’s the best kind.

    2. trim zombie in grandmother skin

      I’d give my left nut to have come up with that. Pure poetry.

  6. Yep, things will be a lot better once Hillary wins and starts micromanaging everything.

  7. I think she realizes she was manipulated by the neocons like Sidney Blumenthal, and is a bit wiser from the experience. I also don’t think that John Kerry is much better. He’s the guy who thought that Hollywood could help ‘create a narrative to compete with ISIS’ lol. Hopefully we’ll learn something from the convention next week and the debates, and hopefully she will pick a dove not a hawk for VP.

    1. I don’t see how she is any wiser. You have consider why she supported Libya in the first place. She supported Libya, if you take her at her word, because of some vague commitment to the US having a duty to prevent genocide and humanitarian disasters. As far as I can see she has not walked away from that idea.

      More importantly, she also seems to have learned nothing from Libya’s failure. Libya failed not just because we should not have gone there, it also failed because we went there in a stupid and haphazard way. If you want to overthrow Kadafi, then you need to figure out who you want in charge after he is gone and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that happens. Hillary didn’t do any of that in Libya and there is little reason to believe she would do so in any future intervention. She did Libya and turned down Syria because she figured Libya would be easy. Well nothing is ever as “easy” as it looks, especially when it involves war.

      I see no reason to think Hillary won’t intervene and make the same mistakes she made in Libya the first time she sees some humanitarian crisis her advisors convince her will be easy to solve.

      1. True but it was less stupid and haphazard than Bush/Cheney/Rumsie. We are learning. Trump, on the other hand, will go exactly in the opposite direction. That is in fact his appeal.

        1. Yes. And I think Trump is right to do that. I can’t understand how our foreign policy establishment has become so delusional that statements like “Europe needs to help defend itself” or “we should only intervene where it is clearly in the nation’s interest” are now viewed as beyond the pale.

        2. How was it less stupid and haphazard? The argument could and should be obvious that Libya came AFTER Iraq and all the lessons learned there: that deposing a bad guy is no guarantee of getting a better guy, that removing a leader who kept a place relatively contained creates chaos, that the vacuum will be filled people worse than what you removed, and so forth. In addition, Herself was right there with Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, make her complicit in BOTH scenarios.

    2. now she was “manipulated”? For decades, we’ve heard the smartest woman in the world ever. But when failure is pointed out, you’re going to claim she was a victim of a guy 1) who held no office and 2) whom Obama wanted nowhere near her, maybe for good reasons. You make James Comey’s point about Herself’s judgment.

    3. Manipulated? For decades, we’ve been lectured how she’s the smartest woman ever; don’t insult people’s intelligence by portraying her as some victim.

  8. She didn’t do that.

  9. “I vas only following orders!”

  10. Barack Obama, as he was forming his first cabinet, was reported to have been inspired by Doris Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, an account of the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, who chose William Seward, the 1860 Republican presidential frontrunner he defeated for the nomination, as his Secretary of State.

    I am not an historian, I just gather together some information from the vapors. The Civil War was a colossal train wreck. The numbers I understand. Somewhere around 650,000 soldiers were casualties of the battles. Up to 1,000,000 people died of starvation in it’s aftermath when the Union army scorched the fields. This included the slaves that were liberated. The Lincoln presidency deserves an arched eyebrow.

    1. All true. Of course, you can’t blame the Civil War entirely on Lincoln. He had nothing to do with creating the situation he inherited. And even if you blame him for wanting the fight the war rather than letting the South go, that was the result of the collective political will of the North. it is not like Lincoln drug the North into the war. The North wanted to fight the war and likely would have impeached Lincoln had he refused to do so.

      So I think you have to judge Lincoln’s presidency in light of the situation he inherited and the circumstances he faced. Whether Lincoln liked it or not, he was elected to suppress the Southern succession and in that he accomplished his mission. The cost of course was obscenely high. But it would have been no matter who was President.

      1. Of course, you can’t blame the auto bailouts and this stimulus spending entirely on Obama. He had nothing to do with creating the situation he inherited. And even if you blame him for wanting to bail out the auto companies rather than letting them go into bankruptcy, that was the result of the collective political will of the country. It is not like Obama drug the country into the bailouts and reckless spending…

        1. so the collective will of the country is the calculus? I know Bush actually initiated the notion of auto bailouts but it’s not like the industry would have crashed without them. Obama signed off on a sop to the unions. Since then, GM has moved a good chunk of operations to Mexico and Eastern Europe but no one wants to talk about that.

          Coming into office as some messiah, Obama could very well have directed the country away from bailouts and reckless spending, to include the ridiculous stimulus.

          1. Yes. I was merely pointing out that the defense of Lincoln is very similar to typical leftoid defenses of Obama. Perhaps I should have tagged it as /sarc since it’s a little too spot on.

    2. Up to 1,000,000 people died of starvation in it’s aftermath when the Union army scorched the fields. This included the slaves that were liberated.

      a bit of a tangent, but those are two points no one ever discusses. By today’s standards, Sherman would have been a war criminal. It’s one thing to defeat the opposition; it’s quite another to ensure that your countrymen, war aside, will struggle mightily in the aftermath.

      As to the slaves, people act surprised that people with no home, no education, no marketable skills might not instantly flee the area. Just think about it – you’re suddenly “free” but what does that mean in practical terms? What will you do? Kinda shows that we have a long history of not spending a great deal of time worrying about the aftermath of war, with the exception of the Marshall Plan post-WWII.

      1. By today’s standards, Sherman would have been a war criminal.
        People look at war differently now. While I think it’s largely good that wars aren’t always about utterly crushing the opposition civilians, that trajectory might be leading somewhere not good. The military ranks are not the place for political correctness. It’s a sign of a civilization that doesn’t have existential threats and has become complacent.

        Just think about it – you’re suddenly “free” but what does that mean in practical terms? What will you do?
        When I was in elementary school, we were indoctrinated with the notion that tenant farming was just an evil plot by ex-slaveholders to keep black people enslaved.

        1. The South retains a large black population because many of the suddenly freed never left and, practically speaking, it makes sense: leave to go where and do what, and how do you get there. So, they turned to what they knew – working the land. The war too often gets painted solely for the emancipation aspect and everything else is glossed over.

      2. It was total war. Everyone remembers Sherman, but really the worst thing they did was what Sheridan did to the Shenandoah valley. The valley was full of German Quaker farmers who didn’t own slaves and didn’t support the war. They were all pacifists. But it was the bread basket for the South and Sheridan forcibly evacuated the entire population and burt everything to the ground. And it did nothing to quicken the end of the war. The war didn’t end until the North won at Five Forks and cut off Lee from his supply lines forcing him out of Petersburg and Richmond. Burning the valley to the ground did nothing to hasten that.

      3. By today’s standards, Sherman would have been a war criminal. It’s one thing to defeat the opposition; it’s quite another to ensure that your countrymen, war aside, will struggle mightily in the aftermath.

        Why would Sherman destroy his own supply lines and potential sources of foraging? Scorched earth is usually something a retreating army does to deny the pursuing army supplies.

        The truth is that the Union did little of the destruction usually attributed to them by the Dunning School. The Confederate Army he was chasing had torn down buildings to build fortifications and trenchworks. Then there was heavy fighting with hundreds of thousands of shells being fired which caused more damage and starting fires. When the Confederates retreated, they set fires to deny the Union Army materiel on the orders of General Wheeler. Most notable was a 81 car train of supplies with 28 cars of munitions. When the fire hit those cars, the explosion was the largest in the US Civil War.

      4. As to the slaves, people act surprised that people with no home, no education, no marketable skills might not instantly flee the area. Just think about it – you’re suddenly “free” but what does that mean in practical terms? What will you do? Kinda shows that we have a long history of not spending a great deal of time worrying about the aftermath of war, with the exception of the Marshall Plan post-WWII.

        That’s why the Union set up the Freedman’s Bureau which you should add to the Marshall Plan as an example of the US thinking about what to do after war.

        The Freedman’s Bureau’s largest mission was to provide education for newly freed slaves but they also reunited families, solemnized informal marriages, granted divorces, found people jobs, etc.

        Usually the jobs the Freedman’s Bureau found for people were the same things they did under slavery, just under different terms. Many jobs didn’t require that much education. The South was still largely rural and agricultural then.

        If you want to say they did a poor job of it, you can blame the election of 1876. Ending Reconstruction was part of the deal that ended the disputes resulting from that election and allowed Rutherford B. Hayes to become President.

  11. So, a politician wants to take credit for any successes, and disavow any blame, for things that happened on her watch. Seems legit.

  12. Excellent piece.

    I might only add that the main reason Hillary lost to Obama in the Democratic primaries was because she was so enthusiastic in her support for the Iraq War where Obama was ostensibly against it.

    During the Bush Administration, Hillary’s main criticism of the Iraq occupation was that Bush wasn’t going far enough.

    Trump sounds eminently rational when he’s talking about why the Iraq War was a mistake.

    If Hillary can’t bring herself to admit the Iraq War was a mistake after losing the lives of thousands of American troops, tens of thousands of American casualties, and spending more than a trillion dollars and counting–only to see Iraq become an even bigger security threat to the United States through terrorism and Iran’s growing dominance in the region–then Donald Trump can and should exploit her on that.

    She’s a warmonger, and it’s not like the left or their allies in the media will point it out.

    1. One reason not to vote for Hillary is that she has a statically anomalous propensity for stepping on rakes.

      1. +1 Robert Underdunk Terwilliger.

      2. I mostly wanted show off my 700 word vocabulary. FOE recently boasted a vocabulary of 33k+ words based on some internet test he took. So, smarty pants, what are they?

        1. I think that would come off better if you’d used the word ‘statistically’ instead of ‘statically’. Just saying….

    2. I was talking to my wife tonight about the 60 civilians that were killed by US bombing earlier this week. She didn’t believe me at first, but I showed her the article. She was shocked even though we live in Japan and she doesn’t follow US news. Nobody is pointing it out. Trump doesn’t want to be seen to be picking on the troops and of course Hillary won’t say a word about it. The media will. not. touch. it.

      1. The comments Trump made that are being widely circulated about his enthusiasm for targeting and killing the innocent family members of ISIS through bombing raids are a wild misrepresentation of what Trump said in context.

        He had said he was going to bomb the hell out of ISIS, and a reporter asked him about what that might mean in terms of collateral damage and ISIS members’ innocent family members. He went on to say that although it’s a horrible thing, ISIS is using their families as human shields and he would target them anyway.

        It simply isn’t the way they make it out to be–on par with claiming that Sarah Palin said she can see Russia from her kitchen window.

        Meanwhile, yeah, here’s a list of all the innocent people that Obama has killed with drones over the years, broken down by country and whether the victims were children. You can break out the data sheets if you like:

        http://tinyurl.com/of6gq8v

        Barack Obama has killed more children than Adam Lanza.

        If you’re against that sort of thing, does that make what Trump said okay?

        No.

        But this isn’t something he dreamed up himself. This has been going on since before Obama became President. Why are people just waking up to it now?

        1. Tu quoque is saying, “But he did that!”. I don’t know what fallacy it is when you say, “But he probably would do that!”. In my experience, pointing out Hillary’s support for All Things War is the only way to gain traction among Ds and even a few Rs. Keep hammering the point because what else are we gonna do? Give up?

          1. I answered that in the post below.

            Trump isn’t justified because Obama does it.

            The question is why is it okay when Obama does it.

            The question is whether Hillary would refuse to bomb ISIS if bombing them might kill innocent bystanders.

            Holding up Trump as if he were uniquely disqualified to be President in this regard is absurd, and that’s what a lot of people are saying in regards to his comments about killing ISIS’ family members.

            1. You know why: Ends justify the means. Obama may have committed atrocities, but we won’t ever admit it because we meant well. Frustrating as hell, but that is all it is. Ever have a buddy dating a slut and no matter what you say, he won’t listen? Hillary is the slut he married and your buddy is taking that “death do us part” bit seriously.

              1. If sarcasmic were here, he’d say it’s principals rather than principles.

                I think it really comes down to things like that + what you’re saying.

                They trust Hillary so the ends justify the means.

                Among other problems, they also get their ends and means mixed up.

                When Obama kills hundreds of children with drone strikes, that isn’t really a means to anything. It’s an “ends”.

      2. Trump isn’t justified because Obama does it.

        The question is why was it okay when Obama does it?

        Hillary was part of that Administration when those people were being killed, too.

        What are Hilary’s views on drone strikes? Would she refuse to authorize drone strikes if they might hurt innocent bystanders?

        Is that a promise?

  13. What does Josh Rogin think the Secretary of State does exactly? Also, that dude has a very punchable face.

  14. Boy, am I tired of Reason writers taking up the leftist bullshit about Trump “whipping up fear.” There really are terror groups attacking us. There really is crime by illegal aliens. One can hand wave about the odds or percentages or supposed trends, but those things are real.

    Contrast that with the left (and sometimes libertarians) going on about their particular hobby-horses. You’d think the streets were running red with the blood of people murdered by police. You’d think the major force keeping the poor down was “institutional racism” or whatever bullshit phrase they have to invent when they can’t find any actual racism.

    All politicians invoke fear to one degree or another. Trump talks about terrorists and illegals, and then people claim he’s the Second Coming of Hitler for “invoking fear.” Hypocrites.

    1. Reason lives under the constant delusion that the world is an entirely threat free and safe place if only the US would allow it to be and stop creating threats where none would otherwise be. So anytime someone points out a threat or a danger, reason accuses that person of ‘whipping up fear”

      It is why you can’t take them seriously on any sort of foreign policy issue. They are not serious people and do not hold opinions worthy of being taken seriously.

    2. We have nothing to fear but Trump himself

      1. We have nothing to trump but fear itself?

    3. you left out the armed guards monitoring public bathrooms doing genital checks to make sure the equipment corresponds to the symbol on the door.

    4. And speaking of whipping up fear – how’s that ebola pandemic going for you?

      1. Wow, long memory. Yes, I was more concerned than many around here, but I don’t think I ever “whipped up fear.” I was worried about all the deaths among medical personnel in Africa, which indicated to me that we didn’t fully understand its transmission behavior. And it seemed insane to allow people to fly in from zones of active infection. And indeed, some medical personnel here did catch it, but thankfully not many.

        1. Routine infection control precautions = whipping up fear?

          1. When routine quarantine measures interfere with open borders, yes.

          2. In the same way that not wanting to import millions of anti-libertarians = “xenophobia.”

    5. I appreciate what you’re saying generally after the anti-Trump fest over the last several days.

      But this piece is supportive of Trump’s charges against Hillary Clinton, and this in spite of Krayewski maybe not being a fan of Donald Trump.

      You may not agree with Krayewski, but he’s calling it fair.

      1. You are correct. I was going off on the subhead, which Ed may not have even written. The piece as a whole is indeed fair.

    6. So… is he whipping up fear or not?

  15. Can anyone name a U.S. foreign policy initiative in this administration that didn’t have her sign-off?

    1. They signed the sham Iran deal after she left. That seems to be more Kerry’s creation. The funny thing about this debate is how it shows how stupid and irrelevant Obama is in his own administration. The more I read about how things like Libya and our response to the Syrian crisis actually worked, the more it looks like a small and shifting group of White House and Cabinet officials make all of the decision with Obama just along for the ride.

      1. Fair point regarding the Iran deal. Of course, even out of the administration, she’s supported the deal. In fact, she takes credit for “getting the process started”.

        http://hrc.io/2afqIC1

        The thing is, about the only time Hillary Clinton lost on foreign policy decisions within the administration was when she was advocating military intervention in Syria. And not going along with that clusterfuck was probably one of the few times I’d give Mr. Obama much foreign policy credit.

      2. What about that surprises you? There have been numerous stories about Obama playing cards with Reggie Love or some such when big shit was happening. Oh, sure; he’s all about taking the glory for Bin Laden but who beyond the most extreme party hacks thinks he had anything to do with it.

        1. It should not surprise me. Hell, during the Bengazi attack, Obama seemed to say “you guys handle this and I am going out the California and party”. In fairness to Hillary, how is she entirely on the hook for Bengazi, rather than the president? God he is a fucking moron.

          1. Yes, he is a moron and a lazy one at that. That does not reflect well on her, though; to the contrary, it should further the case that RC Dean has been making that she should simply be disqualified as a candidate.

            It’s a little funny – my eldest stepdaughter was all gung-ho for Herself in ’08 but would rather eat glass than vote for her now. Doesn’t make her a Trumpkin, more someone dismayed that those are the options, but it’s curious to see Yogi’s old saying about “you can observe a lot by watching” play out. She has seen Hillary in action and has not liked what she saw.

          2. God he is a fucking moron.

            Perhaps. But, I can’t help but wonder, who’s the bigger moron, the guy who left someone else to get hung out to dry or the person that moron left hanging out to dry?

  16. “President Obama has acknowledged failing to plan for the aftermath of the Libyan intervention the “worst mistake” of his presidency.

    Pay attention to what Obama is really saying there. Isn’t he saying that we should have put troops on the ground? I don’t think he’s saying that we shouldn’t have participated in the intervention.

    Iraq cost:

    4,000 American deaths
    30,000 American casualties
    $1 trillion+

    Libya cost:

    Zero American deaths
    1 possible American casualties (airplane crash due to mechanical failure: pilot rescued).
    $ 1 billion

    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–the same or worse situation on the ground with much more costs in terms of treasure and American lives.

    1. Is Libya “insanely better”? Our govt created a power vacuum that will be filled by something far worse than Qaddafi, and we did it for no particular reason.

      Yes, I realize the cost and casualty count in Iraq is far higher, but our actions in Libya may well only have delayed similar figures being realized in the future. Ironically, the Libya decisions was AFTER Iraq, IN SPITE OF Iraq and the outcome there. Every sign imaginable said “don’t do it” but Herself would not be daunted.

      1. “Our govt created a power vacuum that will be filled by something far worse than Qaddafi”

        Three very quick points:

        1) The Libyan people, the British and French in the air, and the Qataris on the ground, they were all going in with us or without us. I think Obama joined the coalition in part because it would have looked like he’d abdicated leadership of the free world if he hadn’t joined the coalition.

        2) Our government didn’t create the Arab Spring, and the alternative to intervention probably wasn’t peace under Qaddafi.

        If there hadn’t been an intervention, Libya might look more like Syria today.

        3) There couldn’t be anything better than Qaddafi so long as Qaddafi was in power.

      2. Libya is what paved the way for the great Muslim migration to Europe, so that should go in the debit column.

        1. Is that a result of the intervention or of the Arab Spring?

          There would have been revolution and civil war in Libya even if we hadn’t intervened.

          There also would have been an intervention in Libya even if we hadn’t joined it.

          Syria is another source of the great migration to Europe. We didn’t intervene in Syria.

    2. Cost of doing the right thing:

      $0 cost of munitions.
      $0 cost of consumables.

      0 casualties to US forces.

      Under any sane calculus the Libyan intervention was an illegal and costly mistake.

      1. Whether to intervene is another question.

        Obama didn’t say he was wrong to intervene. He said he was wrong not to plan for the aftermath.

        If Obama is going to intervene over your objections anyway, what do you want him to do in the aftermath?

        Would you rather he had sent American troops in by the thousands?

        I think he did the right thing by not sending any troops.

        1. Would you rather he had sent American troops in by the thousands?

          Yes, I would!

          Because if the U.S. is going to intervene it should do it in a legal manner, and one of the requirements of international law is that an occupying power is responsible for security. Meaning that you under the law occuping a country solely with fighter jets that destroy whatever government forces they encounter and then leaving the local population at risk for attacks by warlords is illegal.

          What Obama did was illegal. In a republic, having a dictator who ignores the law is a terrible thing.

          1. So you don’t care if the problems we see in Iraq are directly attributable to the occupation.

            You want to occupy a country–even if it provokes a proliferation of terrorism, costs tens of thousands of American casualties, a trillion dollars, and leaves American security in a more precarious situation than it was in before?

            You don’t care if the ultimate solution to all that mayhem caused by the occupation is ending the occupation either?

            You want to occupy anyway because you think we’re legally compelled to do so?

            1. You want to occupy a country–even if it provokes a proliferation of terrorism, costs tens of thousands of American casualties, a trillion dollars, and leaves American security in a more precarious situation than it was in before?

              No I don’t. I don’t want any intervention, Kenny!

              I just think interventions that violate international law are worse than ones that obey it.

              If you were to ask me if I would prefer Obamacare originate in the house and then be passed in the Senate the way the Constitution required it to, over the unconstitutional shitshow that was involved in its pasage, I would say yes. That would not mean I wanted Obamacare to pass.

              I think you need to accept the fact that the Libyan Intervention you adore and support was illegal, stupid, unnecessary, harmful to the security of US citizens, and that you were wrong to see it as “smart power”.

              1. “No I don’t. I don’t want any intervention, Kenny!”

                The point is that Obama wasn’t questioning his decision to participate in the intervention.

                He was questioning whether he should have occupied the country.

                So you’re elected President, you inherit two occupations, what do you do?

                Stay with occupations that are the cause of the problems because the law says so?

                “I just think interventions that violate international law are worse than ones that obey it.

                One time this girl I was dating was giving me a ride to the airport.

                We got broadsided by another car so hard it spun us around twice. To make a long story short, if she’d done something illegal, we would have avoided the accident completely. That’s what the guy that hit us came out of his car screaming, too.

                Later, I asked her about why she didn’t just do that illegal thing. She said, “I thought about that at the time, but then I thought, well, at least if I stay within the lines, it isn’t my fault”.

                We could have been killed. I told her that if she ever dies in a car crash, I’ll be sure to have them put “It Wasn’t My Fault” on her tombstone.

                I remain unconvinced that international law compels us to engage in bloody, self-defeating occupations. Even if it does, when occupations will cause needless suffering, both to civilians and the American military, I think we should break the law.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L397TWLwrUU

                1. I remain unconvinced that international law compels us to engage in bloody, self-defeating occupations.

                  It doesn’t, Kenny. It does compel governments invading other countries to provide for the security of the civilian population when they invade. The fact that you and Obama find that duty inconvenient to your schemes is not a problem with the law. Perhaps you might want ot consider not slaughtering people and invading other countries if you find the legal requirements too onerous?

                  On the other hand, you might have a point! Can you imagine how much cheaper the operation of the U.S. government would be if we stopped having trials by jury for serial killers and terrorists?!? We could arrest them and shoot them on the spot and save millions!

                  1. So you’re elected President, you inherit two occupations, what do you do?

                    Negotiate a withdrawal. Turn over security duties in an organized manner to local polities on a mutually agreed upon timeline.

                    It’s much easier said than done; in Iraq the U.S. really should have permitted the partitioning of the country instead of bowing to Saudi demands that Iraq stay ‘unified’ in order to reduce Iranian influence in the region. But it would kicked over a lot of apple-carts. Gosh, it seems like the only way to win is not to play, doesn’t it?

                2. One time this girl I was dating was giving me a ride to the airport.

                  We got broadsided by another car… if she’d done something illegal, we would have avoided the accident completely. …

                  Later, I asked her about why she didn’t just do that illegal thing. She said, “I thought about that at the time, but then I thought, well, at least if I stay within the lines, it isn’t my fault”.

                  First, you were dating an idiot. Almost universally, traffic laws permit you to cross the lines in order to avoid a hazard. Good job ditching her.

                  Second, it has no applicability to what we are discussing. You are trying to argue that assuming an intervention was going to happen, one where we slaughtered people at a distance was better because fewer Americans would die. But the decision to intervene contains within it the decision of how to intervene.

                  If your friend had decided to drive across an intersection, and ignoring a red light, advanced into the intersection, adroitly avoiding an oncoming truck by dodging in a manner that t-boned the rear panel of a passing station-wagon full of babies and puppies, sending it spinning in front of the truck instead, you might have made a good comparison.

                  The Libyan situation wasn’t a crisis that required U.S. involvement like a car on a collision course with your friend’s car. You even admit that fact in the thread I linked to above. The U.S. could have complied with the law easily, by not attacking Libya at all!

                  1. “I just think interventions that violate international law are worse than ones that obey it.

                    The point is that when doing the legal thing makes us do harmful things to ourselves and others, maybe the legal thing isn’t the correct thing to do.

                    1. True. But that’s not relevant to the Libyan intervention, so I’m not sure why you keep banging on about it.

    3. Fair point.

      But, the criticism of him I’ve heard (from liberals and conservatives alike) is “why the hell did we depose a contained and compliant tyrant in order to create a power vacuum for ISIS to exploit?”

      1. AND why did we do it with the example of Iraq shining so visibly? It’s not like anyone can claim surprise that a power vacuum in a volatile area might be filled by unpleasant people.

      2. I can tell you why.

        Libya was helld up as an example of why the Iraqi intervention was a success.

        The primary reason why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama overthrew Khaddafy was to humiliate Dubya. That’s the sort of strategic thinking that passes for 7 dimensional chess among baby-boomer politicians.

    4. “Zero American deaths”

      Huh. Did you talk to Ambassador Stevens and his security folks about that?

  17. So, Hillary everything Hillary did was actually Obama’s fault.

    And of of course we know that everything Obama has done was actually Bush’s fault so the real blame (as usual) for all of it is BOOOOOSH!!

  18. There was an email from Hillary’s private server where one of her underlings congratulated her on victory in Libya — and that her changing Obama’s mind on intervention in Libya was one of her greatest achievements. So…

  19. “Hillary Clinton was never ‘in charge’ of U.S. foreign policy. If so, she would have done a lot of things different.”

    Even if that were true (i.e., that she had only a passive role in foreign policy), it’s still a pathetic defense.

    NUH UH SHE’D BE LIKE TOTES DIFFERENT, BRA.

  20. So she says she’s going to continue Obumbles’ policy of combining enthusiasm with incompetence?

  21. Obama sure was interested in a foreign policy designed to make Hillary Clinton rich…

  22. If Clinton isn’t responsible for the State Department during her tenure then the only thing she has to show for it is her 2 scandals. She lied to protect her boss and she is guilty of gross negligence in handling state secrets.

    She then has no accomplishments to run on.

    1. First Woman President! /prog

  23. I see, it’s the Bart Simpson defense: “I didn’t do it, no one saw me do it, you can’t prove anything!”

  24. Been reading and loving this site for years. What happened? Is it just the new editor? It’s like Reason has turned into a Clinton super-PAC lately. Anyone have suggestions for better libertarian sites? Or have they all sold out?

  25. my co-worker’s step-aunt makes $68 hourly on the internet . She has been without a job for seven months but last month her payment was $16869 just working on the internet for a few hours. Learn More Here …. http://www.Profit80.com

  26. So she wasn’t responsible for foreign policy at all as Sec. State. She accomplished nothing as a Senator.

    What exactly are people talking about when they say she’s the most qualified person ever to run for President?

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