themcglynn.com

29 Feb

Clinton’s LIBYA GAMBLE

NYT

THE LIBYA GAMBLE PART 2

A New Libya, With ‘Very Little Time Left’

By SCOTT SHANE and JO BECKER

Clinton: “We came, we saw, he died!” she exclaimed.

The fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi seemed to vindicate Hillary Clinton. Then militias refused to disarm, neighbors fanned a civil war, and the Islamic State found refuge.

 

Lybia

 WAS A GRISLY START to the new era for Libya, broadcast around the world. The dictator was dragged from the sewer pipe where he was hiding, tossed around by frenzied rebel soldiers, beaten bloody and sodomized with a bayonet. A shaky cellphone video showed the pocked face of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, “the Leader” who had terrified Libyans for four decades, looking frightened and bewildered. He would soon be dead.

The first news reports of Colonel Qaddafi’s capture and killing in October 2011 reached the secretary of state in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she had just sat down for a televised interview. “Wow!” she said, looking at an aide’s BlackBerry before cautiously noting that the report had not yet been confirmed. But Hillary Clinton seemed impatient for a conclusion to the multinational military intervention she had done so much to organize, and in a rare unguarded moment, she dropped her reserve.

“We came, we saw, he died!” she exclaimed.

Two days before, Mrs. Clinton had taken a triumphal tour of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and for weeks top aides had been circulating a “ticktock” that described her starring role in the events that had led to this moment. The timeline, her top policy aide, Jake Sullivan, wrote, demonstrated Mrs. Clinton’s “leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country’s Libya policy from start to finish.” The memo’s language put her at the center of everything: “HRC announces … HRC directs … HRC travels … HRC engages,” it read.

Two days before, Mrs. Clinton had taken a triumphal tour of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and for weeks top aides had been circulating a “ticktock” that described her starring role in the events that had led to this moment. The timeline, her top policy aide, Jake Sullivan, wrote, demonstrated Mrs. Clinton’s “leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country’s Libya policy from start to finish.” The memo’s language put her at the center of everything: “HRC announces … HRC directs … HRC travels … HRC engages,” it read.

It was a brag sheet for a cabinet member eyeing a presidential race, and the Clinton team’s eagerness to claim credit for her prompted eye-rolling at the White House and the Pentagon. Some joked that to hear her aides tell it, she had practically called in the airstrikes herself.

But there were plenty of signs that the triumph would be short-lived, that the vacuum left by Colonel Qaddafi’s death invited violence and division.

In fact, on the same August day that Mr. Sullivan had compiled his laudatory memo, the State Department’s top Middle East hand, Jeffrey D. Feltman, had sent a lengthy email with an utterly different tone about what he had seen on his own visit to Libya.

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