Saturday, August 1, 2015

The GOP's Latest Libya Attack on Hillary

No, it's not the Benghazi "coverup" that the bubble people have convinced themselves is the worst scandal since Watergate; nor even the email "scandal" which Republicans still insist implicates Hillary Clinton in, you guessed it, Benghazi.  Trey Gowdy will still be trying to make something out of both months after her inauguration.

No, the latest attack from the GOP over Libya concerns Clinton's roll in the deposing of one Muammar Gaddafi, the former dictator of that country, who we, along with NATO support, put out of his misery several years ago. Turns out, Libya has deteriorated into utter chaos and the United States is partly - or mainly, depending on whose opinion you trust - to blame.

And what do I say to all this? Guilty as charged. What can I say? America fucked up again. Seems over the last several decades, we've gotten quite proficient at sticking our nose into other people's business and then suffering the consequences of our actions. Face it, the United States has been doing a pretty dreadful job at being the world's cop on the beat. Truth is, we suck at it and have for quite some time.

Libya has turned out to be a clusterfuck. It's an anarchist convention posing as a nation. Gaddafi was a brutal dictator who murdered quite possibly millions of his own people over his four decades of tyrannical rule, but since his forced departure, his country has become a haven for terrorists. It's painful to admit, but the Benghazi attack probably doesn't happen if Gaddafi's still in charge.

And that, in a nutshell has been our problem all along. We simply don't understand that our actions can and often do have unintended consequences. We go into a situation with the best of intentions, only to have the whole thing blow up in our face. The Arab Spring was supposed to be this incredible democratic wave that would sweep despots all over the Middle East out of power and restore that power to the people. Instead, what happened was that in many of these countries the wave simple pushed out one despot for another. Egypt is no more democratic today than it was when Hosni Mubarak ran things. In fact, the one "democratically" elected president of that country - Mohamed Morsi - was ousted by the military and is awaiting execution. So much for Democracy.

But while Hillary Clinton's role in the Libyan war deserves scrutiny, I wouldn't go barking up that tree if I were the GOP. For starters, if Jeb Bush ends up being the Republican nominee - and he very well might be - this is not a pissing contest he can win.  True, Libya turned out to be a foreign policy disaster, but Iraq stands as the motherlode of all foreign policy disasters, and Iraq happened on his brother's watch.

Can you see old Jeb turning to Hillary and asking her to explain what happened in Libya? I can. And I can also see Hillary doing all she can to keep from laughing out loud. I'm guessing this would be her answer. "Governor, don't even dream of going there. Your brother spent over a trillion dollars destroying a country and destabilizing an entire region looking for weapons of mass destruction that never existed. And YOU have adamantly defended him on that decision."

Game, set and match.

Now if for some reason, the GOP nominee turns out to be Rand Paul, things might be different, but not that much different. Paul's not exactly a fan of either party's foreign policy. In a firefight, he's just as likely to bury Bush as he will Hillary. And that won't sit well with the neocons who apparently only like the wars their guys start.

And if the Republican nominee ends up being John Kasich, the whole thing might never come up in the first place. From what little I've read on Kasich, he will likely stay as far away as possible from the whole issue. As I said in my last piece, he doesn't strike me as one of those Republicans who gets drunk on the Kool Aid.

Marco Rubio? Please. Don't get me started on Rubio. Clinton will school him but good. Did you see his performance in the Senate trying to outsmart John Kerry over the Iran deal? He made a fool of himself, much like the rest of his party. Rubio, in the event he wins the nod, will be so out of his league, he will look pathetic on that debate stage. The truth is there isn't one potential Republican nominee who can hurt Clinton on Libya.

Still, that won't stop the wing nuts from trying their best to create a mountain out of this molehill. Just look at how worked up they got over the "infamous" black men in hoodies video that was all of fifteen seconds long and conveniently left out the rest of her speech. Pirates don't get that excited when they discover treasure.

Hillary Clinton is unfit for president because of what happened in Libya. Of course, if you attempt to bring up Iraq, you're immediately accused of "changing the subject." And the subject, naturally, is Hillary Clinton. It has been ever since Obama won reelection. They've been paranoid about her for years.

Look, there is an awful lot wrong with American foreign policy that needs correcting. But having a discussion about it without bringing up Iraq is like having a discussion about maritime disasters without mentioning the Titanic. You just don't do it. Period.

And that's why this latest attack, just like all the others, will ultimately fail. Not because there isn't some kernel of truth to it, but because it lacks any semblance of balance and perspective. And that has been the fatal flaw in the Republican strategy from day one. By going all out on these conspiracy theories, they've missed out on genuine policy issues that might benefit them in a general election.

But then this isn't about the general election, is it? It's about a primary process that every four years gets more and more bizarre. I'm running out of adjectives to describe the GOP. Somehow calling it a looney bin would be an insult to looney bins everywhere.

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