[This is the headline over a long article by US investigative journalist Robert Parry that was published yesterday on the Consortium News website. The following are a few paragraphs from the beginning and the end, along with a passing reference to Lockerbie:]
Hillary Clinton’s signature project as Secretary of State – the “regime change” in Libya – is now sliding from the tragic to the tragicomic as her successors in the Obama administration adopt increasingly desperate strategies for imposing some kind of order on the once-prosperous North African country torn by civil war since Clinton pushed for the overthrow and murder of longtime Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The problem that Clinton did much to create has grown more dangerous since Islamic State terrorists have gained a foothold in Sirte and begun their characteristic beheading of “infidels” as well as their plotting for terror attacks in nearby Europe.
There is also desperation among some Obama administration officials because the worsening Libyan fiasco threatens to undermine not only President Barack Obama’s legacy but Clinton’s drive for the Democratic presidential nomination and then the White House. So, the officials felt they had no choice but to throw caution to the wind or — to mix metaphors — some Hail Mary passes.
The latest daring move was a sea landing in Tripoli by the US/UN-formulated “unity government,” which was cobbled together by Western officials in hotel rooms in Morocco and Tunisia. But instead of “unity,” the arrival by sea threatened to bring more disunity and war by seeking to muscle aside two rival governments.
The sea landing at a naval base in Tripoli became necessary because one of those rival governments refused to let the “unity” officials fly into Libya’s capital. So, instead, the “unity” leaders entered Libya by boat from Tunisia and are currently operating from the naval base where they landed.
With this unusual move, the Obama administration is reminding longtime national security analysts of other fiascos in which Washington sought to decide the futures of other countries by shaping a government externally, as with the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s and the Iraqi National Congress in 2003, and then imposing those chosen leaders on the locals. (...)
Though Clinton and other “liberal interventionists” around Obama insisted that the goal was simply to protect Libyans from a possible slaughter, the U.S.-backed airstrikes inside Libya quickly expanded into a “regime change” operation, slaughtering much of the Libyan army.
Clinton’s State Department email exchanges revealed that her aides saw the Libyan war as a chance to pronounce a “Clinton doctrine,” bragging about how Clinton’s clever use of “smart power” could get rid of demonized foreign leaders like Gaddafi. But the Clinton team was thwarted when President Obama seized the spotlight when Gaddafi’s government fell.
But Clinton didn’t miss a second chance to take credit on Oct 20, 2011, after militants captured Gaddafi, sodomized him with a knife and then murdered him. Appearing on a TV interview, Clinton celebrated Gaddafi’s demise with the quip, “we came; we saw; he died.”
However, with Gaddafi and his largely secular regime out of the way, Islamic militants expanded their power over the country. Some were terrorists, just as Gaddafi had warned. (...)
Yet, on the campaign trail, Clinton continues to defend her judgment in instigating the Libyan war. She claims that Gaddafi had “American blood on his hands,” although she doesn’t spell out exactly what she’s referring to. There remain serious questions about the two primary incidents blamed on Libya in which Americans died – the 1986 La Belle bombing in Berlin and the bombing of Pan Am 107 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. (...)
The aftermath of the Clinton-instigated “regime change” in Libya also shows how little Clinton and other U.S. officials learned from the Iraq War disaster. Clinton has rejected any comparisons between her vote for the Iraq War in 2002 and her orchestration of the Libyan war in 2011, saying that “conflating” them is wrong. She also has sought to shift blame onto European allies who also pushed for the war.
Though her Democratic rival, Sen Bernie Sanders, hasn’t highlighted her key role in the Libya fiasco, Clinton can expect a tougher approach from the Republicans if she wins the nomination. The problem with the Republicans, however, is that they have obsessed over the details of the Benghazi incident, spinning all sorts of conspiracy theories, missing the forest for the trees.
Clinton’s ultimate vulnerability on Libya is that she was a principal author of another disastrous “regime change” that has spread chaos not only across the Middle East and North Africa but into Europe, where the entire European Union project, a major post-World War II accomplishment, is now in danger.
Clinton may claim she has lots of foreign policy experience, but the hard truth is that much of her experience has involved making grievous mistakes and bloody miscalculations.