The U.S. State Department released more of Hillary Clinton’s emails today. One of those emails is noted as originating on March 22nd 2011, the exact day President Obama launched the attacks on Libya.
The newly released email confirms what many already knew – it was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power who convinced President Obama to go to war in Libya:
“Turning POTUS around on this is a major win for everything we worked for”..
Last year we noted an article at Real Clear Politics which hit on one of the key aspects of the Benghazi fiasco media have been hell-bent on hiding; Hillary Clinton, not President Obama, is actually the person responsible for the crisis in Libya.
When we watched the House Select Committee on Benghazi hearings, it was interesting to note how no-one really went ‘there‘ to give Clinton full ownership of the 2011 Libyan Intervention; ownership she deserves. So let’s review Clinton’s ownership.
In the U.S. presidential adviser Samantha Power was bending Obama’s ear with declarations of a “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) the Eastern Libyan citizens from the boogie man narrative assigned to Gadaffi.
Meanwhile in New York, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was answering calls from her British and French counterparts who were similarly selling an interventionist message.
Back in the White House, President Obama was reluctant to engage. It was Secretary Clinton working overtime to bring the President into the same line of thinking as herself.
In a moment of rare bi-partisanship many Democrats and Republicans were aligned with the White House in not wanting to intervene in Libya. Of course, there was John McCain and Lindsey Graham who joined with Team Clinton to bomb yet another nation into civil war. But too his initial credit, Obama was reluctant.
February 2011 France’s Sarkozy almost immediately began calling for the ouster of Kaddaffi and requesting Western nations to get involved to insure Kaddaffi fell. Sarkozy was quite passionate about it – which struck many observers as odd because he was ‘so far out’ ahead of any nation on this position.
However, unlike Egypt, as the fighting intensified in February 2011 President Obama was curiously silent around Libya.
This initial non-reaction was played by the adoring U.S. media as Obama being calm under pressure. However, this calm was beset by the reality of what was actually reported to be taking place on the ground in Libya. The word “slaughter” was in almost every article.
Meanwhile President Obama seemed unfazed, and strangely quiet. So much so that Sarkozy was demanding President Obama say something, anything. This U.S. silence went on for over two full weeks until eventually the media headlines began to question the Obama strategy, or, well actually, the lack thereof.
This culminated in a weekend around February 24, 25 and 26th, 2011, when headlines began to read that Kaddaffi “strafes” while Obama “golfs”. and astoundingly enough the Libyan Ambassador to the U.S. went on national television and begged for Obama to do something, ANYTHING.
Then a seemingly innocuous event transpired which actually summarized the lack of U.S. leadership quite well. This became the origin of the “leading from behind” sentiment.
It is important to understand that under President Obama the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is actually a cabinet level position.
In 2011 Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, were essentially equal peers.
Ambassador Rice representing Obama to the U.N. in New York, and Secretary Clinton representing Obama to nations while “on-the-road” so to speak. Under the leadership structure of Obama’s cabinet both held equal and equivocal rank.
During that critical February weekend when the world was desperately demanding some form of action around the civil war in Libya, Sarkozy was having visible fits on EU television and trying to put together a European coalition.
In direct response to Sarkozy’s pleas the U.N. announced an emergency Security Council meeting of the six prominent nations to determine what, if any, action could be taken to stop what was described as the “pending slaughter in Libya”.
However, instead of attending that emergency U.N. Security Council meeting February 25th, 2011, Ambassador Rice went to South Africa to attend a global warming summit where they were discussing the danger of bovine flatulence (cow farts) as it relates to harming the environment.
Back in Washington DC the optics were even worse.
After ignoring cries for opinion, let alone involvement, and with Ambassador Rice blowing off the U.N. Security council meeting, and against the backdrop of media beginning to sense a detached president more interested in golf than Libya, the whole optical mess exploded.
Because on that very night when the U.N. Security Council met, a detached President Obama and his wife Michelle held a Motown Review Concert in the East Room of the White House.
Talk about a bad optic – You can’t make this stuff up !!
By itself the White House Motown Review Party seemed a bit detached, but against the backdrop of Hillary proclaiming hundreds of women and children are being strafed in the streets, the optic was horrendous.
The contrast was so bold, and so stark, and happened so fast, and was seen by Europe and the United Nations as, well, unfathomable. The proverbial water-carrying media couldn’t ignore it if they wanted to.
Recognizing what was unfolding a rapid White House team scrambled with a crisis response…..
When Susan Rice skipped a Feb 25, 2011 emergency weekend U.N. Security Council meeting, the Obama administration was compromised in their ability to influence any real outcome in Libya.
Without the U.S. seated at the policy table the U.N. made two strategic resolutions/decisions which were brutally short-sighted.
The first mistake was a resolution banning the sale or transfer of arms or weaponry into Libya during the civil war. On it’s face the ban might sound like a generally good idea; however, in reality it was exceptionally self-defeating. After all, it banned all weapons from entering Libya, including weapons for the opposition – which most thought would be needed for the “rebels” to defend themselves.
The second mistake was criminal charges brought about by the ICC (International Criminal Court) against the Kaddaffi regime. Nothing tells a dictator to double down on his position like telling him you as soon as this is over we will lock you and your family up for life.
Essentially those charges filed by the ICC solidified the certainty that Kaddaffi would never compromise. He was forced into a singular position – either he would win the civil war, or he would die trying. Losing the war would mean death or a life in prison – one of these was now certain. What did Kaddaffi have to lose by fighting?
This Security Council resolution highlights the emotional short-sighted outcome of most U.N. determinations. However, historically the U.S. has tempered logic to the 6 nation table of stupidity. But not this time. This time, at the specific direction of President Obama and his policy team, the U.S. did not even participate.
This lack of synergy led to multiple instances where Clinton’s publicly voiced opinion ran exactly opposite to the Obama administration’s position she was supposedly representing.
The international optic was a completely out of sync with the White House and State Department.
Sometimes embarrassingly so.
The U.S. government came under fire today for chartering a rescue boat for Americans stuck in Libya that is too small to cope with the rough Mediterranean sea.
Hundreds of American citizens were finally set to depart Tripoli harbour aboard the Maria Dolores, a small passenger ferry chartered by the U.S., trapped there by rough seas.
At the same time larger Greek and Turkish vessels have transported thousands of their own citizens to safety, crossing the choppy water to mainland Europe. (link)
The State Department was struggling with multiple plates spinning simultaneously.
Secretary Clinton was noticeably unprepared to handle the heavy lifting and President Obama was not in the mood to initially bail her out. From the botched messaging, to the failure to evacuate American citizens from Western Libya, we watched as it almost seemed President Obama was enjoying Hillary being overwhelmed.
While Hillary had been trying to fill the February 2011 void left by Obama’s silence, another key player was working policy structure behind the scenes.
One of Obama’s little known advisors named Samantha Power began to play a more important role.
Power is the wife of Regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein, in 2011 she was a foreign policy advisor to President Obama along with Denis McDonough and Tom Donilon.
However, Power increasingly held a sway when it came to Libya, and her influence was soon noted with the introduction of the “Responsibility to Protect” Doctrine, or as it became known R2P.
Essentially her approach was to frame the possibility of defeat upon the Libyan Rebels in a similar venue as the historical Rwanda genocide. The potential slaughter of the Libyan Benghazi uprising was framed around a need for Humanitarian Intervention.
Despite the U.N Security Council resolution banning weapon distribution into Libya, the broad outline of a reason for U.S. intervention became visible. NATO would arm the rebellion and NATO would take action to “protect” the Benghazi rebels as Kaddaffi’s army moved ever closer to their weakly held positions.
However, there was one big problem – WE HAD NO IDEA WHO THE REBELS WERE. The administration had no idea what the ideology behind the Benghazi Rebels actually was.
Some analysts believe the administration actually did know, but chose not to recognize the rebels’ affiliation with al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood and armed them anyway.
Others, namely CNN analysts, said there was no real way to identify the ideology and we were just going to have to take a chance on them.
Personally I think there is profoundly enough visible evidence to state the administration ‘had to know’. Why?
Because there were hundreds of on-the-ground reports from the region which accurately identified individually very specific people within the rebels as radical islamists. There is no intellectually honest way to believe the administration did not know they were supporting al-Qaeda affiliates and the Muslim Brotherhood. The signs were just too obvious.
One of the first signs was the very first Kaddaffi politician who defected from the regime and joined the rebellion. Interior Justice Minister, Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
The compounding problem was the massive stockpiles of weapons that were at stake in the equation.
If Kaddaffi fell, decades of weapons built up in hundreds of warehouses were going to be up for grabs. Weapons that included surface-to-air missiles, MANPADS, shoulder fired stinger missiles and tons of mustard gas and WMD.
Kaddaffi had built up massive amounts of arms over a period of three decades as the worlds most notorious international terrorist.
Very soon those weapons and missiles would go missing; and it was the retrieval of those missiles that led to a joint State Dept./CIA operation putting Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi, Eastern Libya where he was assassinated in September the following year….
So, yeah – she owns this: