I’ve blogged about our incursion into Libya on three separate occasions, and the main theme threaded throughout was that getting rid of Ghadafi was only half of the equation. Stabilizing the country afterwards is the other half, and, as I said back then, our foreign policy just doesn’t seem to get that.
Well, it sure does now. Everyone is scrambling to pin the rose on who killed the U.S. Ambassador and some of his staff, with some blaming a movie that insults Islam as the culprit, and others saying it was a planned attack on behalf of al Qaida. While I’m not so sure about the al Qaida connection, there’s no way this was an unruly flash mob that simply coalesced on the consulate with unfortunate results. Unruly mobs don’t show up with rocket propelled grenades and assault rifles, then conduct a synchronized attack. But that’s really irrelevant. Whether it was al Qaida or simply a fragment of the many militias that are running around Libya, one fact is perfectly clear: If Ghadafi was still in power, it wouldn’t have happened.
So far there have been three occurrences of mobs attacking U.S. embassies: Yemen, Egypt and Libya. All three have something in common: The governments are in significant turmoil. One has a little bit extra: The turmoil was caused by our own foreign policy.
Think about it. The most conservative Islamic country in the world is Saudi Arabia. Not only did our embassy escape unscathed, but the Kingdom actually condemned the other attacks.
No matter who actually perpetrated the attack in Libya, what facilitated their ability to succeed was the U.S. removing all governmental infrastructure in the state. In retaliation, we’re apparently sending two warships with fifty Marines to the Mediterranean, which is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. What are they going to do? Invade? You mean actually put boots on the ground to stabilize the country? Hell no. If anything, we’ll launch some missiles into a sand dune, which will have about as much use as banging a wall when you’re angry.
What I find especially ominous is our current dithering over Syria. Once again, we’re calling for the ouster of the head of state without any thought to the mess that will be left behind. Only the repercussions in Syria will be exponentially greater, with everything from weapons of mass destruction on the loose to Lebanon descending into sectarian violence reminiscent of the 1980’s.
If anything, Libya should remind us that there is never a conflict “won on the cheap”, and that victory is not achieved the moment the opposing side capitulates. Believing such folly inevitably leads to what we now have in Libya, and a president giving a hollow promise to bring the killers to justice.
If he really wants to find the person responsible for the first domino that fell in the death of Ambassador John Stevens, he should look in the mirror.