Tag Archives: Libya

‘Libya model’ in play … or not?

That didn’t take long.

Donald Trump brings John Bolton aboard just a few weeks ago to be national security adviser. Bolton, a noted hard-liner, then tell Fox News that the president will follow the “Libya model” in shaping U.S. policy with regard to North Korea’s nuclear program.

What does the president then do? In Bolton’s presence, he tells reporters he isn’t following the Libya model, that he’s going to craft a unique policy as it concerns efforts to persuade North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons.

“The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have at all, when we’re thinking of North Korea (DPRK),” Trump told reporters at the White House before meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

You see, the Libya model didn’t work out well for the late Moammar Gadhafi, the strongman who used to run Libya.

Rebels revolted there, overthrew Gadhafi, then captured him and dragged off to some location — and then killed him! He’s dead, man!

Do you think North Korea’s strongman, Kim Jong Un, wants to hear some comparison to the Libya model? I, um, do not believe so.

Trump is trying to preserve some semblance of hope that he and Kim will actually meet next month in Singapore to discuss a whole range of issues. It’s a big deal, this meeting. U.S. presidents and North Korean dictators have never met face to face.

Trump’s rhetoric about Kim has transformed from threats to “Little Rocket Man” to high praise for him as someone interested in forging an actual peace treaty with South Korea.

Then his national security adviser, Bolton, steps in it by referring to an event that ended badly for another world leader.

Let’s get our nation’s message straight, shall we?

Clinton gives Benghazi panel fresh ammo

What in the world is Trey Gowdy hoping to find in those mysterious emails filed by Hillary Rodham Clinton?

I think I know. He wants to find something that incriminates the former secretary of state in that infamous incident now known simply as “Benghazi.”


“Benghazi” has become shorthand for the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans — including the U.S. ambassador to Libya — died in the attack. Congressional critics of Clinton have contended she covered up what she knew in advance of the terrorist attack. She’s denied any such thing and has rejected allegations that she didn’t do enough to protect the personnel who were attacked.

Those pesky emails, according to Gowdy, might shed light on the incident. Gowdy chairs the Select House Benghazi Committee, which until now had come up empty in its search for Clinton culpability in the attack.

Now that HRC has revealed that she used a personal email account instead of the State Department account while she served as secretary of state, Gowdy smells a rat — at least he thinks he smells a rat.

Gowdy is demanding that Clinton’s lawyer turn over her email server to an independent third party to examine its contents.

I remain quite dubious that Congress is going to find anything that incriminates Clinton. Having said that, it’s probably a good idea for Clinton’s lawyer to do as Chairman Gowdy is asking/demanding/pleading.

Perhaps then we can put “Benghazi” to bed — for keeps.


It's Egypt's turn to express outrage

Islamic State terrorists are doing a marvelous job … of uniting the Arab world against them.

The latest expression of outrage comes from Egypt, which this morning launched a series of air strikes against ISIL targets in Libya. Egyptian air force pilots were striking in retaliation for yet another hideous video, this one showing the decapitation of 21 Egyptians, all Coptic Christians, apparently being held captive in Libya.


Egypt has struck back hard at the terrorists, joining Jordan — which this past week suffered its own tragedy with the immolation death of the young Jordanian air force pilot, which also was video recorded and broadcast around the world.

The U.S.-led coalition needs more of this outrage, although we shouldn’t wish more death and misery to bring our Middle East allies into the fight with us.

In a televised address, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi described IS as “inhuman criminal killers.” He added: “Egypt and the whole world are in a fierce battle with extremist groups carrying extremist ideology and sharing the same goals.”

The Egyptians already are fighting ISIL-sympathetic terrorists operating in the Sinai desert, so they’ve already been battle-tested.

It might be too much to hope for at this moment, given that the struggle ahead appears to have no end. However, ISIL’s brand of ghoulish and ghastly murder against captives well could be the sort of galvanizing series of events that finally — finally! — brings the Arab world fully into a fight that it should have joined at the beginning.

Welcome aboard, friends.


Benghazi hearings actually can be constructive

Here we go.

A congressional select committee of House members has convened a series of hearings on Benghazi, which has become shorthand for “How do we derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations?”

The committee chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is going to replow some ground that’s been tossed, turned and examined to the hilt on what happened on Sept. 11, 2012 when terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

The event occurred when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. It’s been a talking point ever since among right-wing critics of the Obama administration — and that includes conservative mainstream media.


What will the committee learn that it doesn’t already know about what happened? Probably not a damn thing.

Here, though, is where the hearings can prove constructive.

They can ascertain whether we’ve done enough to improve embassy and consulate security in the two years since that horrible attack.

I hope that’s the goal. I hope that we can determine if we’ve learned from the mistakes committed during that horrible fire fight.

Gowdy opened the hearings with this statement: “We do not suffer from a lack of recommendations. We do not suffer from a lack of boards, commissions and blue ribbon panels. We suffer from a lack of implementing and enacting those recommendations. That must end.”

OK. Then find out what needs to be implemented, make a recommendation, file a report and put it on the record.

The longer this matter remains a political talking point, the more it will take on the appearance of what some of us believe already: a witch hunt.

Come to Israel and see for yourself, PCUSA

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a classic response this morning to a question about a mainline Protestant denomination’s decision to divest itself of economic ties to Israel.

The decision by Presbyterian Church USA involves its divestment in companies that do business in the Middle East’s lone democratic state.

Netanyahu, appearing this morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press” news talk show, was asked by host David Gregory what he thought of that decision, which PCUSA based on Israel’s building of settlements in the West Bank region and Israel’s continued contentious relationships with its Arab neighbors.


For the life of me, this one is baffling.

Well, Netanyahu took the question from Gregory.

He responded magnificently. He noted that Israel grants full freedom in its country for Christians to worship their faith. He noted that many Arab nations persecute Christians, even kill them.

Netanyahu invited any Protestant denomination to tour the Middle East, encouraging them to look first-hand at the Arab nations — he mentioned Libya, Syria and Iraq by name — and then visit Israel. They will see up close the difference in the way they are treated in the Arab world as opposed to how they are received in Israel.

He offered two words of advice to anyone who takes him up on his invitation. “Be sure to travel in an armored vehicle” while touring any of those Arab nations, Netanyahu said. “And don’t tell anyone in any of those countries that you are a Christian.”

Amen, Mr. Prime Minister.

Benghazi suspect nabbed

Quite a number of President Obama’s critics had wondered aloud about why the United States hadn’t yet captured any of the Benghazi consulate attack.

They seemed to forget that it took the United States nearly a decade to locate and kill Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.

Lo and behold! Today it was announced that U.S. special forces captured Ahmed Abu Khattala, the reported mastermind behind the Benghazi attack that killed U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three others.

It took — what is it? — less than two years to find Khattala.


Hey, of course it won’t stem the criticism. The critics will say we should have caught the suspected mastermind a lot longer ago. Were these critics harping on the length of time it took to take bin Laden out? Gosh, I cannot remember it.

The question now is this: Where is Khattala going to be held, in Guantanamo Bay or somewhere in the United States?

It makes no difference to me where they hold this guy, as long as he’s kept under strict watch under the tightest security possible.

NBC News reports: “He will be tried in U.S. court — most likely in Washington, D.C. — and is currently being interrogated by FBI officials. He faces charges of killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility, providing material support to terrorists that result in death, and using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.” Khattala could get the death penalty if he’s convicted.

However, politics being what it is, look for Obama administration critics to find plenty of grounds to criticize the effort that produced the very result they had demanded in the first place.

Clinton goes big league

Of all the things Hillary Rodham Clinton said tonight in her TV interview with Diane Sawyer, the most surprising statement came in response to a question about the Sept. 11, 2012 fire fight at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Sawyer asked about the criticism then-Secretary of State Clinton has gotten over her handling of that tragic event and whether it might dissuade her from running for president in 2016. Her answer?

“Actually, it’s more of a reason to run, because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball,” Clinton said, according to a transcript. “We ought to be in the majors.”


Well. There you have it.

For an hour, Clinton sounded for all the world like a probable candidate for president of the United States in two years. She was coy when she needed to be, evasive at other times during the interview, occasionally candid.

The Benghazi statement, though, caught me by surprise. I guess I shouldn’t have been, but the strength of her answer suggests to me that she clearly is leaning toward another national campaign.

Benghazi has been kicked all over the political football field. The House of Representatives is going to convene a select committee soon to conduct more hearings on the event in which four men, including our ambassador to Libya, were killed by militants who stormed the consulate.

What have all the previous hearings accomplished, other than to suggest that there’s no “there, there” in the search for some kind of politically fatal wound that would bring down a Hillary Clinton presidential candidacy? Nothing.

Clinton’s point tonight is that Congress needs to focus on oh, job creation, infrastructure improvements, world peace and other things vastly more relevant than trying to find some way to lay blame for what everyone in the world knows was a tragedy.

The nation already has implemented changes to improve embassy security around the world. It already has mourned the deaths of those brave American diplomats and staffers. Isn’t that sufficient? I guess not.

Later this year, we’ll get to watch Congress re-plow much of the ground it’s already turned over.

What’s more, we’ll also are even more likely to see Hillary Rodham Clinton run for president of the United States.

Don't boycott Benghazi probe, Leader Pelosi

If I were in Nancy Pelosi’s shoes, I would take part in the special investigation of the Benghazi matter along with Republicans.

Pelosi, the leader of the U.S. House Democrats, might be considering a boycott of the hearings called by Speaker John Boehner. Big mistake, Mme. Leader.


Boehner has selected a back-bencher, Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to chair the select committee. Six other GOP members have joined the panel. As of this moment, no Democrats have been named.

The committee is going to conduct yet another hearing into what happened Sept. 11, 2012 at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where a firefight resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

There have been calls by Republicans in Congress that the State Department, led by Hillary Rodham Clinton, stonewalled the cause of the uprising. They’re suggesting some kind of cover-up. House committees already have looked at this matter. They’ve come up with, well, next to nothing to hang on then-Secretary Clinton, other than a botched response immediately after the event.

I don’t know what the select panel will find out, but its work ought to include Democrats.

There’s been some talk that Democrats might sit this one out, letting Republicans have their way. However, that’s not what their constituents sent them to Washington to do. They sent them there to participate in government activities.

This investigation, if it’s going to be as Boehner has billed it — a search for the truth and not a political witch hunt — should include those who will counter the intense grilling that will come from the GOP members. Democrats should ask their own difficult questions as well and the panel then should craft a bipartisan report that produces constructive recommendations for protecting our foreign service personnel against future attacks.

Boycotting these hearings would be counter-productive at almost any level possible.

Take part, Minority Leader Pelosi.

Benghazi is back

Benghazi is the story with no end.

It’s back in the news, thanks to some emails uncovered by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group. The emails purport to buttress the idea that the Obama administration lied about what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012.

They contend the administration engaged in a willful cover-up of the “truth,” whatever it is, about the violence that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.


I’ve never believed in a cover-up. I do believe the administration made some big mistakes in trying to report what happened in that chaotic fire fight. They trotted out the U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, to say things about which she wasn’t briefed sufficiently. Rice had a set of talking points that turned out to be incomplete and wrong.

That constitutes a cover-up? Is it a deliberate deception?

No. It was a bungling attempt to get ahead of a still-developing story.

Still, the right-wing mainstream media has sought to keep this story alive and kicking — particularly if the then-secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, decides to run for president in 2016. It’s looking as though she’s going to run and that, all by itself, is reason enough — in the eyes of her critics — to keep hammering away at Benghazi.

Never mind that independent analyses have concluded there was no deliberate lying; they conclude that the U.S. embassy security network failed, but only because officials misjudged the intensity of the fight that was ensuing at the consulate; Clinton herself has taken responsibility for the failure to protect our personnel, but that’s not good enough to satisfy her critics on the far right.

The story will continue to boil and bubble. Were it not for Hillary Clinton’s still-budding presidential candidacy, it would have faded away long ago.

Fox talk-show hosts need lesson in field reporting

Talking heads, by definition, are personalities who, well, talk.

They opine on matters, regardless of their expertise — or lack thereof — on the subject.

Such appears to be the case when “Fox and Friends” co-hosts decided to criticize a New York Times reporter who was on the ground in Benghazi, Libya, when terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate on Sept. 11, 2012 and ignited a fire fight that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.


The Times published a lengthy report that dissected the events of that terrible day and reported that an anti-Islam video that had been posted on YouTube played a part in triggering the siege. Fox pundits have been claiming for more than a year that the video had nothing to do with the event and have declared that the Obama administration has been covering up the facts of the case.

Now comes the Fox and Friends clowns who say that reporters in the field should have alerted U.S. authorities that Americans might have been in danger.

How would they have done that? Steve Doocy, one of the Fox hosts, said the reporter “probably” had access to a satellite phone he could have used to call for help. Probably?

Therein lies the difficulty in trying to offer opinions and analysis on things of which you have no knowledge.

A reporter’s job is to report events in real time. “When you’re in the middle of a riot or an attack like that, first of all, it is not a reporter’s job to call the authorities and he would have to assume the authorities know about it. It seems so bizarre,” said Josh Meyer, director of education and outreach for the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative and a former Los Angeles Times national security reporter with experience in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The Fox talking heads should stick to things with which they are comfortable, which is criticizing Obama administration policy. They should steer clear of discussing reporter’s responsibilities covering hostile action in a war zone.