When a top aide showed Hillary Clinton the news of the capture and subsequent killing of Gaddafi, she said, “We came, we saw, he died,” and she laughed. It may have been a joke but it is enough proof she was enjoying the moment. Earlier that week, Clinton had paid a visit to Tripoli and pledged millions of aid to the country. Addressing leaders of the National Transitional Council, she said, “I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya. The United States was proud to stand for you in your fight for freedom and we will continue to stand with you as you continue this journey. This is Libya’s moment. This is Libya’s victory and the future belongs to you.” The New York Times earlier this year published a two part report detailing Clinton’s role in the Libyan intervention. With the recent attacks on Cameron for his decisive role in the intervention, Clinton should not be spared from scrutiny over her role in Libya.
Advocating for war
Mr Robert Gates, Barack Obama’s defence secretary is on record for saying, “I’ve always thought that Hillary’s support for the broader mission in Libya put the president on the 51 side of the line for a more aggressive approach.” In a 51-49 decision, the President had been influenced by Clinton.
It was Hillary Clinton who advocated for military intervention in Libya and persuaded President Barack Obama to decide in its favour. The U.S. then surprised France and Britain in a turnabout deciding to support a military effort and calling for the United Nations to adopt a tougher stance than the no-fly-zone which was in place. President Obama had said Gaddafi had to go but emphasised this was a political position and not a military objective. In his own words, “We are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal, specifically the protection of civilians in Libya.”
This is a view Clinton had also expressed when she said of the Security Council resolution, “There is nothing in there about getting rid of anybody.”
Soon, the United States was in the operation which should have been done with quickly but instead of political dialogue, the military action continued to a point where it settled into a stalemate. Charles R, Kubic, a retired admiral told The New York Times that a senior Libyan military officer had offered talks with a goal of agreeing to 72 hour ceasefire. Somehow, the United States told him to end talks with the official opting for more bloodshed.
Arming dangerous rebels
It is here that Clinton again influenced President Obama to approve a covert operation to send weaponry to rebels in Libya. One State Department official says, “We were definitely giving them lethal assistance. We’d crossed that line.”
When Clinton spoke at the National Defense University, she called the whole situation a case study in “smart power”. The ending of this “smart power” is all too familiar with Colonel Gaddafi being killed by rebels who had been bolstered by the United States. Five years later, it is clear Clinton’s militant ideas are to blame for the pandemonium that reigns in Libya. She advocated for U.S. support of terror groups which is never a great idea. Now the weapons from Libya (including those taken from Gaddafi’s forces and those supplied by the Qataris) have been found in as far as Nigeria and Mali destabilising African politics.
In an interview with Russia Today, one Gareth Porter, an investigative journalist said, “So, we have both Libya and Syria on her secretaryship as indications of just how seriously we need to take her penchant for adventurism in foreign policy.”
This is not an overstatement as in the New York Times report, her aides said her position is largely that of action rather than inaction where both have risks. She says she would rather be judged for trying and from her history, even when this has potentially deadly repercussions is alive to, she will still “try”. She also voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2002 but has since expressed regret for her vote claiming if she had known there were no weapons of mass destruction, she would not have voted for the action. Donald Trump looks all too eager to use these decisions to discredit Clinton’s foreign policy decisions.