Covering Up Hillary’s Libyan Fiasco

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Exclusive: Despite Libya’s bloodshed and chaos, ex-Secretary of State Clinton still defends her key role in the 2011 “regime change,” but her reasons don’t withstand scrutiny, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

By Jonathan Marshall

Years after the end of the Vietnam War, as memories of its horrors and folly dimmed, conservative “revisionists” emerged to peddle the myth that U.S. commitment there was both justified and “winnable.” By obfuscating the historical record, they sought to undo the painful lessons learned by a generation of Americans about the perils of intervention and the costs of government lying.

The same kind of revisionism is being peddled today by interventionists to explain away a staggeringly costly string of more recent American failures in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq and other theaters of conflict. A new article by Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Shadi Hamid, who touts the nobility of NATO’s disastrous campaign in Libya, illustrates the shameless mythmaking of such revisionists.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

Last year, Glenn Greenwald reminded us that Brookings — the venue for Hillary Clinton’s first major foreign policy campaign address — “served as Ground Zero for centrist think tank advocacy of the Iraq War . . . Brookings’ two leading ‘scholar’-stars — Kenneth Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon — spent all of 2002 and 2003 insisting that invading Iraq was wise and just, and spent the years after that assuring Americans that the “victorious” war and subsequent occupation were going really well . . .

“Since then, O’Hanlon in particular has advocated for increased military force in more countries than one can count. That’s not surprising: Brookings is funded in part by one of the Democratic Party’s favorite billionaires, Haim Saban, who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel and once said of himself: ‘I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.’”

Hamid, the think-tank’s senior fellow in the…

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