Lost Lessons of Libya

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Exclusive: Despite months of Western diplomatic efforts, Libya remains an object lesson in “regime change” arrogance, a failed state beset by rival militias and becoming a new base for Islamic extremists – as the movie “Thirteen Hours” graphically depicts, writes James DiEugenio.

By James DiEugenio

American foreign policy leaders are not great at learning lessons from the past. The cautionary tale about “regime change” from George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 did not even last until 2011 when President Barack Obama – at the urging of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – plunged into “regime change” in Libya, creating one more failed state and another humanitarian catastrophe.

Different presidents, different parties, very similar results.

A scene from the movie, Thirteen Hours, about the fatal clash between Libyan jihadists and U.S. security personnel around the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.

A scene from the movie, “Thirteen Hours,” about the fatal clash between Libyan jihadists and U.S. security personnel around the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.

In the case of Libya, many of the failings from that enterprise are recounted in the book, Thirteen Hours, along with one of the tragic consequences of that adventure, the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, an event highlighted in a movie by the same name.

But the failure of Obama and Clinton to heed the warnings from the Iraq disaster has historical precedents in other prescient warnings that were ignored by impetuous leaders, such as early doubts expressed about the gathering storm clouds in Vietnam in the 1950s.

In 1958, William Lederer, a former Navy officer, and Eugene Burdick, a political scientist, submitted their draft of a non-fiction book called The Ugly American to W.W. Norton Company. An editor at Norton suggested it would probably be more dramatically effective if it was rewritten as a roman a clef, that is as a thinly disguised fiction based on actual people and events.

From a marketing standpoint at least, the editor was correct. The Ugly American became a sensational success, spending 76 weeks on the best-seller lists and eventually selling over four million copies. [New York Times, Nov. 29, 2009]

Arrogance and Stupidity

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  • SanityClaus

    What lessons are lost? The purpose of rape, murder and genocide is to enslave the victims and steal their country. The more the N.A.T.O./British Crown pig vomit mafia practices terror the more “information” about the “response” of the victim it gains. The complacency and cowardice of the civilian populations of the world is the objective of the N.A.T.O. rapist mafia.

  • Tim Hadfield

    NO – Wrong. The policy achieved it’s objectives beautifully.
    It was (is) meant to promote chaos, just as the flood of refugees into Europe is MEANT to promote chaos.