Libya Between the Lines


A two-part series in the New York Times (Feb. 28-29) gives details, some new, some not, on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's role in the 2011 decision to join France and England in attacking Libya. Ostensibly to protect civilians threatened by Qadafi, the joint venture under a UN resolution, ended in the death of Qaddafi, the failure of an interim government, the emergence of militia fighting, the entrance of ISIS, and today–chaos.  That is the first installment.

The second installment goes on to describe the after-life of this failure: efforts to pull Libya back together,  the increasing inattention by all parties, except the Libyans, to the growing disorder, failed efforts to rein in the militias, and the long-term consequences for the ME and Africa of the dispersal of Qaddafi's armory to Islamic forces.

What may be of particular interest here are the sources for the story, the influence (or lack thereof) by other Obama Administration officials, the role that Clinton and her deputies played in the decision, and the somewhat surprising, at least to me, claim that there was little official intelligence about Libya available as decisions were being made. Much of the "information" is said to have come from news stories.

I realize that many here are not Clinton fans. Be that as it may, what interests me is how the story lays out the decision and its aftermath.

Part 1. Hillary Clinton, "Smart Power and a Dictator's Fall."

Part 2. "A New Libya, 'with 'Very Little Time Left.'"            

Margaret Steinfels    

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87 Responses to Libya Between the Lines

  1. b says:

    The story NYT published is mostly a fairy tale.
    The attack on Libya was conceived way before the official decision in March. French intelligence was on the ground in February. The French/British air maneuver “Southern Mistral” was conceived in 2010. It was in preparation of the attack and “converted” into it before the actual maneuver would launch.
    A do not believe for a minute that U.S. intelligence did not know what was happening. No one was watching the jihadis in Benghazi?
    It’s a fairy tale exculpating the NYT itself, which marketed the war, and Clinton. A sorry whitewash. That Clinton does not distance herself from her earlier decision makes her, in my view, unelectable.
    Interesting that just today a documentary about the current Libya received a total of six Oscars. Plenty of beef left in the story to do remakes all over north Africa.

  2. Jackrabbit says:

    ISIS has become the ‘storm troopers’ of the Empire. Obama claims that wherever they go, we will follow. Perfect.
    USA, Israel, and KSA decided to use extremists as a weapon in 2006, as described by Seymour Hersh in “The Redirection”:
    I suppose that makes “eye-washing” a necessity:
    ISIS needs off-the-books funding. Libyan and Syrian oil fields allow for that.
    I suspect that Libya and Syria are just the beginning: Africa, Caucasus, Central Asia await.

  3. SmoothieX12 says:

    “Much of the “information” is said to have come from news stories.”
    Considering the state of US media and, the so called, “journalism”–the outcomes in Libya or elsewhere should not be surprising at all.

  4. “A do not believe for a minute that U.S. intelligence did not know what was happening. No one was watching the jihadis in Benghazi?”
    If so, why would anyone claim intelligence came from new stories. No one in the State Dept. wants to admit that they had intelligence from the CIA. Or no one in the State Dept. wants to admit that the CIA wouldn’t share intelligence. Fishy.
    The story focused on Clinton and the State Department does not go near the French and British intelligence or lobbying.

  5. “The story focused on Clinton and the State Department does not go near the French and British intelligence or lobbying.”
    Though at the time, there was much made of French lobbying in the person of Bernard-Henri Levy.

  6. Valissa says:

    I no longer consider the New York Times a credible source on foreign policy issues. They are devoted to supporting the Dem establishment. Sure there is the occasional flash of realism and even criticism of leaders, but mostly it’s PR.
    On Jan 30th the NYTimes officially stated their support for Hillary as president
    The NY Times is a major media member of the Borg.

  7. Bill Herschel says:

    There is only one question that needs to be asked about Hillary Clinton. Who does she serve? Her actions with regard to Libya can not possibly be colored as serving the American people. If they were supposed to protect the Libyan people, and I believe that was the band aid placed on her machinations, billions spent to protect the Libyan people is something the American people should have a say in, is it not? Particularly when it involves going to war.
    No, she does not serve America. Nor did her sister Nuland serve America when she fomented a coup d’état in Ukraine.
    Now, we learn that the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA Director are unanimously opposed to the cessation of hostilities in Syria. This article from Russia Insider contains the text of an article from the Wall Street Journal detailing this opposition.
    Who are these men serving? The American people? No. From the Wall Street Journal:
    “Mr. Carter had publicly voiced support for the negotiations led by Mr. Kerry. But while the talks were under way last week, Messrs. Carter and Brennan, and Gen. Dunford, privately warned the White House they risked undermining Washington’s standing with regional partners in the two U.S.-led coalitions—one in support of anti-Assad rebels, the other fighting Islamic State, the senior officials said.”
    So, it is our “standing with regional partners” that is being served. But the benefit to the American people from that standing is not even remotely evident. Our standing with Saudi Arabia? The American people are being asked to die on a battlefield thousands of miles away, to send manpads to jihadists which will be used to shoot down commercial airliners, for our standing with Saudi Arabia, a brutal dictatorship if ever there was one.
    “Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”
    Well, Messrs, Carter, Brennan, and Dunford all directly prosper from military aid and involvement in Syria, perhaps Mr. Brennan most of all, the former Section Chief in Riyadh. Are they guilty of treason?
    Interestingly, that question is apparently right now being answered at the ballot box. The main reason the Republican Establishment has failed to defend itself against Donald Trump (and which will lead Trump to destroy Clinton in the general election) is that they do not think it possible that the American people can figure out that they are being sacrificed to a partnership with Saudi Arabia et al that benefits a tiny minority of the population. The South’s Evangelicals are voting for Trump not because he is an Evangelical but because they are not brain dead, which is what the Republican Establishment is and has been counting on.

  8. The editorial endorsement of Clinton for president doesn’t mean that the news stories posted above endorse her.
    I’m sorry you haven’t read them. The stories may not get all the details right, but they certainly raise questions about the foreign policy of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

  9. Valissa says:

    Honestly Margaret, I tried to read them. I started to read them… but just couldn’t. Partly because I’ve already read many, many articles about the Libyan situation, and also Benghazi and Hillary the past couple of years. There was nothing new or fresh that jumped out at me and they are too long to read just for politeness sake when I’m already burned out on the topic plus the fact that the NYT is a Borgian mouthpiece.
    I noticed you did not comment on either the recent Neocon post or the Borg post. I am curious what you think of PL’s label “The Borg” to the US establishment. Or what you think of the US establishment/power elites in general, whatever you want to call it.

  10. Valissa says:

    Very insightful comment… a pleasure to read and think about 🙂

  11. Jackrabbit says:

    The answers to your questions start here:
    Has no one read this? Does no one see the problems that this end-run around democratic governance entails?
    USA, Israel, and KSA teamed up to support extremists/terr0r!sts as a weapon. They use covert action plus foreign government financing and resources take action with no oversight or accountability.

  12. Croesus says:

    “They use covert action plus foreign government financing and resources take action with no oversight or accountability.”
    Iran Contra redux

  13. b says:

    @Bill Herschel
    “There is only one question that needs to be asked about Hillary Clinton. Who does she serve? Her actions with regard to Libya can not possibly be colored as serving the American people.”
    Hillary Clinton’s biggest sponsor is Goldman Sachs.
    Now consider this:
    “Goldman Sachs lost 98% of Gaddafi’s $1.3bn investment ”
    A bitter rift has opened up between the world’s most powerful bank and one of its most fearsome dictators after Goldman Sachs invested $1.3bn (£790m) of Colonel Gaddafi’s money – and lost virtually all of it.
    According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, Goldman offered to make Gaddafi one of its biggest investors as compensation for losing 98% of the money the Wall Street firm invested on behalf of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA). This left the $53bn Gaddifi-controlled sovereign wealth fund, which elsewhere has stakes in companies such as Financial Times-owner Pearson and BP, with just $25.1m of the money it entrusted to Goldman.
    I believe that answers your questions.

  14. Commenting on Neocon or Borg post. When I have nothing to say, I try not to say it! Don’t always succeed.
    Neoconservativism is a well-known analysis, especially in this household; they are real; and they come with some variations. The Borg? I’ll let others more knowledgeable talk about it.
    I tend to look at DC as three branches of government with two of them consumed in internecine warfare and in the current party arrangement representing different political outlooks and goals. They are united on very little, except maybe Israel though I think Obama has tried to create some distance at least between himself and Netanyahu. Clinton will close the gap, if she becomes president; but then so will Trump. I think that will be bad for the U.S. and for Israel.
    And apropos of Semour Hersch; I have as much confidence in his reporting as you seem to have in the NYTimes.
    Now you know everything!

  15. red brick says:

    In support of b’s contention, the Canadian military was well aware that a western intervention would sow a civil war and end up operating as “Al Qaeda’s air force.”
    Before the bombing began, Canadian military intelligence offered the government a clear prediction of the likely outcome, which unfortunately has become reality. The neocon government of course ignored this intel.
    Hard to believe that HRC and the White House didn’t have access to the same intel.
    Story here:

  16. EZSmirkzz says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for ages, and Moon of Alabama ever since the comment section was opened up for BillMon’s post when he tired of the BS of the interconnected tubes. So I’m familiar with b’s opinion, which you can read at his blog, and please, do follow the links. That governments lie to the people, or that agencies lie to each other is, or should be, at this point a foregone conclusion.
    While I understood the R2P arguments and agreed with the sentiments, the most compelling argument was put forth on this blog by Colonel Lang, that of the re-assertion of American power in the Mediterranean region. Without that action I find it doubtful that Russia would have been able to convince Syria to sign on to the chemical weapons treaty, which protected Russian interests in Tartus.
    As I recall readers of SST were also aware of the tribal nature of the Libyan population, so we cannot claim ignorance of the post war developments being a real possibility of the outcome. The package for intervention was enough to fool the Libyan intelligentsia, which unfortunately didn’t read this blog either.
    Whether Hillary was sandbagged on this or not, what was known played right into her propensity to act, rather than wait around to see if another Rwanda would develop. We like to pretend that this sort of action is outside of the American character when it suits our ideology, but let us not pretend America and Americans are a peace loving nation and people. There is a reason why pacifists are nailed on sticks, or climb up on pedestals and tut tut the world.
    Fact of the matter is most of us are just best guessing, and Pat Lang just happens to be one of the best best guessers.

  17. Valissa says:

    Thanks for taking the time to explain a bit about your point of view. I always appreciate it when people do that, as it’s helpful to have context.
    One of the things I really like about this blog is the ability to have (mostly) civilized conversations among people with differing worldviews.

  18. mbrenner says:

    This extensive if incomplete and one-sided account does highlight for us a core reality about foreign-policy making in Washington these days. Simply put, there is a well-rooted “new normal” characterized by poor Intelligence gathering/use, absence of strategic sense, sloppy thinking, no discipline – intellectual or in terms of concertation, and amateur diplomacy. After 15 to 20 years of this, it is clear that we should except nothing better in the future. The dispositions of the leading candidates as manifest on the campaign trail suggests that the outcomes of the process are likely to be worse.
    Under any leadership, there can be no effective policy when governance is incoherent, dishonest and unaccountable.

  19. Valissa says:

    That Seymour Hersch article has been posted at SST many times and expect most here have read it and understand all the salient points and FP implications.
    I believe that Bill’s question “Who are these men serving? The American people? No.” was a rhetorical device to further the gist of his comment.

  20. “Simply put, there is a well-rooted “new normal” characterized by poor Intelligence gathering/use, absence of strategic sense, sloppy thinking, no discipline – intellectual or in terms of concertation, and amateur diplomacy.”
    That pretty much sums up the Times stories as I read them! Thank you.
    The only thing I would add to your list is learning from past mistakes, especially when they are known!

  21. Nancy K says:

    You believe that Clinton does not serve the American people, but do you honestly believe that Trump, Cruz or Rubio will serve them. Unfortunately I think we live at a time where we have to choose which candidate will do less damage. I think perhaps Sanders is the obvious choice but I think I know this country, having lived here for 69 years and a 74 year old socialist Jew is not going to win. Which is why I am voting for Clinton. Evangelicals are voting from Trump not because they are not brain dead but because they think he will win. So much for Christian values.
    You believe that Trump will destroy Clinton in the general election, but I disagree. I think there will be a coalition of the young, women, minorities and perhaps union members who will support Clinton and bring about the defeat of Trump. He may find out that his money cannot buy everything, including the presidency.

  22. VietnamVet says:

    I call the western cabal that have too much money and power the New World Order. They’ve cheery picked an ideology that makes them feel good about themselves and their careers. They have nothing but contempt for workers, conscripts and assorted low lives. They are true believers on a virtue quest. Hillary Clinton is their Empress:
    They ignore poor white American women who are dying at an increasingly earlier age. They are spreading chaos across the world that is putting us at risk. They cause the populist fury that is propelling Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Presidential campaigns.

  23. Valissa says:

    Additionally (I hit the post button too soon)… as to the question of whom Hillary serves (also a rhetorical device, IMO)… that would be herself (her ambitions) and her “tribe” or socioeconomic group.
    Below, b points out Goldman Sachs lobbying money, but I think that is overly simplistic, linear and smacks of “economic determinism.” I saw a YouTube clip of one of the debates where Hillary is vociferously denying that her political agenda can be bought by lobbyists such as Goldman Sachs. I actually believe her on that statement. The reason I believe her is sociological. She doesn’t need financial incentives to make decisions that benefit her Borg subgroup… those financial deals merely confirm her elite status within the group. Hillary, Bill and the executives of Goldman Sachs, other Wall Street firms, and the executives of the major arms companies, etc, share a Borgian worldview (Democrat subset), particularly via the Clinton Global Initiative but in other mutual areas of interest as well.

  24. BB says:

    Certainly Arab Christians have no use for Hillary. I wonder how Trump’s popularity among a lot of Arabs might shift MI and OH?
    Trump Gains Among Christians in the Middle East

  25. turcopolier says:

    I have had this dismissive statement about guessing made to me many times. “You are just guessing” is the usual form it takes. This kind of statement is usually made by people with little imagination who are devoid of “the vision thing.” They typically lack a broad in-head information base and usually seek to divide thought about the future into whatever can be factored into mathematically vulnerable bits. They then seek group responsibility because they know that a giraffe is an antelope designed by a committee, and how can they be blamed for the group’s f—k ups? Basically, they lack the kind of intelligence needed to make intuitive leaps from a broad data pool. In other words they are a certain kind of stupid. A lot of generals are like that and many resent people like me and say I am “disrespectful” or some such crap. pl

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Many Western states have had embassies in Libya for various lengths of time. Is it too much to expect the Diocletian embassies to garner at least a crude understanding of Libya?
    Do you really need a scholar of Libya to tell you that there are 43 tribes in Libya of which 13 are important?
    Do these embassies do anything beside hosting other ambassadors?
    Does anyone listen to the ambassadors, even when they are well informed? (UK certainly did not…)

  27. Matthew says:

    Contrary to Mr. Levy, there is no such thing as “humanitarian intervention.” Notice the silence on this prior humanitarian project.

  28. A says:

    I think you might be wrong about support of minorities and progressives for Queen Hillary. No dynastic rule for U.S. please. Everyone in the Middle-East knows about her shenanigans and courtship of Al Qaeda. Nuland et al have sullied the Eastern European segment of the electorate. This constant meddling in East-Asian affairs and war drum beating, certainly will not help her out with the average Xi. She has no credibility with “minorities”. If Sanders/Trump play the Clinton 1 presidency records on cutting social funding for African-American and the repatriation of record number of Hispanics under Obama/Clinton, those two segments will desert her in big enough numbers to hurt her chances. She is the mother-in-law of a Bankster Mezvinski and is funded by the Biggest Badest Bankster House of all times, Goldman-Sachs.

  29. A says:

    Libya was also vehemently opposed to Israel, as was Saddam’s Iraq, Syria and Iran. No surprise that these countries were on the list of “to do countries”. Although Israel is not the only motivation for the export of violence through out the region, it is certainly a major reason.

  30. Jack says:

    The reality is that Trump has spent significantly less on the campaign than the other leading candidates in both parties. So he’s not winning the Republican contest so far because of how much he has spent. He’s a celebrity and media savvy so he has taken advantage of that. He didn’t build field offices or have number of consultants on his campaign’s expense line.
    I think its difficult to discern which way Florida and Ohio will vote in November. Having said that Hillary is winning less than 20% of the below 29 age group. Will they care enough to come out in November for her. She’s going to win the blacks overwhelmingly but not Hispanics necessarily if you look at the Nevada Republican primary results. What she has going for her is the Republican party is going to fracture with Trump’s primary win. But don’t underestimate the rural Boomer vote that could swing to his side taking a chunk of the group that she has won so far significantly. With Trump the traditional calculations will have to be thrown away. As I have said here, IMO, Trump is the only Republican candidate that can defeat her.

  31. Valissa says:

    Nancy, I quite understand the lesser evil strategy. It’s a popular reason to vote. But there are other reasons. Regarding The Donald .. while some Trump supporters are “true believers” and may think he serves them and their agenda, I think most people who will vote for Trump are quite aware he serves no one but himself. That big ego of his is actually part of his appeal. They like that he is not a traditional pol and speaks extemporaneously rather than from from the typical political script (or use a teleprompter). People want to see the Trump ego in action, and are hoping he will be a disruptive force to the political Establishment(s). I think you may underestimate the amount of anti-Hillary sentiment out there, and that to many people Trump will be the lesser evil in that match up.
    An example of Trump’s appeal

  32. So it’s a contest between a Machiavellian and a Loose Cannon?
    Trump will have the U.S. in more foreign wars than Clinton ever dreamed of. His words alone could start a few, say with Mexico..maybe even Canada!

  33. Valissa says:

    Yup, great analogy! Please note I don’t really care who wins this election (I’m a 3rd party voter). As an amateur historian and political trend observer I think a Trump win would be more entertaining, but I have no idea who would be “better for the country” in the short or long run. I’m content to watch history be made either way.

  34. Will says:

    They are trying to reproduce the Col.’s , as well as others’, intuitive skills 🙂

  35. Jack says:

    I live in a Blue state. Its a practical certainty that my state will vote Blue in November. My neighbors wife should epitomize the quintessential Hillary voter – retired, affluent, professionally successful Boomer woman. At dinner a month ago she said this to paraphrase:
    “The Clintons are from Arkansas. Hillbillies at the core in the similar vein as white trash although they went to the “proper” east coast schools. Their raison d’etre is to be accepted by the hoipolloi. The elites with the wealth and connections. They crave this acceptance more than anything. Since I am a partisan Democrat I will hold my nose and vote for her in November although I’ll vote for Bernie in the primary.”
    This observation of my neighbors’ wife answers your question I think. As Col. Lang has taught us that while money does play some role it is never the primary motivation at the highest levels of power. Hanging out with the Joneses leads to an insularity and groupthink.

  36. Hillary Rodham is from Park Ridge, Illinois. No “hillbillies” there!

  37. EZSmirkzz says:

    Well, I hope you continue “guessing” for a long, long time Colonel.

  38. Degringolade says:

    In the long ago, we held firm to the concept that it is better to be lucky than good.
    I have no problem with being a “good guesser”. I would wear it with pride. Being a good guesser who is lucky is the best one could hope for in a commander.
    The world is a complex thing, teasing out details from a inchoate data set is the mark of the gifted scientist…If you don’t think that Leibnitz was a good guesser, you would be wrong.
    To be able to tease the correct hypothesis from an incomplete data set is the sign of a master.
    Not trying to suck up, just pointing out that there are a lot of butt-wipes out there who don’t really understand…science, strategy and tactics all require a great deal in the way of intellectual leaps without a net.

  39. Haralambos says:

    Col. Lang and others commenting on his comment,
    I recall that it is often noted that “hindsight is 20-20.” Analysis is not a matter of guesswork, but useful analysis requires more than the tunnel vision of a single perspective, be it economics, geography, or a reliance on history, to name several. I come here for analysis and information that might expand my horizons a bit, and I think many who fault this search on ideological grounds want a “view form nowhere,” that is a “God’s-eye-view.” This occasionally has shown up in claims to the effect that “there is no ‘objective’ view possible” or “objectivity is not possible.” There are fancy terms for this in epistemology, one being to sublime a concept.

  40. robt willmann says:

    One essential question about Libya is of course not mentioned. How much gold did Libya have before Gaddafi was knocked over and where was it, and after the attack, where is the gold?
    Likewise, how much gold did Iraq have before the 2003 invasion by the U.S. and where was it, and where is the gold now?
    And, before the U.S.-inspired coup in Ukraine in 2014, how much gold did Ukraine have and where was it, and where is the gold now? One rumor is that right after the coup, Ukraine’s gold was flown out of the country and placed for “safekeeping” (ROFL) at the New York branch of the Not-Federal Reserve Bank.
    The instance mentioned above by ‘b’ involving the Goldman Sachs financial firm “investing” the huge amount of Libya’s money and then losing most of it was a significant story that did not get much attention. One wonders if it was similar to the incident in which Goldman Sachs told “clients” that they were “advising” to make an investment they knew was garbage and then Goldman bet against those “investments” they knew would fail, and made money while the “client” lost money. Goldman Sachs ended up having to pay only a sweetheart, piddly civil settlement over that scam. I think that the Obama “Justice” department and SEC did no investigation over the Libyan investment.
    There is something really rotten going on with the coverup of the attack on the U.S. consulate and CIA buildings in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. As always, it is hard to figure out because of the assertion of “secrets” and “classified” activities. The last television network reporter who was a reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, finally got fed up with CBS News and left. But the other day she noted that the State Department turned over some documents that they “just found” about the Benghazi matter to the U.S. House Benghazi committee–
    She also says, “A former State Department official under Hillary Clinton says he witnessed a `document sorting’ session being conducted in the basement of the State Department after the Benghazi investigations began. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Raymond Maxwell says two top Clinton aides, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan, checked in on the session while he was present. The document sorting went on for several weekends, according to Maxwell, and its purpose was to separate documents that could prove `embarrassing’ to the secretary. After Maxwell revealed what he says he saw firsthand, he was never contacted by any law enforcement body or Inspector General to investigate.”
    Movies have gotten so trivial and badly produced that what once was fun to do is now rarely worth doing. When the film “13 Hours” was released, and I heard three of the security guards involved in the Benghazi event say that it was accurate, I went and saw it. I thought it was quite good, especially since it was re-creating something with little apparent poetic license, and was dramatic and watchable.

  41. Fred says:

    It is an interesting set of articles. Here’s my take.
    From the NYT:
    “Mrs. Clinton was won over. Opposition leaders “said all the right things about supporting democracy and inclusivity and building Libyan institutions, providing some hope that we might be able to pull this off,” said Philip H. Gordon, one of her assistant secretaries. “They gave us what we wanted to hear. And you do want to believe.”…”
    ““She’s very careful and reflective,” Ms. Slaughter said. “But when the choice is between action and inaction, and you’ve got risks in either direction, which you often do, she’d rather be caught trying.” Now that just sounds like an amateur in action.
    “More decisive for Mrs. Clinton were two episodes from her husband’s presidency — the American failure to prevent the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and the success, albeit belated, in bringing together an international military coalition to prevent greater bloodshed after 8,000 Muslims were massacred in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war.”
    The Samantha Power of the guilt trip rears its ugly head one more time. Doesn’t anyone read history any longer? They should at least know the warning from the ancient Romans that one does not just kill a Caesar without someone acceptable being readily available to take his place.
    “…Mr. Jibril, a political scientist with a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh,..”
    That is not another Caesar but just another Western educated PHD, like Mohamed Morsi. Only Libya did not have an Al-Sissi to save them from a Muslim Brotherhood style disaster.

  42. turcopolier says:

    Haralambos et al
    If you think I am just guessing and lucky you are wasting your time here. I am not some sort of charlatan. In the years just after 9/11 I was often told by the ungifted that forecasting is not possible and that therefore the judgment of analysts is worthless. I reject that notion altogether. pl

  43. “Opposition leaders ‘said all the right things about supporting democracy and inclusivity and building Libyan institutions, providing some hope that we might be able to pull this off,’ said Philip H. Gordon, one of her assistant secretaries. ‘They gave us what we wanted to hear. And you do want to believe.’”…
    The role of hyphenated Americans is one of those puzzles in these events: here Libyan-Americans; elsewhere Georgian-Americnas, Ukrainian-Americans, and even today Cuban-Americans.
    They seem to play a special and sometimes pivotal role in U.S. foreign policy decisions. They speak English, they know the themes to invoke, and maybe, they speak their own or family language. This seems to give them a level or “expertese” to which U.S. policy makers are susceptible.
    Am I right about this?

  44. Tosk59 says:

    Hillary Clinton on Libya intervention: “Keep your fingers crossed & pray for a soft landing for everyone’s sake”

  45. Degringolade says:

    I think that this is an apropos quote:
    “To condense fact from the vapor of nuance.”
    ― Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

  46. Fred says:

    I think it is the reverse. Our policy makers do not speak foreign languages nor understand (or respect) foreign cultures and thus are susceptible to being “played”. A country bumpkin getting scammed at Three-card Monte on his first visit to the big city learns not to do that again. The Ivy League elites are getting scammed at a game with a bigger payout.

  47. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    In re: “There is something really rotten going on with the coverup of the attack on the U.S. consulate and CIA buildings in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.”
    And there something even more rotten, I suspect, going on with the coverup of what really happened to MH17. John Helmer has been on the case since the wreckage was still smoldering. Here’s his latest.

  48. Jack says:

    It doesn’t really matter since perception can be reality.
    That is the perception of a woman in a Blue state and a Democrat partisan who should be a natural supporter of Hillary. It points to the enthusiasm or lack thereof for the primary establishment candidate.
    Of course the oppo research on Trump hasn’t really hit. We can be certain that the Hillary campaign is gonna be spending some serious dough on that. That’s why IMO the outcome in November will be hard to predict.

  49. rjj says:

    Bumpkins learn because they pay for their screw ups. Elites do not screw up.

  50. gemini33 says:

    Why can’t Goldman be considered part of the Borg? There is a revolving door at Goldman and the Treasury Dept. and other positions. They are a permanent part of our govt now and will be until some party and president has enough guts to stop the revolving door. I consider them to be embedded. I think most people do, based on hard evidence, and that’s well out of the conspiracy theory realm now. The financial sector is part of the war machine too in a number of different ways, particularly on the CIA side. As far as I know, they have been as far back as when the Dulles brothers were in town, based on books I’ve read, including the recent book Devil’s Chessboard.

  51. Fred says:

    Instead of field trips to Aspen and Davos they should journey down to the other side of the tracks.

  52. Nancy K says:

    You live in this country, perhaps you should care who wins this election. It will effect all of us whether we vote or not and whether our candidate wins or not. Watching history be made is not a television show, it is reality. Ask all the refugees pouring out of the ME into Europe if they are content watching history be made. I do not mean to be sarcastic, but we live in perilous times and the next president will be leading supposedly the most powerful nation on earth. It is a very serious matter to me.

  53. Nancy K says:

    I have not seen the evidence that poor white women are dying at an increasingly earlier age. Does it say why they are dying such as in childbirth or from drug use. I did read an article of late that stated gun violence often from an abusive relationship, drug/alcohol abuse and I believe car accidents were the top reasons younger women died, but I don’t believe any of these could be caused by Hilary Clinton. I have also read that middle age white males are dying at an earlier age due to the same reasons I listed above.

  54. The Beaver says:

    You have the full story here:

  55. Margaret,
    Having read the two part NYT story pretty thoroughly, I found it rather damning of HRC and American strategy in the conduct of foreign policy.

  56. The first part certainly emphasized her advocacy for action against Obama’s reluctance or resistance (which is not clear) and Gates claim in his book that he was opposed. The reader is left with the view that Clinton was the major push behind joining the French and English. Was she? Since the story is about her, she gets major billing. There is nothing about the views of the military or the CIA.
    What is shocking in Part II is the characterization of all hands dropping their interest in Libya after the death of Qadaffi. There must have been deputies and military people watching (and a former ambassador, Jeffrey Feltman, is cited as trying to draw attention to the disintegrating situation on the ground). It is as if once the bombing is finished, the principals got bored and moved on. Is that a function of focusing on Clinton or does that reflect the reality?

  57. Valissa says:

    I think you need to reread my comment. Of course Goldman is part of the Borg. Please review my last sentence.

  58. Yup! Thanks. The full story not of the after-action, but the after-chaos.

  59. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Not true.
    – A businessman observed that if the Tsar falls, the communist will take power in Russia.
    – This KGB officer told a refusnik that Nixon would be elected.
    – Kosygin told De Gaulle that once Mao dies, China will become capitalist.
    – Castro told Garcia Marquez that Gorbachev’s program of Perestroika and Glasnost will end in disaster.
    I think correct predictions have always been made but have been swamped by the much larger body of the faulty ones.

  60. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    As I pointed out in my comment on the “Toward a ‘Borg’ Definition” thread a few days ago, the Borg is made up of individuals with the wealthiest ones generally occupying the inner most rings. It is they and their bottomless acquisitiveness that has been driving the aggression of US foreign policy since the 19th century. Corporations and government agencies are merely their tools.

  61. Fred says:

    Nancy K,
    you lead of with the very misleading gun violence talking point of the left. Try heart disease first. That doesn’t even break the top ten as a stand alone cause.
    From the CDC:
    Number of deaths for leading causes of death
    Heart disease: 611,105
    Cancer: 584,881
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 149,205
    Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557
    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978
    Alzheimer’s disease: 84,767
    Diabetes: 75,578
    Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,979
    Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 47,112
    Intentional self-harm (suicide): 41,149

  62. mbrenner says:

    I believe that the NYT stories ignore one important aspect of the post-intervention situation. Washington was dedicated not only to blocking Gaddafi’s arms cache from falling into the hands of terrorists, it also set about establishing a supply line for those weapons to be transferred to the “rebels” in Syria. It was a CIA Operation with only tacit approval from above. That is the “rat line” which Dempsey sought to disrupt by placing various obstacles in its way. Despite stop and start signals from the White House, it apparently never halted completely. The Saudis, Qataris and Turks picked up whatever slack there was. Now the main supply effort in under Pentagon auspices while the CIA clandestinely supplies al-Nusra via “good guy” fronts. All of this was laid out by Sy Hersh some months ago and confirmed by others.

  63. Croesus says:

    I submit that Goldman Sachs serves as a totem; a way to make a comment similar to the first in this thread without bringing down a torrent of opprobrium, and also to signify extreme displeasure with “banks too big to fail” that are indeed failing the American people, insofar as they fail to use their vast holdings to invest in development of the USA rather than seemingly more lucrative prospects abroad.
    Goldman employs ~33,000 people worldwide. They work their tails off; you don’t get to work for GS without mastering a series of tests and arcane bodies of knowledge, and without exquisite scrutiny of your ethical background. A few — a very few, at the very top of the GS food chain, escape or deride that scrutiny, but they are the few elite and not the many.
    Let’s say there are 1000 rotten apples at the top of the GS barrel. Should one condemn the 30,000 other apples in that barrel who work and, granted, make a handsome living, to make possible the excesses of the 1,000 at the Borg level?
    Would the same reasoning apply to the CIA? How about the extensive national security apparatus — should the thousands of people who work in US government and contractor security industries be derogated because the top, elite of some of those public and private organizations are corrupt to the marrow of their bones?
    If the finance industry in the USA is the burr under your saddle, I would suggest concentrating on the U S Treasury Department, and particularly the offices and processes of the Office of Foreign Assets Control — OFAC —
    This directorate within the Treasury Department has acquired for a relatively small group of men that style themselves “guerrillas in grey suits” the power to strong-arm international financial and corporate institutions with the goal of destroying the economies of target states. Together with access to the levers over SWIFT — the ability to move money and dollars throughout the world — OFAC has full access to all of the extensive intelligence networks of the USA and major global participants. Should a relatively small office within the U S Department of the Treasury have such outsized influence over US foreign policy; specifically, the power to topple governments that some, Borgist elements with influence over US policy makers and legislators, don’t like?
    It’s not clear to me that Goldman Sachs has that kind of power. U S Treasury Department Does. Of course GS works hand-in-glove with Treasury and with OFAC, but GS has to file periodic reports and must answer to its shareholders — you might be one of them, you could be one of them, and for the cost of a share of GS stock obtain a voice in GS affairs. OFAC, on the other hand, acts with virtual impunity and unaccountability, or rather, in collusion with a corrupt US Congress, and it uses your tax dollars to do so, whether you wish it or not, and whether or not you collect the 1.73% dividend GS shares return.

  64. What role did Ambassador Stephens have in these transfers? Early on, after his death in Beghazi, I read something to the effect that the CIA operatives he was with were transferring weapons to Syria. But then, never saw more about that specific connection. Any of your sources other than Hersh say anything about that?

  65. EZSmirkzz says:

    To all:
    At no time did I mean to imply that the Colonel is guessing in his analyses. Quite the contrary, from the earliest days of this endeavor he has provided many of us with the rudimentary tools for performing our own independent analyses. There is no substitute for experience, nor is there replacement for being observant, and anyone thinking this is an exercise in ass kissing is lacking in both.

  66. Nancy K says:

    As you will notice I said “younger women” and if you check statistics at CDC you will find that in the 20-24 age group the number 1 cause, 39.9% was unintentional injuries, number 2 10.3 % was suicide, number 3, 8.3% caner and number 4 at 7.9% was Homicide. The results for women 25-34 were similar. Death from pregnancy complications were also in the top 5.
    As a nurse for over 36 years I am well award that Heart Disease, Influenza, Strokes, Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer’s are the top cases of death for all women, but I was not discussing all women.
    Granted there are many ways to kill someone but I imagine a large number of these homicides were gun related.

  67. When Under Secretary of the Treasury, David S. Cohn goes as deputy director of the CIA (January 2015) do we spot a circle being closed?
    “WASHINGTON — President Obama has chosen the Treasury Department official who has directed the effort to cut off funding of the Islamic State and impose economic sanctions on Syria, Russia and Iran to become the C.I.A.’s deputy director, the agency announced on Friday.
    “The official, David S. Cohen, who as under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence has spent more than three years in charge of the Obama administration’s attempts to punish foreign governments and cripple terrorist groups, will help lead an agency that remains at the center of armed drone campaigns and covert efforts to arm and train Syrian rebels.
    “John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, said in a statement that Mr. Cohen brings a “wealth of experience on many of the issues that we focus on as an agency” — such as money laundering, financial support for terrorism and narcotics trafficking.”

  68. The Beaver says:

    I saw a good article recently -not by Hersh but I don’t know where i filed it under . However this one may be helpful:

  69. mbrenner says:

    From what I gather, Stephens was the victim of a coincidence in timing. Whatever he might have known about the CIA operation, he was not the principal. It was the CIA team in the Annex, augmented by a large percentage of “mercenaries,” who ran the show in Benghazi. As usual, they were operating in a fog – lots of adrenaline, few grey cells. Remember Davis – the head case – in Lahore? They also arranged for that supposedly friendly militia (which melted away) to add security to the main Consulate building.
    I think Stephens made the visit mainly to “show the flag” on Hillary’s orders? The attackers had no interest in him and did not kill him – he died from smoke inhalation. They likely didn’t even know he was there. Some of this comes from his father-in-law who sent me an email in response to something I wrote.
    Of course, Congress could find this out – but Brennan is “family” while Hillary is……
    At this point, we’re so screwed up that it’s like looking at a kaleidoscope which gets re-shaken every day or so.

  70. VietnamVet says:

    Here are three articles that discuss the issue of increasing mortality rate among the American poor:
    My belief that this is due to the increase in drug addiction (opiates and alcohol) plus suicide and the collapsing public health system. The basic underlying cause is the offshoring of good paying jobs that can support families and pay for health care. The loss of homes, jobs and loved ones is deadly. I directly blame corporate sponsored Democrats and Hillary Clinton for this.

  71. D says:

    I suspect that the US and the Saudis at least decided to use extremists as a weapon around 1979. The US wanted mujahadin to fight in Afghanistan against the communist takeover in 1978. The Saudis urgently needed to offshore their extremists after the Grand Mosque takeover in November 1979.

  72. Nancy K says:

    Thank you for citing the articles. I had read article regarding increased death rates for white middle aged less educated whites, I also agree that the increased death rates are due to an increase in drug and alcohol addiction. I don’t however blame Democrats and Hillary Clinton for this. The Republican party is hardly the party of the poor and uneducated. Regarding the collapsing of the public health system, this can be laid on the Republican party. I was a public health nurse for many years, where do you think the money comes from to fund this agency and which party is trying to stop all funding to Planned Parenthood, who is one of the biggest health providers for for the poor and uninsured or underinsured women and even men.
    As far as the basic underlying cause of all this being the offshoring of good paying jobs, you may be right, but again I do not lay the blame on just the Democratic party. Unfortunately neither party is too concerned about the poor. Bernie Sanders seems genuinely concerned but I don’t feel he could ever win in the general election.

  73. Kyle Pearson says:

    >>>If so, why would anyone claim intelligence came from new stories.
    Duplicity. CYA.

  74. pantaraxia says:

    “Should a relatively small office within the U S Department of the Treasury have such outsized influence over US foreign policy…”
    Peel back the curtain on the “guerrillas in grey suits” and one finds who really has this outsized influence.
    Resume requirement for counter-terrorism job appears to include: Jewish
    “The two other men to hold this job before Szubin were Stuart Levey– who studied under Marty Peretz at Harvard and wrote his college dissertation about saving the Zionist “dream” from Meir Kahane’s extremism– and Levey’s deputy David Cohen, who had the blessing of Alan Dershowitz. “He is very consciously Jewish,” DC attorney Nathan Lewin told the JTA. It’s a good bet that Szubin also has pro-Israel cred.
    The reality is that the position of counter-terrorism czar is an Israel lobby job…”
    At risk of putting on my tin foil hat, I wonder if this explains the bizarre and virtually unprecedented behaviour of the DOJ inserting itself into a private defamation lawsuit in which it had no obvious standing. The DOJ, in asserting the “state secrets privilege”, had the case quashed on the grounds it would damage national security
    The case between a Greek billionaire and United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a Zionist non-profit front, was perceived to be a threat in that trying the case would reveal secret information in UANI’s possession. Given the information was probably financial in nature involving transfers of funds and payments made between private parties (and therefore not part of some public record), an obvious source would be the offices of OFAC.
    Why Is Government Seeking To Kill United Against Nuclear Iran Lawsuit?
    “But the government’s use of this power in the UANI case, legal experts say, stands out from others for several reasons. For one, it’s the first time anyone can recall the government stepping in to completely kill a case between two private parties rather than to stop specific witnesses from being called to testify or specific documents from being subpoenaed. Also unprecedented is the government’s refusal to offer any explanation.”
    “When the Justice Department petitioned the court to dismiss Restis’s lawsuit September 12, its assertion that the suit would expose government secrets and thus endanger national security raised multiple questions. Outside observers wondered what government secrets a nongovernmental organization that had never engaged in any government contracts might possess, and from whom it got them”…
    Groups and individual known to be critical of Israel have speculated that UANI’s ties with Israel run deep and include intelligence sharing that the Justice Department is now trying to keep under wraps. Clues suggesting such cooperation lay not only in the presence of former Mossad chief Meir Dagan on UANI’s board; …”
    see also:
    Court Accepts DOJ’s ‘State Secrets’ Claim to Protect Shadowy Neocons: a New Low – Glenn Greenwald

  75. LeaNder says:

    “Don’t always succeed.”
    Neither do I 😉
    Valissa: “Neocon post or the Borg post.”
    I noticed the Borg post. Neocon post? – Why not neocons and neoliberals, I am asking myself at this point in time. But I have to check what Valissa may be alluding to here.
    Definition versus pure-image-of-the-enemy-usage is no doubt appreciated. But it would need more time to dig through the comments then I had so far. David Habakkuk not too long ago used a historical literary synonym, if I recall correctly. Orwell?
    Yes, it caught my attention. But it sure deserves much closer attention on the topic and time spent reflecting before offering an ad hoc definition. 🙂
    Thanks, Margret interesting articles.

  76. YT says:

    Fred & Mrs. Steinfels,
    I recall Mr. D. Habakkuk commenting on the Lilliputians & Blefuscudians 300+ days ago…

  77. VietnamVet says:

    This is the crux of the problem for the western democracies. If the leftist social democratic parties from Greece to France and then across to the USA don’t give a damn for their poor citizens, but instead are beholden only to wealthy oligarchs and attempt to stay in power by wedge identity politics; the rise of people’s nationalistic movements is inevitable. The world is replaying a sequel to the 1930’s today except mankind is armed with nuclear weapons and iPhones. Instead of Franklin Delano Roosevelt there is Donald Trump.

  78. FkDahl says:

    Am I too cynical to suspect a link between Goldman Sachs loosing 98% of Khadaffi’s 5 billion investment, and Hillary pushing and praising the regime change, and her recent $700 000 for three speeches? Is it that mob like? Bada-bing!

  79. Babak Makkinejad says:

    When one looks at the dysfunctional and self-destructive poor people; alcohol, drugs, out-of-wedlock births, one wonders if the poor care about themselves.
    When a young woman of age 20 dies in a few hours from acute liver failure, one cannot blame political parties and their policies for her demise.
    She made choices, perhaps choices that the Ideological Hegemony of Drug Culture & its Neo-pagan Hedonism had made acceptable, but those choices were hers to make.
    Trump, Sanders, Rubio, Cruz, HRC could make no difference.

  80. SmoothieX12 says:

    “She made choices, perhaps choices that the Ideological Hegemony of Drug Culture & its Neo-pagan Hedonism had made acceptable, but those choices were hers to make.”
    You are correct but also–to make good choices one has to have a template. But it is precisely this culture, described by you, which does all in its power to not allow to see the template. Combine this with “no way out” economy and we have a catastrophe on our hands.

  81. J says:

    It appears that most either don’t know or forget that Hillary was a Republican up until 1968 whereupon she switched to Democrat.
    Which makes her comments regarding Republicans, amusing.

  82. She was 21 in 1968. Doubt that she had registered in any party before that, even in Chicago-land!

  83. Valissa says:

    Personally, I don’t think it matters what party she belonged to at that young age… heck I was a member of TAR (Teen Age Republicans) when I was 15 and living in rural upstate NY. I had no idea about politics at that time, I became a TAR because my dad was in the local Rotary Club and asked me to sign up. Then I went to college and became a liberal Democrat. That was very common in the youth of the 60’s and early 70’s. Hillary’s dad was a Republican too.
    According to her Wikipedia page (which I’m sure is tightly managed by her campaign) she was indeed a Republican until 1968

  84. Since I was baptized a Democrat, I don’t know anything about switching parties. I just know family honor requires that I stick to the party of my baptism.
    Would you agree that arriving at her majority, it is significant that Clinton abandoned her father’s party and became a Democrat?
    Perhaps she will always live under the cloud of being a convert. Still we could argue that her father’s Republican Party no longer exists.

  85. Valissa says:

    “Would you agree that arriving at her majority, it is significant that Clinton abandoned her father’s party and became a Democrat?”
    No. I thought I just explained why not. I don’t think “family honor” should have anything to do with one’s own political beliefs. But then I have immigrant parents, my dad was a Republican (because back then that’s what business and professional people often were) and had my mom ever become a US citizen (she’s still an alien from Denmark) she would probably be a liberal Democrat… and I did not grow up with American politics and tribal loyalties being important.
    I have some friends who, like you, were born into strongly Democrat families and still feel strong loyalties. I respect that, but there is a level at which I don’t really understand that kind of tribal loyalty. It’s not in my character. I’ve always been a very independent thinker. My political evolution over time… TAR, liberal Democrat, liberal leaning Independent, self-chosen political outsider-observer and non-partisan Independent (ex-liberal, ex-Democrat).
    My latest incarnation was initially hard on some of my friendships, but they got over it when they found I was reasonable and did not try and convert others to my view.
    Why is it so bad to be a convert? That seems silly to me. No offense intended, just being honest.

  86. I am afraid I was carried away by some Chicago jokes about politics. So thank you for your forthright response.
    In my experience family loyalty doesn’t preclude independent thinking…in fact, quite the opposite…no place better than the family to duke out political differences…certainly to test them.
    Converts? Nothing bad about them. Just different. In Clinton’s case it suggests to me that at some point in her life, perhaps high school, perhaps college, she adopted a different world view than her father’s. I have read somewhere, perhaps not WIKI, that the pastor of the family’s suburban Methodist Church took his charges to work with children in Chicago’s inner city and that she has said it had a big impact on her.

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