Chuck Spinney: Benghazi, Libya, Dysfunctional Congress, End of All Checks and Balances

07 Other Atrocities, Corruption, Government, Hill Letters & Testimony, Officers Call
Chuck Spinney
Chuck Spinney

The Republican antics in the hearings of the Benghazi Committee in the House or Representatives are a good example illustrating how broken American politics have become.  The clear aim is narrowly political: to embarrass Hillary Clinton (and President Obama) for partisan reasons, while avoiding the roots of the larger Libyan debacle that flowed from the US led intervention.  Accounting for the deeper causes of the Libyan debacle is off limits, because just about everyone’s hands are dirty: Our bombing campaign was supported by the Republican neo-cons and their humanitarian interventionist allies in the Obama White House, as well as a majority of the Republican congressional leadership*  and most Democrats in Congress.  So, the Democrats have tried to present the hearings as yet another anti-Clinton witch hunt for the parallel reason of partisan domestic politics.

But the real issue, as Nancy Youssef explains below, is that President Obama’s ill-considered and unprovoked war to remove the leader of Libya was a rerun of Bush’s ill-considered and unprovoked war to remove the leader of Iraq, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale of horror.  Neither country had anything to do with 9-11 or attacked the U.S; both operations centered on regime change; and both administrations failed to plan for the post-war problem of reestablishing a new regime out of the chaos they created.  As a result, both interventions

(1) broke a country into lawless chaos, where warring factions increased the political power of — and the volume of arms flowing to — radical Islamists;

(2) created massive refugee flows that have added a costly and potentially destabilizing burden on our NATO allies; and

(3) then both leaders tried to ‘exit’ the mess they created on terms that sowed the seeds for increased conflict in the future (e.g., Syria, ISIS).

Yet, in the Democratic Presidential debate, Hillary Clinton chose to channel Jeb Bush’s silly claim that President George W. Bush’s responses to 9-11 (including the unprovoked invasion of Iraq) “kept us safe” by making the equally absurd claim that the U.S. intervention in Libya was ‘smart power at its best.’   But in contrast to Jeb — who got Trumped, Hillary got away with it.

Which brings us back to the Benghazi Committee.  The Constitution rests on a theory of accountability through a system checks and balances, which include the power of Congress to investigate and censure the actions of Presidents and their appointed representatives.  And there is much to account for in the Libyan debacle. To date, as Youssef notes below, the Benghazi Committee has been asking the wrong questions — to which I would add for reasons of gaining narrow political advantage that have little to do with the large Libyan debacle.  If Committee fails to change course, it will end up being another forgotten confirmation of the thesis propounded by Mike Lofgren’s in his first book: The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.

* In June 2011, some House Republican backbenchers and a few Democrats tried to end the Libyan war because Obama failed to consult Congress prior to initiating it.  The Republican leadership in the House postponed indefinitely a vote on Dennis Kucinich’s (D-OH) resolution to end the war on the grounds that its passage would “adversely affect” the war effort.

‘WE CAME, WE SAW, HE DIED’

Hillary’s Libya Post-War Plan Was ‘Play It by Ear,’ Gates Says

Phi Beta Iota: Emphasis added above. Electoral Reform is “root.” Absent electoral reform, the US Government will continue to be grotesquely corrupt and ineffective. No issue will receive an honest hearing, no traitor (or idiot) will be held accountable, and the public will continue to be expendible — along with the Treasury — for lack of integrity in governance.

See Especially:

Open Power / Electoral Reform @ Phi Beta Iota

See Also:

Corruption @ Phi Beta Iota

Treason @ Phi Beta Iota