Toxic Libya

Following the ongoing discussion of Libya on this blog, we highlight here a recent op-ed in the Washington Post by David Ignatius, who argues that although there has been progress over the past two years to stabilize the fledgling Libyan government, the Benghazi disaster has seriously undermined that progress to the point that Libyan requests for additional assistance by the United States have been met by Republican opposition in Congress, who are still questioning the Obama administration about what truly happened on September 11, 2012.

According to Ignatius:

Congressional Republicans deserve much of the blame. The GOP has staged more than a year of near-hysterical attacks about alleged failures and coverups involving the Sept. 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi that left four Americans dead. The relentless GOP sniping and second-guessing had the inevitable consequence: Nobody wanted to risk another Benghazi; U.S. diplomats hunkered down at the embassy in Tripoli; and Libya policy went in the deep freeze.

Here’s how bad the Libya phobia has become: When the Department of Homeland Security recently began drafting a rule that would allow Libyan students and workers to come to the United States for education and training, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) thundered that “it is shocking that the Obama administration is turning a blind eye to real terrorist threats that exist in Libya today.” And Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) denounced the move as “unbelievable.”

The messaging on this is strikingly similar to that regarding Obamacare: specifically, the Obama administration could not own up to the website failure and postpone the launch because Republicans had largely predicted the pending disaster. In short, the Obama administration did not want to absorb the political blow of a fulfilled Republican prophecy. . . .

But Ignatius’ claim is noteworthy for its literally deadly implications: foreign policy fiascos that result in dead Americans ought not to be investigated by Congress lest the administration act recklessly in the future to avoid political risk. “Deserve much of the blame” is not simply a statement of political cause and effect, even assuming such physics eliminated free will and what we normally call leadership or the lack thereof.  “Deserve much of the blame” is an Ignatius moral condemnation that is simply breathtaking.

And, of course, compare this editorial with the one crowing about how brilliant Obama was to hand over the military and nation building to the United Nations.

The fascinating thing about “brilliant pundits” is that even with the archive of the digital world, there’s no accountability.