Now that Barack Obama has expressed bomber's remorse in Libya, curious minds want to know: Does Hillary Clinton still believe that NATO's "no-fly zone" (this is a soothing euphemism for "illegal regime change," a topic we will return to shortly) in Libya was "smart power at its best"?
The Clinton campaign boasts openly about Hillary's robust foreign policy experience. But if her crowning achievement as Secretary of State was to convince Obama to support an intervention which resulted in a terrorist-filled moon crater (Obama's self-described "worst mistake"), we're not so sure she has much to be proud about.
No, Hillary Clinton is not solely responsible for the near-anarchy that has descended upon Libya. But her support - and stubborn defense - for NATO's "humanitarian intervention" in Libya reveals Clinton's real foreign policy record: From Iraq to Syria, she has been a leading crusader for American military adventures - with disastrous results. As Jeffrey Sachs recently put it, Hillary Clinton is "the lead agent of every war that we're in and the kind of wars that have created more and more chaos."
And if you want to fully appreciate Hillary Clinton's expertise in spreading misery and chaos, Libya is Exhibit A.
Americans have yet to confront what actually happened in Libya, so we have compiled a brief "listicle" in order to help illustrate the horribleness that Hillary Clinton supported and continues to defend.
1. Hillary spread baloney rape stories to justify military operations in Libya; and yes, the US played a key role in turning Libya into a mound of rubble
As part of her successful campaign to drag the U.S. into another dumb war, then-Secretary Clinton parroted a rumor that Muammar Gaddafi was giving his bloodthirsty troops bushels of Viagra so that they could rape Libyans all day.
As Amnesty International later documented, Clinton's rape stories were entirely fabricated:
Not only have we not met any [rape] victims, but we have not even met any persons who have met victims. As for the boxes of Viagra that Gaddafi is supposed to have had distributed, they were found intact near tanks that were completely burnt out.
Thanks in part to Clinton's fake rape stories, the US played a leading role in the complete and total destruction of Libya. As the Guardian reported back in 2011:
[B]esides the US - which dominates operations with over 8,000 personnel in the area in several ships and aircraft at the peak of the first weeks of the war - the weight of the conflict has fallen on the British, Italians, French and Canadians.
And again, from the Guardian: "Once the [Libya] operation was up and running, it was relatively easy to sustain. Early talk, though, of the US taking a back seat, forcing other Nato countries to contribute more, turned out to be misjudged."
But if you think using fake rape stories to justify a "no-fly zone" is deceitful and trashy, buckle your seatbelt - we're just getting started.
2. The "democratic" rebels had ties to al-Qaeda; actually, many "rebels" weren't even from Libya
Similar to the disaster currently unfolding in Syria, the United States aligned itself with extremist groups in Libya. Some rebel groups were even composed of jihadists who had previously fought U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
And some of the freedom-loving rebels were not even rebels. After NATO declared victory, Qatar admitted that it "sent hundreds of troops to support the Libyan rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi's regime." It was also later revealed that Qatar was arming "Islamic militants" in Libya - with support (but also "concern") from Washington.
A real grassroots rebellion.
3. NATO violated its own mandate in Libya, in a very open and terrible way
It's worth going back and looking at exactly how then-NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen described his organization's "mandate" in Libya:
What we have decided tonight is to take the responsibility for enforcing the No-Fly Zone with the aim to protect the civilian population, and the mandate doesn't go beyond that, of course we can act in self-defence, but what we will do is to enforce the No-Fly Zone and ensure that we protect the civilian population.
Really? So how does Rasmussen explain this:
Special forces troops from Britain, France, Jordan and Qatar on the ground in Libya have stepped up operations in Tripoli and other cities in recent days to help rebel forces as they conducted their final advance on the Gadhafi regime, a NATO official confirmed to CNN Wednesday.
How does bombing Libya and providing on-the-ground assistance to "rebels" translate into a "no-fly zone" with "the aim to protect the civilian population"? Despite its best efforts to cover-up the results of its "no fly zone", NATO was eventually forced to acknowledge that its bombing campaign had killed countless Libyans. So much for "protecting the civilian population", right?
Sorry, friends: The Libyan "civil war" was smorgasbord of lies and deceit, with predictable results.
Undeterred by facts, Clinton continues to peddle stories about how NATO prevented "mass genocide" in Libya, despite the fact that Amnesty International says there is little or no evidence to support such a claim. Incredibly, Clinton also insists that Libyans now enjoy a moderate, democratic government, despite the fact that anyone with an internet connection knows that the exact opposite is true ("the cohesive political entity known as Libya doesn't exist"; "Libya today--in spite of the expectations we had at the time of the revolution--it's much, much worse"; "There is no central government, but rather two competing claims on legitimacy").
The reality is that Hillary Clinton played a central role (as revealed by her e-mails) in framing Libya as a "humanitarian intervention". She lied. Period.
At least Obama is capable of expressing mild regret for completely destroying Libya - a possible indicator that he is an actual human being, and not a secret space lizard as some might have you believe. Sadly we can't say the same for Hillary Clinton.