International Problem: ISIS is expanding its war to establish a global Caliphate into Libya.
White House Solution: Don’t fight back in Libya.
The United States does not support Egyptian and Emirati airstrikes against Islamist militias in Libya because the U.S. believes the crisis in Libya must be resolved politically and without outside interference, a Department of Defense spokesman said Tuesday.
Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrying out airstrikes in Libya was different from U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant forces in Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told a briefing, because the U.S. was acting in Iraq, in a “very targeted” manner, at the request of its government.
Let’s think about these two paragraphs separately.
The first one reveals the Administration’s thinking on Libya, which hasn’t changed one bit since its mistaken and failed war effort to somehow save that country by leading from behind in the effort to depose Ghaddafy. Libya is now a failed state, with various parts of the country ruled (or rather misruled) by various factions, each at war with the others. Would-Be President Clinton and our NATO friends turned Libya into Somalia-on-the-Med. Libya isn’t a country any longer; it’s an empty spot on the map where other countries aren’t. The solution to Libya’s problem, goes the White House’s thinking, must be political — even though no polity called “Libya” actually exists. Libya is all over but the shooting, if you’ll allow me to misuse the idiom.
Now to the second graf, which illustrates exactly why the Look At Me Looking At Me Administration keeps getting caught flat-footed by a foreign policy which is, and must be, essentially reactive. ISIS, like al Qaeda before it, thrives on chaos — and there’s plenty of that to be had there courtesy of Team Obama. ISIS moves in, and the closest thing this White House takes to an actual action, is to send a Pentagon spokesman out in front of the cameras to berate the Egyptians and the Emirates for taking some small action to defend themselves from the growing threat. To top it off, Kirby’s statement included an oh-so-Obama little lecture about how real smart grownup countries wage war — with targeting and permission.
Who the hell in Libya is going to give permission, if that country no longer exists? What the hell did the Egyptians bomb, if not targets?
Faced with a real threat, Obama did what he always does: Retreat to wishful thinking about the way the world ought to work, while giving grating little self-important lectures to the leaders who are making the hard decisions and doing the difficult things this White House won’t or can’t do.
Yesterday the White House even had the gall to send out State Department Spokesmodel Marie Harf to spew this crap on national TV:
HARF: Well, I think there’s a few stages here. Right now what we’re doing is trying to take their leaders and their fighters off the battlefield in Iraq and Syria. That’s really where they flourish.
MATTHEWS: Are we killing enough of them?
HARF: We’re killing a lot of them and we’re going to keep killing more of them. So are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians. They’re in this fight with us. But we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs, whether.
ISIS needs a jobs program — that’s actual thinking going on right now in our actual State Department. You should click that last link to Powerline and watch the video. Reading Harf’s statement actually makes it sound slightly less dumb than watching her say it out loud, assuming that’s possible.
It isn’t that ISIS is strong. It’s that our President speaks loudly, carries a small stick, and prefers lecturing our friends over fighting our enemies.
“We cannot kill our way out of this war,” said no one who has ever, or will ever, win a war.