In a surprisingly honest moment, that was likely unintentional, White House spokesman Josh Earnest admitted that the Obama administration’s failures in Libya has made them gun-shy in the fight against ISIS in Syria!
This is the argument that many pundits and observers on both sides of the aisle have been making for years now, but up until this week the Obama administration had denied. While many observers had taken note about the administration’s seeming reticence to act decisively (in any direction), the Obama team had always argued that they were simply following their “smart policy” on dealing with ISIS. It seems now that Josh Earnest has unwittingly pulled the covers off of that lie and revealed that the Obama team was indeed failing to act because they feared another Libyan debacle.
Josh Earnest: I think in some ways you could say that the president has tried to apply this lesson in considering the use of military in other circumstances. Asking the question about which situation will prevail and what sort of commitments from the international community will be required after that military intervention has been ordered by the commander in chief. And that I think looking back… is something that he regrets the U.S. and the rest of our members of our coalition didn’t do.
Question: I want to go back to comments the president made in the Fox News Sunday interview yesterday. He said his worst mistake was failing to plan for the day after intervening in Libya
I’m wondering if you could just expand on that. It is only one sentence but it is meaningful. What does that mean? How does he– What exactly does he see as his mistake? Who does he blame for it? Is he saying that he should have personally done more planning or the U.S. should have done more planning with allies, or what exactly does he mean by that?
Josh Earnest: The president talked about this issue a little bit more in his most recent address to the United Nations General Assembly. In that speech –I am quoting now– the president said: ” our coalition could have and should have done more to fill a vacuum left behind.”
Obviously the situation in Libya was quite dangerous. You had the Qaddafi regime amassing forces. Prepared to carry out an act of violence against civilians — a substantial and defenseless population. And the international community, led by the United States, responded, to end a good portion of that violence.
And that obviously was a good thing. Lives were saved, many lives.
But what is also true in Libya, is they had a totalitarian dictaor in place for 42 years. And the civil society and governing structures of that country atrophied. And it meant that once that dictator had been removed from power, that the regular structures in place in the country were not there to govern the country, or at least maintain some semblence of stability in the country until the government could be rebuilt and security could be restored…
This led to a scenario where the right decision was made at the beginning to prevent significant loss of life in that specific instance, but the rest of the international community did not have time and did not succeed in following through with a plan to compensate for the vacuum left behind.
I think in some ways you could say that the president has tried to apply this lesson in considering the use of military in other circumstances. Asking the question about which situation will prevail and what sort of commitments from the international community will be required after that military intervention has been ordered by the commander in chief. And that I think looking back… is something that he regrets the U.S. and the rest of our members of our coalition didn’t do.
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