Hillary Lied About Libya

Ed Moloney argues that Hillary Clinton used outright deception as a pretext for attacking Libya. Ed Moloney blogs @ The Broken Elbow.

If you cast your mind back to the NATO assault on Libya that led to the fall and death of Muammar Gaddafi, the disintegration of Libya as a functioning state and the rise in that country of ISIS, it was all justified on the basis of a supposed threat to the civilian population in Benghazi issued by the Gaddafi regime.

Gaddafi was said to be about to slaughter the people of Benghazi, who, in imitation of the people of Tunisia and inspired by what came to be known as the Arab Spring, were protesting against his regime, and to prevent this disaster the West launched a humanitarian intervention, the latest in a series of similar military adventures since Tony Blair first came up with the concept to justify military action in Kosovo during the Bill Clinton presidency.

The Libyan intervention was sold in the UK on that basis by the Cameron government and in the US by Obama’s then foreign policy adviser and now UN ambassador Samantha Power and by the Obama Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The intervention, both governments stressed, was solely to save human life and not to eject Gaddafi from power. Obama went so far as to issue a public assurance to that effect:
The task that I assigned our forces [is] to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a no-fly zone. Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.

Now we already know that the threat to the people of Benghazi was exaggerated and bogus – just like Saddam’s possession of weapons of mass destruction – as this devastating report established.

But now comes confirmation that the claim that the intervention was not intended to overthrow Gaddafi was also suspect and that whatever was in Obama’s mind, his Secretary of State was in no doubt: this was about getting rid of Gaddafi.

When Hillary Clinton appeared before the House Select Committee in Congress last week to be interrogated about the jihadist attack on the CIA compound cum embassy in Benghazi, she was also asked about the infamous TV interview (see above) she gave just days after Gaddafi’s death at the hands of a jihadi mob.

Micah Zenko, a foreign policy expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, was the only observer to spot this exchange and the significance of Clinton’s response, which he then posted on his facebook page.

Here is the full text:

At the eleven-hour United States House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing yesterday, Sec. Hillary Clinton said something in passing that has received no attention by the committee members or the media.

When asked by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) about a video clip that read, “We came, we saw, he died [meaning former Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi]. Is that the Clinton doctrine?” Clinton replied, “No, that was an expression of relief that the military mission undertaken by NATO and our other partners had achieved its end.”

What is now totally forgotten is that regime change WAS NOT the intended military mission of the Libya intervention in March 2011. As President Barack Obama stated (atfp.co/1kyBt2i) in a speech to the nation on March 28, 2011, “The task that I assigned our forces [is] to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a no-fly zone,” adding explicitly, “Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.”

If the Select Committee on Benghazi had been interested in conducting an actual oversight hearing of the Obama administration’s policy toward Libya, a committee member could have pressed Clinton to explain why U.S. objectives shifted so markedly from protecting civilians to killing Qaddafi. Or, if regime change was the intended policy objective from the very beginning, why didn’t President Obama say so to the American public?

Unfortunately, such a line of questioning was not pursued yesterday, nor will it be in other committee hearings. A journalist should ask Clinton about this discrepancy, since she would be making similar speeches to the nation about America’s war aims.

So there you are. Like the invasion of Iraq, the invasion of Libya was not carried out for the reasons given to the world, but to advance Western political and other (mostly economic) interests by removing a leader considered an obstacle to those interests.

In this respect Hillary Clinton is in the same class as Tony Blair.


  1. When has a NATO intervention not been on humanitarian grounds? Its very comforting to call for the Blairs/Bushs/Clintons of this world to be punished, but they couldn't operate without a lazy and deferential public. Id prefer to see a debate on removing this pretext for military interventions,on balance more innocents would be saved than the current arrangement, we cant trust the politicians with this tool, or their electorate to hold them to account.

  2. DaithD

    I agree with your sentiment but the International Law of Responsibility to Protect is a vital piece of international humanitarian law. The need for outside intervention was particularly evident during the Rwandan and Bosnia/Kosovo Genocides. It is still relatively new law open to abuse until the Hague sets down case law of where interventions are used for national or political interests and not legitimate humanitarian grounds.

  3. Christy, language is the first field of battle in international law, if blockades are an act of aggression, Americans will initiate "quarantines" instead. Weaker nations will have the terms chosen for them, and prosecuted as such.So, maybe more Rwandas but no more Iraqs or Libyas.

  4. I would be shocked if Hillary ever told the truth.

    Sandy Boyer

  5. DD

    Not quite; the use of blockades, embragos etc can still be used with or without humanitarian R2P law. Humanitarian law more provides for at least one nation to breach the sovereign borders of another on humanitarian grounds. One difficulty with R2P has been persuading international intervention to risk its own nationals (army) on humanitarian grounds to intervene in a genocide or some such -we have seen none were prepared to intervene in Rwanda. Few if any thought NATO did anything wrong when it intervened in Kosovo/Bosnia. The point of R2P is to try and prevent or avoid past humanitarian failures. While R2P law can be abused it is about the only show on the road to allowing international intervention to stop genocides, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity or in limited cases maybe discourage some tyrant and despot. If anything the common complaint with R2P is it is not used often enough or it is used too selectively.

  6. Sandy

    Apparently Hillary is not her real name ;)