Blowback in Libya

Last week, Libyan militants carried out an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that resulted in in the deaths of the American ambassador and three other embassy staff. There is absolutely no justification for these vile murders and the perpetrators should be brought to justice swiftly as possible. That being said, this ugly turn of events should make us all ask some basic questions about our foreign policy: Namely, what benefits, if any, has the U.S. gained from the intervention into Libya last year?


As of today, Libya remains plagued by rampant militia violence, lawlessness, and general instability since Gadaffi’s removal. Regardless of merits of the original humanitarian argument (and even that, I would argue it’s on shaky grounds) to justify U.S. intervention, it’s unconstitutional. Period. Without Congressional authorization, the Libyan war is illegal. As then-Senator Barack Obama stated in an interview with The Boston Globe in 2008, “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” Ignoring his own damning words and additional warnings from legal counsel at his Justice Department and the Pentagon, Obama plunged us into another illegal, ill-conceived military venture where the unintended consequences are just beginning to be felt.

As reported by the Reuters article on the U.S. ambassador’s murder, “U.S. President Barack Obama, whose administration supported the Libyan insurgency with funds, weapons and training, branded the killing an ‘outrageous attack’ and ordered increased security at U.S. diplomatic posts worldwide [relevant sections bolded].”

Reading this section made me shake my head with sorrow. Have we learned anything from past actions of arming and financing thugs who later turned against us? Non-interventionists like Congressman Ron Paul have warned about blowback and its unintended consequences for decades. Perhaps it’s time to listen to them and reject the bipartisan interventionist mentality with its record of failed militarism, failed nation-building, and failed foreign aid. Try a foreign policy of peace, neutrality, and non-intervention for once.

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