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American Bombs in the Muslim World: The Real Reason Why U.S. Citizens Were Killed in Libya

While the Republicans make political hay from last month’s killings in Libya, the real source of U.S. woes in the Middle East goes unsaid.

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Such was their behavior last Tuesday, with most members preferring to indulge in hypocritical posturing aimed at scoring cheap political points. Palpable in that hearing room was one of the dangers our country’s Founders feared the most – that, for reasons of power, position and money, legislators might eventually be seduced into the kind of cowardice and expediency that would lead them to forfeit their power and their duty to prevent a president from making war at will.

Many of those now doing their best to make political hay out of the Benghazi “scandal” are the same legislators who appealed strongly for the U.S. to bomb Libya and remove Gaddafi. This, despite it having been clear from the start that eastern Libya had become a new beachhead for al-Qaeda and other terrorists. From the start, it was highly uncertain who would fill the power vacuums in the east and in Tripoli.

In short, Oversight Committee members were among those in Congress who thought war on Libya was a great idea, with many criticizing Obama for not doing more, sooner, for “leading from behind” rather than “leading from the front.” Now, they’re making cheap political points from the consequences of a war for which they strongly pushed.

War? What War?

As Congress failed to exercise its constitutional duties – to debate and vote on wars – Obama, along with his Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton, took a page out of the Bush/Cheney book and jumped into a new war. Just don’t call it war, said the White House. It’s merely a “kinetic humanitarian action.”

You see, our friends in Europe covet that pure Libyan oil and Gaddafi had been a problem to the West for a long time. So, it was assumed that there would be enough anti-Gaddafi Libyans that a new “democratic” government could be created and talented diplomats, like Ambassador Christopher Stevens, could explain to “the locals” how missiles and bombs were in the long-term interest of Libyans.

On Libya, the Obama administration dissed Congress even more blatantly than Cheney and Bush did on Iraq, where there was at least the charade of a public debate, albeit perverted by false claims about Iraq’s WMD and Saddam Hussein’s ties to al-Qaeda.

And so Defense Secretary Panetta and Secretary of State Clinton stepped off cheerily to strike Libya with the same kind of post-war plan that Cheney, Bush, and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had for Iraq – none.

Small wonder chaos reigns in Benghazi and other parts of the country. Can it be that privileged politicians like Clinton and Panetta and the many “one-percenters” in Congress and elsewhere really do not understand that, when the U.S. does what it did to Libya, there will be folks who don’t like it; that they will be armed; that there will be blowback; that U.S. diplomats, given an impossible task, will die?

Libya: Precedent for Syria

Constitutionally, the craven Congress is a huge part of the problem. Only a few members of the House and Senate seem to care very much when presidents act like kings and send off troops drawn largely by a poverty draft to wars not authorized (or simply rubber-stamped) by Congress.

Last Tuesday, Kucinich’s voice was alone crying in the wilderness, so to speak. (And, because of redistricting and his loss in a primary that pitted two incumbent Democrats against each other, he will not be a member of the new Congress in January.)

This matters – and matters very much. At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 7, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, pursued this key issue with Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.

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