Last week, the United States closed and shuttered the embassy in Tripoli, Libya, evacuating from the country its personnel — 158 diplomats and 60 Marines. Fighting between two rival militias reportedly got so close that the embassy was actually being hit by stray small arms fire.
I certainly don’t object to the decision to pull people out. Seems prudent, especially in light of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans, including our ambassador, dead.
But the protective move sends an unmistakable signal about Libya and US foreign policy. Obama’s 2011 military intervention into Libya via NATO — famously promoted as “leading from behind” — has clearly and obviously failed.
Libya is in chaos, unsafe for Americans . . . or Libyans.
President Obama is hardly the sole leader deserving blame. Military campaigns launched by President Bush, who led from in front, haven’t worked, either.
After years of “pacifying” Iraq, at the cost of thousands of American lives, and building up Iraq’s military forces, the Iraqi army disintegrated at the first sign of conflict. The Iraqi government remains thoroughly corrupt.
Sadly, the same fate awaits the end of our nation-building stint in Afghanistan. A recent Washington Post story quoted Sgt. Kenneth Ventrice, a veteran of three tours in Iraq and now serving his second in Afghanistan, saying, “It’s going to fall a lot faster than Iraq did.”
These foreign interventions are failures.
But the biggest failure? Not to learn from our mistakes.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.