Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Target Rich Environment, To Be Sure

President Obama offered Libya as the place of his biggest mistake. Which is odd.

After setting up this regret by earlier blaming the Europeans for the lack of post-war stabilization, our president said this was his biggest mistake:

In a Fox News Sunday interview, the president said that a failure to plan for the aftermath of intervention in Libya was "probably" his biggest blunder, Bloomberg reports. He told host Chris Wallace that while intervening to get rid of Moammar Gadhafi "was the right thing to do," he regrets "failing to plan for the day after."

Rather than argue whether this trumps policy on Russia, Iran, Syria, Iraq--which clearly didn't benefit from the awesome brain trust available to use three years to design a post-withdrawal plan for Iraq-- Arab Spring response, Afghanistan, or Cuba as holder of that title, let's just focus on the lack of a post-war plan before going to war in Libya.

Because I thought the lack of a post-war plan for Iraq was Bush's biggest sin that the Democrats identified. This was so important that three years after that war began, the Democrats unveiled their plan.

That charge about Iraq was not true, of course. Just consult the New York Times, if you doubt me:

President Bush's national security team is assembling final plans for administering and democratizing Iraq after the expected ouster of Saddam Hussein. Those plans call for a heavy American military presence in the country for at least 18 months, military trials of only the most senior Iraqi leaders and quick takeover of the country's oil fields to pay for reconstruction.

The proposals, according to administration officials who have been developing them for several months, have been discussed informally with Mr. Bush in considerable detail. They would amount to the most ambitious American effort to administer a country since the occupations of Japan and Germany at the end of World War II.

Still, having made the charge, I just assumed the Obama administration plan for Libya must have been awesome.

Yet nearly four years ago, it was clear that a post-war plan might be helpful.

Oh well. Who knew hope and change wasn't a sufficient substitute for planning?