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What Mistakes Did Obama Make in Libya?

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Photo credit: Stephen Lam / Getty Images

No matter how a person feels about Obama as President of the United States, the state of affairs in Libya makes it clear that the president has made some serious mistakes in his handling of this small yet important Northern African country.

The Washington Post notes that Libya recently elected the new prime minister – the sixth person to hold this position in just two years time. The World Tribune quotes a United Nations report as stating that armed militias not only control large swathes of the country, but have turned the nation into a weapons smuggling hub for the Middle East and Africa.

Just how did Obama get it wrong in Libya? Following are a few of the biggest mistakes he made and how they could have potentially been avoided.

Failure to Plan Long-Term

It would seem that Obama’s only plan was to support the rebels that ousted Gaddafi. While some would argue that Gaddafi was a cruel dictator who deserved to be removed from power, the presidential office should not have acted on this premise alone.

It would seem that the White House’s failure to make plans for what should happen after Gaddafi’s removal was its biggest mistake. When there is a power vacuum, someone (or a lot of someone’s) have to fill it. In this instance, those who have filled the power vacuum may be even worse than Gaddafi in some ways.

The President should have considered the long-term consequences of his actions before getting involved in Libya. Doing so would have helped him to realize that there is more to bringing democracy to a country than simply helping one party remove an unwanted dictator.

Failure to Research

Given the state of affairs in Libya, one would question the competence of not just the President but also members of his staff. It would seem that a competent, experienced expert would have researched Libya and found out about its history and tribal divisions.

George W. Bush’s failure to do this with Iraq resulted in bloodshed that has cost the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people. Unfortunately, history has repeated itself, as the infighting among Libya’s different factions continue to cost lives and have prevented the country from rebuilding itself and regaining stability.

If the President had taken the time to get to know Libya better, he would have realized that there was never any way that the rebels would have automatically united around a single leader and single-mindedly devoted their efforts to rebuild their nation.

Failure to Put Politics on the Back Burner

When Ambassador Stevens and four others were killed, Obama pushed the premise that the demonstration was a result of an anti-Muslim movie posted on YouTube, refusing to concede that any mistakes were made in the handling of the embassy’s security.

As World Net Daily notes, the President continued to make this case a full two weeks after the attack. The president’s unwillingness to put politics on the back burner, confess that mistakes were made and promise to rectify them has led to the issue becoming highly politicized by both parties.

Instead of working together to resolve Libya’s problems, Congress is putting a priority on digging up dirt on the present administration and Obama is putting a priority on making the Republicans look bad for doing so.

Obama’s sad mistakes in Libya have not only led to the loss of many human lives but created a situation that puts volatile countries in the Middle East and Africa at great peril.

One can only hope that these mistakes can be rectified sooner rather than later, so that innocent people are not maimed or killed by civil war, infighting, weapons smuggling and other illicit activities.

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