Agence France-Presse, Getty Images
Photo of the aftermath of the attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed American Ambassador Christopher Stevens and 3 others
Here we go again. According to unnamed "senior military and counterterrorism officials" the U.S. is considering "operations to kill or capture militants" implicated in the attack of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya three weeks ago that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other colleagues.
Saying the Libyan government is too weak and unable to question alleged attackers, JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command," is compiling target packages of detailed information about the suspects and along with the Pentagon and the CIA are preparing dossiers in anticipation of possible orders by President Obama to take action". Such action would include "drone strikes, special operations raids and joint missions with Libyan authorities".
Interestingly, Mustafa Abu Shagur, the Libyan Prime Minister told Al Jazerra TV yesterday, "We will not accept anyone entering Libya. That would infringe on sovereignty and we will refuse".
Apparently the U.S. is contemplating something akin to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan without first notifying the Pakistani government. That raid was hailed as great accomplishment by the Obama administration as well as a majority of the American people. In Pakistan however, the government and the people were outraged over their sovereignty being breeched as well as the intentional slight of not informing the government of a supposed ally. So now with Libya so much for their sovereignty.
But let's cut to the chase and get to the core of what drives the U.S. administration to act and order these clandestine operations and it has nothing to do with the foreign governments or its people in the countries where they are conducted.
It has everything to do with the perception of the American people but even more importantly countering Republican right wing accusations of being "soft on terrorists".
This not a new phenomenon; forty seven years ago in 1965 it was Lyndon Johnson in the White House contemplating whether to expand the war in Viet Nam against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese. Johnson we have since learned knew expanding the war was a great risk that could ultimately result in failure yet still ordered the escalation based on the trumped up Gulf of Tonkin incident (which never happened) primarily because he feared right wing Republican attacks accusing him of being "soft on Communism".
Today, with the presidential election a month away and Republicans accusing the White House of intelligence failures before the attack in Benghazi and new accusations the administration failed to beef up security there, it is not lost on the Obama crowd of their perceived need to take action in Libya to fend off the Republican attacks.