Congressman Steve Chabot (R, Ohio), in a hearing today on Capitol Hill, asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the U.S. response to Libya. In his question, Chabot said that the “initial U.S. response” has been “tepid,” and went on to compare the greater response from the British and even the Chinese. Reminding Secretary Clinton that the Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi has a history of responding to the threat of force, Chabot essentially asked why the U.S. didn’t use this approach to dealing with Libya.
Clinton’s response was itself tepid – and confused. We have a different history with Libya than some other countries, Clinton said. But then she went on the defensive, saying:
we feel that we did this in a prudent and effective manner. And we did it in a way that did not raise the alarm bells around the region and the world that we were about to invade for oil. If you follow, as we follow, all of the websites that are looking at what’s happening in the Middle East, you see a constant drumbeat that the United States is going to invade Libya to take over the oil – and we can’t let that happen. Well, we are not going to do that. And we are going to side with the Libyan people and their aspirations, but the last thing in the world we wanted was to start off with military assets when we very effectively got our people out.
So apparently U.S. policy is now predicated on whatever myths websites from around the world are currently hawking. That’s not something that inspires a lot of confidence in this administration.
Clinton went on to suggest that no one has a bad word to say about America’s Libya policy anymore. “I’ve seen no evidence that anybody thinks less of us because we were smart about how we got our people – not only our embassy people but American citizens who were working in Libya – out safely,” she said.