CNN | Opinion
Matt Welch | Editor at-large for Reason Magazine | October 3, 2016 |
“Is Gary Johnson qualified to run for president? Let’s talk about that, but first let’s talk about this:
“‘Two weeks ago, the foreign affairs select committee of the British House of Commons released a detailed, damning report about one of Hillary Clinton’s signature achievements as secretary of state: The 2011 US/UK/French-led military intervention into Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya, which was sold as a necessity to prevent (in President Barack Obama’s words) ‘a massacre that would have reverberated across the region.’
“‘This policy,’ the conservative-led committee concluded, ‘was not informed by accurate intelligence. In particular, the [British] Government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element. By the summer of 2011, the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change. That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-(Gadhafi) Libya. The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of (Gadhafi) regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa.’
“You might think that a deeply sourced report from an allied government about trumped-up intelligence leading to yet another destabilizing Middle East war might make some headlines in the country where the administration’s leading proponent of said intervention is poised to become the next leader of the free world.
“But you would be wrong.
“Aside from a handful of mostly ideological outlets, the US news media declined to even note that the Democratic presidential nominee suffered a comprehensive rebuke to her oft-repeated assertion that Libya represented American ‘smart power at its best.’ As The Atlantic delicately put it, ‘The British public has been engaged in a debate about war that has been largely absent from the U.S. presidential election.’
“Ah, yes, but did you hear the one about Gary Johnson not being able to come up on the spot with the name of his favorite foreign leader? Disqualifying! And also, oddly, nearly ubiquitous in the same media that couldn’t be bothered to reexamine a Hillary Clinton policy that has adversely affected countless human lives.
“I have no problem saying the Libertarian Party nominee screwed up in this or any other interview. But if there’s anything more obnoxious than cheerleaders for Donald ‘bomb-the-sh—out-of-ISIS’ Trump mocking Johnson for foreign-policy ignorance, it’s supporters and enablers of Hillary Clinton rolling their eyes theatrically at a presidential candidate who was against the Iraq and Libyan wars in real time, who wants to pardon rather than imprison Edward Snowden, and who comports himself with occasionally awkward humility rather than with the polished and delusional omniscience that we’ve unfortunately come to demand in our presidential candidates.”