AP, LA Times and USA Today All Avoid Naming Obama in Stories on Libya

September 4th, 2014 3:38 PM

The establishment press is working mightily to shield President Barack Obama from blame for, or even association with, decisions he has made and actions he has taken — unilaterally and with dubious constitutional authority in many instances.

One particularly egregious example is Libya. When Obama decided on his own to engage in "kinetic miliitary action" to topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the press was thrilled. Now, as will be seen after the jump, three stories from major establishment press outlets don't even contain Obama's name, or any direct reference to him.


The press, in completely polar opposite treatment from that seen when Republican or conservative presidents have taken military action, ridiculously downplayed the complaints of those who had the nerve to point out that Obama had failed to comply with the originally Democrat-inspired War Powers Act. The Associated Press described his direct defiance of that law as merely "skipping a legal deadline." They also paid little heed to those who observed that Obama hadn't thought through what might happen once Gaddafi was gone.

Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast even taunted the GOP and "neocons":

Is Obama Still Weak?
The GOP loves accusing Obama of “leading from behind,” but Michael Tomasky says that’s looking pretty good after Gaddafi’s death.

Hey, suddenly “leading from behind” is looking pretty good, isn’t it? This instantly infamous phrase, spit like rusty nails out of the mouths of neocons and other foreign-policy bigwigs ever since it appeared in that New Yorker article, may have been an unfortunate locution in this age of instant TV analysis (including some by people who probably couldn’t place Libya on a map). But it described a way of conducting multilateral foreign policy that has achieved electrifying results.

It’s worth stopping to realize that this Libya operation is, so far, not only a big success, but also a historic accomplishment in American history. Is it not the first multilateral and bloodless (as far as U.S. lives are concerned; admittedly not Libyans) intervention the United States has helped lead in its history to rid a people of a dictator and try to bring them democracy? It surely is.

... The only bad thing to say about this action has to do with the Obama administration’s legal justification for it back in June, when it argued for the sake of continuing the action under the War Powers Act that what we were doing in Libya didn’t constitute “hostilities”. That was hokum. It never became a huge issue, but it’s a bad precedent, and if a couple dozen of our people had died in some bomb blast, it sure would have.

... But overall this was, if there can be such a thing, a model intervention. Now comes the part where we have to keep leading, this time diplomatically, to hope that civil society can get a foothold in the country.

... A president who iced bin Laden and has overseen the ousters of two leading autocrats (and a couple of other minor ones) is not weak. Leading from behind, the sneerers forgot, is still leading.

Wow, I've got nothing to add to that. Geopolitical reality in 2014 completely immolates Tomasky's smug 2011 arguments.

As to current press coverage, here are the three examples of stories which pretend that Barack Obama — he of the "model intervention" Tomasky just cited — has no direct association with Libya's descent into tribal chaos.

First, from an unbylined Associated Press story on August 31:


An Islamist-allied militia group in control of Libya's capital now guards the U.S. Embassy and its residential compound, a commander said Sunday, as onlookers toured the abandoned homes of diplomats who fled the country more than a month ago.

An Associated Press journalist saw holes left by small-arms and rocket fire dotting the residential compound, reminders of weeks of violence between rival militias over control of Tripoli that sparked the evacuation.

The breach of a deserted U.S. diplomatic post — including images of men earlier swimming in the compound's algae-filled pools — likely will reinvigorate debate in the U.S. over its role in Libya, more than three years after supporting rebels who toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi. It also comes just before the two-year anniversary of the slaying of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya.

The AP story conveniently doesn't bother telling readers that the "U.S. role in Libya" was unilaterally exercised by Obama.

Next, here's Laura King at the Los Angeles Times, also on August 31 (HT to longtime commenter Gary Hall):

Gunmen seize government ministries as Libya spirals further into chaos

Armed militiamen have seized control of most Libyan government ministries in the capital, Tripoli, the transitional government acknowledged early Monday, in the latest sign of a dramatic deterioration of Libya’s trappings of statehood.

Energy-rich Libya has slipped ever deeper into chaos since the toppling of longtime dictator Moammar Kadafi in 2011. The armed groups that were allies in the fight to depose him have turned on one another, fighting for oil wealth and political control.

... In the latest chaotic development in Tripoli, gunmen surrounded government offices, threatened ministers with assassination and prevented employees from entering their workplaces, the transitional administration said in its statement, adding that “most of the ministries and institutions and commissions” in Tripoli were now outside its control.

Maybe the "chaos" has occurred because Obama, as he has recently admitted in connection with ISIS, had no strategy for post-coup Libya.

Finally, from just before noon today by Katharine Lackey and Oren Dorell at USA Today, with AP input, showing that the Obama-shielding effort continues:

Reports of missing Libyan planes raise 9/11 terror fears

Reports of 11 planes missing from a Libya airport are raising fears that militants could use them in terrorist attacks to mark the 9/11 anniversary.

Intelligence agencies have warned the jets could be used in attacks in North Africa, and said one or more of the planes may be used to strike targets on Sept. 11 to mark the anniversary of terrorist attacks on the USA, the Washington Free Beacon reported, citing anonymous sources. An aviation security expert says the planes would pose more of a threat to countries near Libya than the U.S. homeland.

The date also marks the second anniversary of the Libyan terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, which killed four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said "we have nothing to confirm these reports about missing airliners."

A spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan, also said there's been no confirmation that aircraft had been stolen. Images have surfaced online, however, showing militants posing with the jetliners taken when they overran Tripoli airport last month in a fierce battle that left much of the airport and its aircraft damaged.

Al Jazeera television also reported the planes were taken by a militant group, according to multiple news outlets ...

So an enterprise entirely of Barack Obama's making without congressional approval has led to chaos — and now the disappearance of planes which can be flown into buildings. But his name is absent.

It's an impressive but quite deceptive disappearing act.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.