President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding", within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.
Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.
News that Obama had given the authorization surfaced as the President and other U.S. and allied officials spoke openly about the possibility of sending arms supplies to Gaddafi's opponents, who are fighting better-equipped government forces.
Here's how I predict this will play out:
- We spend a crap-load of money maintaining air strikes and funneling all kinds of weapons to the Libyan rebels. They eventually topple Gaddafi. A great day for freedom!
- John McCain will send out a Tweet telling us he's having dinner with the very interesting rebels at their ranch. The good news: If we give them more arms, they'll embrace freedom!
- It then turns out that the Libyan rebels we armed have ties to terrorist organizations.
- Libya becomes a safe haven where al-Qaeda can plan attacks on the United States.
- We get hit with another terrorist attack and then go re-invade Libya.
- No one in the media will bother to point out that we put these guys in power in the first place. Instead, the Republican or Democrat who's heading the State Department at the time will tell us that "nobody could have predicted" Libya would become a safe haven for terrorism.
- And finally, we'll make the war deficit-neutral by laying off a bunch of teachers.
This sort of thing seems to happen quite frequently. So frequently, in fact, that even some of the dim bulbs in Congress are starting to take notice:
Members of Congress have expressed anxiety about U.S. government activates in Libya. Some have recalled that weapons provided by the U.S. and Saudis to mujahedeen fighting Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s later ended up in the hands of anti-American militants.
There are fears that the same thing could happen in Libya unless the U.S. is sure who it is dealing with. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said on Wednesday he opposed supplying arms to the Libyan rebels fighting Gaddafi "at this time."
"We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them," Rogers said in a statement.
If the past is any guide, Rogers will soon forget all about this and give Obama and the CIA a blank check to do whatever they want.
We aren't a very smart country. It's amazing we've survived as long as we have.
UPDATE: Oh this just gets better and better:
The new leader of Libya's opposition military spent the past two decades in suburban Virginia but felt compelled — even in his late-60s — to return to the battlefield in his homeland, according to people who know him.
Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. In the early 1990s, he moved to suburban Virginia, where he established a life but maintained ties to anti-Gadhafi groups.
The good news is that "Hifter" sounds an awful lot like "Hitler." It shouldn't be too hard to make him out to be the greatest most evilest ever threat to world peace when we re-invade Libya ten years from now.