“From the Halls of Montezuma

To the shores of Tripoli . . . ” Marines hymm
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Two hundred and nine years after Marines visited those shores, dispatched by President Jefferson to punish Barbary pirates for attacking U.S. vessels in the Mediterranean, Marines are again in that sea, poised to return. If they are sent ashore, their mission will be to rescue U.S. citizens from the consequences of U.S. policy. Then they might have to do the same thing in Baghdad.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi should not consider the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, its sole or even primary topic. Rather, it should begin at the beginning, with the U.S. military intervention in Libya’s civil war 18 months before Benghazi.

Today, Libya is an anarchy of hundreds of rival militias. The U.S. intervention, for which President Obama’s phrasemakers coined the term “leading from behind,” was justified by “R2P” — the “responsibility to protect” Libyans, especially in Benghazi, from the supposed threat of genocide inflicted by Moammar Gaddafi.