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Published: Monday, 5/13/2013


Libyan crossfire

Long after Libyan despot Moammar Gadhafi was deposed and killed in 2011, the north African nation remains in a state of chaos.

Libya has neither functional national security forces or a justice system. These lapses afflict its people and anyone else who wants to work or do business with its new regime. Armed militias, some of which espouse extreme forms of Islamist beliefs, operate freely.

The most visible result for the United States of the turmoil in Libya was the killing last September of the American ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, and three other U.S. officials in Benghazi. The circumstances of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic office there remain murky. None of the perpetrators has been apprehended or arrested, because of their militia protection and the general lawlessness in the country.

Republican lawmakers seek to sabotage any plans that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might have to run for president in 2016 by hanging the Benghazi deaths around her neck — the real purpose of continued hearings.

What happened to the Americans in Benghazi was tragic. But blaming Mrs. Clinton is misguided, whatever her prospects for the presidency.

What is important now is to end the chaos that prevails in Libya, and to permit the government to use the country’s oil wealth to improve living standards.

For President Obama, the chaos in Libya, the disorder in Iraq, and continuing problems in Yemen and Egypt should underline the danger of inserting the United States deeper into Middle East conflicts, starting with Syria.

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