Did US Choose War over Qaddafi’s Abdication? Written by: Diana West

This week’s syndicated column

More than Benghazi skeletons should haunt Hillary Clinton’s expected 2016 presidential bid. It now seems that the entire war in Libya — where thousands died in a civil war in which no U.S. interest was at stake — might well have been averted on her watch and, of course, that of President Obama’s. How? In March 2011, immediately after NATO’s punishing bombing campaign began, Muammar Qaddafi was “ready to step aside,” says retired Rear Admiral Charles R. Kubic, U.S. Navy. “He was willing to go into exile and was willing to end the hostilities.”

What happened? According to Kubic, the Obama administration chose to continue the war without permitting a peace parley to go forward.

Kubic made these extremely incendiary charges against the Obama administration while outlining his role as the leading, if informal, facilitator of peace feelers from the Libyan military to the U.S. military. He was speaking this week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi was presenting its interim report. Kubic maintains that to understand Benghazi, the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in which four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed, “you have to understand what happened at the beginning of the Libyan revolt, and how that civil war that created the chaos in Libya could have been prevented.”

Particularly in light of his senior military experience, Kubic’s eyewitness story demands careful consideration. Like everything else about Benghazi, it also demands the official focus of a select committee investigation in Congress.

A short chronology sets the stage:

— On March 19, 2011, Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, made a dramatic announcement from Paris on behalf of the “international community.”

Eyes steady, voice freighted with dignity and moment, Clinton demanded that Qaddafi — a post-9/11 ally of the U.S. against jihadist terror-armies such as al-Qaida — heed a ceasefire under a newly adopted United Nations resolution, or else.

“Yesterday, President Obama said very clearly that if Qaddafi failed to comply with these terms, there would be consequences,” Clinton said. “Since the president spoke, there has been some talk from Tripoli of a cease-fire, but the reality on the ground tells a very different story. Colonel Gaddafi continues to defy the world. His attacks on civilians go on.”

That same day, NATO air and sea forces went to war to defeat the anti-al-Qaida Qaddafi and bring victory to Libya’s al-Qaida-linked rebels. Uncle Sam, as I’ve often written since, joined the jihad.

Through Libyan intermediaries whom he knew in his post-naval career as an engineer and businessman, Kubic was hearing that Qaddafi wanted to discuss his own possible abdication with the U.S. “Let’s keep the diplomats out of it,” Kubic says he told them. “Let’s keep the politicians out of it, let’s just have a battlefield discussion under a flag of truce between opposing military commanders pursuant to the laws of war, and see if we can, in short period of time, come up with the terms for a cease-fire and a transition of government.”

— The following day, March 20, 2011, Kubic says he relayed to the U.S. AFRICOM headquarters Qaddafi’s interest in truce talks as conveyed by a top Libyan commander, Gen. Abdulqader Yusef Dubri, head of Qaddafi’s personal security team. Kubic says that his AFRICOM contact, Lt. Col. Brian Linvill, a former U.S. Army attache in Tripoli then serving as point man for communications with the Libyan military, passed this information up his chain of command to Gen. Carter Ham, then AFRICOM commander. AFRICOM quickly responded with interest in setting up direct military-to-military communications with the Libyans.

— On March 21, 2011, Kubic continued, with the NATO war heating up, a senior aide to Qadaffi, Gen. Ahmed Mamud, directly submitted a set of terms for a 72-hour-truce to Linvill at AFRICOM. The Benghazi commission made the basic text of these terms available to press.

During a follow-up telephone interview I had with Kubic, he underscored the show of good faith on both sides that created hopefulness that these flag-of-truce negotiations would come to pass. On the night of March 21, Gen. Ham issued a public statement on Libya in which he noted the U.S. was not targeting Qaddafi.

— By March 22, Qadaffi had verifiably begun pulling back troops from the rebel-held cities of Benghazi and Misrata. The cease-fire Hillary Clinton said the “international community” was seeking only days earlier seemed to be within reach, with the endgame of Qaddafi’s abdication and exile potentially on the table.

Then, shockingly, Kubic got what amounted to a “stand down” order from AFRICOM — an order that came down from “well above Gen. Ham,” Kubic says he was told — in fact, as Kubic said in our interview, he was told it came from outside the Pentagon.

The question becomes, who in the Obama administration scuttled these truce talks that might have resulted in Qaddafi handing over powers without the bloodshed and destruction that left Libya a failed state and led to Benghazi?

Had talks gone forward, there is no guarantee, of course, that they would have been successful. Qaddafi surely would have tried to extract conditions. One of them, Kubic believes, would have been to ensure that Libya continue its war on al-Qaida. Would this have been a sticking point? In throwing support to Islamic jihadists, including al-Qaida-linked “rebels” and Muslim Brotherhood forces, the U.S. was changing sides during that “Arab Spring.” Was the war on Qaddafi part of a larger strategic realignment that nothing, not even the prospect of saving thousands of lives, could deter? Or was the chance of going to war for “humanitarian” reasons too dazzling to lose to the prospect of peace breaking out? Or was it something else?

Kubic, the military man, wonders why the civilian leadership couldn’t at least explore a possibly peaceful resolution. “It is beyond me that we couldn’t give it 72 hours — particularly when we had a leader who had won a Nobel Peace Prize, and who was unable basically to ‘give peace a chance’ for 72 hours.”

It’s beyond all of us, I’m afraid — unless a Select Committee on Benghazi finally comes together to do the people’s business.


1. It is with unbearable ease that the foundations of free society can be shaken.

Not too long ago, Brendan Eich, the CEO of Mozilla, was fired from the company, which is responsible for the Firefox browser, among other things. The poor guy was fired because gay and lesbian groups found out that he had once donated $1,000 to the campaign for California Proposition 8, which sought to make same-sex marriage unconstitutional in California by defining marriage as a union between a man and woman.

Though everyone agrees that he never discriminated against anyone in the company on the basis of sexual orientation, he believes that a marriage should be between a man and a woman, heaven forbid. As a result, the liberal fundamentalists threatened to boycott, a move that quickly led to the Eich’s termination.

Moving on. Brandeis University recently decided to award Somalian rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who became famous for her brave battle for women’s rights in the Muslim world, an honorary degree.

But then, the liberal fundamentalists, with freedom of speech burning their throats and the sword of boycotts glistening in their hands, decided to apply immense pressure on the “Jewish” university. They argued that Hirsi Ali was an “Islamophobe” and “racist.” In actuality, Hirsi Ali is an amazing intellectual who, as a Muslim, was subjected to nine circles of hell (she was circumcised and forced to marry against her will, among other things) before she was able to flee to the West. Since then, she has published several books and articles on the big lie often obscured by Western culture: the shameful status of women in the Muslim world and Western naivete when it comes to Islam’s totalitarian aspirations. One of the more vocal feminist leaders, Germaine Greer, coined the saying, “One man’s beautification is another man’s mutilation.” This is true mainly the other way around: Female circumcision, considered to be crime in Western society, is actually completely legitimate in terms of global tyranny of thought. She compared it to our Jewish circumcision.

Unfortunately for her, Hirsi Ali believes something that deviates from the leftist chorus that dictates what is good and right to all of us. The weapon of boycott and silencing was used against her too. And indeed, the cowardly heads of Brandeis University caved to the pressure and rescinded the degree. A great victory for the silencing bullies, but a huge disgrace for the university for being so narrow-minded.


Prize fighter: Edward St Aubyn takes revenge on the literary world with new satire

Overlooked by Booker judges for his Melrose novels, Edward St Aubyn takes a swipe at the literary world in his latest work, says David Sexton

Revenge is a dish best eaten cold, the Spanish advise. Just get it any way you can, others say.

Between 1992 and 2011 Edward St Aubyn published a sequence of five short, brilliantly funny and biting novels about an alter-ego called Patrick Melrose, taking him from a small boy, sexually abused by his father in the South of France, through to adulthood and his attempts to survive this experience, first through drink and drug addiction, then by gradually coming to some terms with it, following the deaths first of his father, then of his addled, foolish mother, and through becoming a parent himself. The Melrose sequence is one of the really notable achievements of contemporary British fiction and, given that it is closely based on St Aubyn’s own traumatic experience, an act of courage too.

If you haven’t read it yet, you’ve really missed out. It’s quite possible that you haven’t, though, for it is still not yet as widely known as it deserves to be. That seemed to be about to change when, in 2006, the longest and perhaps the best instalment, Mother’s Milk, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

The novel won St Aubyn a larger readership than he had enjoyed before, selling some 120,000 copies — but it didn’t win the Booker, which would have transformed his fortunes far more radically. The prize went instead to the splashy, overwritten, under-structured Indian saga The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. It was an injustice, a ridiculous choice, even.

One of the judges, Anthony Quinn, who had supposed St Aubyn would win as he wanted, wrote a couple of years later: “It’s not an exaggeration to say I felt sick to my stomach. I was pleased for Kiran Desai … but we chose the wrong book.”

But then the Booker, like most other literary prizes, so often gets it wrong. Arundhati Roy, DBC Pierre, Ben Okri, Keri Hulme, Aravind Adiga all won, Muriel Spark never. During my own Buggins’ turn as a judge, I consented to John Banville’s The Sea winning over Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

Most writers manage to shrug their shoulders and swallow their disappointment — although the often shortlisted Julian Barnes had taken to jeering at the Booker as “posh bingo” before he finally won with The Sense of an Ending in 2011.


John McCain to host Hillary Clinton in Sedona, Ariz.Philip Rucker

Since leaving the State Department last year, Hillary Rodham Clinton has racked up scores of accolades and appeared on many a big stage. Still, it might come as a surprise that a past Republican presidential nominee — specifically, the one who is among the loudest critics of Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi terrorist attacks — would invite her to his desert retreat for a lofty conversation about leadership values.

This is precisely what Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has done.

Clinton, a prospective 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, will appear on stage Saturday with McCain at the Sedona Forum, an annual ideas festival hosted by the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. Clinton is among the national and international business leaders, philanthropists and public figures appearing at the gathering, held in Sedona, the tony red-rocks oasis in Arizona’s Verde Valley.

In a statement released Thursday, McCain called Clinton “my friend” and praised her public service career.

“From her years of service as first lady, in the U.S. Senate and the State Department, one would be hard-pressed to find a leader with Secretary Clinton’s informed perspective on the many challenges facing America across the globe,” McCain said.

According to a news release, Clinton is scheduled to “participate in a conversation” with McCain. This year’s forum will focus on “Crisis in the Middle East: Values, Strategy and Options,” and will include a session on Russia and Ukraine and on combating human trafficking.


Here we go again. How many times must we endure hearing that politically correct inanity: “Islam is a religion of peace.”

It was President George W. Bush who uttered this phrase, even as the ruins of the Twin Towers and a large part of the Pentagon were still smoldering. But such a belief flies in the face of reality and one only has to look in the Quran and read the passages – especially the latter suras which take precedence – to understand what occupies the mindset, perhaps that of the overwhelming majority, of so many Muslims today.

It is the video at the soon to be opened 9/11 museum that has already sparked outrage from Muslim pressure groups who demanded and won the removal of any mention of Islamic terrorism. On the other hand, the general public see that the old and discredited mantra, repeated yet again, that Islam is a religion of peace, is included in the video.

Yes, individual Muslims may secretly decry the repeated horrors perpetrated in the name of Allah and Islam but they are complicit in the terrorism by remaining cowed and silent. When have we ever seen mass Muslim demonstrations in the streets of Western nations protesting the atrocities committed in the name of Allah and Islam?

Robert Spencer points out below just what motivated and inspired the Muslim hijackers and masterminds of the criminal attack upon America that led to some 3,000 innocents dying horribly on that day in September, which the Islamic terrorists made so evil. This is what the murderers themselves said:

“Many thanks to Allah, for his kind gesture, and choosing us to perform the act of Jihad for his cause and to defend Islam and Muslims. Therefore, killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks, are all considered to be a great legitimate duty in our religion….We ask to be near to Allah, we fight you and destroy you and terrorize you. The Jihad in god’s [sic] cause is a great duty in our religion.” — The “9/11 Shura Council” (that’s what they called themselves; they are the masterminds of the 9/11 plot: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin As-Shibh, Walid bin ‘Attash, Mustafa Ahmed AI-Hawsawi, and ‘Ali ‘abd Al-’Aziz ‘Ali).


In November 1969, Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban gave an interview to the German magazine Der Spiegel, and there made a statement that has gone down in history. Reduced to a sexy sound bite, however, his actual words have long been forgotten.

According to friend and foe alike, Eban ostensibly referred to the 1967 borders (from which Israel was forced to fight for its survival in the Six-Day War) as the “Auschwitz borders.”

The Right regularly refers to this phrase to illustrate that even someone as dovish as Eban understood the importance of maintaining control over the territory acquired by Israel in its victory in the war to annihilate the Jewish state.

The Left accuses the Right of enlisting Eban for a cynical purpose: to bolster its political opposition to territorial withdrawals.

And the Arabs claim that the intention of Israelis who invoke Eban is to call the Palestinians Nazis.

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins Sunday evening, let us review what Eban actually told his German interviewer nearly 45 years ago:

“We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967,” he said. “For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz. We shudder when we think of what would have awaited us in the circumstances of June 1967 if we had been defeated; with Syrians on the mountain and we in the valley, with the Jordanian army in sight of the sea, with the Egyptians who hold our throat in their hands in Gaza. This is a situation which will never be repeated in history.”

Eban was not equating Israel’s Arab enemies with the Nazis (though the historic bond between them would have warranted it). Rather, he was stressing the genuine peril that would have befallen Israel in the event of victory on the part of those whose express goal was to “push the Jews into the sea.”

Decades later, this objective is still the same. The only difference now is that terrorism against civilians — coupled with a concerted campaign to enlist fellow travelers and useful idiots in the West to delegitimize the entire Zionist enterprise — has replaced the conventional battlefield. And a key sponsor of this activity is a nuclearizing Islamic Republic of Iran.

Global Warming and Settled Science By Andre Lofthus

The AGW community would have you believe that the science in favor of AGW is settled. As a professional scientist, a physicist with 40 years experience in aerospace and extensive knowledge of atmospheric physics, I can tell you that, indeed, the science is settled, but not the way the AGW extremists would have you believe. Atmospheric transmission measurements taken in the 1950s demonstrate conclusively that increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere cannot be the cause of global warming if global warming even exists.

A basic principle of science is that correlation does not prove causation. Climate scientists are working overtime fudging temperature related data showing global warming over many decades that correlates with the industrial revolution and increasing use of carbon-based fuels. Climate scientists are boldly asserting that this correlation proves global warming is caused by increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

Real scientists would demand to know the physics of how increased CO2 in the atmosphere causes global warming. Is there any real physics behind this unsupported bold assertion? As I am about to explain, based on test data from the 1950s, there is not.

There are three points I want to make that fall in the categories of physics and atmospheric physics. First, molecules in the atmosphere absorb lightwaves over what are called spectral bands. The spectral band can be narrow, as small as a single wavelength, or broad, covering a continuum of wavelengths or frequencies. This molecular absorption causes increased vibration within the molecule exciting certain vibration modes. The physics of each molecule determine which wavelengths can be absorbed to excite internal vibrations. Spectral band absorption in the atmosphere can be quantified based on measurements over a certain distance through the atmosphere such as “90 per cent absorption in this spectral band over a distance of 300 meters at sea level through the atmosphere”.

The second point is not really atmospheric physics, but more fundamental. Objects like the earth emit a spectrum, or wavelength continuum, of radiation that is completely described by “Planck’s Law” of black body radiation, derived in the 1900 by Nobel-winning physicist Max Planck. That curve predicts the peak intensity of light from the sun in the visible spectral band, and the peak intensity of light emitted by the earth in the LWIR spectral band. Planck’s curve has been validated by experimental data for over a hundred years, and was a huge breakthrough for the physics community in the 20th Century.

In UN Elections, the Winner Is … Iran, Iran, Iran, Iran By Claudia Rosett

Credit the Geneva-based UN Watch [1] with dredging the diplomatic swamps of the United Nations to bring to light the appalling information contained in an April 23 UN press release. The soporific headline of the release: “Economic and Social Council, Opening Coordination, Management Meetings, Adopts Five Decisions, Holds Subsidiary-Body Elections [2].”

I’ll get to the bombshell in a minute. But first, for those who might not be familiar with the UN’s Economic and Social Council, best known to its intimates as ECOSOC: this is a body enshrined in the 1945 UN Charter. It consists of 54 member states, elected to three-year terms by the UN General Assembly. Within the UN, ECOSOC is no small presence. On its web site, ECOSOC describes its portfolio as including “[t]he world’s economic, social and environmental challenges,” and claims “broad responsibility for some 70% of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system, including 14 specialized agencies, 9 ‘functional’ commissions and five regional commissions.”

Thus laden with responsibilities, ECOSOC met this Wednesday, and — as mentioned in its eye-glazing press release — held elections “to fill numerous vacancies in 17 of its subsidiary bodies.”

So what? Here’s what: here’s information on that same ECOSOC meeting translated into the more forthright language of the UN Watch [1] press release:

“Iran sweeps coveted UN rights posts.”

Yes, ECOSOC has just elected Iran — again — to the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women.

ECOSOC also elected Iran to the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and (by acclamation, which presumably means the U.S. agreed) the Commission on Population and Development. Iran is also among ECOSOC’s nominees — to be elected by the General Assembly — for the Committee for Programme Coordination.

‘A Direct Affront’ to Kerry: With ‘Little Fear’ of Washington, Fatah-Hamas Pact Crushes Peace Process Posted By Bridget Johnson

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s relentless push for some sort of first-stage Mideast peace deal by the end of this month was dealt a strong blow by Fatah and Hamas deciding to put aside their differences and unite.

Hamas’ information office said the pact between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political bureau leader Khaled Mashal was simply implementing the previous unity agreements signed years ago in Doha and Cairo — pacts followed by years of vicious fighting between the parties.

Abbas agreed to “start talks on forming the new transitional national unity government that will be formed within five weeks, and will be holding talks on declaring new elections that would be held at least six months after the new government is formed,” according to Hamas’ Ezzedeen Al-Qasam Brigades.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared this move “tantamount to a signature on the conclusion of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

“It is impossible to make peace with Israel as well as with Hamas, a terrorist organization advocating for Israel’s destruction,” Lieberman said.

State Department press secretary Jen Psaki admitted to reporters at Wednesday’s briefing that the “timing” of the agreement was “troubling,” and at today’s briefing a journalist commented that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry “have managed to pull off the full Quixote here, or rather a double-Quixote, that is not only having tilted at the windmills, but having lost.”

Psaki placed the blame at the feet of both the Israelis and the Palestinians, noting that “if we look back at the last several months, over the course of nine months even, there are unhelpful steps that have been taken by both parties.”

“There have been ups and downs in the process throughout. And still, this process needs to work its way through,” she said.

She said Kerry called Abbas this morning. “The secretary noted that he was disappointed by the reconciliation announcement and repeated the elements that any Palestinian government would need to have, the same principles that President Abbas has long supported. President Abbas, again, they decided they would remain in touch,” she continued.

“Of course, the principles — just to reiterate what I said yesterday, but for those of you who weren’t here, the three principles are, of course, commitment to nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties,” Psaki added. “They also discussed efforts underway, those efforts that have been underway between Israelis and Palestinians to extend the negotiations. I also just wanted to reiterate that we view it as essential that both parties exercise, all sides exercise maximum restraint and avoid escalatory steps.”


Having worked on Wall Street for 47 years, what constantly amazes is how little I know about the market and how it works. Nevertheless, I feel reasonably comfortable in answering the question as to whether the market is rigged in the negative, despite allegations to the contrary by Michael Lewis in his fascinating book Flash Boys. With about 200 broker-dealers, thirteen exchanges and approximately 45 “dark pools” (off exchange trading venues), I suspect that innate competition helps subdue the natural greedy instincts of those who flock to Wall Street. Like most endeavors, the more intense the competition the more equitable the pricing. Competition, not regulation or price fixing, is the means by which capitalism best discovers fair prices. Smart people have certainly taken advantage of complexity, but that is a consequence of technology.

Perhaps it is a question of definition, but a rigged market to me suggests a cabal of likeminded people colluding to enrich themselves at the expense of the public. Instinctively, I am not a fan of High Frequency Traders, and Mr. Lewis has well articulated how they have taken advantage of the system, with little or no social or economic purpose other than personal gain. But I suspect Brad Katsuyama, as quoted in Flash Boys, is right when he says: “I think most of them have just rationalized that the market is creating the inefficiencies and they (HFTs) are just capitalizing on them.” It has been a combination of technological advances and the unintended consequences of government deregulation and regulation that allowed HFTs to work their magic.

While Cliff Asness and Michael Mendelson are quoted, in an op-ed in the April 1st edition of the Wall Street Journal, as saying that high-frequency trading has been around for 20 years, such trading clearly got a boost when the SEC passed a rule in 2005 (U.S. Regulation NMS), which made it easier to trade stocks on multiple exchanges, but also mandated better transparency and consistent access to market bids and offers, regardless of where the individual stock is traded. Its intent was to open large exchanges such as the NYSE and NASDAQ to greater competition, including “dark pools.” The consequence was an increase in high frequency trading, but with less clarity, as “dark pools” definitionally have no transparency. At the same time, the proliferation of HFTs meant that bids and offers displayed were often ephemeral, disappearing once a legitimate bid or offer was made. The front-running of orders, according to Mr. Lewis, was their motive, not providing liquidity, despite being paid to do so by some exchanges.