The NY Times builds on news they broke last Sunday while burnishing Hillary's halo - a plan put together by David Petraeus (then heading the CIA) and Hillary Clinton (as SecState) to arm select Syrian rebels was backed by Defense chief Leon Panetta and the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but rejected by "the White House" (presumably, the rejection was by actual humans, with Obama endorsing the rejection).
The Times tackled the decision process:
Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Petraeus presented the proposal to the White House, according to administration officials. But with the White House worried about the risks, and with President Obama in the midst of a re-election bid, they were rebuffed.
Wow, team Obama trading Syrian corpses for American votes. Later, the plan was overtaken by other events:
Some administration officials expected the issue to be revisited after the election. But when Mr. Petraeus resigned because of an extramarital affair and Mrs. Clinton suffered a concussion, missing weeks of work, the issue was shelved.
A horse, a horse, my kingdom for... well, a CIA head who can keep his pants on and a Secretary of State who can keep her feet under herself.
The WaPo editors exhort Obama to get involved in Syria. However, former Marine officer C.J. Chivers of the NY Times, who knows his weapons, explains that after the fall of Qadaffi a lot of Libyan arms were shaken loose. Some ended up in Mali and turned the tide of battle in favor of the rebels, precipitating the current French intervention.
Since the war that toppled Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi began in 2011, arms-tracking analysts have warned that weapons looted from the colonel’s stockpiles could find their way to militants in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the case of Mali, the reports appeared alongside signs of the growing strength of jihadists in the country’s north. The timing, researchers said, suggested that weapons from Libya had changed the course of Mali’s war — so much so that the French military eventually intervened.
Recent photographs from Mali provide perhaps the clearest publicly available indication yet that these transfers have in fact occurred.
Very interesting. Of course, we intervened in Libya ostensibly to protect the civilian population. Back then, the R2P ("Responsibility to Protect") crowd was well represented inside the White House and carried the day over the objections of Gates of Defense:
Inside the administration, senior officials were lined up on both sides. Pushing for military intervention was a group of NSC staffers including Samantha Power, NSC senior director for multilateral engagement; Gayle Smith, NSC senior director for global development; and Mike McFaul, NSC senior director for Russia. .
On the other side of the ledger were some Obama administration officials who were reportedly wary of the second- and third-degree effects of committing to a lengthy military mission in Libya. These officials included National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was also opposed to attacking Libya and had said as much in several public statements.
Hillary is described as being in the R2P camp.