by Lauri B. Regan
With the news that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have stolen dozens of surface-to-air missiles from Libya and hidden them at bases in southern Sudan, one cannot help but wonder when and where the first commercial jetliner carrying hundreds of innocent civilians will be shot down. Or will it be a military plane patrolling the skies over Iraq or Afghanistan? One thing is clear: scenes reminiscent of Pan Am Flight 103 blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland 23 years ago and of the U.S. soldiers in the downed Blackhawk helicopters whose bodies were dragged through the streets in Mogadishu 18 years ago may very well become commonplace in a world where America leads from behind.
According to a Telegraph report, the IRG's Quds forces "took advantage of the chaos that engulfed Libya following the collapse of the regime of former dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to seize 'significant quantities' of advanced weaponry," including "sophisticated Russian-made SA-24 missiles[.]" These missiles are capable of shooting down an aircraft flying at 11,000 feet.
It is difficult not to question whether the theft of these weapons by the West's most dangerous enemy could have been prevented. I would venture a guess that had the United States military taken the lead in planning and executing the incursion in Libya under President Bush, securing Gaddafi's weapons would have been a high priority. Instead, The Wall Street Journal reported that Libya's massive weapons depot still remains unguarded and is being pillaged daily by anyone and everyone having an agenda for the future of the leaderless country.
Rebel forces began a war in Libya in which it was unclear what entities comprised the anti-Gaddafi forces, who would win, and whether a successor regime would become a Western ally. It remains uncertain whether Libya will break out into a full-blown civil war with various factions armed with sophisticated weaponry pilfered due to NATO and American incompetence. What was known, however, was that Gaddafi-owned sophisticated weaponry capable of causing grave damage in the wrong hands. A primary goal of the military operation should have been to secure those weapons immediately.
As John Bolton noted in an article entitled "The Innocents Abroad":
No foreign friend or adversary could miss the point that, once launched into the conflict in Libya, Obama subsequently ignored it until the last days. NATO's intervention will long be remembered as a strategic embarrassment for the West, one directly attributable to Obama.
So who will fall victim to Libya's sophisticated weaponry falling into the hands of rogue states and terrorist regimes? The obvious answer is Israel. Not only does the IRG have a number of training camps in southern Sudan at which they train Islamic terrorist groups, but according to Western intelligence, but some of these missiles may have also been smuggled into Egypt. From Egypt, it is a stone's throw to Gaza where Hamas' trove of weapons may soon grow more dangerous.
Furthermore, there are growing fears in Western intelligence circles that Gaddafi's abandoned and unguarded weapons may fall into the hands of al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups, this fear is further buoyed by recent information regarding Iran's ties to al-Qaeda. As noted in The Telegraph article:
"Iran is actively supporting a number of militant Islamist groups in Egypt, Gaza and southern Lebanon, so there is concern that these sophisticated weapons will fall into the hands of terror groups," said a senior intelligence officer. "If the SA-24 missiles fall into the wrong hands then no civilian aircraft in the region will be safe from attack."
In 2004, after an El Al flight came under attack just after takeoff in Kenya, the Israeli national airline undertook measures to equip all of its planes with anti-missile systems. Unfortunately, there are many other airlines that fly in and out of Israel's Ben Gurion airport that are open targets. Israel's entire tourist industry could be destroyed in one fell swoop if just one passenger airline was successfully targeted by Hamas.
Last week, the White House stated that it was sending personnel to Libya to help Libya's interim governing authority secure the storage sites -- too little, too late. What would be prudent would be for the president to take some of the trillions of dollars he has racked up in debt to spend on studying monkeys on cocaine, exotic ants in East Africa, and the effects of yoga on hot flashes, and put the money to good use by equipping all U.S. airlines with similar missile defense systems. If the spender-in-chief can take over General Motors and force everyone traveling through the U.S. to either be exposed to radiation or get molested by a TSA agent, he can certainly take on the job of commander-in-chief and ensure the safety of U.S. citizens traveling at home and abroad with practical, working solutions.
In encouraging Chris Christie to run for president, Bill Kristol recently wrote:
You don't have to 'feel deeply in [your] heart' that you're called to run for president. You have to think you're the right man for the job. And, if that's the case, you have a duty to your country to step forward.
It's not about you. It's about your country.
Barack Obama has a duty to his country to stop shirking his responsibilities to protect and defend the citizens of the United States. He took on the duty of commander-in-chief and sold the electorate that he was the right man for the job. The majority of Americans ignored Hillary's ads questioning Obama's ability to handle the 3am wake-up call. And it is too late to change the results of the 2008 election.
But Americans have now learned that it was never about the country -- it was always about Obama. In what will hopefully be Obama's last year in office, "the innocents" both at home and abroad can only pray that he stops thinking about himself and recognizes that he will be responsible for every fatality from a Libyan surface-to-air missile stolen on his watch -- and that he needs to do something about that now.
 I will not address all of the praise received by Obama for his decision to kill Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki other than to say it was unwarranted. Obama is the commander-in-chief and as such he is expected to make military decisions which safeguard U.S. citizens. He did his job, initially took full credit for the success of those missions rather than give credit where it was due, and expects the American public to heap praise on him notwithstanding his other failures as commander-in-chief. Those failures include his administration making public the name of the highly secretive Navy SEAL unit that conducted the raid on bin Laden. That gaffe resulted in a retaliatory strike that killed 30 Americans including 25 Navy SEALs from the Team 6 unit.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.