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Week in Review

Hillary Clinton jumped on the sword for the Obama administration over the Benghazi attack, but as WRM wrote in an essay, she failed to save Obama from himself:

Just as George W. Bush couldn’t dodge responsibility for the decision to go to war in Iraq on the basis of nukes that never showed up, President Obama owns the Libya mess in which the attack in Bengazi was just an incident—as Abu Ghraib was an incident in Bush’s war. Libya, thankfully, is nowhere near as big of a mess as Iraq, but even as President Obama mulls the possibility of retaliatory strikes, it’s not clear that we won’t get sucked further in. And if anything, this president should have learned from Bush’s experience in Iraq: overthrowing governments in the Middle East when you don’t know what comes next is a dangerous hobby.

Clinton can’t deflect final responsibility for that decision from President Obama, and she can’t cover over the mess that has the United States now puzzling over how to fight Al Qaeda and its allies in Mali as well as in Libya — or how to respond to the increase in terrorist strength in Niger and Nigeria to boot. This is a real mess and a serious one, and it flows from a set of poor decisions that the President and no other person made.

The Benghazi attack was a touchy subject in the debate on Tuesday, but Via Meadia wondered if the debates even matter in the first place. In other US news, several New York cities are going bankrupt, Harvard put its classes online, Minnesota banned online education but then backed down, the USPS hit its borrowing cap, and Newsweek announced it was going digital only.

In the Middle East: the Syrian rebels got heavy weapons, the battle for Aleppo took on a class conflict dimension, Islamic justice grows more popular among Egyptians, and Libyan militias provide the only police service in the post-Qaddafi chaos.

In Asia: Imran Khan announced he thought the Pakistani Taliban, who had just shot a young girl campaigning for women’s education, were engaged in holy war, while the Pakistani Supreme Court tried to flex its muscles against the dominant military. Shinzo Abe made a provocative trip to a controversial shrine in Tokyo. South Korean police killed a Chinese fisherman. And we mulled over the similarities between China’s high-speed rail boom and the Great Leap Forward.

In Europe: France banned mothers, fathers, and homework. The EU announced new sanctions on Iran but then got itself mired in another green scandal.

Last but certainly not least, WRM appeared in the WSJ and on PBS Newshour, and John Ellis wrote a guest post on the election race.

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