Cain Thinks the Taliban Are Taking Over in Libya

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/6183942539/sizes/l/in/photostream/">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


You’d think that after flubbing a question on Libya earlier this week in a meeting with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Herman Cain might have done himself a favor by reading a newspaper article or two on the subject, or maybe even just the Wikipedia summary. Instead, Cain went on CNN this afternoon and warned that “the Taliban” might take over the country now that former Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi is dead:

Do I agree with siding with the opposition? Do I agree with saying that [Qaddafi] should go? Do I agree that they now have a country where you’ve got Taliban and Al Qaeda that’s going to be part of the government? Do I agree with not knowing the government was going to—which part was he asking me about? I was trying to get him to be specific and he wouldn’t be specific.

Now look, it’s fair to worry about how Libya’s transitional government will handle issues like the large number of armed militias or human rights and the rule of law. But this answer reflects particularly poorly on Cain, and not just because there is no Taliban in Libya, and no evidence that Al Qaeda is “going to be part of the government.” It’s because the only thing he was able to muster after minutes of hemming and hawwing during his disastrous meeting earlier this week was that he “would have done a better job” than Obama “of determining who the opposition is.”

Now how exactly is anyone supposed to believe that, as president, Cain would have done a better job of finding out who the opposition is when he can’t even be bothered to know who they are now?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest