Keep U.S. arms away from hands of terrorists

One can almost picture Islamic State terrorists in Libya, rubbing their hands together in glee at the thought of restocking their arsenal with advanced weaponry, courtesy of the United States.

This country and a few other world powers have revealed a plan to supply weapons to the government of Libya. They are needed to battle Islamic State terrorists and other militant rebels, according to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Some U.S. officials feel a sense of responsibility for the fragile regime because it was this country that set the stage for chaos in Libya. That country was relatively stable until, under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a plan was hatched to depose dictator Moammar Gaddafi. Since he was ousted and later killed, Libya has been a hotbed of violence. The extent of it was downplayed by Clinton and President Barack Obama, even after terrorists murdered the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi.

Kerry admitted Monday the arms plan involves “a delicate balance.” That is putting it mildly. The danger is that weapons supplied to the Libyan government will fall into the hands of terrorists, as has occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If U.S. officials use their heads – and that is open to question – only limited numbers of unsophisticated weapons will be provided to the Libyans. At the very first indication the shipments are benefiting the Islamic State, they should be cut off.