There are several modes of thinking in the great hive mind of elites which I do not think have been captured here. I am not going to defend these points of view, merely to describe them accurately - many of these points view are not actually defensible, but they still exist, and they often are motivational factors.
The 1st thing that one needs to understand, is that the elites see each other more than they see followers. In essence, while the followers think of people as Republicans and Democrats, the elites think of them as insiders and outsiders - and they take the color of the group which they see as "like us". The moral rules are different from the ethical rules that will be imposed upon them; in essence they are like a group of chimpanzees: and the response of chimpanzees that they see is more important than the large number of outsiders who they do not see.
Following from this, the insiders view themselves as not having to get permission, only forgiveness. If they have a dictator in hand, they do not see why they should not crush the dictator - even if the dictator submitted under internationally recognized laws - they think of things as "what is to stop them from lynching". From the outsiders' point of view, there is a difference - but it is hard to explain to a group of insiders what that difference is. From the point of view of a group of insiders, they just need forgiveness, not permission. Additionally, once they have permission, they do not need to submit their reasoning to a more discussion by a group of outsiders. Again, they only see outsiders occasionally. So what they think of as "noise" bothers them, because the insiders do not need to submit to questions.
Again, from the outside their has to be a reason; but to be insiders point of view there only has to be permission. However, the insiders do not actually do the work - they do not, in the main, program computers or set up human intelligent networks. This means that a great number of people who are not insiders, get to see the workings of policy. And many of them do not actually agree with the insiders point of view of forgiveness trumps permission - many of them still think of the world as having an ethical framework.
Thus when, for example, Hillary Clinton wants to crush a dictator, there is no reason on the insiders point of view, why she should not do it if she has permission to do so. From the outside edges point of view there are reasons, and when Hillary Clinton runs for president, these reasons appear as an absence - people do not want to work for Hillary, and she loses, She only dimly understands why this is.
Of course there are differences even among the insiders - most of them except that permission was given to invade Afghanistan, but for more of them knew that invading Iraq was not a good idea. They realized that the military forces of the united states, and allies, would have to win a victory within a short period of time. If they had seriously asked the military and civilian intelligence forces, they would see that that period of time was less than 2 presidential election cycles - but they did not ask, instead they demanded that the military and civilian sources repeated what they wanted to hear. Anyone else was fired. But there was enough opposition to the invasion of Iraq, that when victory did not come as quickly as promised, there were enough of them to raise voices, and another of them to get these voices covered. So when Libya was enacted on the "forgiveness not permission" standard, there were a lot more voices saying that this was not a good idea: and pointed out the flaw in the idea.
That is to say, permission requires that the action has not yet happened, while forgiveness assumes that it has.