War on Terror

Two must reads for today. Here are some snips, but click through for the entire columns.:

Kirsten Powers

While most of the media herd was fretting that Mitt Romney paid too much in taxes, The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake discovered that the administration had known within 24 hours that al Qaeda was behind the attack in Benghazi. One official said, according to a Fox News report, “No one … believed that the mortars, indirect and direct fire, and the RPGs were just the work of a mob—no one.” When I asked the White House and State Department whether they had such information in the hours following the attack, they refused to answer on the record. Suddenly the people who released endless and specific details about the killing of Osama bin Laden find it unreasonable that one would expect them to discuss intelligence matters.

and
Diplomad 2.0

The facility in Benghazi was not a regular consulate despite what the press has been saying. It is not clear what exactly that facility was–it does not appear on the Embassy Tripoli website or in the State Department’s list of consulates–but appears to have been operated on the bureaucratic sly to enable it to avoid expensive and time-consuming security requirements. The Near East (NEA) head, the Diplomatic Security (DS) head, the Undersecretary for Management (M), the Deputy Secretary (D), and the Secretary of State (S), and, of course, the CIA Director, and the head of the NSC, knew this, or should have, and should be fired–if they did not, they also should all be fired. Any investigation must focus on what functions the facility performed, and what risk assessment had been made; in other words, what were the pros and cons of running this place? Was it worth the risk of operating it under the conditions it did? Maybe the answer is “yes,” but it sure does not look that way.

UPDATE:
And now Axelrod is saying that Obama has “always” said Benghazi was an act of terror.
QOTD from Ed Morrissey:

And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, Winston …. er, Candy.

The Timing

So let’s see if this is right.

On September 11th, protests against a film began in Cairo.

On September 11th, there were no protests against a film in Benghazi, however, there was a terrorist attack on the embassy.

On September 11th, our State Department mentioned the video as the reason behind the terrorist attack on the embassy. This assertion, followed around the world and reiterated by Obama on Univision on the 19th MUST have brought some recognition to the film.

The rest of the month: The rest of the Arab world protests and people die. Obama, again, refuses any responsibility. Um – IF these protests are about a movie and IF no one had heard of the movie until Obama spoke up, THEN aren’t these protests basically HIS fault?

Obama and others in his administration have been criticized by Republicans for not taking a more definitive stance against what now appears to have been a coordinated attack on the consulate by extremists with ties to Al Qaeda. His administration only began calling the Sept. 11 strike a “terrorist attack” late last week.

“There’s no doubt” that the assault “wasn’t just a mob action” but a sign of extremism in nations lacking stability,” Obama said in the taping of the ABC show “The View.” “What’s been interesting, just this past week, there were these massive protests against these extremists militias that are suspected, maybe, of having been involved in this attack.”

Seems to me, Obama and Hillary basically introduced the movie to the world. eh?

QOTD

1st off…..news in the Middle East continues to be bad, and my respect for Mitt Romney continues to rise.

Obama is in Vegas campaigning vs perhaps spending time talking to our allies in the ME. I would expect direct conversations with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and oh yeah Israel right now vs campaign stops. But that’s just me.

In other news I think gas jumped 15 cents yesterday. If nothing else maybe it will kick people to look at the news and figure out why what’s happening is happening.

fyi, We have again bowed to the Egyptians. They have demanded that we take all legal measures against the makers of the film that caused the riot.
We already have. [ht commenter AndyN at the link] LOL

But the qotd is from this Morning’s Jolt emailed from the National Review regarding Kathleen Sebelius violating the law

Carolyn Lerner, head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded that Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act when she served as the Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker at the February 25, 2012 gala for the pro-gay rights Human Rights Campaign in Charlotte, North Carolina.

After reading that Lerner recommended no action be taken Geraghty had this to say [and we finally get to the QOTD]:

Of course no action is needed. Hey, it’s not like she was caught shipping guns to Mexican drug cartels or anything.

World News

Wow – the messages sent yesterday are head spinning.

There was a pretty clear answer to Israel’s Iran problem yesterday from the White House…..“You are on your own and we don’t want to talk about it”.

It’s no secret the Israelis don’t want to strike Iran either, provided the U.S. is serious about keeping a bomb out of the mullahs’ hands. But Israel’s confidence in Mr. Obama’s seriousness is fading fast. This week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Bloomberg Radio that “we’re not setting deadlines” for Iran to halt its program.

Obama is too busy showing up on Letterman or visiting Ohio to talk to Netanyahu about it. Netanyahu could easily fly to Ohio or stay up as late as the Letterman hour, so I find the scheduling conflicts hard to believe. This leaves me, and Ahmadinejad with the impression that America doesn’t want any part of stopping Iran militarily.

What I think Obama misses here is that it doesn’t matter whether we are literally involved or not, the Middle East will have us involved. From the WSJ:

It’s possible this is how President Obama wants it, in order to leave the job of stopping Iran to Israel while avoiding American entanglements. But it’s hard to imagine an Israeli attack that didn’t ultimately entangle that country’s most important ally.

Which brings us to what’s going on in Egypt and Libya where Ambassador Christopher Stephens was killed yesterday. America is an amazing place with a tremendous amount of freedom. People can insult religion as much as they want and it isn’t illegal and it isn’t the federal government’s fault when it’s done.
Many in the rest of the world live in places where that isn’t the case and they have no concept that the President does not control the film making abilities of a preacher who is antiIslamic.

Our country is embroiled BECAUSE we have freedom and it is that freedom that is protested and rioted against even as Egyptians and Libyans claim their are angry about an insult to Islam. We should not apologize for our freedom 1) because our freedom is what makes us who we are, and great and 2) because we will be entangled anyway as the quote above from the WSJ states with regards to Israel.

Our country was attacked yesterday by angry mobs in Egypt and Libya. In Libya the Prime Minister condemned the attack on Twitter. (on twitter?)

In a message on Twitter, Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur of Libya said on Wednesday that he condemned “the cowardly act of attacking the U.S. consulate and the killing of Mr Stevens and the other diplomats.”

That condemnation is a good sign.
The original apology is not. I can’t keep up with who said what when and what was really meant on twitter (on twitter?) but I would say all this back and forth is not reflecting well on the current administration.

A reminder…..Obama tends to skip his intelligence briefings. Maybe there could be a little more unity of tweets if someone were running things.

UPDATE: Diplomad 2.0 is worth reading everyday. Especially today.

Now to go find my old twitter account. Apparently that’s where most diplomacy is taking place these days.

UPDATE 2: Romney continues to impress.

ROMNEY: I think president Obama has demonstrated a lack of clarity as to a foreign policy. My foreign policy has three fundamental branches. First, confidence in our cause, a recognition that the principles America is based upon is not something we shrink from or apologize for. That we stand for those principles. The second is clarity in our purpose which is when we have a foreign policy objective we describe it openness lee and clearly to the American people, to congress, and to the people of the world. And number three, is resolve in our might. That in those rare circumstances, those rare circumstances where we decide it’s essential for us to apply military might, that we do so with force and with clarity of mission and with the US mission involved and understand when it will be complete, what will be left behind us when that mission has been terminated? These elements I believe are essential to our foreign policy and I haven’t seen them from the president. As I’ve watched over the past three and a half years the president has had some successes, he’s had some failures, it’s a hit-or-miss approach but it has not based upon sound foreign policy.

REPORTER: How specifically governor Romney would a president Romney has handled this situation differently than president Obama? You spoke out before midnight when all the facts weren’t known, how would you have handled this differently than the president did.

ROMNEY: I spoke out when the key fact was known, which was that the embassy of the United States issued what appeared to be a policy for American principles. That was a mistake. I believe when a mistake is made of that significance you speak out.

The Changes in the Middle East

Growing up in the US, having the paradigm that all men are created equal etc, etc….I have often wondered how a dictatorship manages to survive these days.

The people under dictatorships must have been wondering the same things. Every time I read one of these articles (today it’s Kadafi) I am reminded that whoever rules must have the “consent of the governed” in a big enough quantity to continue ruling.

Things are changing out there. Governments (hopefully – and hopefully in good ways) will have to become as Lincoln said, of the people, by the people, for the people. Kadafi is certainly not that government.

“Kadafi’s problem is the same as presidents like Zine el Abidine ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt,” said Mohamed Makhluf, a Libyan film director living in exile in London. “He became so detached that he convinced himself that all Libyans are happy under his rule.”

My Turn on Egypt

First off, this from Loony Chavez is hilarious:

Venezuela’s firebrand leader Hugo Chavez accused the United States on Sunday of a “shameful” role in the Egyptian crisis and of hypocrisy for supporting, then abandoning strongmen round the world.

You remember him? We supported and then abandoned him as the first opportunity. Apparently he’s upset that we never gave a visa to the exPresident of Tunisia. Maybe we never offered him one either back in the day.

Anyway – I’m getting the feeling that Mubarek will ride this out but not run in September when elections are scheduled.

The people are rising up about their lot in life. Forgive me for being cynical (actually maybe this is the noncynical thought) but I suspect with money thrown at the problem and jobs created and the promise of an election without a Mubarek on the ticket they will choose peaceful assembly.

The military has yet to abandon Mubarek and there is no indication that they will.

I just hope that the two overriding paradigm shifts that come of this will be
1) Israeli/Palestinian peace is not really what an unstable middle east is about
2) People in the Middle East are capable of wanting freedom too.

Read
Victor Davis Hansen
Stephen Hadley
John Podhoretz

Headline News – Koran Burning

Here’s the headline:

Muslim world asks Barack Obama to stop 9/11 Koran burning

It’s from the Telegraph who should know better than to write an entire article about how the Muslim world wants Obama to fix this without once mentioning who we are and what rights we have.

Go ahead – click on through, I’ll wait. …..
After reading that article, if you were an unintelligent person unable to discern silly inaccurate news stories, wouldn’t you be led to believe that the Muslim world is not very peaceful at all?
In fact it sounds like they’re downright violent unless you do as they say.

Here’s the lede.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia’s leader, has written to the American President asking him to personally intervene to stop irreparable damage to relations between the West and Muslims “threatening world peace”.

Yes – we must now worry about world peace because of 30 Americans doing idiot things that Americans do.

Did you know that Saudi Arabia burns bibles all the time? I didn’t until Jawa let me know.

“As a matter of official policy, the government either incinerates or dumps Bibles, crosses and other Christian paraphernalia,” the Saudi Institute said in an article posted on its website.

“Although considered as holy in Islam and mentioned in the Koran dozens of times, the Bible is banned in Saudi Arabia, and is confiscated and destroyed by government officials,” it said.

Jawa also has a link today to this story that is worth a read.

Any how…..Rauf has the right to build his Cordoba house (even though had he thought it through a little more, he probably would not have put it where it’s going) AND Reverend Jones has a right to burn Korans.

And guess what oh Muslim world?…..Just like the President has no right to make you convert to Christianity (or hide your Muslim beliefs) when you move here [UNLIKE IN MANY OF YOUR COUNTRIES!], he/she cannot make Reverend Jones not burn the Koran.

It sounds like it’s going to happen and it’s distasteful and rude and intolerant.

Personally, I would recommend unfriending the reverend and prove to the world just how peaceful you can be.

[note the ridiculous threat at the end…..unless you leave Jones alone, I’ll believe that all Muslims are violent and anti free speech – similar to Rauf newest thought ….unless I build this here, the Muslim world will think America is a bigoted nation.]

I vote that I would rather not live with threats of any kind.

UPDATE: Speaking of threats….I had to laugh at this. Apparently IF Obama will personally call the Reverend Jones, then he’ll reconsider. LOL What would you do?

Read Ann Althouse too. She’s got an opinion about book burning.

Making Excuses and that ongoing Rolling Bus

Today’s Der Spiegel explains why Obama/Washington is “playing it safe” with regards to Iran.

Barack Obama is taking a cautious approach to the disputed Iranian elections and has even said there is little difference between the candidates. The US president knows the ayatollahs yield the real power in Tehran — and doesn’t want to jeopardize negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

Obama notes that the differences between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi, “in terms of their actual policies, may not be as great as has been advertised.”

I say – “So??”

Here’s the thing about massive public protests. It shows that the people give a rip. Imagine (not to equate this, but for a closer to home example) for a second if John McCain had won our election. By a landslide. By such a landslide that McCain even won Obama’s home town.

We all KNOW it’s really Congress that runs things, right. So who cares who the President is. Besides their policies are pretty close to the same. Immigration/same sex marriage/money for bailouts/Guantanamo/Torture etc.

See how that plays? Not very well – and there’s not even any shooting or beating here.

Obama has decided his rhetoric is not quite good enough to
a) first give support to people getting beaten and killed for being pissed off about a clearly sham election in what they took to be a democracy and then
b) deal with whoever in the end of this phase wins. Not such a great schmoozer then is he?

The Obama administration knows that if Ahmadinejad remains in office, then it will have to work with him in its pursuit of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Accusing him of involvement in an election fraud conspiracy would only make this dialogue much more difficult and could also serve in Iran as propaganda against the US.

So – “Under the bus for you people in Iran who believe fair elections are your right. Under the bus. We have far more important things to deal with than a fraudulent election. Look!! See – I’ve even got my Secretary of State working to stop human trafficking of prostitutes because clear good and evil topics without any nuance that the left agrees on are one subject this government can easily stand against. See – she is even writing important letters to important newspapers and everything!! I’m very busy.”

No matter what happens in Iran, the prevailing theory here is that Obama is the one giving hope to the universe.

“The stormy Iranian elections are one more sign of how the world has been shaken up in the age of Barack Obama,” writes Ignatius in the Washington Post.

I’ve read similar in many places. Interestingly nowhere other than on blogs do you read that Iraq, the people of Iraq, the hope of Iraq is what might just be spreading it’s influence to it’s neighbor. Is it true? I don’t know. It’s certainly MORE plausible than the Obama Cairo speech from a week ago. Seriously – would you be worked up to riot levels from a speech you just heard of last week?

The Saudi’s (another bastion of “freedom”) are a bit worried about this freedom thing. How can I tell? Because these huge protests are not in the headlines of the Arab News. But news of dengue fever, dna testing and a report on the Mumbai attack did.

Would Mousavi be better than Ahmadinejad? I don’t know. I hear Mousavi makes more sense when he talks but that both want the same things. That might make for harder worldwide condemnation of nuclear ambitions. On the other hand Mousavi certainly has a freer wife who has been an inspiration to millions.

It doesn’t matter. The people are outraged about a clearly rigged election. Voting is one of the very few things that most of us have any power over. If you screw with it – people will be pissed. (Unless they are so downtrodden that they know Saddam is going to win with 100% of the vote anyway!)

Read this story from the Spectator: (ht Scott)

What is weakening the regime is not Obama’s appeasement. It is resistance. It is the fact that the people did not take their stolen election lying down but turned out in their hundreds of thousands to demand justice – and are prepared to die for it – that has rocked the regime. With a reported twenty people dead yesterday and hundreds more injured at the hands of the regime’s thugs, the people have now been galvanised still further. Staring at what might well be a true counter-revolutionary moment, the regime is wobbling, and has now announced there will be a recount of the vote.

And still Obama is getting it wrong. Not surprising — having made nice with the tyrants and thus undermined the democrats he has been badly caught out and clearly doesn’t know what to do. With whom does he now side? His reaction — as promulgated by his fawning acolyte Miliband — is to be even-handed and support neither. How appalling. The President of America should have immediately condemned in the strongest possible terms this brutal onslaught against people trying to claim their democratic rights, and supported them against injustice and oppression.

And read the Anchoress who has a nice roundup.

And read Twitter (#IranElection)- just don’t believe everything you read – because the people in Iran are longing to be, fighting to be, dying to be heard. So go listen.

And read Jonah Goldberg who begs “Side with Freedom, Mr. President”

And read of the President of France having bigger balls than our own President in the Wall Street Journal.

And read John Kranz of Three Sources defending the defense of liberty with passion.