Nancy A. Youssef from McClatchy asks ‘Why did the CIA (that is, the Administration) say a protest preceded the Benghazi attack?’
… interviews with U.S. officials and others indicate that they knew nearly immediately that there had been no protest outside the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi before attackers stormed it…
She’s right and goes on to provide multiple examples of the absence of any evidence of protests at Benghazi. So why would all 12 versions of the talking points say the protests were ‘spontaneously inspired’ by protests at the U.S. embassy in Cairo?
Although Youssef fails to answer her own question, there are some reasonable hypotheses, several of which overlap:
- The traditional media had already blamed the Cairo protest on the Mohammad YouTube video, ergo, the Benghazi attacks could also attributed to the same cause.
- The talking point drafters felt Americans have already been desensitized to “demonstrations” and “protests” in the Arab world, so its inclusion was necessary. You know: Arabs demonstrate all the time. Sometimes things get out of hand.
- The ‘protests” line was overlooked due to more substantive disagreement on purging the references to al Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia, jihad, terrorism, earlier attacks, and the CIA warnings.
- The ‘protests’ line was included as boilerplate; an attempt to address human curiosity and to vaguely assign causation.
- The talking point drafters couldn’t bring themselves to suggest the Benghazi attack was a naked and preplanned assault undertaken to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11.
- The talking point drafters didn’t want to suggest in any way the Arab Spring had been a foreign policy failure which weakened American national security interests.
Linking the Benghazi tragedy to the YouTube video most neatly fit into the left’s existing narrative. Small wonder it was glommed onto by the Obama Administration as an excuse for what happened.
Why does the Muslim world hate Barack Obama? Two possible reasons come to mind: First, he rejected Islam. Second, his global war on terror is that of George W. Bush… writ large.
… Barack Obama greatly expanded the secret war that George W. Bush began. In the fall of 2009, Obama approved a “long list” of new CIA paramilitary operation proposals, as well as CIA requests for more armed drones, more spies, and larger targeting areas in Pakistan. “The CIA gets what it wants,” said the president, approving the CIA requests, and conveying what [writer Mark] Mazzetti thinks was his first-term attitude toward the Agency. The Department of Defense also got most of what it wanted. Obama approved an initiative by General David Petraeus to expand “military spying activities throughout the Muslim world,” and gave special operations forces “even broader authorities to run spying missions across the globe” than they possessed under the Bush administration.
In 2009, the Obama administration conducted more drone strikes in those countries than the Bush administration had done in the seven years after 9/11; and to date, it has conducted almost nine times more drone strikes there than its predecessor.
Obviously, to the Muslim world (and to the American people), the promises of Obama the candidate do not equal the actions of Obama the president. Watch what they do and not what they say and all that.
The self-evident lessons: 1) don’t trust this President whether or not his lips are moving and 2) foreign policy-wise, send lawyers, drones, and money.
While the first lesson reflects poorly on the American voting public, the second shows the Administration’s emphasis on tactics at the expense of strategy. A more appropriate strategy would be: develop energy in friendly parts of the world (the Keystone XL pipeline, North Dakota, and federal lands seem to come to mind); have other nations take more responsibility in securing the Muslim world (that is, those with self-interest); cut foreign aid to the Muslim world (unless and until human rights atrocities are effectively addressed), and; control both permanent and temporary entry (that is, have coherent and enforced immigration and visa control processes) into the United States.
Sadly, these necessary elements of strategy tend to line up poorly with the Administration’s mindset, hence their devolution towards tactics. (And no, this is not the most transparent Administration ever.)
Will the President adopt and adjust? Can the President adopt and adjust? His unrepentant passive-aggressive behavior points towards “no.”
The President, who once said the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would be a red-line, a “grave and tragic mistake” and a “game-changer,” has backed away from that statement by providing clarification without calling it such.
Now (and in a piece of totally on-target analysis) the red-line is the systematic use of chemical weapons. “Use ‘em a few times? Meh… But use ‘em 24/7 and lookout, Assad.”
Right. Whatever “lookout” then means.
Iran has already learned the lesson of Obama’s many warnings. Not only does Iran have China and Russia in its corner, it also has this President’s fear of starting another war in the Middle East. Leading from behind and all that.
And of course, Syria is an Iranian proxy.
Iran appears to be at the point where its nuclear weapons program and its nuclear weapons delivery program can only be destroyed and not deterred. The large lessons in this scenario? 1) When Iran is full-on nuclear, they will have Syria’s back. 2) American presidents need to know when to keep their mouths shut, be purposefully vague, or let others speak on their behalf or face being painted into a corner by their own words.
And in President Obama’s case, he’s waiting for the paint to dry so he can re-paint the floor something other than red. Will he have time? As it regards Syria, the Magic Eight-Ball of foreign policy says, “Signs point to yes.”
For another world leader, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and as it regards both Syria and Iran, signs point to “no.”
From the New York Times regarding John Brennan’s upcoming confirmation hearing as the President’s nominee to lead the CIA. Brennan is currently the President’s drone master and some, it would seem, are concerned about the policy efficacy of death via drone-delivered Hellfire missiles:
Several former top military and intelligence officials — including Stanley A. McChrystal, the retired general who led the Joint Special Operations Command, which has responsibility for the military’s drone strikes, and Michael V. Hayden, the former C.I.A. director — have raised concerns that the drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen are increasingly targeting low-level militants who do not pose a direct threat to the United States.
Perhaps “low-level militants” are in the eye of the beholder. You know, one man’s terrorist is another man’s low-level militant and all that?
So what does the President’s drone master, do? At minimum, it would seem he manages the President’s kill-list:
From his basement office in the White House, Mr. Brennan has served as the principal coordinator of a “kill list” of Qaeda operatives marked for death, overseeing drone strikes by the military and the C.I.A., and advising Mr. Obama on which strikes he should approve.
How have things gone in this arrangement? Well, as for what follows in the trailing block quote… let’s just say it doesn’t appear to have entailed a drone—cruise missiles aren’t drone-delivered—but it’s still something Obama’s predecessor would be literally (in Biden-speak) lynched for:
The first strike in Yemen ordered by the Obama administration, in December 2009, was by all accounts a disaster. American cruise missiles carrying cluster munitions killed dozens of civilians, including many women and children. Another strike, six months later, killed a popular deputy governor, inciting angry demonstrations and an attack that shut down a critical oil pipeline.
Hmm. By December 2009, the Administration wasn’t new to things. They would have been in place almost a year. Yes, it would seem mistakes were made, shoulda, coulda, woulda, and all that.
But what about more recent history? That is, how about the President’s death by drone program—let’s say in Yemen only—in 2013?
There have been at least five drone strikes in Yemen since the start of the year, killing at least 24 people. That continues a remarkable acceleration over the past two years in a program that has carried out at least 63 airstrikes since 2009, according to The Long War Journal, a Web site that collects public data on the strikes, with an estimated death toll in the hundreds. Many of the militants reported killed recently were very young and do not appear to have had any important role with Al Qaeda.
Well. That sounds like a lot of Presidentially-directed death for those who don’t appear to have an important role with Al Qaeda. But what does the Time’s article segue into?
… some Yemenis wonder why there is not more reliance on their country’s elite counterterrorism unit, which was trained in the United States as part of the close cooperation between the two countries that Mr. Brennan has engineered. One member of the unit, speaking on the condition of anonymity, expressed great frustration that his unit had not been deployed on such missions, and had in fact been posted to traffic duty in the capital in recent weeks, even as the drone strikes intensified.
Since the future of warfare is largely unmanned, death by drone is with us to stay. But it’s curious, isn’t it, that the Obama standard of death by drone—including plenty of collateral damage—creates no outrage and very little discussion. Consider how that can be versus the Bush standard of behavior, where highly limited ‘enhanced interrogation’ creates massive outrage and dominates news cycles for months on end? Strange, ain’t it?
The good news, since Brennan is now owned by Obama, is that Brennan says enhanced interrogation is a thing of the past. And as it regards Brennan’s detailed knowledge of the Bush-era enhanced interrogation? That can be waived off… he’s on the right team now.
A fascinating tale from Elliott Abrams—with plenty of “inside baseball” backstory—largely focused on how U.S. policymakers handled the run-up leading to Israel’s military attack that destroyed the Syrian nuclear program.
There are compelling lessons embedded within, that is, 1) individuals have their own agendas to consider in making policy suggestions and in trying to charter courses of action, and 2) when people aren’t sure what to do on a critical topic, they tend to end up doing nothing (or if they must do something, they choose the easy thing).
Restated, these lessons are 1) where I stand depends on where I sit and 2) when in doubt, take no action.
However, these lessons go out the window when national survival is an issue, which it may have been for Israel. Then action is required and doing nothing is not an option.
So as it relates to the United States, when will we reach the point where the President, a sufficient number of other politicos, and the citizenry conclude that our national survival is being threatened by our deficit and debt?
Or as a wise man once observed, things that can’t continue forever won’t.
Der Spiegel has discovered that fracking can change the world.
Strike that sentence.
Der Spiegel has discovered that fracking can improve the world.
How so? By helping the world become far less dependent on the oil and natural gas provided by totalitarian (or at minimum, repressed) nations like Russia, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, et al..
When the West can have it’s fuel needs met cheaper, better, and faster (by the West itself), foreign policy can move itself away from the conundrum often called blood for oil. Oh, and there’s the fact that natural gas is a far cleaner fuel than, for example, coal. “Manmade global warming” and all that.
Will Western liberals see the light? (Answer: consider the Luddites.)
In other words, don’t hold your breathalyzer.
Well, it’s now officially toast (and has long been unofficially toast).
Here’s the story from the Obama Administration insiders as they advance their narrative on the new Russian way-ahead to the New York Times:
… the [new] United States [position is that it] views much of its relationship with Russia as optional, and while pressing matters will continue to be handled on a transactional basis, Washington plans to continue criticizing Russia on human rights and other concerns. As for the anti-Americanism, the new approach might be described as shrug and snub.
First question: Why would the Administration ever think this relationship would be anything but transactional? Was it due to our shared heritage with Russia, their great democratic past, their record on human rights, the rule of law, or love of free markets?
First answer: Hubris. Obama and his fellow-travelers thought of themselves as being all things good and light. That is, the Obama Administration cluelessly felt they could solve wicked world problems with a visit, a well read speech, a state dinner, or an anachronistic bilateral arms control treaty.
Next question: Should we think China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Burma, etc. are any different than Russia?
Next answer: We shouldn’t, unless we’re willfully deaf, dumb, blind, ignorant, and apathetic.
In fact, as it regards our GDP, debt, deficit, unemployment, crony capitalism, demographics, government takeovers, leading from behind, etc., these nations—along with Russia—likely have their eyes on America wide open (as opposed to the claimed unreality being spun by the Administration).
The truth is these countries just aren’t that into us… unless it benefits them.
A harsh assessment—perhaps intended as self-congratulatory praise—from Hillary Clinton regarding Syria, Iran, and Israel:
“I’ve done what was possible to do,” Clinton told reporters on the eve of her last day as secretary of state.
Let us unpack Clinton’s statement.
Because nothing good (as defined by clear movement towards achieving U.S. foreign policy goals as it concerns Syria, Iran, and Israel) has occurred, apparently getting nothing done was the only possible outcome.
Yet if getting nothing done was the only possible outcome, anyone could have done the nothing that occurred. Or restated, no one could do anything. Or re-restated, anyone could have done what Hillary Clinton didn’t do. Or re-re-restated, with all due respect, “What difference did she make?!”
And as it regards other areas of foreign policy, is it possible Mrs. Clinton’s entire tour as Secretary of State was a wasted opportunity resulting in foreign policy… regression? Consider the Benghazi debacle, the Arab Spring, the North Korean nuclear program, Iran, and the impact of the Administration’s Fast and Furious program on Mexico (although that would entail co-repairing substantial Justice Department ineptness). Or how about this fact from 2011?
Perceptions of the U.S. and President Barack Obama have nosedived in the Arab World to levels lower than during the Bush administration, a remarkable reversal for Obama, who made a speech vowing a new era of relations with the Arab world shortly after being elected.
“But, but, but…,” the left sputters, “there’s the Russian Reset.” (Back to the original AP article.)
“The Russians are not passive bystanders in their support for [Syria’s] Assad. They have been much more active,” she [Mrs. Clinton] told reporters. “But maybe they will change…
Or, maybe the Russians won’t change. Maybe they have picked their team and that Assad (and by extension, Iran) is on that team.
Once again, what do we have here? A media-created “rock-star diplomat” who has no hits.
Remember when we were told that Barack Obama wasn’t up to the task of taking that three a.m. call? Of course, the individual making that assertion was only partly correct: it seems that she isn’t up to the job, either.
So if pretending that Benghazi was a protest about a YouTube video doesn’t make any difference—see the rant below at about the 1:15 mark—why not just tell the truth in the first place?
What difference does it make?! Just this: the truth was contrary to the Administration’s re-election goal and four Americans died along the way.
Abe Katsman offers a scathing and fact-based take on the team President Obama is arranging for his second term. While much of the world is rightly fixed on Obama’s domestic failures, Katsman builds a powerful case that other U.S. interests will be ill-served during Obama’s second term based on the quality of his foreign policy and national security team.
Hagel? Wrong on everything. Kerry? Wrong on everything. John Brennan, the nominee as post-Petraeus CIA Director? Even worse.
Brennan is steeped in political correctness (essential in government “service” where slights, both real and perceived, can derail a career) and if you don’t believe the man’s incredible lack of grasp of the factual, watch him on YouTube in a speech given in early 2010 (warning: the first fifteen minutes or so are pure pap/government speech bureaucratic boilerplate).
So what will America be looking at in the foreign policy arena during Obama’s second term? How about Welcome Back, Carter?
Denial—remember Benghazi—will not make America stronger and yet Brennan is right on one point (even if he tragi-comically fails to grasp the implications of his own words): “Ignorance is a threat to our national security.”
Some in the intelligence community aren’t too happy with UN Ambassador Susan “Fried” Rice, White House spokesman Jay Carney “Worker,” Secretary of State Hillary “Stand By Your Man” Clinton, or Director of National Intelligence James “In The” Clapper.
Why? Because those four—and there have to be more—were participants in what looks like a determined and coordinated attempt to paper over the truth of the President’s Middle East policy failures.
The Administration is likely living in fear that the world will discover they’ve birthed an uglier Middle East policy baby than George W. Bush—and of course, there’s still Iran—with just a month left until the presidential election.
Officials say the ODNI’s false information was either knowingly disseminated or was directed to be put out by senior policy officials for political reasons, since the statement was contradicted by numerous intelligence reports at the time of the attack indicating it was al Qaeda-related terrorism.
Post-Benghazi, post-debate, the President and his Administration seem diminished every day. Don’t forget the President told us at the Democrat Convention that al Qaeda was on the run. The reality?
In recent months Egypt-based al Qaeda terrorists were dispatched to Libya and Syria, where they have been covertly infiltrating Libyan militia groups and Syrian opposition forces opposing the Bashar al Assad regime.
In addition to Egyptian government backing, intelligence from the region has revealed that operatives from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the main spy service, and from Iran’s Quds Force paramilitary group and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are also facilitating al Qaeda terrorists based in Egypt that are preparing to conduct operations to increase instability throughout the region.
And if this were a Republican administration, this—along with Fast and Furious—would be bigger than Watergate.
The Obama Administration doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down on the Benghazi debacle as being attributable to the Muhammad movie trailer as the source of all Muslim rampage, including its culpability for the in the murder of four Americans.
Why? Because failure to assign blame to an external source means the Administration would be responsible for the gross security failure at Benghazi.
And more so, a gross security failure is indicative of a gross leadership failure which can be further equated to gross policy failures and gross failures of competence.
For an Administration that’s predicating a re-election based on domestic policies of wealth transfer and class warfare (while ignoring the debt, unemployment, crony capitalism, new government barriers to wealth creation, etc.) and foreign policy “wins” via the death of Bin Laden and the success of drone strikes (ignoring the melt-down in the Middle East, the failure of the Russian reset, Iran going nuclear, unending China human rights violations and territorial disputes, etc.), the whole house of cards regarding Obama’s leadership, policies, and competence comes falling down.
What will America’s smartest president and the world’s most powerful man to do? Blame Bush, or better—in the mind of Barry and his handlers, to include the MSM—blame Romney.
Milkbag Milbank sees that Barry Oh! has gone over the top in his re-election efforts, you know things are pretty bad for Obama and his fellow travelers. But for Barry, the lessons are clear: it’s better to be loved than to be respected and it’s better to be re-elected than loved.
Even the intrepid Milkbag knows the American president has an important obligation to meet with foreign leaders (as opposed to courting the hosts and audience of The View).
But it isn’t nearly good enough to point out an obvious, if gruesome, Obama flaw; that’s like not taking one for the team. What to do? An idea springs to life from the Milkbag mind: Blame Romney for doing the same thing!
This, of course, conveniently forgets that Romney is an as-yet unelected candidate. That means Romney isn’t yet in a position to represent American positions because he isn’t yet the President of the United States (even though he’s met with foreign leaders in his role as Republican nominee).
And all those trees falling in the forest of Obama’s presidency? They’re the epic failures and root rot the media somehow can’t see or hear.
Spiegel Online International (quoting—and translating—Die Welt) tells us Obama’s middle east policy is in ruins. The punch (in the gut) line:
Anti-Americanism in the Arab world has even increased to levels greater than in the Bush era.
The President’s middle east policy now joins his economic policy.
Per the President’s plan, unemployment, the federal debt, and the seas will cease to rise in his second term.
Why has Bill Clinton become the face of President Obama’s re-election efforts?
It’s a simple case of distraction. Economic distraction. Barry’s surrogates are needed stat.
Next, in an attempt to mitigate the non-success of the Arab Spring, expect Hillary Clinton to become the face of Obama’s foreign policy efforts and for Barry to distance himself from his own Administration.
The first lesson: speeches (and policies) have consequences.
The second lesson: desperate acts for desperate presidents.
Finally, maybe Chelsea Clinton is available as a temporary Administration/campaign overhire?
Joe Biden, AKA GaffeMaster Flash, is at it again. The guy never ceases to amaze: he’s less ethical than Spiro Agnew, less truthful than Al Gore, less benevolent than Dick Cheney, and less graceful than Gerald Ford.
I suppose a tumor might explain much of Biden’s behavior, except he’s been this way for decades.
And in this man-bites-dog world, Joe Biden epitomizes the very Administration and President he serves.
So when Joe attempts to assign blame to the George W. Bush administration—gee, that’s an original position to take, and for Biden, clever—as it regards Iran’s nuclear weapons program, he once again has the facts upside down, sideways, and backwards.
From Marc Theissen:
●Before Obama took office, Iran had zero known centrifuges producing uranium enriched to 20 percent (which can be converted to nuclear weapons fuel in a short amount of time). Today, they have more than 1,000 centrifugeschurning out this dangerous, near-bomb-grade material.
●Before Obama took office, Iran had no stockpiles of this higher enriched uranium. Today, Iran has 73.1 kilograms. (It needs just 85 kilograms for a bomb.)
●Before Obama took office, Iran needed months to make a dash to a bomb. Today, it could make that dash in a matter of weeks.
That’s not all. In December 2011, Iran’s deeply buried Fordow facility went operational and Iran is now producing near-bomb-grade uranium at this hardened facility. Iran has also more than doubled the number of centrifuges operating at its infamous Natanz facility — from 3,936 when Obama took office to 8,808 today. Moreover, in the past several years, Iran has expanded the development and testing of advanced solid-fueled ballistic missiles — so that when it does make the decision to make a dash for the bomb, it also can make a dash to deliver it as well.
The bottom line is this: The Iranian regime has developed a rapid nuclear weapons breakout capability on President Obama’s watch.
And the worst part? Compared to the Administration’s domestic policy, their failures regarding Iran’s nuclear program look fairly modest.
Joe’s brain long-ago achieved room temperature which makes him an excellent fit with the rest of the Administration. But the problem is not so much their intelligence; it’s their initiative.
The Obama administration hasn’t helped to arm the rebels, nor has it created safe havens for persecuted dissidents. But it has done something far more important: It has provided the Syrian opposition with very strong language to describe Assad’s various atrocities.
The administration’s unprecedented verbal and written sorties against the Assad regime have included some of the most powerful adjectives, adjectival intensifiers and adverbs ever aimed at an American foe. This campaign has helped Syrians understand, among other things, that the English language contains many synonyms for “repulsive.”
As has been said, watch what they do and not what they say.
Or in the case of Syria, as with tossing Chen Guangcheng over to China to grease the gears of “pragmatism,” sometimes you can watch what they don’t do.
While the Administration claims to be hooah on human rights, its actions are meh.
Shock and Awe is an archaic term for which George W. Bush must be blamed. The Administration’s new phrases reflecting smart power include leading from behind, the Russian reset, and finally, shucks and aw.
Remember the tremendous foreign policy victory the Administration claimed in the form of the Russian reset?
Those were heady days indeed: the reset; smart power; leading from behind. These, like spiking the football, played well in the mainstream press. After all, this sort of excitement was a reflection of the bold re-emergence of… what? The bipolarity of the Cold War?
Well, it’s all gotten worse; gone kind of nyet, it has.
Russia’s most senior military officer said Thursday that Moscow would pre-emptively strike and destroy U.S.-led NATO missile defense sites in Eastern Europe if talks with Washington about the developing system continue to stall.
“A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens,” Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at an international missile defense conference in Moscow attended by senior U.S. and NATO officials.
Of course this is simply vacuous saber rattling by the Russians but it shows their level of fear regarding missile defense. Still, the idea that we could get cooperation from them when it’s contrary to being completely in their interests is both amateurish and shortsighted.
Can we finally admit the Russians are all about the Russians and just aren’t that into us?
Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng hopes to claim political refugee status by appealing to American embassy officials in Beijing.
After some hope, things change: he’s delivered back to the Chinese via their health care system.
The lesson: when there are no absolute truths, some will be thrown under the bus in the name of pragmatism.
But here’s the lesson the liberal media asserts:
If any episode crystallizes the ruthlessness of President Obama, it should be this one. Even as the GOP tries to depict him as an impotent president..
Regarding ruthless and impotent, Indigo Montoya comes to mind. The President isn’t impotent; he’s inept.
Richard Williamson at Foreign Policy (part of the family of Washington Post-It holdings) offers the reality of a painful yet honest headline, Obama’s Jimmy Carter Moment.
The crux of the article relates to Obama’s foreign policy failures regarding North Korea, Syria, and Iran. However, the overarching truth is under Obama’s leadership, the nation has suffered a nearly unending litany of Jimmy Carter moments and it isn’t just limited to parallels to Russians in Afghanistan or the Embassy takeover. If you’re old enough to remember, think the economy.
What’s the Obama campaign to do? It’s clear, isn’t it? Attack Mitt Romney and run away from the President’s record. Pursue big, transformational ideas like Hey! Let’s get the President on the Jimmy Fallon-Gong show!
Williamson points out North Korea continues to steal international aid while simultaneously working on its nuclear weapons and delivery system programs. And Syria has not exactly been a foreign policy home run. Rather, its more a foreign policy version of hitting into a double play:
When the carnage began, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton downplayed the Syrian regime’s brutality, emphasizing that many in Washington saw Assad as a “reformer.” As the carnage continued unabated, she stated that “world opinion is not going to stand idly by.” But in both instances, standing idly is exactly what “world opinion” — supposedly led by the Obama administration — has done.
And Iran. After the 2008 elections, the President no doubt held high expectations that Iran would respond to his transcendent leadership. Yet his failure was two fold: 1) one of self-delusion, thinking their leaders would do his will instead of their will and 2) one of sloth, outsourcing all foreign policy to the State Department and making Hillary Clinton the captain of the non-domestic, not-military ship.
Maybe Mrs. Clinton can head off for secret negotiations with Iran, knock back a few Coca Colas with the boys in the Tali-band, and do some table dancing. You rock, infidel girl!
Couldn’t hurt (er, actually, based on the photo, maybe it could…).