Thursday, September 13, 2012

Three Embassies Attacked. Four Americans Dead. Obama Campaigns

So, now on the heels of yesterday's blog post, there is another embassy attack to note.  As we awoke this morning, we learned that the U.S. embassy in Syria had been attacked, adding to Egypt and Libya. An angry mob breached the wall to the building and rallied just outside the entrance. The tally now is three embassies attacked and one U.S. ambassador plus three staffers killed in the line of duty. 

You may remember that in June, 2009, a newly elected President Obama traveled to Cairo, Egypt and spoke at the American University there to re-assure the world that under his watch, the United States was more tolerant and supportive of the Muslim world. He and his followers claimed that the world was angry with the United States during the George W. Bush years and that somehow the arrogance of the Bush years had damaged us overseas.  The problem with that argument was not lost on Bush supporters and honest brokers of the truth - George W. Bush went out of his way after the attacks of Tuesday, September, 11, 2001 to speak inclusively of Muslims and to show respect for Muslims around the world.

I won't even go into the fact checking that took place after the highly acclaimed - by Obama supporters - speech in Cairo and the problems with basic historical facts about Muslims and world contributions.

Early on in the Obama administration we were instructed that the War on Terror was over.  We would now refer to that subject under the title of overseas contingencies.  Whatever that means.  It was as though if we just call it something else, the problems are gone. Did that send respect to the families of those lost in the attacks?

This is an administration who is quick to accuse others of politicizing foreign policy while it is they who are guilty of that.  Whether it is the political convenience of the withdrawal from Afghanistan or the botched promise of closing GITMO as his very first act as president (by Executive Order), most of Barack Obama's important decisions seem to be all about politics and nothing else.  It has been whatever is best for his re-election, for a second term, it would seem to we the people.

An odd omission from the remarks made Wednesday from the Rose Garden by President Obama was that of Egypt and the attack at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, which occurred before the attack in Syria.  There was tons of social media brouhaha from the elite media and their willing lemmings on the blogosphere's left side that Mitt Romney had botched his statement about the attack at the embassy in Cairo.  The truth is, he got it just about right and did it before President Obama got around to making his own statement. Hillary Clinton also struck the right tone in her statement, also preceding Obama's statement. It was the president who didn't produce much in the way of content in his statement.  Why did he ignore Egypt, we pondered?

Wednesday evening, President Obama sat down for an interview with Telemundo and we may have seen a bit of a window into his thought process. Asked about Egypt, President Obama stated that Egypt was neither a friend or a foe to the U.S. That must have been a surprise to many on the ground in Egypt.

"In an interview with Telemundo Wednesday night, Obama said that the U.S. relationship with the new Egyptian government was a "work in progress," and emphasized that the United States is counting on the government of Egypt to better protect the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which was attacked by protesters on Sept. 11."
"I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy," Obama said. "They're a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident."
That comment had Egypt watchers scratching their heads, especially since technically, Egypt was designated as a Major Non-NATO Ally in 1989 when Congress first passed the law creating that status, which gives them special privileges in cooperating with the United States, especially in the security and technology arenas.
The obligatory correction came forth from the White House Thursday.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told The Cable Thursday that the administration is not signaling a change in that status.
"I think folks are reading way too much into this," Vietor said. "‘Ally' is a legal term of art. We don't have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt like we do with our NATO allies. But as the president has said, Egypt is longstanding and close partner of the United States, and we have built on that foundation by supporting Egypt's transition to democracy and working with the new government."
Oh. It's a legal term of art.

There are reports that President Obama has not taken more than half of his foreign policy briefings in person by an intelligence officer. Instead, he is given printed out summaries and he reads them. Or so we are told. Who would know if he does or not? This is somewhat disturbing in that he would not be showing curiosity in questioning the briefer on any questions he might have with a face to face expert. Sure, he can make a phone call but it doesn't seem right, somehow. It smacks of the continued personal arrogance we see in the guy. It's an attitude of "I know what is best. I'm smarter. I'm better." attitude for which he has no experience to justify.

On the odd answer to the question on Egypt from the Telemundo news anchor? We are told it is because he had not been prepped for that question.

Administration sources told The Cable that Obama's "ally" comment was not pre-arranged or prepared by staff and that the question was not anticipated. Nevertheless, Middle East experts said Obama's word choice and tone is likely a reflection of the administration's feeling that Morsy's reaction to the attacks has not been forceful enough.
We are to believe that the president bungles an answer on foreign policy if he is not anticipating that question?  What kind of confidence does that produce in his leadership skills? He is our voice to the world, after all.

After the statement in the Rose Garden, President Obama boarded Air Force One and flew to Las Vegas for a fundraiser/speech.  The optics of that were bad. Regular Americans do not understand how a president would continue on with his campaign schedule while the events in the Middle East are so dire at this time. Thursday President Obama campaigned in Colorado. He just continued on with only a brief blurb at the beginning of that speech acknowledging the victims of the recent terrorism at our embassies overseas.

We deserve better.


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