Sunday, September 16, 2012

An Act of War....Not a Movie Protest !

Forget the free-speech arguments. In this case, in Libya, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton well knows, the film has even less to do with anything than did the Danish cartoons, the Koran-burning pastor or the schoolteacher's teddy bear or any other innumerable grievances of Islam. When the 400-strong assault force in Benghazi showed up with RPGs and mortars at the American consulate; that's not a spontaneous movie protest ; ambassador Chris Stevens and three others died in an act of war.

Much is yet to come out -- much that could be politically embarrassing. According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted. But no warnings were given for diplomats to go on High Alert and Lockdown, under which movement is severely restricted. There is no denying that the consulate's security was horribly inadequate for the 9/11 anniversary, guarded by by Marines with no ammunition, in a city known as a locus of al-Qaeda activity -- local security seems to have consisted of four Libyans, at least one of whom turned coat and betrayed the Americans he was supposed to be protecting.

One thing has become painfully clear: the Administration was utterly blindsided by these attacks.  There is no denying the sheer stupidity, natural torpor and ineptitude of this blundering superpower. It is now known the Barack Obama skipped his intelligence briefings for the week leading up to the attacks...and the day after the national debacle,  but he did have time to do Letterman and appear on a hip-hop radio show and then he had a fundraising in Las Vegas to attend to. Once there he was surrounded by delirious fans screaming "We love you!," too drunk on his celebrity to understand that this is the first photo-op in the aftermath of a national humiliation. The president was too lazy and cocksure to have learned any prepared remarks or mastered the appropriate tone, notwithstanding that his government spends more money than any government in the history of the planet can surely provide him with both a speechwriting team and a quiet corner on his private jet to consider what might be fitting for the occasion. So instead he sloughs off the words, bloodless and unfelt; ''And obviously our hearts are broken...blah blah..''  Yeah, it's totally obvious.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney stated that Obama's foreign policy has diminished America's global standing and emboldened extremists and urged a tough line on Egypt amid deadly anti-US violence in the region. His running mate, Paul Ryan, called for ''greater moral clarity and firmness of purpose in the confident exercise of American influence.''   He added, ''Egypt receives about 1.5 billion a year in assistance. Washington ought to tell that Muslim Brotherhood gang that they must honour its peace treaty with Israel and protect US facilities if it is to keep receiving our aid." And right on cue, Obama gets on TV to say the Romney and Ryan should not politicise this tragic event with their comments. The truth is hard to take...isn't it Barack?

The Obama Administration was big into grovel mode, with Secretary Hillary repeatedly announcing that ''the United State had absolutely nothing to do with this video'' and "we absolutely reject its content and message.'' As if the rioting mobs -- and the shadowy hands guiding their rage -- will suddenly look at each other, decide they've been silly for unfairly venting their anger at innocent American diplomats and embassies and go home! Rebecca Chedid, a member of the Arab-American National Policy Council, explains, "This not about a movie, tectonic plates are shifting and we have no idea what these new governments are building. They hardly know themselves. There is a vacuum of what does it mean to be Libyan, what does it mean to be a progressive Arab or a moderate Islamist. These events represent the first major test on the international stage for the new governments of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen to navigate the often contradictory demands of global statesmanship and domestic politics. Only time will tell, we must be hopeful and patient."

The Way I See It....a great scholar of Islam, Bernard Lewis, said some years ago that America risked being seen as harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend. Just ask Israel what they make of Mr Obama. This president brings a dangerous combination of arrogance and disinterest to the foreign policy table. He's noted for telling his staff he "knows their jobs better than they do.'' He thought he knew foreign affairs better too, but he doesn't and until he woke up on Wednesday morning, he didn't really care. He believed his own press, and thought the stories of Egypt and Libya were over when the media lost interest in them. As with every other aspect of his rank incompetence, he assumes the media can cover everything up and he can keep the polls goosed with a few nice speeches, while the American voter finds it increasingly necessary to turn to British and Israeli newspaper to get the actual news.

Obama's stooges in the American media bought him a couple of days by focusing on Mitt Romney's temerity in criticising the unbelievable disaster they have been trying to hide, but that's over now that Chris Stevens' body is brought home for burial. Perhaps now the court eunuchs of a biased media might stop misleading the American people and would like to take a serious look into some of the fascinating questions of how this happened and let the chips-fall-where-they-may.

NOTE: Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the local doctor who fingered bin Laden to the Americans sits in jail. In other words, while America's clod/buffoon vice-president staggers around, pimping limply that ONLY Obama had the guts to take the toughest decision anyone's ever had to take, the poor schlub who actually did have the guts, who actually took the tough decision in a part of the world where tough decisions can get you killed, languishes in a cell because Washington would not lift a finger to help him.

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