Friday, September 21, 2012

Obama, 9-11-12 & The Collapse Of His Middle East Policy

Lots of posts and columns on the web today about the implosion of the Obama's "Cairo" doctrine, the Obama decision to use our tax dollars to fund an ad in Pakistan with Obama and Hillary attacking the "Innocence of Muslims" film trailer, and lastly, the implosion of the White House claims that the slaughter of our personnel in Benghazi was a spontaneous response to the film trailer.

Before addressing those points, let's note the elephant in the room. There is a huge scandal in this mix - the virtually non-existent security at our consulate in Benghazi on 9-11-12, site of previous attacks and a breeding ground for radicals. That lack of security was beyond negligent; it was criminally reckless. And that does not even begin to consider that no special precautions were taken on 9-11 to increase security there.

The person with the answers to this scandal is Hillary Clinton, which is I suspect why UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who would not even be in the loop on this issue, was offered up on all of the Sunday talk shows last Sunday to address it. She could prevaricate and obfuscate with at least some fall back claim to ignorance. Heads need to roll over this, and I strongly suspect that one of those heads is Hillary's.

The seminal critique of Obama's Middle East policy comes from Charles Krauthammer:

In the week following 9/11/12 something big happened: the collapse of the Cairo Doctrine, the centerpiece of President Obama’s foreign policy. It was to reset the very course of post-9/11 America, creating, after the (allegedly) brutal depredations of the Bush years, a profound rapprochement with the Islamic world.

On June 4, 2009, in Cairo, Obama promised “a new beginning” offering Muslims “mutual respect,” unsubtly implying previous disrespect. Curious, as over the previous 20 years, America had six times committed its military forces on behalf of oppressed Muslims, three times for reasons of pure humanitarianism (Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo), where no U.S. interests were at stake.

But no matter. Obama had come to remonstrate and restrain the hyperpower that, by his telling, had lost its way after 9/11, creating Guantanamo, practicing torture, imposing its will with arrogance and presumption.

. . . his policies of accommodation and concession would consolidate the gains: an outstretched hand to Iran’s mullahs, a first-time presidential admission of the U.S. role in a 1953 coup, a studied and stunning turning away from the Green Revolution; withdrawal from Iraq with no residual presence or influence; a fixed timetable for leaving Afghanistan; returning our ambassador to Damascus (with kind words for Bashar Assad — “a reformer,” suggested the secretary of state); deliberately creating distance between the U.S. and Israel.

These measures would raise our standing in the region, restore affection and respect for the United States, and elicit new cooperation from Muslim lands.

It’s now three years since the Cairo speech. Look around. The Islamic world is convulsed with an explosion of anti-Americanism. From Tunisia to Lebanon, American schools, businesses, and diplomatic facilities set ablaze. A U.S. ambassador and three others murdered in Benghazi. The black flag of Salafism, of which al-Qaeda is a prominent element, raised over our embassies in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Sudan.

The administration, staggered and confused, blames it all on a 14-minute trailer for a film no one has seen and which may not even exist. What else can it say? . . .

Islamists rise across North Africa from Mali to Egypt. Iran repeatedly defies U.S. demands on nuclear enrichment, then, as a measure of its contempt for what America thinks, openly admits that its Revolutionary Guards are deployed in Syria. Russia, after arming Assad, warns America to stay out, while the secretary of state delivers vapid lectures about Assad “meeting” his international “obligations.” The Gulf States beg America to act on Iran; Obama strains mightily to restrain . . . Israel.

Sovereign U.S. territory is breached and U.S. interests are burned. And what is the official response? One administration denunciation after another — of a movie trailer! A request to Google to “review” the trailer’s presence on YouTube. And sheriff’s deputies’ midnight “voluntary interview” with the suspected filmmaker. This in the land of the First Amendment.

What else can Obama do? At their convention, Democrats endlessly congratulated themselves on their one foreign-policy success: killing Osama bin Laden. A week later, the Salafist flag flies over four American embassies, even as the mob chants, “Obama, Obama, there are still a billion Osamas.”

A foreign policy in epic collapse. . . .

Do read the entire column.

Islam is a tool of politics and power in the Middle East - a tool that has not matured from its founding in the 7th century. I made the point here that what goes on in Muslim countries should not be countenanced in the civilized world, a point Rhymes with Right also makes in a very insightful post, Is Speech Against Islam A Crime Against Humanity -- Or Is Islam Itself?

The problem with Obama's Middle East policy is that it is wholly premised on fundamental conceits about the nature of Islam as practiced in the Middle East. Islam there is not rational, peaceful, or susceptible to compromise. It is not civilized. It is not benign. That Obama still bitterly clings to these conceits is the only way to explain why he would allow our State Dept. to spend $70,000 on an ad buy in Pakistan apologizing for and denouncing the "Innocence of Muslims." It is as damaging to America as it is pathetic.

The hypocrisy of Islamist's calls to respect the prophet, even as the Muslim religion is premised on the most fundamental of blasphemies against Christianity, is mind-boggling to me. But in any event, the last thing we should be doing is silencing the criticism of Islam, let alone apologizing for it as a nation.

Our government stance must always be that people have the right to peacefully practice whatever faith they choose inside of our borders free of government sanction. But our Constitutional responsibilities end there. It does not require us to refrain from criticizing a religion mired in the 7th century, that causes bloodshed on a grand scale, that maintains itself by the sword, and that wishes to conquer by the sword. I do not know if Obama actually does not understand that, or whether he is too afraid of kicking the hornets' nest, or whether this is simply the natural result of a drift into anti-semitism and pro-Arab sympathies by those on the left generally.

Lastly, hats off to CBS News for their superb reporting on what actually happened and is happening in Benghazi relating to the deaths of our Ambassador and three other Americans. This from CBS News:

As summarized by Guy Benson at Town Hall:

Let's count the revelations embedded within this minute-and-a-half long clip:

(1) "The FBI still hasn't made it to the crime scene in Benghazi." More on this later, but the fact that the administration is treating our sacked consulate as a "crime" scene is telling. This was a terrorist attack. An act of war. . . . We've dispatched criminal investigators to look into it, but they still haven't even made it to ground zero yet? Nine days after the fact? Why?

(2) "Witnesses tell CBS News that there was never an anti-American protest outside of the consulate. Instead, they say it came under planned attack." As I wrote this morning, the administration is at last beginning to acknowledge the latter fact, but the former element is crucial, too. If there really were no protests outside the consulate before the ambush began -- as multiple news outlets are now reporting -- even the premise of the administration's fictional account is false. CBS says the facts on the ground are in "direct contradiction" to the White House's statements. The administration is still saying that the raid could have spun out from spontaneous protests that didn't even exist.

(3) "What's that the public won't get a detailed account of what happened until after the presidential election." This conclusion strongly reinforces several of my theories about the White House's foot-dragging and misdirection on the Benghazi raid. We have a murdered ambassador and sensitive intelligence missing, and the administration is in pure political CYA mode.

Nice Deb also has an excellent round-up on these topics.

Dr. Sanity has returned to the blogging world (thankfully) and has a particularly insightful post on the administrations decision to run an ad in Pakistan denouncing the "Innocence of Muslims" film trailer, The Obama Apology Tour Continues:

I regret to inform those that support the constant apologizing, that the increasingly violent Islamic response to appeasement, solicitation, and understanding has always been completely predictable from a psychological perspective. Bullies will always push the envelope of bad behavior when they think they can get away with it.

Here's a tip for the clueless Obama Administration and their supporters:


amspirnational said...

I can't disagree with you on criminal negligence.
Now, could you please refer me to your denunciation at the time of the Bush Administration's criminal negligence vis a vis 9-11-2001?

GW said...

Am: Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Certainly we were got flat-footed on 9-11. If you have read the 9-11 Committee Report, it does a pretty good job of laying out all that went wrong - perhaps the worst of which was the failure of our major security agencies to share information, in part because of Goerlock's infamous Chinese Wall.

I consider what happened on 9-11 to be stupidity, negligence and bureaucratic inertia. That is a far cry from the degree of culpability I attach to the lack of security in Benghazi, 11 years after 9-11..

I do, however, have some very sincere gripes with G. Bush over his failures in the war on terror. And in fact, I can point you to a post where I raised them recently on the anniversary of 9-11:

To compare the failure to stop 9-11-01 to a security failure on 9-11-12, when the threat from al Qaeda and radical Islam has been etched in American blood on American soil, when every security and defense agency in the U.S. is focused on the threat in the Middle East, when we have built up a massive amount of intelligence on al Qaeda over 11 years and two wars, I think you take relativism to an absurd level.

billm99uk said...

Hmmm... I think Tony Blair (of all people) agrees with you:

The West is Not to Blame for Islamic Extremism

GW said...

Thanks Bill. I've made his video into a separate post. Blair may have been a disaster for UK domestic policy, but he has always been the most eloquent and realistic of any leader on the Middle East. I recall back in 2003 asking several of my UK friends to send him across the pond to be our permanent Sec. of State after you finished with him in the UK.