SAN DIEGO, November 5, 2012 — Four years should be enough time for a clear assessment of President Obama’s foreign policy. But don’t expect deep, nuanced discussions from his defenders. Any critique of “the Obama Doctrine” regarding countries such as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel and Libya is swiftly silenced with a favorite Democratic talking point: “President Obama gave the order which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden!”
That seems to be the cornerstone of a stellar foreign policy resume. It confers limitless authority, much like a Nobel Prize. End of discussion.
Yes, he got Osama bin Laden. We know. How could we not know? The ball-spiking on that one has been repeated more often than John Kerry’s 2004 campaign reminder that he once served in Vietnam.
“He got bin Laden,” is a welcome addition to the happy family of slick, catchy, Obama buzz phrases. Older siblings include “Hope and change,” “Yes we can,” and “If you don’t vote for this man, you are a racist.”
During the Democratic convention, Vice President Joe Biden canonized the talking point:
“And because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made—and because of the grit and determination of American workers—and the unparalled bravery of our special forces—we can now proudly say—Osama Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”
Much has happened since Biden’s enthusiastic speech. The anniversary of 9/11 looked like a foreign policy melt down. Protests and acts of vandalism were directed at one U.S. Embassy after another. This was nothing compared to an organized terrorist raid on our consulate in Libya, leaving Ambassador Christopher Stevens dead along with three other Americans.
I’m reminded of Dorothy and the Munchkins dancing and singing about the death of the Wicked Witch of the East, unaware that within moments, a new threat will pop out of purple smoke.
“This is her sister,” Glinda says to Dorothy, “the Wicked Witch of the West. And she’s worse than the other one was.”
Even when life imitates art, Obama supporters remain in denial. A recent PhillyBurbs.com editorial endorsed a second Obama term by publishing a list of proud Obama achievements. In the section on foreign policy, Benghazi was conspicuously omitted, but the article still went out of its way to repeat those magic, familiar words; “He got bin Laden” (PhillyBurbs.com October, 28, 2012).
On the other hand, Fox News host Chris Wallace did bring up Benghazi and its botched handling with Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. Durbin defended the Obama administration by saying, “Now, let’s ask the honest questions, let’s gather the evidence, let’s make sure that we understand exactly what did occur.” And of course, he went on to add, “Osama bin Laden is moldering in some watery grave somewhere” (Fox News Sunday, October 21, 2012).
Inasmuch as Osama bin Laden was the head of Al Qaeda and orchestrator of a horrific attack upon our World Trade Center and Pentagon, his death was morally and symbolically important. He may have been only one man, but the significance of an inspiring figurehead should not be taken lightly. President Obama deserves credit for removing him and other terrorists. Most conservative pundits and Republican politicians have given him that credit.
But other responsive decisions from our president deserve just as much air time. We now know there were warnings far in advance of the Benghazi attack and continued information during the raid. A terrorist group, Ansar al-Sharia claimed credit.
But this didn’t match the narrative of living happily ever after bin Laden. Instead of being straight with our country, the Obama administration submitted a different story about a spontaneous attack inspired by an anti-Muslim video. Yes, there was such a video, but no, it had nothing to do with violence in Libya.
The video’s director, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, (an Egyptian born resident of the U.S.) has been arrested for mistaking America for a country that allows free speech. Technically, the arrest has to do with a parole violation from a previous offense. Yes, of course, that must be the real reason he was imprisoned. In the wake of an American consulate in Libya being burned down, federal officials take a sudden, coincidental interest in Nakoula’s parole.
Benghazi violence and other strained relations with the Muslim world are probably a surprise to Obama. After all, his 2009 tour included a stop in Egypt where he extended an olive branch by blaming America for certain mistakes in her dealings with the Muslim world.
“The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year” (Cairo, June 4, 2009).
In that corner or the world, such speeches of appeasement actually embolden terrorism. They are seen as signs of weakness.
It’s also a sign of weakness to announce ahead of time the year in which we plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, just as it’s a sign of weakness to express interest in having unconditional talks with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust but evidently thinks it might have been a good idea since he calls for the destruction of Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted many times to warn the world that a nuclear bomb in the hands of this Ahmadinejad maniac will spell disaster, not only for Israel, but America and the rest of the world. When Netanyahu visited New York for the United Nations conference, requesting a meeting with our president based upon a belief that Iran could actually have this nuclear capability within months, Obama had no time in his busy schedule, but he did make time to be on ABC’s The View. Okay. Big deal! Give the guy a break. After all, he got bin Laden and the world is safer.
The safety can be demonstrated by our friend Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, in whose country another attack was waged against Americans the same night as the Libya murders. Protestors managed to get into the American embassy courtyard and replace an American flag with an Islamist flag. Morsi eventually gave an appeal for calm. But not long afterward, he brought up Nakoula’s video before the United Nations, addressing President Obama specifically about certain kinds of free speech that should not be quite so free.
“The obscenities recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities is unacceptable and requires a firm stand” (U.N. speech, September 26, 2012).
How nice to receive a patronizing lecture from a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose stated goal is the conquering of the world for Islam.
“It should be known that jihad and preparation towards jihad are not only for the purpose of fending off assaults and attacks of Allah’s enemies from Muslims, but are also for the purpose of realizing the great task of establishing an Islamic state and strengthening the religion and spreading it around the world … Jihad for Allah … is not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries, since the Muslim homeland is one and is not divided, and the banner of Jihad has already been raised in some of its parts, and shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, and the State of Islam established” (Mustafa Mashhur, The Laws of Da’wa, 1995, translated by Palestinian Media Watch).
Obama was still supportive of a revolution in Egypt, strongly inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood. After overthrowing President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s new government voted the Muslim Brotherhood into power.
Murbarak was no angel, but neither were angels evident during the party which rejoiced over his demise. CBS Newswoman, Lara Logan was actually gang raped in the midst of a celebrating mob. There was an explanation: They thought she was Jewish.
“The thugs yelled ‘Jew! Jew!’ as they sexually assaulted her - even though she is not Jewish, CBS reported” (Daily Mail, February 17, 2011).
I’m sure Miss Logan feels better now. You see, they didn’t realize they were raping a real human being. They just thought they were raping a Jew.
Such swinish behavior is not created in a vacuum. Anti-Semitism is common in the Middle East and common within the Muslim Brotherhood itself:
“A Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo’s most prominent mosque Friday turned into a venomous anti-Israel protest, with attendants vowing to “one day kill all Jews. Some 5,000 people joined the rally, called to promote the “battle against Jerusalem’s Judaization” (Y Net News.com November, 25, 2011).
Obama did insist that Logan’s rapists be captured, but he has also remained supportive of Muslim Brotherhood, because they were voted into power. Democracy always sounds nice but it’s meaningless without true moral values, and these values are fleeting from Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood. In a similar vein, Palestinians elected the terrorist group Hamas.
If you’re thinking Obama should have been less naive, then you must have forgotten: His credentials as Commander-in-Chief are undisputed. He got bin Laden. Besides, a good Commander-in-Chief is also a skilled diplomat.
Obama knows how to use diplomacy in many places, not merely the Middle East. Back in March, during a nuclear summit, while holding a press conference with Dmitry Medvedev, the outgoing Russian President, Obama said something chilling. Evidently, he didn’t realize that the microphone was on.
“This is my last election,” he said to Medvedev. “After my election I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev replied, “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” referring to incoming President Vladimir Putin.
Dmitry Medvedev isn’t the only one who understands. Understanding is available to anyone who wants to take an honest look Obama’s Cracker Jack foreign policy. If it’s too cumbersome to keep track of it all, if you’d rather be in denial, just hit the default setting: He got bin Laden.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net.
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