Mmm hmm -- strangled him to death with his own bare hands, dontcha know? How predictable and pitiful:
Yeah, we've heard, Ms. Psaki -- unlike many of your own supporters, it seems. Bin Laden dead, General Motors alive (but at what cost, and for how long?) That's pretty much the only argument they've got to apply some lipstick to the filthy pig that is Obama's term in office. I mean, there's a reason why his spokespeople are urging voters to ignore those totes irrelevant last four years or so. As I've written before, Obama deserves credit for ordering the Abbottabad mission. It involved significant risk and an uncertain outcome, so he should be applauded for ultimately rejecting the advice of Valerie Jarrett, the Vice President (one heartbeat away) and others by green-lighting the successful raid. But Team Obama has never suffered from an abundance of self-restraint. They parlayed this unquestionable achievement into an unseemly and false attack on Mitt Romney, suggesting that he wouldn't have gotten Bin Laden, based on an absurd interpretation of a partial quote. And now they're using it as a catch-all shield against national security critiques of any kind, no matter the details or subject. Barack Obama simply is a glorious foreign policy wizard because he killed Bin Laden. Period. I'm sorry, but with 20,000 dead in Syria, multiple US embassies breached, Iran marching toward nukes and an ambassador slain in the line of duty, "he got Osama" is not a substitute for an actual foreign policy. It's a talking point -- and a cheap one at that, the way they've been spiking the football and demeaning their political opponents with it. So enough crowing about Bin Laden. Perhaps the White House could spare a moment to explain why the US consulate in Benghazi had sub-standard security measures in place, despite the fact that it had been attacked in June and was located in a city crawling with jihadists:
The U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was operating under a lower security standard than a typical consulate when it was attacked this month, according to State Department officials. The mission was a rented villa and considered a temporary facility by the agency, which allowed a waiver that permitted fewer guards and security measures than a standard embassy or consulate, according to the officials. There was talk about constructing a permanent facility, which would require a building that met U.S. security and legal standards, the officials said. Allowing a waiver would have been a decision made with input from Washington, Libyan officials and the ambassador, according to diplomatic security experts. “Someone made the decision that the mission in Benghazi was so critical that they waived the standard security requirements, which presents unique challenges to the diplomatic security service as you can imagine,” said Fred Burton, vice president for Intelligence at STRATFOR, an intelligence analysis group.
This administration certainly loves their waivers, don't they? And while they're at it, maybe they could also explain why they clearly misled the American people on both the nature of the attack (Obama is finally coming around to admitting the possibility that it was a terrorist act) and the intelligence strands that foretold it. One subject on which they are providing some answers is why the president chose to break precedent and forgo important bilateral meetings at the United Nations this week:
"Mr. Obama was scheduled to attend a reception for world leaders at the United Nations on Monday night. But a campaign adviser acknowledged privately that in this election year, campaigning trumped meetings with world leaders. 'Look, if he met with one leader, he would have to meet with 10,' the aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity," the Times reports today.
This rationale reminds me of my elementary school's policy on bringing treats in on your birthday. Unless you had enough goodies to share with the whole class, nobody got them. This might have been implemented to foster a sense of fairness -- there's that word again -- among a bunch of nine-year-olds with sweet-tooths, but it does not, and should not, apply to high-level international diplomacy. We elect presidents to prioritize and to lead. With the world in turmoil, American leadership is indispensable. In light of the facts on the ground, it is preposterous for the White House to employ this childish "we can't play favorites" argument. They can, and they must. Meet with the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Libya and Pakistan, then dispatch the Secretary of State to smooth things over with the others who didn't make the cut this time. Writing at the Council on Foreign Relations' website, former national security official Elliot Abrams is aghast:
I cannot recall an occasion when a president went to speak at the General Assembly and simply refused to meet anyone. Perhaps this is the product of Mr. Obama’s fight with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, for having refused a meeting with him Mr. Obama must now pretend (for obvious political reasons) that it isn’t personal and he simply has no time for these unimportant personal meetings. So dozens of foreign leaders–presidents, prime ministers, sheiks, kings–are in New York, have serious things to say to us, want to hear about our policies, and will not be able to see the president. This is a serious failure by Mr. Obama and limits the effectiveness of American diplomacy. One can only hope that if he is re-elected, Mr. Obama will somehow recognize the costs this failure have imposed. Or perhaps in her exit interview Secretary Clinton can explain it to him. Someone should.
As long as media criticism remains fairly muted and internal polls don't show any significant public backlash, don't expect much to change. Barack Obama has always been about promoting Barack Obama's interests above all else, and he's surrounded by people who think the same way.
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