Diplomats’ deaths leave Obama looking hapless, hopeless, clueless
September 14, 2012 12:00 AM | 2918 views | 28 28 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
North Africa and the Mideast are notoriously volatile regions, prone to periodic spasms of violence. One of those spasms claimed the life of one of our most skilled ambassadors to the region, J. Christopher Stevens. At 52, he was an Arabic-speaking veteran of two tours to Libya, including the tumultuous period in which the dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown with U.S. backing, some of it no doubt coordinated by Stevens.

Stevens and three other U.S. embassy workers were killed by a mob while trying to assure the safety of the U.S. consular staff in Benghazi. The mob had been enraged by a film made by a California resident, Sam Bacile, whom the Associated Press says identifies himself as an Israeli. The film depicts Muhammad as a philanderer who tolerated child sexual abuse, with an “an amateur cast performing a wooden dialogue of insults disguised as revelations about Muhammad, whose obedient followers are presented as a cadre of goons,” the AP says.

A trailer on the Internet set off riots in Libya and Egypt, where a mob attacked and overran our embassy.

American tradition and the Constitution give Bacile the right to say and do as he pleases. It’s disheartening to see so many on the Left suddenly eager to jettison those protections for those who do not share their politics.

Meanwhile, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney rightly said it was “disgraceful” that the Obama administration’s “first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

The Obama administration is now reaping the whirlwind for its decision to cast off such long-term friends in the region like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. Its gamble that the handful of Westernized citizens in Cairo could withstand the maneuvering by the well-organized and highly motivated Muslim Brotherhood and its even more radical allies will no doubt go down as one of the biggest U.S. foreign policy blunders in generations.

Libya assured the United Nations of its commitment to bring the killers to justice. And in a Rose Garden statement, Obama made that same statement, twice promising that “justice will be done.” We hope that’s true. But unfortunately, he looks for all the world like Jimmy Carter reincarnated, standing hapless, hopeless and clueless in the face of events in the Middle East.
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rjsnh
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September 17, 2012
your comments, like those of Romney, are simply inappropriate and in Romney's case unpresidential
Concerned citizen
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September 16, 2012
When I heard VP Biden make the statement in his usual loud, boisterous voice, "Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!" three times in one of his appearances, I told my husband this was going to incite the terrorists. Look at what happened and no one has even discussed this stupid comment! Why not?! Does no one think it might, just might have agitated them in any small way? He was bragging about Bin Laden's death and the terrorists were not expected to react?! Get real!
anonymous
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September 16, 2012
"North Africa and the Mideast are notoriously volatile regions, prone to periodic spasms of violence." Ever wonder why? Have you ever noticed what groups are prone to this type of violence? Be careful, the answer is not PC.

Maatf
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September 15, 2012
This is scurrilous editorial. It now appears that our ambassador and members of his staff were not killed as part of a mob incited by that horrible film trailer. It looks more as if this was a planned attack by a group who had the specific weapons to carry it out.

We have an unfolding situation in which this kind of thoughtless bravado can only lead to further tragedy. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly.

No one is suggesting that free speech rights be curtailed in any way. But good manners do require a response when someone tells us that they have been insulted and to indicate sorrow for hurt feelings does not accept responsibility for having inflicted the hurt. Or, didn't your mother ever tell you that?
GA Citizen
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September 15, 2012
Even Brumby wouldn't have stooped this low. You guys are a disgrace to journalism.
otter357
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September 15, 2012
For your information:

Romney Radio reports that "Sam Basile" is really Nakoula Basseley Nakoua.
otter357
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September 15, 2012
I am with the other posters who do not think this is an admirable editorial. And I think you are too well informed to use the adverb "rightly" in the third from the last paragraph.

Most egregiously, the tweet Romney references was before the attack (tweets are time stamped) very reasonable in its content

and a good attempt to smooth things over (links forbidden here, google the text of the tweet if you like), and not from the White House anyway. And you must know all of this..

Hosni Mubarak was a brutal dictator who we propped up for rather unsavory reasons, which you must also know. Morsi is an improvement, and a comparative moderate in a difficult situation, though you may consider it some kind of blasphemy to hear me say so.

We should all hope that his (Morsi's) regime solidifies and takes hold, because the alternatives are inferior, though your readers may scream invective at me for saying so. But I'll bet Jimmy Carter knows this, too.

This editorial is not your best moment. sorry, but its really misleading. I am not the biggest Carter fan, but volunarily or not, Carter sacrificed his re-election and played the goat in exchange for the lives of the hostages back in the day. Please remember that they all retuned alive. Do you think the editorial board of the paper could have done better?

This editorial board has real chutzpah to call Jimmy Carter "hapless, hopeless, and clueless" concerning the Middle East.

Similarly, describing Mitt Romney's comments about a scenario he made up "rightly" is just kind of unbelievable for people as well informed as you. Is partisanship that important to the editorial board? Is it party over truth all in that editorial office?

I cannot come to any other conclusion.

CobbCoGuy
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September 15, 2012
Beginning with his speech in Cairo back in June 2009, Obama was supposed to have reset our relationship with the muslim world.

I don't think things are working out as intended.
Surely not
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September 14, 2012
So, let me get this straight....this editorial board is (1) defending the delusional provocateurs/hate-mongers who filmed this ridiculously inaccurate / inflammatory youtube video (2) advocating Romney's actions which directly undermined the President and our Chief Diplomatic Officer...you guys have really reached a new low for you (and that's quite a low to reach). I agree with Patriot First below....your editorial is very unpatriotic...un-American. Plus, let's face it....regardless of whether Bush had been warned about 9-11 or not, if anyone would've criticized him during those attacks, they would have rightly been called out as un-American.....well, I guess you guys have earned it too.
Maatf
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September 14, 2012
The "first response" was from the U.S. staff at the Egyptian embassy and was intended to calm the uproar in Egype before it became life threatening. It was entirely appropriate. That first response was made before they knew that an attack had occurred in Libya that cost American lives.

Romney spoke before he knew the situation and before he knew who had said what. He tried to make political hay in the middle of a crisis. Romney is being excoriated in most press - and rightly so. He shot from the hip, before he knew the whole story, and blew it.

One administration destroyed 4000 U.S. military lives in an unjustified war to depose a despot in Iraq, where civil war continues. No U.S. military lives were lost in the Arab Spring that saw despots in Libya, Egype, and Yemen be kicked while a different administration held in the U.S. US worked with NATO to support the effort in Libya but let the people of Eqypt and Yemen manage their own revolutions. Civil unrest continues in those countries, too.

The path to internal peace and democracy in those countries will not be smooth and it will take many years for the people of those countries to find their own balance. But those battles are their own, unless they harm our citizens.

We now have U.S. troops in Libya and Yemen to protect our citizens in those countries. Exactly appropriate.

Good job, Mr. President.
KennesawJay
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September 14, 2012
Devlin,

Actually, documentation shows that Bush was warned as early as May of 2001. Remember, Bush had an Iraq invasion plan as early as Feb 2001. It's all documented. I don't blame him for Sept. 11. As I don't blame Obama for Lybia.

All I care about is that we see that BOTH sides are incompetent and only divide us to conquer us. Their allegiance is to their party, not to America. That's why they call themselves Republicans and Democrats.

I wish we could start a party for Americans that would unite the country and not attack the other parties for doing the same thing.

sure and certain
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September 14, 2012
The blood of those four good men are on the hands of the grossly incompetent Obama and his handmaiden, Hillary.
KennesawJay
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September 14, 2012
Right, just like the blood of the thousands killed in New York is on the hands of George Bush, who was warned about the attacks...
anonymous
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September 14, 2012
@KennesawJay

If you really want to go down that road then, it was Clinton; Osama was given to Clinton on a silver platter, he choose not to deal with him….
Devlin Adams
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September 14, 2012
Kennesawjay./ Bush was not warned any more than Obama was warned. I have no use for Obams and will work to see him defeated, but to try to blame him for that tragedy is as stupid and senseless and without evidence as it was when t the libs were all trying to say that Bush knew about the 9-11 attacks.
KennesawJay
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September 14, 2012
Hey Devlin,

I don't like either party. We don't have Americans running our country; we have Republicans and Democrats. They divide us and stay in power. Yet, nothing really changes...no matter which party is president.

I only comment on this stuff to get both sides to see how silly it is to blame the other. We have the same open issues regardless...

When has hating the democrats solved anything? When has hating the republicans solved anything?

It hasn't...but we still hate with unfounded allegations and talking points.
otter357
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September 15, 2012
@sure and certain,

Have you ever seen a movie called "Idiocracy"?

In this comedy the protagonist, the smartest man in the world, is named "Not Sure".

Your comment is not from the smartest man in the world.
dustoff
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September 14, 2012
First off Obama did not make Bin Laden pay, the Navy Seals did that.

Second no one who has any knowledge of Muslim customs would make a woman Sec. of State and send them to talk to Muslim leaders. You might as well slap them in the face.



Third our sitting President has done nothing but blame everything for the past 4 years on someone else. He does not have the backbone to step up and credit anyone with any accomplishment and he does is point fingers and blame others.

And lastly I am really tired of him and his family spending thousands of dollars to take vacations, I mean really using my tax dollars to send his 13 yr. old on a vacation to Mexico.

KennesawJay
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September 14, 2012
Hi Dustoff,

I believe everyone knows the Navy Seals killed Bin Laden, and not Obama. It was covered thoroughly by the media. Not sure what your point was.

Do you want America to conform to Muslim customs to appease them? Wouldn't that be a slap in our faces?

President Obama has been on vacation 78 days from 2009 to 2011. At the three year mark into their first terms, George W. Bush spent 180 days on vacation and Ronald Reagan spent 112 vacation days. Of course, staff was around all three Presidents on vacations and all White House aides argue that the commander-in-chief is never “out of touch” with work.

Do a little thinking and research before you post your Anti-American and Anti-woman rants...even though I am not a Hillary Clinton fan.
Maatf
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September 14, 2012
If the Navy Seal operation had failed to kill bin Laden and Navy Seal lives had been lost, Obama would have been blamed. They didn't go into that operation without his permission. Yes, it was Navy Seals - and a moment of pride for our military. But it was also the risk of losing American lives and risk facing great ridicule for a failure that is important to recognize.

Bush spent weeks and weeks vacationing at his ranch in Texas; his daughters spent years at college being protected because their father was president. I didn't begrudge Bush his time or the protection of his family. I don't begrudge Obama his time or the protection of his family.
otter357
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September 15, 2012
I am grateful you don't work for the State Department. Or a logician.
VFP42
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September 14, 2012
I like reading the MDJ because it makes 750 AM sound moderate!
Just the facts...
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September 14, 2012
He made sure Osama bin laden paid and that justice was done.

Some nut jobs attack our embassy and it's Obama's fault?

Idiotic
patriot first
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September 14, 2012
This is easily the most unpatriotic screed I've yet seen written by this disgusting editorial staff. Romney's comments, which were uttered solely for political points, came in the middle of the developing crisis...imagine on 9-11 between the collapse of towers 1 and 2 some Democrat had started fingerpointing at W's asleep at the wheel approach to domestic security ? How crass and shameful MDJ editorial board...please take your America-hating column somewhere else.
Not sure how
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September 14, 2012
you get "america-hating" out of this column.

Seems like Obama is the one that hates America.

After all, when he was younger and marketing his book, he approved a biography that stated that he was born in Kenya.
KennesawJay
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September 14, 2012
To Not Sure How,

If I understand correctly, you're saying that our intelligence program under Republican George Bush was so incompetent that they allowed a foreigner to become president?
@kennesaw
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September 15, 2012
You have made a very wrong ASSUMPTION..

Regardless of where he was born, Obama chose to market himself as a Kenyan born citizen. Bush had nothing to do with Obama's marketing. I guess if Obama was born in the US he was lying when he said he was born in Kenya.
Samuel Adams
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September 24, 2012
Romney's comments are valid and show the real differences between a leader and an empty chair.

As I recall, John Kerry made no bones in bashing Bush's foreign policy. I can think of numerous other Democrats who've travelled abroad to voice displeasure with Bush's policies. Don't be a hypocrit, Patriot.
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