Boehner demands answers on Benghazi while Panetta warns of 'Monday morning quarterbacking'
by Hope Hodge
October 26, 2012
Though Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney declined to press Obama on the Benghazi attacks during a foreign policy debate Monday night, House Republicans have indicated they are not back down in their search for answers in a pattern of apparent security missteps prior to the attacks and misinformation afterward.
In a letter dated Thursday, Boehner asked Obama to provide a public accounting for what the White House knew about the security concerns of murdered U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and other Americans on-site in Libya and why the consulate was unable to receive the backup security it requested. And following an extended period in which the White House mischaracterized the terrorist attack as an organic riot response to an anti-Muslim video, Boehner wanted to know how the administration’s policy response to the violence had shifted in acknowledgment of the new narrative and how to make up for missed opportunities in the early stages of the incident investigation.
“Many Americans are frustrated and alarmed to read that news agencies appear to have better access to the site of the attack and to individuals of interest than the administration,” Boehner wrote.
Boehner also asked the president to dictate whether he was willing to take action in response to the attacks to protect U.S. national security interests.
“Mr. President, our country will not be able to move on from the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2012 until the public better understands the answers to these key questions and concerns,” Boehner said, asking Obama to make a public address in response to the letter at the earliest possible date.
Meanwhile, during a mid-afternoon media briefing at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was downplaying questions from reporters about reports of a U.S. drone hovering above the Benghazi consulate during the attacks and how much the Defense Department knew during and immediately after the assault.
“There’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here,” he said. “…This happened within a few hours and it was really over before was had the opportunity to find out what was happening.”
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added during the briefing that questions should be saved until after ongoing investigations and reviews were completed.
“It’s not helpful, in my view, to provide partial answers,” Dempsey said. “I’m confident that our forces were alert and responsive to what was a very fluid situation.”
Read more: http://goo.gl/f5ZbQ
They Got It Right: America Is Their Enemy
by Barry Rubin
October 24, 2012
One of President Barack Obama’s main themes has been to convince Middle Eastern Islamists and Arabs generally that America is not their enemy. But the reason this strategy never works is that the radicals, be they Islamists or nationalists, know better. They see the United States as their enemy and they are right to do so.
No amount of sympathy, empathy, economic aid, apology, or appeasement will change this fact. Nor did such efforts succeed in making either Obama or the United States popular in such circles and among the tens of millions of people influenced by them. The only thing surprising about all of this is that so few “experts” and politicians seem to comprehend it.
There are a number of reasons why this is true, though many people mistakenly think they must find just one factor that explains this reality. The causes of this enmity include:
–American policies. True, the United States has supported Israel and also many Arab regimes over the years — including countries like Morocco, Tunisia, post-Gadaffi-Libya, Egypt, pre-Hizballah Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, post-Saddam Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates. The Islamists are equally unhappy with the U.S. support for the Palestinian Authority.
In short, U.S. support for any non-radical regime makes radicals angry and will always do so.
So what if the United States is nice to radical or Islamist regimes? Will that help?
No. The radicals still keep their goals — which include throwing U.S. influence out of the region and overthrowing its allies — no matter what Washington tries to do to please them. In the context of their ideology, they interpret U.S. concessions as signs of weakness which thus invite them to become even more militant and aggressive.
In Libya and Iraq, the governments have been pretty much directly installed by America. Thus, anyone who wants to overthrow those governments has a strong vested interest in hating and attacking Americans. The assassination of the ambassador to Libya wasn’t an accident or the result of a video but the inevitable and logical outcome of the political situation there.
As for Israel, giving that country less help would not change the radical view. Only if the United States had the same policy as Hamas, Hizballah, and the Muslim Brotherhood might it be forgiven. Merely putting more space between the United States and Israel, to paraphrase Obama’s stated intention, won’t do it. Even brokering a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which isn’t going to happen of course, won’t help.
On the contrary, the radicals — especially Hamas, its Egyptian backers, Hizballah, and its Iranian backers — would go into a frenzy of denunciation and attempts to destroy the arrangements, which would be blamed on America. In the Middle East, peacemakers aren’t blessed, they’re assassinated.
The ultimate attempt to do away with these problems would be if U.S. policy would actually help Islamist regimes into power, give them money, and whitewash their extremism. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And we can all see the results have not been good, neither in terms of U.S. interests nor even in terms of U.S. popularity.
Read more: http://goo.gl/zmPHa
THE DAILY CALLER
Texas attorney general demands Hillary Clinton, ‘political’ UN poll watchers respect Texas law
by Jessica Stanton
October 26, 2012
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has officially put Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on notice: United Nations-affiliated election monitors are not above Texas law.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recently announced it would send dozens of international poll monitors to the United States to monitor the upcoming elections.
“It appears that OSCE is under the misimpression that the State Department can somehow help its representatives circumvent the Texas Election Code,” Abbott wrote in a letter sent Thursday to the State Department. “If the OSCE does not want to follow Texas law, then perhaps it should send its representatives to another state.”
“Texas law prohibits unauthorized persons from entering a polling place — or loitering within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance — on Election Day,” Abbott wrote. “OSCE monitors are expected to follow that law like everyone else.” (RELATED: Texas attorney general warns UN poll watchers to keep their distance)
The letter was a response to foreign diplomat Janez Lenarcic, who sent a letter on behalf of the OSCE to the State Department on Wednesday. Lenarcic’s letter called on State Department officials to ensure UN election monitors would not be “restrained in their activities” in Texas on Election Day.
Lenarcic also stated that “the threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable.”
Abbott retorted that the “letter from the OSCE suggests that the international group can circumvent Texas election law by gaining unfettered access to Texas’ polling locations.”
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, Abbott said he was struck by the “attitude” of Lenarcic’s letter on behalf of OSCE, saying it was “an attitude that they could do whatever.”
TheDC asked Abbott what specific things he would like to see from the OSCE and the State Department before and on Election Day.
“[OSCE] needs to admit that they know what the Texas laws are and that they will abide by them,” he said. “Secondly, the secretary of state needs to acknowledge and understand that. And finally, OSCE must fulfill their obligation by abiding by Texas law.”
But Abbott said he has been given “no information” regarding the process these international monitors will employ.
“We do not know who is going to be there, what polling locations they are going to be at, or what they are going to do,” Abbott said.
While he noted it would be “physically impossible” to monitor the international individuals sent to Texas, Abbott said he hopes his original letter to the OSCE heightened awareness about the issue.
“One of the goals we sought when writing the first letter was to educate poll workers and poll watchers — the people assigned to polling locations on Election Day — concerning the OSCE,” Abbott said.
Read more: http://goo.gl/9l1zs