Conservative foreign policy hawks, outraged at the media’s circle-the-wagons reaction to the attacks on two embassies, are speaking out in defense of Mitt Romney.
Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton tells Right Turn:”The perception of American weakness that provided the foundation for these attacks is largely because of Obama administration mistakes and lack of resolve. A repetition of 1979 in Tehran is nor fetched, especially given the weakness of Obama’s statement this morning.” He dismisses the media storyline as pure boosterism: “The press criticism of Romney’s statement is so clearly at the administration’s behest that they are giving lapdogs a bad name.”
Likewise, Danielle Pletka, of the American Enterprise Institute, zeroes in on the discrepancy between President Obama and his secretary of State says the media should focus on whether “Hillary Clinton was right or her boss?” Pletka observes that Clinton at least repudiated the connection to the anti-Mohammed film, but “her boss, not so much. This is the problem for the President. For Barack Obama, there’s always a reason for people to hate us. For Hillary, it’s clear there is no justifiable reason.”
A Romney supporter, along the same lines, told me, “Hillary answered the 3 a.m. phone call.” When it was Obama’s time to speak she appeared to “chaperone” him as he read a prepared statement, likely one she prepared.
Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill are irked by the White House response. Sen. Jim DeMint, for example, put out a statement:
The death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, American Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith and two other Americans is an outrage. Governor Romney is absolutely right, there is no justification for these deadly attacks and we should never apologize for American freedom. Islamic radicals will use any pretext to justify their hatred of America and our freedom.
It was disheartening to hear the administration condemn Americans engaging in free speech that hurt the feelings of Muslims, while real atrocities have been repeatedly committed by Islamic radicals against women, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East.
American freedoms are not to blame for the terrorist attacks of 9/11 or the apparently coordinated attacks on yesterday’s anniversary. Islamic extremists are to blame and we must work with officials in Libya and Egypt to ensure those who attacked our embassies are brought to justice.
These attacks raise serious questions about whether we were properly prepared and about the effectiveness of our policies and foreign aid in these nations. We need to get the facts on these attacks, the ongoing threats to America in these countries, and rethink our policies in Libya and Egypt going forward.”
And Gary Schmitt of AEI observed in an email to me that “the administration made much to do about its success in Libya, both removing Qaddafi and not getting our shoes muddy by having a presence in post-tyrant Libya. Well, leading from behind does have consequences…including instability, lost opportunities.”
You can expect more conservatives to join, not only because they see this as a flagrant case of media shilling for the president, but because they genuinely believe this is the inevitable consequence of the president’s foreign policy approach and lack of attention to national security. They will continue to press on a number of points.
Foreign policy gurus with whom I have spoken today were attuned to reports that this was a coordinated, planned assault on two embassies. CNN reported: “ The incident does not appear to be a random mob scene, but rather an opportunity that militants seized, sources say. The attackers used a rocket-propelled grenade, a weapon not traditionally carried by protesters, but commonly used by terrorists.The attack is believed to have come in two waves. The first wave got inside of the compound, and a second wave penetrated a secure room inside the building. This fact raises questions about how the attackers knew the location of the rooms inside, sources say.”
If this is the case, what intelligence chatter was picked up? What precautions were taken? What was in president’s briefing and did he attend those briefings? Why are we relying on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to protect Americans?
The reaction of the Obama administration, for those who lived through it, is eerily reminiscent of the Clinton administration when a series of bombings (the 1993 World Trade Center, the Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the U.S.S. Cole) were treated as discrete events without a significant U.S. response. This, the 9-11 Commission and others concluded, was a dangerous misstep and set the ground work for the 9-11 attacks. The repetition of this ominous pattern on the 11th anniversary of 9-11 shouldn’t be overlooked. It is the quickness to excuse Islamic violence and the lack of a forceful response that is deeply troubling to critics of the administration. We may be in the middle of a campaign, but the national security concerns are real and valid.