The Washington Post

Talk to me tonight, Barry

Look at me, Barry. Admit ignorance. Admit confusion. State the obvious. No one knew at first what had happened. We’re grown-ups. We’d understand. We all know of the fog of war and that first reports are rarely right. We know about confusion — we have some in our own lives — and we would understand if you copped to being human. Just say, who the hell knew?

From the accounts of several news organizations, it’s now clears that initially there were conflicting reports. It did seem that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to that anti-Islam video seen (or not seen) on the Internet. And it also seemed that it was nothing of the sort. It was an attack by a radical militia. But was it planned or did the group just seize the opportunity? It’s still not really clear. It may never be. Some people are still arguing over Pearl Harbor.

You, too, Mitt. Just talk to us. Cut the macho bluster of how you’re going to duke it out with the ayatollah and concede that this is a tough problem and that sanctions — as unsatisfying as they may be — seem to be doing their job. Concede also that while you talk tough on Syria, your plan is about the same as President Obama’s — to my mind, no plan at all. As for Russia and China, stop trying to refight the Cold War. It’s over. We won. Look it over.

The two of you: Stop trying to score points and instead do some explaining. The idea is to inform us, not to take out the other guy.

Richard Cohen writes a weekly political column for The Washington Post.


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