Archive for the ‘Military’ Category
When it comes to energy issues, Rolf Westgard is worth listening to. Apparently, though, he’s developed a habit of hearing what wasn’t said:
More than 90 percent of Crimeans vote to rejoin Russia, and Russia gets ready to annex Crimea. The West protests the referendum with threats of sanctions.
We have short memories, having forgotten how Texas, New Mexico, and California were “annexed” from Mexico. Then, we didn’t even wait for a vote.
Republican war drums are rolling, accusing Obama of not getting tough. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, has blown his trumpet in stating, regarding Ukraine, that we have a “weak and indecisive president” who “invites aggression.”
He must know there is nothing militarily that any American president could or would have done to deter Putin in this situation.
That’s shameful. “Republican war drums” aren’t rolling, as Westgard accuses. The sharpest Republican foreign policy/national security minds have said that arming Ukraine while reaching missile defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic would tell Putin that his expansionist ambitions have consequences without going to war.
That President Obama has refused taking that step, instead opting for sending Ukrainians MREs instead of actual weapons proves President Obama is “a weak and indecisive president.” I never thought I’d live to see the say that I’d see a wimpier president than Jimmy Carter. Suffice it to say that I’ve lived to see that day.
That’s only part of how to make Putin rethink his expansionist ambitions. Last week, I heard a pundit say that Putin’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room. That’s BS. Putin’s acting like the 800-pound gorilla, which isn’t the same as being the 800-pound gorilla.
Dramatically increasing American oil and natural gas production would dramatically hurt the Russian economy, which is heavily reliant on oil revenues. Those of us who lived through the 1980s remember that President Reagan used a multi-pronged approach in bringing the then-Soviet Union to its knees. First, Reagan built up the military, which Jimmy Carter had decimated. Next, Reagan made the U.S. economy the envy of the world, ushering in 6 straight quarters of economic growth that exceeded 5% annual growth. Finally, he deregulated the oil industry, which devastated the Soviet economy.
That’s how President Reagan acted forcefully while demolishing the Soviet Union without firing a shot. That’s what mainstream Republicans are pushing for today. That’s the opposite of Dr. Westgard’s accusations. The difference is that I can verify my statements. Dr. Westgard can’t verify his accusations.
Technorati: Russia, Vladimir Putin, Soviet Empire, Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine, President Obama, Jimmy Carter, Appeasement, Democrats, President Reagan, Missile Defense, Economic Growth, Deregulation, Oil Revenues, GOP
After reading Rand Paul’s op-ed about Ronald Reagan, it’s clear he doesn’t understand President Reagan. This part is particularly upsetting:
Many forget today that Reagan’s decision to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev was harshly criticized by the Republican hawks of his time, some of whom would even call Reagan an appeaser. In the Middle East, Reagan strategically pulled back our forces after the tragedy in Lebanon in 1983 that killed 241 Marines, realizing the cost of American lives was too great for the mission.
There were Reagan supporters who would’ve done anything for him who didn’t have a clue about President Reagan’s strategy. Apparently, Sen. Paul doesn’t either:
There is a time for military action, such as after 9/11. There is a time for diplomacy and the strategic use of soft power, such as now with Russia. Diplomacy requires resolve but also thoughtfulness and intelligence.
What President Reagan did wasn’t “soft power.” What he did was show the world, especially the Soviet presidents of the time, that he was committed to simultaneously waging war by rebuilding the U.S. military and through showing the Soviets that their economy couldn’t keep pace with a U.S. economy that was growing like gangbusters.
In short, President Reagan’s idea of “soft power” was to scare the bejesus out of Soviets militarily while burying them economically.
As for President Reagan’s conservative critics, they literally littered the landscape. It was 10 times worse with Democrats. As a newly elected senator, John Kerry said that President Reagan’s installing Pershing II missiles in western Europe would destabilize the U.S.-Russian relationship. Six years later, the Berlin Wall was smashed by liberty-loving East Berliners.
Apparently, Sen. Paul didn’t notice that President Reagan didn’t start serious negotiations with the Soviets until his 2nd term. Once, when a reporter asked President Reagan why he hadn’t held a summit with his Russian counterpart, President Reagan replied “Because they keep dying on me.”
Old school ‘experts’ thought it was unthinkable for a U.S. president not to have a yearly summit with the Soviet leader. President Reagan was a master negotiator. He wasn’t worried about doing things for appearances sake. President Reagan didn’t start negotiating with the Soviets until he’d laid the foundation for intimidating Gorbachev.
Another thing President Reagan should be praised for is his fierce insistence on winning and losing. When asked what his strategy was towards the Soviets, President Reagan simply said “We win, they lose.” The world was stunned when they heard that. They didn’t like it, either, when President Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” He was right in calling them evil.
What else would you call an expansionist-minded, murderous empire that throws dissidents into harsh gulags? That’s where Putin got his worldview.
I’ve talked frequently about the Reagan Doctrine, which I describe as President Reagan utilizing the threat of military force and economic superiority to negotiate the USSR into history’s dust-bin of failed ideologies.
It worked in toppling the Soviet Union. It’ll certainly work now in toppling Putin. At this point, we have proof that Sen. Paul and President Obama haven’t grasped that concept, much less unleashed its power.
Technorati: Reagan Doctrine, Ronald Reagan, Tear Down This Wall, Cold War, Strategic Defense Initiative, Pershing II Missiles, Republicans, Rand Paul, John Kerry, President Obama, Appeasers, Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin, Gulags, Russia, Soviet Union
David Ignatius’s latest article is one of the most blatantly partisan and intellectually dishonest articles I’ve read about Benghazi. Here’s one of Mr. Ignatius’s most ridiculous claims:
Driving the Republican jihad was a claim, first reported in October 2012 by Fox News, that CIA personnel had wanted to respond more quickly to the Benghazi attack but were ordered to “stand down,” perhaps by political higher-ups. Although this claim was promptly rebutted by CIA officials, it was repeated by Fox at least 85 times, according to a review by the liberal advocacy group Media Matters. This barrage fueled Republican charges that the Democrats were engaging in a cover-up.
What’s wrong with that paragraph is that the charge wasn’t refuted. It was substantiated by Gregory Hicks’ testimony:
Here’s the transcript of the relevant portion of Mr. Hicks’ testimony:
REP. CHAFFETZ: How did the personnel react to being told to stand down?
MR. HICKS: They were furious. I can only say…well, I will quote Lt. Col. Gibson, who said “This is the first time in my career where a diplomat had more balls than someone in the military.
First, let’s question Mr. Ignatius’s methodology. Why would people think that the CIA would know about AFRICOM’s decision? AFRICOM is part of the military, not part of the CIA. Second, Ignatius’ article totally ignores Mr. Hicks’ testimony. Is Mr. Ignatius willing to call Mr. Hick and Lt. Col. Gibson liars or just mistaken?
If I’m given the option of trusting someone on the ground in Libya who talked with Ambassador Stevens or trusting Media Matters, that isn’t a difficult decision. Media Matters are paid liars. That’s what they do. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only questionable statement from Mr. Ignatius’ article:
The Obama administration’s supposed cover-up on Benghazi became a crusade for leading Republicans. A low point came when Issa’s Committee on Oversight and Reform issued a report last September questioning “the independence and integrity of the review” by the Mullen-Pickering group. These were extraordinary charges to make against a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former ambassador to six countries — especially since Issa didn’t present any conclusive evidence to back up his allegations.
The ARB report wasn’t an investigation. It didn’t talk to any State Department personnel on the ground that night in Benghazi. They didn’t talk with Greg Hicks. They didn’t talk with Hillary Clinton or or Leon Panetta. The report’s chief conclusion was that there was a system failure or, as Charles Krauthammer put it, the State Department building failed Christopher Stevens that night.
That isn’t an investigative report. That’s a whitewashing. Why didn’t the ARB affix blame on Mr. Panetta for not pre-positioning military forces to respond to hot spots in northern Africa? Why didn’t the ARB affix blame on Mrs. Clinton for going AWOL while the terrorist attack was raging? Had the ARB done either of those things, it would’ve been a credible report. Had they done both of those things, it would’ve rocked Washington.
Therein lies the problem. Pickering is a diplomat trained in downplaying things. The last thing a diplomat wants to do is ruffle people’s feathers. The ARB report was predictably flawed before it started. What was needed was someone who didn’t mind ruffling feathers, someone who wouldn’t hesitate in asking tough questions and including tough criticism of leaders when they didn’t act to rescue the American patriots who were needlessly assassinated that night in Benghazi.
Finally, there’s this BS:
Perhaps the silliest aspect of the Benghazi affair was the focus on the errant “talking points” prepared for Congress, which cited incorrect intelligence about “spontaneous demonstrations” in Benghazi that wasn’t corrected by the CIA until a week after the points were delivered on Sunday talk shows by Susan Rice, then U.N. ambassador. Rice is still under a cloud because she repeated the CIA’s “points” prepared at Congress’ insistence.
Calling them CIA talking points is wrong. The original document drafted by the CIA was accurate. It wasn’t until Victoria Nuland got involved that the document changed dramatically:
In an email to officials at the White House and the intelligence agencies, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland took issue with including that information because it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned …”
It’s clear that Nuland’s first concern was political. She wasn’t worried about the accuracy of the CIA’s initial document.
Greg Hicks’ testimony dalt with a) things Amb. Stevens told him directly before being assassinated and b) things Lt. Col. Gibson told him directly. Ms. Nuland’s part in the administration’s cover-up dealt with ‘sanitizing’ Gen. Petraeus’ document outlining what happened that night in Benghazi. That’s quite a stark contrast.
That’s why I’ll passionately argue that Mr. Ignatius’ article isn’t a serious refutation of what happened in Benghaz. The first hint that this was a hit piece came early when Ignatius talked about the “Republicans’ jihad”. That alone speaks volumes about Ignatius’ motivation.
Technorati: David Ignatius, Media Bias, Thomas Pickering, Mike Mullen, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, Victoria Nuland, Susan Rice, Talking Points, Greg Hicks, Lt. Col. Gibson, Christopher Stevens, Benghazi Terrorist Attack, Ansar al-Sharia, al-Qaeda, Political Cover-up, Obama Administration, Election 2012
Catherine Herridge’s reporting in this video is the smoking gun that the Left’s apologists say doesn’t exist:
Here’s part of Herridge’s article:
Several Al Qaeda members emerged as “leaders of the pack” in last year’s Benghazi attack, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Fox News following release of a bipartisan report blowing apart claims the assault was the work of local extremists with no formal terrorist connections.
The former Guantanamo detainee Sufian bin Qumu, first identified by Fox’s Bret Baier as a suspect 16 months ago, at the very least helped lay the groundwork for the operation.
“Certainly Qumu was involved in planning in this…he is a member of a group that is affiliated with Al Qaeda so in my mind that makes him Al Qaeda,” said Chambliss, R-Ga.
According to the timeline that’s been put together from the House Armed Services Committee testimony, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama knew that Benghazi was a terrorist attack within fifteen minutes of the start of the attack. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report said that there were direct ties to a former Gitmo detainee who was part of al-Qa’ida’s network. That’s proof that President Obama and Hillary Clinton lied about the origin of the attack. We know this because Hillary accused an obscure filmmaker of triggering the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
This information from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report doesn’t help the administration either:
It concludes that the Benghazi attackers came from two official Al Qaeda affiliates, bin Qumu’s Ansar al-Sharia, and a fourth group, the Jamal network, whose leader is connected to the Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.
“Individuals affiliated with terrorist groups including AQIM, Ansar al-Sharia, AQAP and the Mohammad Jamal Network participated in the September 11, 2012 attacks,” the report said.
That doesn’t leave the administration any wiggle room on whether this was a professionally coordinated terrorist attack. This information mocks the State Department’s spin that “core al-Qa’ida” wasn’t involved in planning the Benghazi assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stevens. People in New York, at the Pentagon and across the country don’t care whether “core al-Qa’ida” planned Stevens’ assassination. They’re just worried that Detroit is bankrupt and al-Qa’ida is alive and well in north Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and southwest Asia.
People are worried that the terrorists are gaining more sanctuaries where they can plan and train for their next major terrorist attack. People don’t care whether the State Department’s narrative is spin. They care about whether their families are safe. Based on what we’ve seen happening during this administration’s time in office, people have a right to be worried that another terrorist attack is right around the corner.
The Obama/Hillary/Panetta national security team has been close to worthless. They killed bin Laden, the leader of a psychotic movement. Then they let that movement grow and flourish. Al-Qa’ida in Iraq had been demolished. Their training bases in Afghanistan had been demolished. Then President Obama and Secretary Clinton abandoned Iraq to appease their nutjob anti-war supporters. Now al-Qa’ida is alive and well in north Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and southwest Asia.
FNC’s James Rosen has looked through newly declassified documents that say senior Pentagon officials briefed President Obama that Benghazi was a terrorist attack:
Minutes after the American consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Sept. 11, 2012, the nation’s top civilian and uniformed defense officials, headed for a previously scheduled Oval Office session with President Obama, were informed that the event was a “terrorist attack,” declassified documents show. The new evidence raises the question of why the top military men, one of whom was a member of the president’s Cabinet, allowed him and other senior Obama administration officials to press a false narrative of the Benghazi for two weeks afterward.
That’s frightening. Gen. Carter Ham, then the leader of AFRICOM, told then Defense Secretary Panetta that Benghazi had been attacked and that it was a terrorist attack:
Ham’s account of that fateful day was included in some 450 pages of testimony given by senior Pentagon officials in classified, closed-door hearings conducted last year by the Armed Services subcommittee. The testimony, given under “Top Secret” clearance and only declassified this month, presents a rare glimpse into how information during a crisis travels at the top echelons of America’s national security apparatus, all the way up to the president.
Also among those whose secret testimony was declassified was Dempsey, the first person Ham briefed about Benghazi. Ham told lawmakers he considered it a fortuitous “happenstance” that he was able to rope Dempsey and Panetta into one meeting, so that, as Ham put it, “they had the basic information as they headed across for the meeting at the White House.” Ham also told lawmakers he met with Panetta and Dempsey when they returned from their 30-minute session with President Obama on Sept. 11.
Despite Gen. Ham’s briefing, President Obama insisted that we didn’t know what happened in Benghazi, telling Joy Behar of the View that they were still conducting an investigation into what happened that terrible night in Benghazi.
What’s worse is that Secretary Panetta and Gen. Dempsey didn’t speak out immediately. They were briefed by Gen. Ham that the consulate had been attacked by terrorists. Gen. Ham didn’t talk about a demonstration that got hijacked by terrorists. He talked about a co-ordinated terrorist attack.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, a first-term lawmaker with experience as an Iraq war veteran and Army reserve officer, pressed Ham further on the point, prodding the 29-year Army veteran to admit that “the nature of the conversation” he had with Panetta and Dempsey was that “this was a terrorist attack.”
The transcript reads as follows:
WENSTRUP: “As a military person, I am concerned that someone in the military would be advising that this was a demonstration. I would hope that our military leadership would be advising that this was a terrorist attack.”
HAM: “Again, sir, I think, you know, there was some preliminary discussion about, you know, maybe there was a demonstration. But I think at the command, I personally and I think the command very quickly got to the point that this was not a demonstration, this was a terrorist attack.”
WENSTRUP: “And you would have advised as such if asked. Would that be correct?”
HAM: “Well, and with General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta, that is the nature of the conversation we had, yes, sir.”
Minutes before they met with President Obama, Gen. Dempsey and Secretary Panetta were told that terrorists had attacked the Benghazi consulate and that Ambassador Stevens was unaccounted for. It’s inconceivable that Panetta and Dempsey didn’t brief President Obama that a terrorist attack was underway.
For the first time since the attacks, a timeline of events and briefings is emerging. That’s especially important because the timeline involves briefings by the top people in the White House and at the Pentagon. These aren’t low-level staffers sharing gossip. These are the top echelons of President Obama’s national security cabinet. This especially stings the President:
Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February of last year that it was him who informed the president that “there was an apparent attack going on in Benghazi.” “Secretary Panetta, do you believe that unequivocally at that time we knew that this was a terrorist attack?” asked Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. “There was no question in my mind that this was a terrorist attack,” Panetta replied.
Based on this testimony, there’s no question that President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Ambassor Rice lied about the importance of the anti-Muslim video. They knew within minutes that this was a precision terrorist attack. Then they told America that a video made the terrorists resort to violence.
President Obama’s credibility took a major hit for lying to the American people about keeping the health insurance plan they liked. His credibility will take another major hit for lying about the terrorist attack that got 4 American patriots murdered in Benghazi. Frankly, there isn’t a justification for trusting President Obama after all the whoppers he’s told.
Glenn Reynolds’ latest USA Today column is delightful reading, starting with the opening paragraphs:
There are two Americas, all right. There’s one that works, where new and creative things happen, where mistakes are corrected, and where excellence is rewarded. Then there’s Washington, where everything is pretty much the opposite. That has been particularly evident over the past week or so. One America can launch rockets. The other America can’t even launch a website.
In Washington, it’s been stalemate, impasse, and theater the kind of place where a government shutdown leads park rangers to complain, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” Well, yes. The politics don’t work, the websites don’t work, even for the people who manage to log on, and the government shutdown informs us that most of government is “non-essential.” Instead of correcting mistakes or rewarding excellence, it’s mostly finger-pointing, blame-shifting, and excuse-making.
Simply put, DC is where incompetence and cruelty (see shutting down the World War II Memorial) aren’t criticized. The heartland is where wealth and jobs are created without a sneering politician criticizing companies for making too much money.
President Obama has taken political nastiness and incompetence to unprecedented levels. His economic policies are a total disaster because they’re contrary to the rules of time-tested rules of capitalism. Three part-time jobs are created for every full-time job that’s created. Still, the administration insists that we’re on the right path.
Americans know better.
Russia laughs at us. Syria blows us off. Al-Qa’ida in Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt attack our embassies and consulates with little fear of reprisal.
In short, we’re the global joke.
Politicians don’t care about that; like two-year-olds in an ice cream parlor, all they want is more. But the rest of us should think long and hard about how many resources we should allow politicians to control, given their track record lately. Because Washington is clearly a world that doesn’t work.
Ronald Reagan spoke to this way back in the 1980s. Here’s what he said:
Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
Lois Lerner violated TEA Party activists’ First Amendment rights. Instead of getting prosecuted, she got a cushy retirement pension. Hillary Clinton ignored Christopher Stevens’ repeated requests for more security forces. As a result, 4 American patriots needlessly died. Now she’s gearing up for another run at the White House.
Where’s the Democrats’ outrage over these disgusting incidents? Lois Lerner didn’t hesitate in using the full force of the US government on people simply wanting to exercise their First Amendment rights. Hillary was nowhere to be found prior to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2012. Christopher Stevens repeatedly told the State Department hierarchy that terrorists were pouring into Benghazi and that the compound wasn’t safe. Please beef up security, he urged.
Instead of listening to him, Hillary chose to proceed as if Benghazi was as safe as downtown St. Cloud on a Wednesday afternoon. During the 2008 campaign, Hillary ran an ad questioning Barack Obama’s qualifications if a call came in from overseas at 3 am. Clearly, 4 years into his administration, he wasn’t prepared to deal with a crisis. Apparently, Hillary wasn’t prepared for that type of crisis either.
Technorati: President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Lois Lerner, International Crisis, IRS, First Amendment, Government Shutdown, Christopher Stevens, Benghazi, Libya, Terrorist Attack, Accountability, Democrats
This morning, it was announced that the US and Russia had reached an agreement on eliminating Syria’s WMD stockpile. According to this post, Syria’s WMD stockpile must be eliminated by the middle of 2014:
GENEVA — The United States and Russia have reached an agreement that calls for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.
Under a “framework” agreement, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, Mr. Kerry said, speaking at a news conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov.
An immediate test of the viability of the accord will come within a week when the Syrian government is to provide a “comprehensive listing” of its chemical stockpile.
Anyone that thinks Russia will operate in good faith to eliminate Syria’s WMDs is delusional or simply lying to the American people. The chances that the Russians will live up to their agreement are about the same as President Obama living up to enforcing every provision in the PPACA or meeting its implementation deadlines.
It’s getting tiresome watching this administration getting treated like prison bitches by other nations. Kerry’s flippant remark in London opened the door for the Russians. The minute he said that, Putin and Lavrov jumped at the opportunity to use Kerry’s statement to keep Assad in power.
At the time Libya offered to get rid of its WMDs, they weren’t at war. It’s taken 8 years to get Libya’s WMD stockpiles under control. They’re still finding stockpiles of it.
By comparison, Syria is in the midst of a bloody civil war. Further, they’re doing everything to shift their WMDs to new locations. Finally, they’re insisting that the US take military strikes off the table before letting the weapon inspectors into their country.
The odds that Syria’s WMDs will be gone by July, 2014 are about as high as me getting hit with lightning while holding 2 winning lottery tickets. It’s a fiction, just like the community of nations, the Easter Bunny and unicorns are fiction.
UPDATE: Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham aren’t conservatives’ favorite senators but they’re right this time:
“Assad will use the months and months afforded to him to delay and deceive the world using every trick in Saddam Hussein’s playbook,” the Republican senators said in a statement. “It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”
That’s been conservatives’ opinion since Secretary Kerry stumbled into this terrible deal last Monday.
If this article is right, President Obama is staring at an historic defeat in the House of Representatives:
If the House voted today on a resolution to attack Syria, President Barack Obama would lose — and lose big.
That’s the private assessment of House Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides who are closely involved in the process.
If the Senate passes a use-of-force resolution next week, which is no sure thing, the current dynamics suggest that the House would defeat it. That would represent a dramatic failure for Obama, and once again prove that his sway over Congress is extraordinarily limited. The loss would have serious reverberations throughout the next three months, when Obama faces off against Congress in a series of high-stakes fiscal battles.
That’s the least terrible information in the article. This is a political nightmare for President Obama:
But Democrats privately say that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) can only round up between 115 and 130 “yes” votes.
That comes out to President Obama getting 150-175 votes for a limited missile strike on Syria. What’s more is that it would fail because a solid bipartisan group of congressmen and women voted against the resolution.
That’s a political nightmare for this administration.
First, it would virtually confer lame duck status on President Obama before the 2014 midterm elections. Second, it would deny President Obama the credibility he’d need to blame the defeat on recalcitrant Republicans. He’ll still accuse Republicans of obstructionism but it won’t convince anyone who isn’t already in the tank for President Obama.
One person who’s apparently still suffering from Kissing Obama’s Ass-itis is a NYTimes blogger named Timothy Egan. This post is a portrait in either Mr. Egan’s gullibility or his dishonesty. Here’s how he’s attempting to shift blame away from President Obama:
Blame Bush? Of course, President Obama has to lead; it’s his superpower now, his armies to move, his stage. But the prior president gave every world leader, every member of Congress a reason to keep the dogs of war on a leash. The isolationists in the Republican Party are a direct result of the Bush foreign policy. A war-weary public that can turn an eye from children being gassed or express doubt that it happened is another poisoned fruit of the Bush years. And for the nearly 200 members of both houses of Congress who voted on the Iraq war in 2002 and are still in office and facing a vote this month, Bush shadows them like Scrooge’s ghost.
What this idiot is arguing, feebly arguing I would add, is that Congress would vote overwhelmingly to authorize an unserious missile strike in Syria if President Bush hadn’t soured us on war by invading Iraq. That’s BS.
If the Syria authorization vote were held today, it would lose badly because President Obama isn’t proposing doing anything serious about Syria’s dictator. Had President Obama acted 2 years ago, there would’ve been support in Congress. Thanks to President Obama’s dithering and his pacifistic nature, al-Qa’ida gained a foothold in Syria. Because of that X-factor, there aren’t any good options in Syria.
This difficult decision is brought on by President Obama’s unwillingness to lead, not President Bush’s wars.
In a stunning statement this morning, President Obama insisted that the Benghazi investigation is much ado about nothing:
“And suddenly three days ago this gets spun up as if there’s something new to the story,” Obama said in response to a question about Benghazi. “There’s no there there.”
The president continued, “Keep in mind, by the way, these so-called talking points that were prepared for Susan Rice, five, six days after the event occurred, pretty much matched the assessments that I was receiving at that time in my presidential daily briefing.”
There’s plenty that’s new here. Prior to Wednesday, I didn’t know that Hillary Clinton talked with Gregory Hicks while the Benghazi attacks were happening. Prior to Hicks’ testimony, I didn’t know that Hicks told Hillary that there was an attack going on.
In addition to new information from the testimony, there’s also tons of new questions to get answers to. First, who eliminated the FEST option? Next, why was the FEST option eliminated? Third, who gave the orders to Lt. Col. Gibson to not rescue Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods? Fourth, why was this order given? Fifth, why did the State Department’s objections to the CIA’s report take precedence over the truth? After all, the CIA got it right the first time. Sixth, why did Beth Jones send out an email calling the Benghazi attack a terrorist attack? Seventh, why was the truth the final casualty of the terrorists’ attack?
As for President Obama saying that the “talking points that were prepared for Susan Rice” “pretty much the assessments” he was receiving during his PDBs, that’s BS. It’s insulting. The CIA’s initial report talked about a terrorist attack, with members of Ansar al-Shariah participating in the attack. The CIA’s initial report also talked multiple warnings from the CIA of mounting terrorist threats to foreign interests in Benghazi. That was deleted from the State Department’s talking points. Make no mistake, either, about the talking points. What started as a CIA intelligence report was eventually turned into a State Department CYA talking points memo.
This morning, I wrote that Wednesday’s hearing on Benghazi will be explosive. This article assures us that President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice will be feeling the heat. Here’s some information that’s certain to increase the heat on the administration:
The account from Gregory Hicks is in stark contrast to assertions from the Obama administration, which insisted that nobody was ever told to stand down and that all available resources were utilized. Hicks gave private testimony to congressional investigators last month in advance of his upcoming appearance at a congressional hearing Wednesday.
According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”
The Obama administration has insisted that there weren’t military assets that could’ve reached Benghazi. Gregory Hicks’ testimony contradicts the administration’s spin. Hicks’ testimony also demolishes the credibility of the ARB’s report on Benghazi. That report didn’t point the finger at anyone. Instead, it spoke of the systemic failures that happened that day.
If Hicks’ testimony is that Lt. Col. Gibson was prevented from putting together a rescue operation, then someone had to have given that order. We know that because a special operator told Fox News’ Adam Housley that special operators were prepared to respond quickly.
It’s impossible to predict with any certainty whether other networks will start covering this scandal. What’s totally predictable, though, is that Hicks’ testimony will put a big hit on the Obama administration’s credibility on Benghazi. It will also hurt the ARB’s report, which cited “systemic failures” for the poor response for Benghazi.
This wasn’t a systemic failure. This was about Hillary Clinton failing to do her job. It’s about Leon Panetta failing in his responsibility to have troops prepared for the anniversary of 9/11. It’s about President Obama ignoring the needs of the diplomats in Benghazi.
In short, it was a human failure.