It’s easy to predict the Obama administration’s handling of Mideast policy. One only has to determine what logic and common sense would dictate. The president will do the exact opposite.
On Sept. 11, the U.S consulate in Benghazi and the Cairo Embassy came under attack, resulting in the deaths of our ambassador to Libya and three of his aides.
White House officials spent a week spinning the incident as an ad hoc demonstration in response to a low-budget movie trailer published two months earlier that few, if any, in North Africa had ever seen. The administration now admits that the attacks were pre-planned.
Intelligence sources suggest that the Benghazi raid was possibly led by Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a Libyan al Qaida member. He was released into Libyan custody from Guantanamo Bay by the Bush administration, subject to Libya’s promise that he remain under lock and key. A year later, the Qaddafi regime released bin Qumu to placate Libyan Islamists. Although a “shame on Bush” moment, it should also have been a learning experience for future administrations. It wasn’t.
Ten days after the Benghazi attacks, the Obama administration announced that 55 Guantanamo Bay prisoners were being considered for release. Although his name appears nowhere on the list, CBS News reported that Omar Abdel-Rahman, known as the “Blind Sheik,” may also have been released.
Rahman was the spiritual leader and a planner of the failed 1993 attempt to destroy the World Trade Center. Osama bin Laden later used the failed event and the sheik’s imprisonment to justify 9/11.
Rather than stating unequivocally that the sheik will never be released, the State Department only said that “there is no plan for Rahman to be set free.” Equivocation never inspires confidence, especially so soon on the heels of the tragedy in Benghazi.
Nor is this the first Obama misstep in Middle East relations. The “New Beginning” speech he delivered in Cairo in the first year of his administration was meant to soothe tensions between the United States and Muslim countries. TheAtlantic makes the case that Obama’s address instead exacerbated them.
In his “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday, the president was asked about meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanuahu to discuss Iran’s nuclear plans. He answered that he’s “going to block out any noise that’s out there.” As if to emphasize this statement, despite the foreign policy crises of the last two weeks, Obama gave a softball interview with the women of “The View” rather than meet with foreign leaders
In stark contrast to the Obama administration’s fumbles and disengagement, consider the acts of the passengers of United Flight 93 on Sept. 11. In the words of Steve Malay, writing for RedState.com:
“The heroes of Flight 93 didn’t have a week to conclude we were under terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The attacks had no precedent. Flight 93?s passengers had scant shreds of information but a ton of common sense and the will to act.”
President Obama recently noted that his GOP presidential rival, Mitt Romney, has no foreign policy experience. That may be true, but then again, Obama had none either before entering office. But what’s more important, Romney’s business acumen demonstrates both the common sense and talent for logical thinking exhibited by Flight 93’s heroes. I submit that’s all the job requires and is eminently preferable to the alternative.
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