Was Romney Wrong to Criticize Obama?
The story in the Middle East is rapidly changing. Because I cannot figure out how to link as easily on this blog, you can see more updates on my Facebook page which can be accessed by tapping the Facebook logo above my blog. Of course, the WOWO Facebook page also has breaking news as do the other individual blogs. WOWO offers a complete package of breaking news.
Here I'd like to cover a few points in more detail. Should Mitt Romney have blasted the Administration response?
After the first statement released through our Egyptian Embassy, Mitt Romney blasted it as an example of misguided policies of the Obama Administration that constantly apologize, come across as weak and almost beg to get pushed around by the bullies within that region. It is important to remember that the Libyan attack had not occurred.
He has been roundly criticized (especially by Obama apologists) for speaking out. As Democrat Indiana Senate candidate Joe Donnelly said on the Charly Butcher Show this morning, many feel that we should show national unity when America is under this kind of pressure. That is the mainstream liberal answer, echoed to a degree by Senator John McCain.
1) No precedent. The liberal critics never let up on the War in Iraq even when thousands of our soldiers were getting shot at, nor did they during the Vietnam War, nor - for that matter - did America Firsters during WWII until it became in their interest to do so. In other words, the precedent is that critics shut up when the majority of the people more or less force them too by ostracizing them. If not, like during Vietnam, they are not silent until the crisis is over.
2) We are not at war yet. I was very critical of President Clinton's proposal to send troops into the Balkans, and opposed such action aggressively. While it actually worked out well, it had great risks and set a precedent for intervening in regional conflicts that only indirectly impact the security of America. (All actions in the world can be said to impact us, so what is the standard?) But, once we were in a full scale conflict, our responsibility - especially elected leaders - need to stand for winning & support the President as much as possible.
3) What if the actions occur near the end of a close political campaign, and the opposition feels the incumbent brought on the conflict by the Administration policies and if he is re-elected, more will occur? (In other words, Romney's current position.)
I would argue that historical precedent and obligation compelled him to speak out, even if it actually hurt his election chances. Too much is at stake. No war is underway. Conflicts exist but that is always true. Romney needs to be cautious not to plunge into specifics or react to rumors (he was precise and careful) but some comments are important. People need to understand what is going on.
4) The substance of the Romney/Obama debate. a) was the Administration responsible for the quote? Of course. They appoint the people. All cables are micro-managed. If not, that itself is an issue: what kind of sloppy organization would allow such a statement to be released. b) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's second statement was just about as bad, which was then re-amended (and wiping from the record some of the first one). BTW her future career probably has been damaged. We shall see - too early to tell yet. c) The core is whether being Mr. Nice Guy in a region where the thugs have guns & cut people's heads off while the nice guys read books & enjoy good food is a workable strategy. I, like Romney & Reagan & the Bushes & Israel, think such an idea isn't just naive but extremely dangerous (which actions again prove). d) Has the President's lack of interest in intelligence briefings (attended 43.8% of his briefings, the empty chair attended 56.2%) undermined the quality or other parts of our information? e) A corollary: how in the world did we allow our Ambassador to be in Benghazi, a terrorist hotbed, on 9/11?
We will get more information hourly but the issues are far beyond just Libya: it is a fundamental difference in strategy.