Transparency, honesty, trust and civility. These were the pillars upon which Obama promised to build "Hope and Change." Wow! What happened?
The appalling facts emerging out of Benghazi, Libya, throw each of these virtues aside and, coupled with foreign policy failures in the Middle East, provide additional reasons to end Obama's term as president.
We now know that the White House, State Department and CIA were fed live streams of the 7-hour battle that took the lives of four Americans who were in Benghazi for noble purposes. Following attacks on the Consulate in April and June, the 9/11 attack was repeatedly forewarned by Ambassador Stevens who begged for more security. His pleas were denied. After downgrading security forces at most Middle Eastern embassies in August, Secretary Panetta now concedes that the reason military help within the region was not sent to the Consulate during the attack was because they "did not have a clear picture of what was occurring on the ground." Astounding! Americans were being murdered and the Administration was watching.
Coordinated attacks on the Consulate and its less visible but distant Annex with AK-47s, RPGs and mortars are hardly the tools of protesters upset over a You Tube video denigrating the prophet. Moreover, within two hours of the attack, an email from our embassy in Tripoli to the Administration stated that Ansar al-Sharia, a terrorists group tied to Al Qaeda, had claimed responsibility for the attack through Facebook and Twitter postings.
Ironically, just this week, Hillary Clinton took to the podium to defuse the allegations of a cover up by stating that the Administration did not consider a Face Book posting to be credible. That's strange. Within days of the attack, the president's talking heads were pointing to the You Tube video as the cause of the "unruly protesters" run on the consulate. So, You Tube is credible but Facebook is not? Hmmmm.
What is in play here is Obama's continued ball spiking over the killing of bin Laden and the claim that Al Qaeda is finished and on the run. He cannot claim that the war on terror has been won when, on the anniversary of 9/11, Islamic terrorists attacked our embassy and murdered innocent servants who had asked for more security.
Can Obama claim progress in the Middle East when oppressive regimes are overthrown only to be replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood? Syria has been killing its own citizen for more than a year while Iran "acquires" nuclear weapons and threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Why is the president "putting daylight between the United States and Israel," our only ally in that region, when he should be strident in his support of a tiny democracy that wants only to exist? The President claims that our sanctions against Iran are crippling, but are they working? Bomb making goes on unabated. Our sanctions should completely isolate Iran from the rest of the civilized world and turn it into a pariah nation that no one will deal with.
If you are still inclined to blame our stagnant economy on Bush, ask yourself whether Obama's performance in the Middle East over the past two years has improved regional stability and our security at home.
John M. Kunst, Jr., Fairplay