Thursday, September 20, 2012

Obama Incompetence in Mid-East Rivals Carter’s in Iran  

By: Bob Barr  / Townhall Daily / Columnists

Despite repeated, self-serving claims by Obama officials that the Administration did everything it could to head off and then respond appropriately to the violence against American facilities in Libya and Egypt last week, their blunders in policy, intelligence and security illustrates an incompetence every bit as profound as exhibited by the administration of Jimmy Carter in Iran 33 years ago. It appears nothing has been learned in more than three decades; despite significant gains in technology available to the U.S. government during those intervening years.

In 1979, the Carter Administration precipitously abandoned the Shah of Iran, Washington’s long-time and loyal ally in Tehran, once widespread dissatisfaction with his regime surfaced. In the melee that ensued, and which accompanied the return from exile of the radical Ayatollah Khomeini, student groups led a successful assault on the huge American Embassy compound. Washington, believing the insurgent forces could be placated by throwing the Shah under the bus, failed completely to heed warning signs in the build-up to the storming of the diplomatic compound, and was caught flat-footed.

Once in control of the American facility, the radicals gained access to innumerable classified documents and microfilm cards (which standard operating procedures dictated were supposed to have been destroyed earlier) containing sensitive intelligence information. Additionally, because other security protocols had not been followed, certain individuals taken hostage were identified to the radicals as intelligence personnel, and subjected to “harsh interrogation techniques” during their long months in captivity.

As a direct result of the fall of the embassy in Tehran, the U.S. lost access to invaluable technological facilities, including some in northern Iran that provided unique electronic listening posts for then-Soviet missile ranges. Perhaps even more disastrous, was the compromising of the identities of numerous cooperating agents in Iran and elsewhere in the region; many of whom were subsequently tracked down and killed. The loss of such resources continues to be felt to this day.

Fast forwarding to last year’s mis-named “Arab Spring,” the Obama Administration found itself in much the same situation as did its predecessor in 1979 -- and appears to have engaged in just as serious a misperception. Apparently believing that popular uprisings against unpopular regimes in the Middle East, including Egypt and Libya, signaled an embrace of Jeffersonian Democracy in the Arab World, Washington again let down its guard – this time with immediate tragic results.

In the broadest sense, policy makers in Washington fail to understand the deep-seated religious zeal through which many Middle Easterners – including some of those educated in the West -- view their society and the world. They also appear not to comprehend that allegiances among many Arabs are based not so much on notions of political solidarity, profession, or the many other indices of “identity” familiar to us in western countries, but rather on tribal customs and background. The nature and use of violence – while well-known to virtually every culture in the world -- occupies a peculiar place in Arab culture that must first be understood and then forcefully and consistently defended against.

In a more focused sense, the Obama Administration seems to have made almost every mistake capable of being made, on the ground in Libya. Everything went wrong – from the failure to properly evaluate and disseminate relevant intelligence data (not “actionable” but “relevant” intelligence) to the physical aspects of knowing where your people are and maintaining communication with them during an emergency. With all the technology available to the United States of America, in Libya or anywhere else on the face of the earth, imagine “losing” an Ambassador inside a building controlled by our own government.

In fact, imagine an American ambassador placing himself – or allowing his staff to place him -- in such a situation in an area in which violence is clearly predicted and should have been expected, and then being taken to a “safe” house which location and layout was already known to well-armed assailants.

It is not difficult to chronicle numerous other mistakes made by our government in assessing the prelude to the violence last week in Cairo and Benghazi, and then elsewhere. Why, for example, do we rely still in such countries as these on local security personnel to provide the “first line” of defense? Why do we not anticipate violence ensuing from actions almost identical to earlier episodes that precipitated violence – does Washington really believe Arab culture has changed in the months since an idiot “preacher” in Florida threatened to stage a Quran burning? Why apparently did we not equip a “safe house” in an area known to harbor violent extremists, with the basic back-up generators and individual gas-mask protection devices now required in virtually every major federal government building in our country?

The list goes on and on. And all this Administration does is send its emissaries out to blame a film maker in California; hoping that by avoiding accountability it will avoid defeat at the polls. And as Washington dithers, families mourn and the world burns.

Gov. Romney Was Correct 

By: Judge Andrew Napolitano  / Townhall

As readers of this column and viewers of Fox News Channel may know, I have not hesitated to criticize Gov. Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and the governor himself. I have argued that his message is muddled and his values are unknown beyond his ardent wish to improve economic conditions through the use of free market mechanisms rather than central economic planning, a position with which I agree entirely.

I have also maintained that his willingness to abandon, or not to accept, first principles has made these questions reasonable: If Romney is elected president, which Romney will show up for work on Jan. 20, 2013? Will it be the Romney who ran to the left of Ted Kennedy in 1994, the Romney who governed Massachusetts as Mario Cuomo governed New York, or the Romney who now claims to be a "severe" (his word) conservative? Will it be the Romney who spent the entire presidential primary season assuring conservative Republican primary voters that he'll dismantle Obamacare on "Day One" (his phrase), or the Romney who told reporters last week that he approves of a limited federal role in managing health care? Or will it be the Romney who, when caught by the press saying something not intended for public consumption but demonstrably true, sticks to his guns?

A few months ago, at a private fundraiser, Romney spoke to supporters and contributors and observed that 47 percent of Americans do not pay any income tax, and thus his call for not raising taxes (though he wants to eliminate some familiar deductions, which is the functional equivalent of raising some folks' taxes) will not resonate with the voters in that group. Then he went on to say that this is roughly the same 47 percent who are dependent upon the government for part or all of their subsistence; and to that subsistence of food, shelter, education and clothing, the feds have now added health care. Then he referred to those dependent upon the government as "victims" (his word). Then, among my leftish colleagues in the press, all hell broke loose.

The reason hell broke loose among most of the media is that Romney spoke a painful truth, and often a painful truth is difficult to accept. I have argued that FDR deliberately set out to create dependence upon the federal government -- and hence upon virtually all Democrats in Congress and Republicans afraid to resist them -- by establishing entitlement programs and inducing reliance upon them. FDR went so far as to lie to Americans when he stated that the federal government will "hold" (his word) your Social Security contributions for you until you retire, and then you'll receive your nest egg of cash. We know he lied about this, because at the same time he was saying that the money deducted from your pay is yours, he dispatched Justice Department lawyers to argue in a constitutional challenge of Social Security before the Supreme Court that the money deducted from your pay is the government's money, and the government can spend it as it wishes. The Supreme Court agreed with that argument.
Now comes Romney to say that this has gotten out of hand. The feds have deliberately created a class of persons -- 47 percent of people living in America today -- dependent upon them. The governor is right.

Anyone lulled into a false sense of security is a victim, and any government that has deceived members of the public to get them there is dangerous. Thus, the revelation that the big-government types who have dominated the federal government for 100 years, who want voters dependent upon them so that they can count on their votes, and who have made those voters victims have stung the Obama campaign and its media supporters. Romney was correct to call the 47 percent who are dependent upon the government victims of the government's deceptions and lust for power, and he is courageous to stick to his guns.

Dependency breeds a sense of complacency and entitlement and fosters a government that -- in order to stay in power -- will further that dependency. Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton agreed on little publicly, but they did agree that when the public treasury becomes a public trough and the voters recognize that, they will send to the government only those who promise them a bigger piece of the government pie.

Then, sooner or later, the government will run out of other people's money. Romney understands that.

Elitist media complain Romney not regular guy

Ann Coulter pummels 'head-up-their-butts journalists' over latest Mitt 'scandal'

Only our totally unbiased watchdog media could turn the burning of U.S. embassies in countries where Barack Obama had recently supported mob revolts into Mitt Romney’s blunder. Journalists couldn’t risk having Obama’s campaign slogan “Osama is dead” being amended with “and so is our ambassador.”

After our ambassador to Libya was murdered in a preplanned, coordinated attack on our embassy last week, preceded by an attack on our embassy in Egypt (and followed by attacks on our embassies in Yemen, Indonesia, Tunisia and Lebanon), Romney criticized the Obama administration for “sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt.”

He was referring to a statement put out by our Cairo embassy before the ambassador’s murder, criticizing an American filmmaker whose YouTube trailer was the alleged provocation for the attacks. Attacks that happened to occur on the anniversary of 9/11.

The NFM (Non-Fox Media) uniformly denounced Romney’s criticism and pronounced his campaign finished.

The Obama administration insisted that Romney had his “facts” wrong: Obama had absolutely nothing to do with the statement – the embassy staff was freelancing – and, even if the White House had approved it, it was a good statement because the riots were caused by the movie trailer, and furthermore, the embassy statement was issued before the riots even began.

This is known as an argument in the alternative: “I didn’t break into that house, and if I did, I didn’t steal the silver, and if I did, I only got 20 bucks for it.”

If the statement were issued before our embassy in Cairo was attacked, then what was the administration responding to? Does the White House make it a practice to put out statements condemning random, barely viewed YouTube videos? The White House officially endorses that cute video of Kooky82′s cat attempting to meow the national anthem.

The embassy’s statement was obviously responding to something, and if anyone in the administration – even that rogue embassy official! – knew the Internet video was upsetting our dear Muslim friends, why on earth weren’t our embassies protected?

Next, the Obama administration detained the American filmmaker and asked Google to block the allegedly offending video. (Take the week off, First Amendment.)

This behavior made it difficult for even the most obsequious journalist to keep railing against Romney for suggesting that Obama was acquiescing to angry Muslims. So the NFM’s harangue against Romney was deposited in the same filing cabinet where the paperwork to close Gitmo is currently stored.

Now, a week later, Romney has said something, again. (Damn him!) This provoked another round of hysterical denunciations from the media.

At a private gathering, Romney told donors that Obama had a lock on the 47 percent of voters “who pay no income tax” and “believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.” This was deeply offensive to people who pay no income tax and believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.

But no matter how much the media belch out the usual cliches – out of touch, insensitive, racist, not one of us, Thurston Howell, etc. etc. – all most people heard was: FORTY-SEVEN PERCENT OF AMERICANS PAY NO INCOME TAX?

A friend of mine who spent time in Russia during the ’70s told me that whenever a Russian would bring up the extensive coverage of Watergate, he’d sigh, thinking he’d have to explain that the American political system was not as corrupt as the commissars would have it. But all they ever wanted to ask him was: “Do all Americans have such nice shoes?”

The lesson is: You can’t always control what the audience notices.

Thanks to the myopia of our one-party media, most journalists are firmly convinced that voters will be appalled by Romney’s description of 47 percent of Americans as supporting Obama because they pay no income tax. (Yes, head-up-their-butts journalists in the charming little burg of Manhattan are complaining that Romney isn’t connecting with ordinary people.)

But the only people shocked by Romney’s statement of fact are those who would never vote Republican under any circumstances. Everyone else is saying, “Is it really as high as 47 percent?” – as the media impotently shouts, “No, you idiot! That’s not the point!”
There’s going to come a time, in the not-distant future, when it’s 51 percent paying no income tax. And when that happens, the party of big government will never lose another election. America will become indistinguishable from Western European nanny states – except there will be no America to protect us.

The media happen to love the party of big government with all their heart, so from now until the election, no matter what Romney says, they plan to be scandalized.