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Mistakes, Incompetence, and a Cover-Up: President Obama and the Tragedy in Libya

Mistakes, Incompetence, and a Cover-Up: President Obama and the Tragedy in Libya

A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

The violent attack on the American Ambassador and other American personnel in Benghazi, Libya, by radical Islamists brought American foreign policy jarringly back to the forefront of our consciousness. Regrettably, this tragedy serves as a grim reminder of the kind of enemy we still face in radical Islam.

As you will recall when Osama bin Laden was justly killed by brave American soldiers, the Obama Administration immediately leaked all kinds of details about the operation and the role of senior officials, including the president in particular.

Now nearly seven weeks after the violent attack on our consulate in Libya, we have learned the Obama Administration knew about the nature of the attack within hours of it occurring. The lack of adequate security (particularly in the light of the 11th Anniversary of September 11 and the attack and desecration of our Embassy in Cairo that same day) was a mistake which needs to be thoroughly investigated.

This week we learned through news reports that emails reveal the White House was advised a mere two hours after the attacks in Libya that a terrorist organization, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility.  It was terrorism, of course, but President Obama did not want to acknowledge that.

The idea that the president and senior officials knew the nature of the attack, and yet repeatedly laid the blame at the feet of an online video clip rather than radical Islamic attackers is dishonest and an increasingly apparent offensive cover-up.

If this was intended in any way to distract the American people from a major real-time failure of leadership -- as it increasingly appears -- the president and senior officials should be held responsible. All relevant information should be released within the next week and prior to the election to clear the full record.

The failure to immediately unleash all American assets in the region, including fighter aircraft to deter the attackers and aid those under attack and in harms way for an extended period of time, would clearly be incompetence; a tragic example of leading from behind with deadly consequences.

Over the past four years, Barack Obama has shown repeated bad judgment on matters of foreign policy -- consequential matters that voters, especially in light of the events of this week, need to carefully consider before pulling the lever this November.

The debate now before us is good for America. In it, two very different world views will be on display. To the left we have President Obama's record of failings, and to the right we have Mitt Romney's promised word.

Since Mr. Obama took office, the basic tenets of the Commander in Chief's foreign policy seemingly have been to apologize, appease, and neglect. And because of this, we are less respected, less admired, and more vulnerable than ever. The continued attacks on our missions are a cold splash of water to remind us of this fact.

So where have the president's policies left us vulnerable?

Let’s start with the Iranian Regime. Iran is the primary sponsor of anti-Americanism and terrorism in the world today and a growing nuclear threat.

The Obama administration continues to talk tough but the Iranian Regime is four years closer to a nuclear weapon that would directly threaten Israel and America. Iran’s sphere of influence and sponsorship of terrorism continues to expand and foment anti-American hate and violence throughout the Middle East, including now Egypt, and in some cases, in the Americas as well.

The soft stance on Iran and the failure to confront this regime's growing threat, has caused a severe deterioration in the relationship with Israel, our primary ally in the region, to the point where the president and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can barely stand to be in the same room together. The open hostility between the two undermines a key relationship the U.S. relies on in that region of the world and provides strength to our enemies.

In Egypt, as the Islamist regime consolidated power, America not only stood by in the name of promoting democracy, but actually pledged to forgive a billion dollars of foreign debt the Egyptians owe us. This new regime not only is outwardly hostile to the West but is oppressing women and its own minority populations, the Christian and Coptic communities. Its hostility to freedom of speech and religion is anathema to everything the U.S. stands for, yet we have tolerated this behavior.

And let's not forget Syria. Syria, where our policy seems to boil down to just hope for the best, our failure to confront the situation and find a solution has led to a civil war on the verge of genocide, a bloody suppression, and complete instability in a volatile part of the world. Instead of sending a message of strength and support for human rights and freedom, the president sent an ambassador in an attempt to appease.

As we enter the final stretch of the election season, in a debate dominated by economic issues, Americans need to remember that none of those debates matter if we can't defend our citizens and the homeland. Americans need to provide President Obama a different form of “flexibility” on Election Day; we need new leadership that we can trust to stand for freedom.

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