Tag: Benghazi cover-up

2016 U.S. ELECTION: TRUMP, CRUZ & CLINTON PRO-ISRAEL AT AIPAC, BUT NOT NO-SHOW SANDERS—WILL LIBYA “DEBACLE” DERAIL HILLARY?

American Jews Face Dilemma in Presidential Elections: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 30, 2016— The turmoil associated with the American presidential elections has impacted on much of the nation, and certainly on the Jews.

The Libya Debacle Undermines Clinton’s Foreign Policy Credentials: George F. Will, Washington Post, Mar. 30, 2016— Republican peculiarities in this political season are so numerous and lurid that insufficient attention is being paid to this: The probable Democratic nominee’s principal credential, her service as secretary of state, is undermined by a debacle of remarkable dishonesty.

What Derailed Marco Rubio?: Jonathan Bernstein, National Post, Mar. 17, 2016— The 2016 demise of Marco Rubio has been obvious for a while, but it is nevertheless a very big event. He was the Republican Party’s choice. He lost.

The Donald and the Barack:  Wall Street Journal, Mar. 11, 2016— President Obama is said to be a reflective man, and often he is the one saying so, but you wouldn’t know it from his Thursday press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Four Foreign Policies: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Mar. 31, 2016

Beyond AIPAC Speeches: Assessing Israel’s Place as a U.S. Election Issue: Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, JNS, Mar. 24, 2016

Donald Trump Faces his Biggest Threat Yet: Himself: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Apr. 2, 2016

Iran Has a Surprising Favorite in the U.S. Presidential Race: Riyadh Mohammed, Fiscal Times, Mar. 21, 2016

 

         

   AMERICAN JEWS FACE DILEMMA IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Mar. 30, 2016

 

The turmoil associated with the American presidential elections has impacted on much of the nation, and certainly on the Jews. Many, both liberal and conservative, feel that their traditional political affiliations have been destabilized. Grass-root voters have rebelled against entrenched long-term politicians and have astounded analysts by supporting relatively obscure personalities who have introduced levels of primitive populism into American politics unseen since the days of Huey Long.

 

Those deeply concerned about Israel find themselves in a special quandary. Democratic supporters witnessed a struggle between Hillary Clinton — who until recently faced virtually no competition — and Bernie Sanders, a relatively unknown older Jewish senator from Vermont, a leftist throwback to prewar Jewish socialists raging against the “domination” of Wall Street and calling for a redistribution of wealth. He is also highly critical of Israel and a J Street supporter, pandering to the growing anti-Israeli sentiment among left-wing Democrats. His populism has generated substantial support, especially from young people.

 

Nevertheless, despite being widely resented and distrusted in her own party, Hillary Clinton is likely to win the Democratic nomination. But the dramatic flow of support of the radical views promoted by Sanders has created concern that in office, she would seek to placate the radicals within the party. That, in turn, could encourage her to revert to the hostile attitude that prevailed during her term as secretary of state toward Israel and especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It also reinforces concerns about some of the vicious anti-Israeli advisers she had engaged in the past, who were exposed in her declassified emails.

 

Every presidential candidate invited to the recent annual convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), passionately supported the Jewish state. The only exception was Sanders, who declined to address AIPAC and spoke at another location where he bitterly criticized Israel. But electoral pledges and passionate undertakings by presidential candidates and politicians at AIPAC must be treated with considerable cynicism, as from experience, they are frequently watered down or breached.

 

Yet, Clinton’s address to AIPAC was significant…Despite justifying President Barack Obama’s Iran policy and criticizing Israeli settlements, her powerful endorsement of support for Israel was warmly received. She distinguished herself from Obama by promising that a renewal of good relations with Israel would be a priority, and that one of her first acts in office would be to invite Netanyahu to Washington. She expressed these views obviously aware that she would be intensifying the ire of the radical anti-Israel elements in her party.

 

The uneasiness concerning the Clinton candidacy shared by some traditional Jewish Democratic supporters pales when compared to the turmoil among many Republican supporters at the explosive ascendancy of Donald Trump, who was initially perceived as a clown, with virtually all analysts predicting his early political demise. Trump primitively denigrates intellectual discourse but has displayed an extraordinary populist talent to communicate and reach out to the disaffected masses who have flocked to support him, ditching seasoned leaders like former Governor Jeb Bush, eliminating Senator Marco Rubio, and at this stage enjoying a substantial lead over Senator Ted Cruz, his sole remaining credible opponent.

 

He has adopted crude, inconsistent and contradictory policies but struck a responsive chord from many Americans alienated and frustrated with their current status and seeking radical solutions. He has created a major schism in the Republican Party because of his rabble-rousing, vulgarity, abusive remarks about women and discriminatory outbursts against minorities — especially Mexicans. Many traditional Republicans, including senior party leaders, refuse to endorse him and some have even stated that they would never vote for him as president. His critics include the neoconservatives and the most prominent conservative thinkers and commentators who are outraged by his isolationist outbursts and demagogic anti-intellectual approach.

 

Trump attests to his long track record of friendship for Jews and Israel and constantly highlights the fact that his daughter converted and leads a traditional Orthodox Jewish lifestyle. But those voters seeking the restoration of warmer relations between the United States and the Jewish state are concerned with Trump’s ad lib flip-flop responses in relation to Israel.

 

Initially, he antagonized supporters of Israel by stating that he would be “neutral” in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On one occasion, he promoted the extreme isolationist view that Israel should not be reliant on U.S. defense support and should repay American military aid. He even suggested that the U.S. should withdraw from NATO. He particularly angered Jews when initially, perhaps in ignorance, he dismissed calls to dissociate himself from support he was receiving from white supremacists and extreme anti-Semites. When it was announced that Trump would join other presidential candidates and address AIPAC, a group of Reform and Conservative rabbis planned a demonstrative walkout as he approached the podium. Their widely publicized threat turned out to be farcical and resulted in the boycott of only about 30 of the 18,000 participants.

 

Trump’s address to AIPAC … was his first attempt to present a crafted policy on any subject. He used a teleprompter which diverted him from his customary ad-libbing. It was an extraordinary political coup in which he received repeated standing ovations as he swept the audience off its feet by pressing all the pro-Israel buttons and systematically presenting a coherent case for Israel. He contradicted some of his earlier critical remarks, including his intention of being “neutral” in order to consummate a “deal” between Palestinians and Israel. He also announced his intention to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

                              THE LIBYA DEBACLE UNDERMINES

                         CLINTON’S FOREIGN POLICY CREDENTIALS

                                                       George F. Will                                  

                                                        Washington Post, Mar. 30, 2016

 

Republican peculiarities in this political season are so numerous and lurid that insufficient attention is being paid to this: The probable Democratic nominee’s principal credential, her service as secretary of state, is undermined by a debacle of remarkable dishonesty. Hillary Clinton’s supposedly supreme presidential qualification is not her public prominence, which is derivative from her marriage, or her unremarkable tenure in a similarly derivative Senate seat. Rather, her supposed credential is her foreign policy mastery. Well.

 

She cannot be blamed for Vladimir Putin’s criminality or, therefore, for the failure of her “reset” with Russia, which was perhaps worth trying. She cannot be blamed for the many defects of the Iran nuclear agreement, which was a presidential obsession. And she cannot be primarily blamed for the calamities of Iraq, Syria and the Islamic State, which were incubated before her State Department tenure. Libya, however, was what is known in tennis as an “unforced error,” and Clinton was, with President Obama, its co-author.

 

On March 28, 2011, nine days after the seven-month attack on Libya began and 10 days after saying that it would last “days, not weeks,” Obama gave the nation televised assurance that “the task that I assigned our forces [is] to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger and to establish a no-fly zone.” He said that U.S. forces would play only a “supporting role” in what he called a “NATO-based” operation, although only eight of NATO’s 28 members participated and the assault could not have begun without U.S. assets. Obama added: “Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.”

 

The next day, a Clinton deputy repeated this to a Senate committee. And then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at the time that no vital U.S. interest was at stake. Recently, he told the New York Times that “the fiction was maintained” that the goal was to cripple Moammar Gaddafi’s ability to attack other Libyans. This was supposedly humanitarian imperialism implementing “R2P,” the “responsibility to protect.” Perhaps as many as — many numbers were bandied — 10,000 Libyans. R2P did not extend to protecting the estimated 200,000 Syrians that have been killed since 2011 by Bashar al-Assad’s tanks, artillery, bombers, barrel bombs and poison gas.

 

Writing for Foreign Policy online, Micah Zenko, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, notes that “just hours into the intervention, Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from a British submarine stationed in the Mediterranean Sea struck an administrative building in [Gaddafi’s] Bab al-Azizia compound, less than 50 yards away from the dictator’s residence.” A senior military official carefully insisted that Gaddafi was “not on a targeting list.” This was sophistry in the service of cynicism: For months, places he might have been were on targeting lists.

 

The pretense was that this not-really-NATO operation, with the United States “supporting” it, was merely to enforce U.N. resolutions about protecting Libyans from Gaddafi. Zenko, however, argues that the coalition “actively chose not to enforce” the resolution prohibiting arms transfers to either side in the civil war. While a senior NATO military official carefully said “I have no information about” arms coming into Libya, and another carefully said that no violation of the arms embargo “has been reported,” Zenko writes that “Egypt and Qatar were shipping advanced weapons to rebel groups the whole time, with the blessing of the Obama administration.”

 

On May 24, 2011, NATO released a public relations video showing sailors from a Canadian frigate, supposedly enforcing the arms embargo, boarding a rebel tugboat laden with arms. The video’s narrator says: “NATO decides not to impede the rebels and to let the tugboat proceed.” Zenko writes, “A NATO surface vessel stationed in the Mediterranean to enforce an arms embargo did exactly the opposite, and NATO was comfortable posting a video demonstrating its hypocrisy.” On Oct. 20, 2011, Clinton, while visiting Afghanistan, was told that insurgents, assisted by a U.S. Predator drone, had caught and slaughtered Gaddafi. She quipped: “We came, we saw, he died.” She later said that her words expressed “relief” that the mission “had achieved its end.”

 

Oh, so this military adventure was, after all, history’s most protracted and least surreptitious assassination. Regime change was deliberately accomplished by the determined decapitation of the old regime, and Libyans are now living in the result — a failed state. Stopping in Libya en route to Afghanistan two days before Gaddafi’s death, Clinton said, “I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya.” If you seek her presidential credential, look there.

 

 

Contents

        WHAT DERAILED MARCO RUBIO?

Jonathan Bernstein               

                                               National Post, Mar. 17, 2016

 

The 2016 demise of Marco Rubio has been obvious for a while, but it is nevertheless a very big event. He was the Republican Party’s choice. He lost. Starting last fall, I said he would be the most likely winner. I continued saying that through the early primaries and caucuses. In fact, he seemed on track to win up until his disappointing Super Tuesday March 1, and even in the days after that I thought he was in fairly good shape — that is, right up until his support collapsed the weekend after Super Tuesday.

 

Since I have been dead wrong about Rubio, I can’t turn around immediately and tell you why he lost. It’s something all of us who study presidential nominations are going to need to study, and it’s going to take some time, especially for those who believe that strong parties made up of formal organizations and informal networks control their presidential nominations. Is this year a fluke? A sign that the system has changed? Frankly, I don’t know right now. But I can run through some reasonable explanations of what happened with Rubio.

 

Some commentators have floated variations of this explanation. One is that Rubio wasn’t appealing to Republican voters. But for most of the contest, his favourability scores among Republicans were excellent. Even when he lagged in the horse-race polls, he usually did well when pollsters probed beyond the top vote choice among Republicans.

 

I’m also skeptical of blaming his position on immigration or his hawkish foreign policy. Both John McCain and Mitt Romney won Republican nominations with problems that were more severe. A more plausible explanation of Rubio’s weakness is that he choked under pressure. His poor debate before the New Hampshire primary, when he repeated a line multiple times, and his debate after Super Tuesday, when he got down in the mud with Donald Trump, both appear to have been disasters. Though parties normally choose their nominees, this Republican Party isn’t normal — it’s dysfunctional. Political scientist Norman Ornstein has pushed this line since August, and he could be correct. Republicans’ attacks on experts, the media and even the “establishment” of their own party made it more difficult than it should have been to explain why Trump was such a pariah.

 

But it was about more than Trump. Party actors took a long time to decide on Rubio, and even then their choice wasn’t close to a consensus. Some of them permitted Jeb Bush to stay in through South Carolina, and he spent that Bush faction’s considerable resources targeting Rubio. Another substantial faction supported Ted Cruz, even though many Washington Republicans dislike him so much that they were willing to play footsie with Trump back in January. And John Kasich has had a fair amount of party support as well, which perhaps is why he has been able to fight on.

 

No theory could have accounted for him. (People have used the analogy of the Mule in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, a mutant whose inhuman abilities disrupted the normal development of politics in the universe.) But I’m skeptical of this explanation, too. Trump is good at grabbing the new media’s attention, but it’s hard to see much evidence that he’s unusually talented in any other way. Still, if the party’s power flows from its ability to capture voters’ attention, it fizzled when the news coverage of Trump overwhelmed other sources of information. None of the above explanations are mutually exclusive. Perhaps they all played a role.\

 

Rubio finished just one per cent of the vote behind Trump in Iowa. If Republican Party actors had converged on him a few weeks earlier — or if Bush’s super PAC had targeted Trump or Cruz with some of the ads aimed at Rubio, the Florida senator could easily have finished second or even won the state, perhaps knocking out Cruz. If he hadn’t botched the New Hampshire debate, he probably would have finished second there, knocking out Kasich (probably) and Bush (perhaps) earlier and setting up a better finish in South Carolina…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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      THE DONALD AND THE BARACK                           

        Wall Street Journal, Mar. 11, 2016

 

President Obama is said to be a reflective man, and often he is the one saying so, but you wouldn’t know it from his Thursday press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Asked about political polarization and the Donald Trump phenomenon, Mr. Obama denied all responsibility. He doesn’t seem to appreciate the kind of country he will leave behind. “What I’m not going to do is to validate some notion that the Republican crack-up that’s been taking place is a consequence of actions that I’ve taken,” Mr. Obama said. He explained Mr. Trump’s ascent as the result of “the nasty tone of our politics, which I certainly have not contributed to.” He blamed Republicans for this tone, as ever.

 

“Objectively,” Mr. Obama said, “it’s fair to say that the Republican political elites and many of the information outlets—social media, news outlets, talk radio, television stations—have been feeding the Republican base for the last seven years a notion that everything I do is to be opposed; that cooperation or compromise somehow is a betrayal.” He listed a few more GOP shortcomings, but you’ve got to hand it to him for that “objectively.” As Mr. Obama tells it, all of this reflexive Obama bashing created “an environment where somebody like a Donald Trump can thrive. He’s just doing more of what has been done for the last seven and a half years.” In other words, Republicans didn’t clean up the standing water in their own backyard and now they’re complaining about mosquitoes. One irony is that even as Mr. Obama denied any liability for Mr. Trump, he lapsed into the same rhetorical habit that helped fuel the businessman’s ascent. For Mr. Obama, principled opposition to his policies is always illegitimate or motivated by bad faith.

 

Like the President’s nonstop moral lectures about “our values” and “who we are as Americans,” by which he means liberal values and who we are as Democrats, he reads his critics out of politics. No wonder so many Americans feel disenfranchised and powerless. And if we’re being objective, maybe Mr. Obama could account for the populist uprising among disaffected Democratic primary voters for a 74-year-old Vermont socialist vowing an economic revolution. Bernie Sanders is Mr. Trump’s leftward duplicate. The difference is that the Democratic establishment is doing a better job keeping their outsider away from a delegate majority.

 

The source of this public frustration is no great mystery. For the 10th straight year, the U.S. economy is growing by less than 3%. Such a long stretch of underperformance hasn’t happened since the 1930s. Slow growth for a decade means middle-class incomes are stagnant, which in turn increases economic anxiety, which in turn creates political unrest. As for tone, the 1980s and 1990s featured bitter partisan conflicts—and for that matter so did the 1880s and 1790s. But the late 20th century had popular two-term Presidencies almost back to back, and the era didn’t produce backlash candidates promising to burn Washington to the ground and salt the earth. The reason is that the economy was booming.

 

Mr. Obama’s apologists claim 2%-2.5% growth is the best we can do, but the truth is that the natural dynamism of the U.S. economy has been swamped by waves of Mr. Obama’s bad policy. Instead of a second term that is bereft of domestic achievements, in an alternate universe he might have worked with the duly elected Republican majority and started to repair the economy from the center out. Instead, Mr. Obama has shown contempt for institutions that he doesn’t run, and, notably, most of his growth-subtracting policies have been imposed through unilateral executive action. He doesn’t do persuasion and compromise. Some policies were intended to sow division, like his lawless immigration order that inflamed the restrictionist right, divided Republican elites and was only stopped by the courts…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

On Topic

 

The Four Foreign Policies: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Mar. 31, 2016—After dozens of contests featuring cliffhangers, buzzer-beaters and a ton of flagrant fouls, we’re down to the Final Four: Sanders, Clinton, Cruz and Trump. (If Kasich pulls off a miracle, he’ll get his own column.) The world wants to know: What are their foreign policies?

Beyond AIPAC Speeches: Assessing Israel’s Place as a U.S. Election Issue: Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, JNS, Mar. 24, 2016—At the recent American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, each of the remaining United States presidential candidates—except for Democratic contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who did not appear—essentially laid claim to being the most pro-Israel candidate.

Donald Trump Faces his Biggest Threat Yet: Himself: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Apr. 2, 2016—If Tuesday’s vote in Wisconsin goes according to the polls, Donald Trump’s remarkable ride to the Republican nomination will crash into a wall. And if he never recovers his momentum, the postmortems will say his front-runner status was an illusion befitting a modern P.T. Barnum.

Iran Has a Surprising Favorite in the U.S. Presidential Race: Riyadh Mohammed, Fiscal Times, Mar. 21, 2016 After years of isolation and sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Nations, Iran is quickly reclaiming its place in the Middle East and on the global stage. 

 

 

 

 

                        

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

FOR OBAMA & CO., BENGHAZI SCANDAL REPRESENTS NOT ONLY A COVER-UP, BUT ALSO AN INEPT FOREIGN POLICY “OF DENIAL”

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

Why Benghazi Matters: National Review, May. 5, 2014— Watergate defines the vocabulary for American political scandals…

Hillary Clinton Should Be Worried as Benghazi Coverup Unravels: Kenneth R. Timmerman, New York Post, May 3, 2014— Make it go away! That was the message of the Obama administration and their friends in the media for the past two years, and now we know why: Benghazi is the scandal they always denied it was.

Obama’s Foreign Policy of Denial: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, May. 1, 2014— Barack Obama’s 949-word response Monday to a question about foreign policy weakness showed the president at his worst: defensive, irritable, contradictory and at times detached from reality.

A New Russian Riddle: Clifford D. May, Washington Times , Apr. 29, 2014 — “A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” is how Winston Churchill famously described Russia in 1939. Churchill less famously added: “But perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

 

On Topic Links

 

Obama’s ‘Blame the Video’ Fraud Started in Cairo, Not Benghazi: Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, May. 1, 2014

Benghazi, Lies and Videotape: Nonie Darwish, Frontpage, May 2, 2014

Benghazi Emails: Despite Spin, Not Just a Fox Story Any More: Howard Kurtz, Fox News, May 2, 2014

Former CIA Deputy Denies Politics in Benghazi: David Lerman, Bloomberg, Apr. 2, 2014

Libyan Oil at Heart of Conflict With Roots in Country’s East: Abigail Hauslohner, Washington Post, Apr. 13, 2014

                                               

WHY BENGHAZI MATTERS                                                       

National Review, May 5, 2014

 

Watergate defines the vocabulary for American political scandals, and so it was no surprise that former Obama-administration communications operative Anita Dunn took to the airwaves yesterday morning to pour derision upon the notion that a “smoking gun” has been uncovered in the form of recently released e-mails documenting the White House’s disinformation campaign following the Benghazi attack. A dozen Democrats have asked, “Where’s the scandal?” But the question here is not whether the administration’s misleading statements in the wake of the attacks on U.S. installations in Egypt and Libya are a political scandal in the style of President Nixon’s infamous burglary; they aren’t. But that the administration’s misdeeds here seem to fall short of felony burglary hardly makes the matter a less serious one: The White House misled the American public about a critical matter of national interest, and it continues to practice deceit as the facts of the case are sorted out. That, to answer Hillary Clinton’s callous question, is what difference it makes.

 

The Benghazi dishonesty did not end with Susan Rice’s now-infamous 2012 Sunday-show storytelling circuit, in which she blamed the attack on an Internet video that Muslims found insulting but that in fact had nothing to do with what was an organized jihadist attack. Last week, press secretary Jay Carney managed to annoy the usually pliant White House press corps with his embarrassing attempt to explain away the withholding of documents sought by Congress, saying that the e-mails in question were not about Benghazi, despite the fact that there is a section thereof titled “Benghazi.” He has labeled investigation into the matter evidence of a “conspiracy theory.” It is nothing of the sort, and getting a picture of the administration’s failures and dishonesty in the matter requires no leap of logic or supposition of unknown forces at work.

There were coordinated attacks against American diplomatic facilities abroad, carried out by terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda, scheduled for the anniversary of the September 11 hijackings and announced by a series of threats from Islamist organizations that were reported, among other places, in the Egyptian newspapers the day before the attack. The Obama administration took insufficient precautionary measures. In Cairo, the U.S. embassy was overrun and the American flag hauled down while the black banner of al-Qaeda was raised. In the Libyan city of Benghazi, there was disciplined and organized assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and another diplomat were murdered; a few hours later, a similar assault was carried out on a CIA installation about a mile away, in which two security personnel were killed.

 

Faced with this dramatic evidence of its incompetence six weeks before an election, the Obama administration distorted a kernel of truth — Cairo’s grand mufti had in fact denounced the video — and told the public a story in which the attacks were not acts of jihadist terrorism organized with malice aforethought by al-Qaeda partisans but rather were riots resulting from spontaneous protests by Muslims angered by an obscure YouTube video that was disrespectful of their faith and their prophet. The video was at most a minor factor in the Cairo riots, which were orchestrated by Mohammed al-Zawahiri, brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The video was not a significant factor in any way in Benghazi, but the administration insisted on its own version of events, downplaying the role of Islamic extremism and removing references to specific jihadist organizations from CIA-provided materials. The deputy director of the CIA, Michael Morell, told Congress that the video was “not something the analysts have attributed this attack to,” but the Obama administration was less interested in intelligence than in politics: Victoria Nuland of the State Department warned that acknowledging the role of organized terrorist groups might encourage members of Congress to “beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings.” The purpose of the video-protest narrative was to convince the American public that the bloodshed in the Middle East was the result of protests sparked by boobish Christians, and not a broader failure of policy. We know that because President Obama’s deputy national-security adviser, Ben Rhodes, helpfully put those precise words into an e-mail, describing U.N. ambassador Susan Rice’s storytelling session on the Sunday talk shows as intended “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

 

President Obama’s failures of policy here are considerable, and they run from the specific to the general. U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Middle East should enjoy extraordinary security measures at all times, but they should be fortresses when September 11 comes around on the calendar. And the usual high level of security that should mark that day should have been intensified by the presence of specific threats against our embassies. The events of September 11, 2012, are ipso facto evidence of a catastrophic failure to protect American facilities abroad, and that this happened despite the warnings of our intelligence agencies compounds the failure. That is one part of the “broader failure of policy” that the video narrative was intended to obscure. Another part is the administration’s lack of coherent policy in Egypt, Libya, and the greater Middle East, which has left our allies wary and our enemies encouraged…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                       

                                                                         

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HILLARY CLINTON SHOULD BE WORRIED

AS BENGHAZI COVERUP UNRAVELS                                      

Kenneth R. Timmerman                                                                  

New York Post, May 3, 2014

 

Make it go away! That was the message of the Obama administration and their friends in the media for the past two years, and now we know why: Benghazi is the scandal they always denied it was. Thanks to a lawsuit by watchdog group Judicial Watch, the administration last week released correspondence about the terrorist attack in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012 that left US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others dead.

 

One memo, from Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security director for strategic communications, shows how the administration was trying to spin the attack as something other than their own strategic failures.

“Reinforce the president and administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges,” he wrote to UN Ambassador Susan Rice. He instructed her to “underscore” that the events in Benghazi were “protests . . . rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

 

Beyond the callousness of this message, and the fact that officials already knew this was the work of terrorists, that this document is just coming out now shows the depth of the administration’s cover-up.

Despite numerous subpoenas from Congress, Obama’s people never handed over the e-mail. Make it go away means hiding evidence from the American people.  “Why aren’t we talking about something else?” whined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Because the Obama administration ignored legal requirements and a pursued a possibly criminal cover-up, they’ve just ensured Congress is going to talk about nothing but. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday he’ll be forming a select committee to investigate Benghazi. He’ll find plenty.

 

The Rhodes memo is just the beginning. It and other e-mails were obviously selected from a much larger set of internal administration communications on the Benghazi cover-up that remains hidden from the public and from Congress. The person who should worry most is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. For example, until now we have seen zero documentation to explain how Clinton out of the blue concocted the statement she issued on the evening of the attacks, which first raised the notion that the attacks came “as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.” In all the material released by the administration to date, there are no notes, e-mails or drafts of Clinton’s Sept. 11, 2012 statement similar to the back-and forth e-mail chain released last year showing how the CIA talking points evolved during three days of inter-agency discussion. And yet surely such documents exist. We know from the public record that Clinton was getting real-time information on the attacks. She understood — because her own officials were telling her — that there were no protests in Benghazi and that the attacks on the Special Mission Compound and on the Annex were a well-planned terrorist assault.

 

And yet, after consulting by phone with President Obama at 10 that night, Hillary decided to blame it all on an Internet video. Similarly, the administration has released no notes, e-mails or other communications that describe the substance of that phone call, so we still don’t know who first floated the idea of blaming it all on a non-existent video. Nor has the White House revealed, despite repeated requests, what the president was doing that night as he prepared for his fund-raiser the next day in Las Vegas. Dialing for dollars, perhaps?

 

In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee on Thursday, Brig. Gen. Robert Lovell, the chief of intelligence (J-2) for US Africa Command at the time of the attacks, revealed that his “analysts worked through chat” all night long. None of those documents have been turned over to congressional committees. Top military officials at Africom headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, told me they watched live video feed from a Predator drone over the Special Mission Compound and later, over the Benghazi airport and the Annex, which clearly showed there were no protests. So far, that footage has not been released. We know that orders were issued, then recalled, to deploy a 50-man Special Forces unit from Croatia that could have reached Benghazi within hours. But no documents on who ordered that unit to stand down have yet been released.

 

The American people deserve the truth. With four Americans returning home in body bags, this scandal is no garden-variety cover-up. And despite Hillary Clinton’s fervent hope, no, it’s not going to go away.

 

Contents
                                  
              

OBAMA’S FOREIGN POLICY OF DENIAL

Charles Krauthammer

 Washington Post, May 1, 2014

 

Barack Obama’s 949-word response Monday to a question about foreign policy weakness showed the president at his worst: defensive, irritable, contradictory and at times detached from reality. It began with a complaint about negative coverage on Fox News, when, in fact, it was the New York Times’ front page that featured Obama’s foreign policy failures, most recently the inability to conclude a trade agreement with Japan and the collapse of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Middle East negotiations.

 

Add to this the collapse of not one but two Geneva conferences on Syria, American helplessness in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine and the Saudi king’s humiliating dismissal of Obama within two hours of talks — no dinner — after Obama made a special 2,300-mile diversion from Europe to see him, and you have an impressive litany of serial embarrassments.

 

Obama’s first rhetorical defense, as usual, was to attack a straw man: “Why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force?” Everybody? Wasn’t it you, Mr. President, who decided to attack Libya under the grand Obama doctrine of “responsibility to protect” helpless civilians — every syllable of which you totally contradicted as 150,000 were being slaughtered in Syria? And wasn’t attacking Syria for having crossed your own chemical-weapons “red line” also your idea? Before, of course, you retreated abjectly, thereby marginalizing yourself and exposing the United States to general ridicule. Everybody eager to use military force? Name a single Republican (or Democratic) leader who has called for sending troops into Ukraine.

 

The critique by John McCain and others is that when the Ukrainians last month came asking for weapons to defend themselves, Obama turned them down. The Pentagon offered instead MREs, ready-to-eat burgers to defend against 40,000 well-armed Russians. Obama even denied Ukraine such defensive gear as night-vision goggles and body armor. Obama retorted testily: Does anyone think Ukrainian weaponry would deter Russia, as opposed to Obama’s diplomatic and economic pressure? Why, averred Obama, “in Ukraine, what we’ve done is mobilize the international community. . . . Russia is having to engage in activities that have been rejected uniformly around the world.” That’s a deterrent? Fear of criticism? Empty words? To think this will stop Putin, liberator of Crimea, champion of “New Russia,” is delusional. In fact, Putin’s popularity at home has spiked 10 points since the start of his war on Ukraine. It’s now double Obama’s. As for the allegedly mobilized international community, it has done nothing. Demonstrably nothing to deter Putin from swallowing Crimea. Demonstrably nothing to deter his systematic campaign of destabilization, anonymous seizures and selective violence in the proxy-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, where Putin’s “maskirovka” (disguised warfare) has turned Eastern Ukraine into a no-man’s land where Kiev hardly dares tread. As for Obama’s vaunted economic sanctions, when he finally got around to applying Round 2 on Monday, the markets were so impressed by their weakness that the ruble rose 1 percent and the Moscow stock exchange 2 percent.

 

Behind all this U.S. action, explained the New York Times in a recent leak calculated to counteract the impression of a foreign policy of clueless ad hocism, is a major strategic idea: containment. A rather odd claim when a brazenly uncontained Russia swallows a major neighbor one piece at a time — as America stands by. After all, how did real containment begin? In March 1947, with Greece in danger of collapse from a Soviet-backed insurgency and Turkey under direct Russian pressure, President Truman went to Congress for major and immediate economic and military aid to both countries.

 

That means weaponry, Mr. President. It was the beginning of the Truman Doctrine. No one is claiming that arming Ukraine would have definitively deterred Putin’s current actions. But the possibility of a bloody and prolonged Ukrainian resistance to infiltration or invasion would surely alter Putin’s calculus more than Obama’s toothless sanctions or empty diplomatic gestures, like the preposterous Geneva agreement that wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Or does Obama really believe that Putin’s thinking would be altered less by antitank and antiaircraft weapons in Ukrainian hands than by the State Department’s comical #UnitedforUkraine Twitter campaign? Obama appears to think so. Which is the source of so much allied anxiety: Obama really seems to believe that his foreign policy is succeeding. Ukraine has already been written off. But Eastern Europe need not worry. Obama understands containment. He recently dispatched 150 American ground troops to Poland and each of the Baltic states. You read correctly: 150. Each.                           

                                                                                   

Contents
                                  
  

A NEW RUSSIAN RIDDLE

Clifford D. May

Washington Times, Apr. 29, 2014

 

“A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” is how Winston Churchill famously described Russia in 1939. Churchill less famously added: “But perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Determinedly modernist Western leaders have tried hard to convince Vladimir Putin that Russia’s national interest — and his personal interest, as well — is to be a member in good standing with the so-called “international community,” someone praised by President Obama and not admonished by John F. Kerry who, following Russia’s seizure of Crimea, exclaimed: “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.”

 

Being regarded as unfashionable by the American secretary of state is a punishment the Russian president is apparently willing to endure in order to redraw the borders of Eurasia. Under both czars and commissars, the occupant of the Kremlin commanded an empire. I’d wager that Mr. Putin sees it as his mission — perhaps his destiny — to re-establish the status quo ante. If the polls are to be believed, most Russians are solidly behind him. How far will Mr. Putin go? He’s no communist, but I do think he learned from Lenin, who famously said that when you probe with your bayonet and hit steel, you back off, but when you hit mush, you continue moving forward. Raise your hand if you think Mr. Putin has so far hit anything other than mush from the United States, the European Union and NATO (and the United Nations, but that goes without saying).

 

Some questions to which I don’t think we yet have answers: Does Mr. Putin want all of Ukraine or just the most productive slices, leaving the remainder an impoverished ward of the West? Will he settle for an expanded sphere of influence, with the countries on Russia’s borders, the “near abroad,” retaining de jure independence — as long as they don’t forget to whom they must kowtow? Or does he, perhaps, harbor grander ambitions? It is not inconceivable that Mr. Putin thinks he can — and therefore should — precipitate NATO’s collapse. He could accomplish this by following his invasion, on a trumped-up pretext, of Ukraine with an invasion on a trumped-up pretext of one or more of NATO’s smaller members — nations that once were Soviet republics and still have sizable Russian populations. If NATO should prove unwilling or unable to defend Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania, that would be the death of the venerable but increasingly feeble alliance. Even if Mr. Putin goes no further — and few bookmakers would give odds on that — he has demonstrated that Russia in the Age of Putin is a power that must again be reckoned with. He also has cast further doubt on America’s determination and reliability, thereby making a mockery of what was supposed to be the Age of Obama.

 

A yawning gap separates Mr. Obama’s worldview from reality. That was vividly illustrated last month when he addressed “European Youth” at the ornate Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. He had crossed the Atlantic, he told the young men and women of the Continent, “to insist that we must never take for granted the progress that has been won here in Europe and advanced around the world, because the contest of ideas continues for your generation.” He immediately added: “And that’s what’s at stake in Ukraine today. Russia’s leadership is challenging truths that only a few weeks ago seemed self-evident — that in the 21st century, the borders of Europe cannot be redrawn with force, that international law matters, that people and nations can make their own decisions about their future.” You see the contradiction? Taking progress for granted is exactly what Mr. Obama did when he assumed that the advent of a new century brought with it new and improved rules — that with the flip of a calendar page, borders somehow became inviolable, international law suddenly “mattered” (whatever that means), and tyrants could no longer determine the fate of nations. The president went on to reassure his audience that “this is not another Cold War that we’re entering into. After all, unlike the Soviet Union, Russia leads no bloc of nations, no global ideology. The United States and NATO do not seek any conflict with Russia.”

 

All three of those assertions strike me as dubious. First, we may indeed be entering into something akin to the Cold War — if the definition of that term is a period of prolonged tension, low-intensity and proxy conflicts, and the possibility of a spark setting off a larger conflagration. Second, though Mr. Putin may not be leading a bloc of nations, he is aligning with regimes based on anti-Western and anti-democratic ideologies, such as Iran, Syria and North Korea. Islamism — which, in its Iranian expression, Mr. Putin is enabling — is as much a global ideology as was communism. Third, if the president is implying that the Cold War came about because the United States and NATO sought conflict with the Soviet Union, he’s dead wrong: The root cause was Soviet empire-building and the dropping of an Iron Curtain over Eastern Europe. Finally, Mr. Putin does not need to be reminded that America and NATO are not seeking conflict with him. He is confident that both fear conflict much more than he does, more than Iran’s rulers do, more even than the young dynastic dictator of North Korea. That’s a good reason for all of them to drive hard bargains, demand significant concessions and impose serious humiliations on America. Does Mr. Obama grasp any of this, and is he even attempting to develop a strategy to deal with it? That’s the real puzzle, isn’t it?

 

On Topic

 

Obama’s ‘Blame the Video’ Fraud Started in Cairo, Not Benghazi: Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, May. 1, 2014—Here is the main point: The rioting at the American embassy in Cairo was not about the anti-Muslim video.

Benghazi, Lies and Videotape: Nonie Darwish, Frontpage, May 2, 2014 —Shocking White House emails released to the public Tuesday by government watchdog group Judicial Watch shed new light on the Obama administration’s brazen dishonesty with the public about the deadly Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Benghazi Emails: Despite Spin, Not Just a Fox Story Any More:Howard Kurtz, Fox News, May 2, 2014—The story on Page 8 of yesterday’s New York Times amounts to an admission of journalistic error.  

Former CIA Deputy Denies Politics in Benghazi: David Lerman, Bloomberg, Apr. 2, 2014—A former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency said politics played no role in the flawed initial account of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Libyan Oil at Heart of Conflict With Roots in Country’s East: Abigail Hauslohner, Washington Post, Apr. 13, 2014 —For nine months, a Libyan militia has occupied massive oil compounds in the desert and along the eastern Mediterranean coast, obstructing this nation’s lifeblood.

                                               

 

 

 

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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U.S. PRESIDENT’S DAY 2014 IS NOTHING TO CELEBRATE: OBAMA’S RECORD ON “OBAMACARE”, BENGHAZI AND FOREIGN POLICY HAVE BEEN ABYSMAL

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 



                                           

Obama's Hollow Promises Abroad: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Feb. 12, 2014— As U.S. credibility and stature diminish in world affairs, the American president and his secretaries of state and defence engage in eloquent denial.

Obamacare’s War on Jobs: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Feb. 13, 2014 — In the ongoing saga of the Affordable Care Act, oddly referred to by Democrats as the law of the land even as it is amended at will by presidential fiat, we are beginning to understand the extent of its war on jobs.

Switching Sides: Richard Baehr, Israel Hayom, Jan. 24, 2014 — Earlier this week, The New Yorker published a 17,000 word article by its editor, David Remnick, summarizing his time spent recently in travels with President Barack Obama.

Credulous and Tendentious on Benghazi: National Review, Dec. 31, 2013— The New York Times has published a strange but unsurprising account of the attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012…

 

On Topic Links

 

Syria Will Haunt the President and his Advisers: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Feb. 17, 2014

Handing the Middle East to Russia: Amir Taheri, New York Post, Feb. 16, 2014

Syria Will Haunt the President and his Advisers: Jennifer Rubin, Feb. 17, 2014

Stop Jerking Canada Around: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Jan. 23, 2013   

Survey: U.S. Press Freedom Plunges Under Obama to 46th in World, After Romania: Meghan Drake

, Washington Times, Feb. 11, 2014

The President Inhales: Wall Street Journal, Jan. 21, 2014

 

OBAMA'S HOLLOW PROMISES ABROAD                      

Daniel Pipes                                                                        

Washington Times, Feb. 12, 2014

 

As U.S. credibility and stature diminish in world affairs, the American president and his secretaries of state and defence engage in eloquent denial. Unfortunately for them, realities trump words, even persuasive ones.

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “where the water-cooler chatter was about America’s waning influence in the Middle East,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry proclaimed himself “perplexed by claims … that somehow America is disengaging from the world.” Nothing could be further from the truth, he asserted: “We are entering an era of American diplomatic engagement that is as broad and as deep as any at any time in our history.” Likewise, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called for “a renewed and enhanced era of partnership with our friends and allies.”

 

In this spirit, President Obama has made multiple promises to reassure allies. To South Korea, which depends on the American “tripwire” to deter a demented dictator who could flatten Seoul within the first few hours of an artillery barrage, Mr. Obama promised that “the commitment of the United States to the Republic of Korea will never waver.” To Japan, which depends on the U.S. 7th Fleet to deter increasingly aggressive Chinese encroachment on the Senkaku Islands, he reaffirmed that “the United States remains steadfast in its defense commitments to Japan,” which the State Department specifically indicated includes the Senkaku Islands. To Taiwan, whose security against mainland China depends on the American deterrent, he “reaffirmed our commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act,” which requires the United States to maintain the capacity “to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security” of Taiwan. To the Philippines, worried about its territories in the South China Sea claimed by China, particularly the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Reef, he reaffirmed a commitment to the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty that provides, in the event of an armed attack, that the United States “would act to meet the common dangers.” To Saudi Arabia, alarmed by Mr. Obama’s appeasement of Iran in the Joint Plan of Action, he reiterated “the firm commitment of the United States to our friends and allies in the Gulf.” Finally, to Israel, isolated in a sea of enemies, Mr. Obama declared “America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security,” because standing by Israel “is in our fundamental national security interest.”

 

The trouble is, first, that Americans doubt these fine and steadfast words. Record numbers of Americans think that U.S. global power and prestige are declining, according to the Pew Research Center. For the first time in surveys dating back to the 1970s, “a majority (53 percent) says the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago,” while only 17 percent thought American power has been enhanced. An even larger majority, 70 percent, “say the United States is less respected than in the past.” Another 51 percent say Mr. Obama is “not tough enough” in foreign policy and national security issues. More than two-thirds have a negative opinion of the president’s handling of Iran, the Mellman Group found. A majority (54 percent to 37 percent) support targeted military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, rather than allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons. McLaughlin & Associates finds that 49 percent of respondents think America’s standing has been diminished during Mr. Obama’s five-plus years in office; 40 percent think America’s adversaries now look at Mr. Obama with contempt.

 

Second, the Pew Research Center reports that half the populations in Britain, France and Germany, as well as a third in the United States and Russia, see China eventually replacing the United States as the world’s leading superpower. Two-thirds of Israelis think Mr. Obama will not stop the Iranians from getting nuclear weapons. Third, world leaders in countries as varied as Japan, Poland and Israel hear Mr. Obama’s promises as unrelated to reality. Speaking for many, Josef Joffe of Germany’s Die Zeit weekly finds “consistency and coherence to Obama’s attempt to retract from the troubles of the world, to get the U.S. out of harm’s way. to be harsh about it, he wants to turn the U.S. into a very large medium power.” Successful “diplomatic engagement,” as Mr. Kerry calls it, must be backed by consistency, power and will, not by nice words, hollow promises and wishful thinking. Will the Obama administration realize this before doing permanent damage? Watch the Iranian nuclear deal for possible changes, or not.

 

[Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, is a CIJR Academic Fellow]

 

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OBAMACARE’S WAR ON JOBS                                                        

Charles Krauthammer

Washington Post, Feb. 13, 2014

 

In the ongoing saga of the Affordable Care Act, oddly referred to by Democrats as the law of the land even as it is amended at will by presidential fiat, we are beginning to understand the extent of its war on jobs. First, the Congressional Budget Office triples its estimate of the drop in the workforce resulting from the disincentive introduced by Obamacare’s insurance subsidies: 2 million by 2017, 2.3 million by 2021.

 

Democratic talking points gamely defend this as a good thing because these jobs are being given up voluntarily. Nancy Pelosi spoke lyrically about how Obamacare subsidies will allow people to leave unfulfilling jobs to pursue their passions: “Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.”

 

Nothing so lyrical has been written about work since Marx (in “The German Ideology”) described a communist society that “makes it possible for me to . . . hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner.” Pelosi’s vision is equally idyllic except for one thing: The taxes of the American factory worker — grinding away dutifully at his repetitive mind-numbing job — will be subsidizing the voluntary unemployment of the artiste in search of his muse. A rather paradoxical position for the party that poses as tribune of the working man.

 

In the reductio ad absurdum of entitlement liberalism, White House spokesman Jay Carney was similarly enthusiastic about this Obamacare-induced job loss. Why, Obamacare creates the “opportunity” that “allows families in America to make a decision about how they will work, and if they will work.” If they will work? Pre-Obama, people always had the right to quit work to tend full time to the study of butterflies. It’s a free country. The twist in the new liberal dispensation is that the butterfly guy is to be subsidized by the taxes of people who actually work. In the traditional opportunity society, government provides the tools — education, training and various incentives — to achieve the dignity of work and its promise of self-improvement and social mobility. In the new opportunity society, you are given the opportunity for idleness while living parasitically off everyone else. Why those everyone else’s should remain at their jobs — hey! I wanna dance, too! — is a puzzle Carney has yet to explain.

 

The honest liberal reply to the CBO report is that a disincentive to work is inherent in any means-tested government benefit. It’s the unavoidable price of helping those in need because for every new dollar you earn, you lose part of your subsidy and thus keep less and less of your nominal income. That’s inevitable. And that’s why we have learned to tie welfare, for example, to a work requirement. Otherwise, beneficiaries could choose to live off the dole forever. That’s why the 1996 Gingrich-Clinton welfare reform succeeded in reducing welfare rolls by two-thirds. It is not surprising that the same Obama administration that has been weakening the work requirement for welfare is welcoming the disincentive to work inherent in Obamacare.

 

But Obamacare’s war on jobs goes beyond voluntary idleness. The administration is now conceding, inadvertently but unmistakably, Obamacare’s other effect — involuntary job loss. On Monday, the administration unilaterally postponed and weakened the employer mandate, already suspended through 2015, for yet another year. But doesn’t this undermine the whole idea of universal health coverage? Of course it does, but Obamacare was so structured that it is crushing small business and killing jobs. It creates a major incentive for small businesses to cut back to under 50 employees to avoid the mandate. Your business becomes a 49er by either firing workers or reducing their hours to below 30 a week. Because that doesn’t count as full time, you escape both the employer mandate to buy health insurance and the fine for not doing so.

 

With the weakest recovery since World War II, historically high chronic unemployment and a shockingly low workforce participation rate, the administration correctly fears the economic consequences of its own law — and of the political fallout for Democrats as millions more Americans lose their jobs or are involuntarily reduced to part-time status. Conservatives have been warning about this for five years. This is not rocket science. Both the voluntary and forced job losses were utterly predictable. Pelosi insisted we would have to pass the law to know what’s in it. Now we know.

                                                                                                 

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SWITCHING SIDES                                                             

Richard Baehr                                                               

Israel Hayom, Feb. 17, 2014

 

Earlier this week, The New Yorker published a 17,000 word article by its editor, David Remnick, summarizing his time spent recently in travels with President Barack Obama. That Remnick should get such access to the president is not a surprise, since under his leadership, The New Yorker has shifted in a significant way from a magazine that was once known and widely respected for its fiction, essays and cartoons, to a magazine indistinguishable from many others for its role advancing the favored causes of the Left in the nation's political wars — whether it be hysteria about climate change, bashing Israel and its American supporters, or mocking Tea Party supporters and their preferred candidates, as well as Republicans of any denomination. Previous editor Tina Brown had turned The New Yorker into a Vanity Fair twin with fewer pictures and longer articles. Remnick has made The New Yorker a close relation of The Nation with more fashion ads and better paper stock, and the one constant — longer articles…

 

One part of Remnick's latest article has gotten a fair amount of attention. After the killing of Osama bin Laden, the administration hoped to coast to a 2012 re-election victory with the theme of "Bin Laden is dead (and so is al-Qaida), but General Motors is still alive." The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, provided an inconvenient truth, as if there were not other evidence around, that al-Qaida will still alive and kicking. It is in light of the campaign's messaging, that the administration's desperate effort to mislead about who was responsible for what happened in Benghazi and why they did what they did, became so important. The New York Times, 16 months after the date of the attack and the killings of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, was still busy doing legwork to buttress the White House's original fabrication that the attack resulted from a spontaneous demonstration aroused by a Muslim-mocking video produced by a Coptic Christian in the United States, that of course, no one in Libya had seen. In any case, the Times author, David Kirkpatrick, maintained that no evidence existed that al-Qaida had its hands in the attack. The Times of course, had multiple objectives with the Kirkpatrick whitewash — make sure Obama came out looking truthful (a big problem after the Obamacare lies), and make Benghazi go away for Hillary Clinton to better enable her to glide to victory in 2016.

 

With chaos seeming to envelop one country after another since the start of the so-called Arab Spring, and the clear involvement of al-Qaida and Sunni terror groups in violence occurring in many countries at the moment, the president has been at pains to justify his sweeping confidence that al-Qaida was a solved problem. Remnick describes the president's latest "all clear" on al-Qaida this way: "In the 2012 campaign, Obama spoke not only of killing Osama bin Laden; he also said that al-Qaida had been 'decimated.' I pointed out that the flag of al-Qaida is now flying in Falluja, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; al-Qaida has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.

 

"'The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant,' Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. 'I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.'"

 

Yesterday came news that Israelis had prevented an al-Qaida attack on the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv. The jayvee squad involved was arrested (Laker benchwarmers?). Wednesday's Wall Street Journal in its front page news box had five of the top seven stories relating to Sunni and al-Qaida linked terror attacks…One might think that the president's characterization of the current terror threat from Islamic radicals (of the Sunni persuasion) missed the mark. Does a terror attack on a U.S. embassy count as a major operation? It didn't for Obama and his national security team in Benghazi, so why should a Tel Aviv attack be viewed differently? Would a major attack at the Sochi winter games show evidence that the jayvee team had sent a few of its top stars on to the next level? The president is very confident with sports metaphors, but even Remnick seems uncomfortable with this one. In any case, Kobe and the Lakers are well past their best days, and the shelf life of the "al-Qaida is decimated and on the run" meme seems also to have expired. The Remnick articles speak of Obama feeling the need to address the stale thinking that is so common in America on foreign policy, and work through the new realities that are out there. But the al-Qaida threat seems more like an old reality that is hanging in there, with new delusions about their demise being the real problem with the White House team's thinking.

 

One other prominent new reality for the administration seems to be that Iran is on the verge of becoming a partner of the United States, given how many common goals the two countries share. Again, The New York Times is first with the breakout of the new "special relationship." The new partners have their work cut out for them, since Obama has to deal with interference from Israel which the president and his team, none too subtly suggest is poisoning the waters in Congress (which Obama friend Tom Friedman has argued is controlled by Jews and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee). Rather than threatening new sanctions against Iran for failure to perform under the terms of its current agreement with the P5+1, as a strong bipartisan majority in each branch of Congress prefers, the president is letting slip out that his current plan is to gut the sanctions that are already in place, and that likely forced Iran to begin serious negotiations for the first time.

 

The White House seems to be creating the foreign policy version of "Fifty Ways to Please Your Lover." Abandoning existing allies? Check. Always reading the best into Iranian intentions? Check. Providing fodder for anti-Semites in the U.S., Iran and the region who think Israel controls the U.S. government? Check. Ignoring every public Iranian declaration that puts the lie to their having changed course with their nuclear program? Check. Love can be blind, but in this case, something else may be in play — the administration has switched sides, so it has become part of the Iranian propaganda machine. Maybe the president actually sat through those Reverend Jeremiah Wright sermons.  

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CREDULOUS AND TENDENTIOUS ON BENGHAZI                             

National Review, Dec. 31, 2013

 

The New York Times has published a strange but unsurprising account of the attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012 — strange in that it presents the explanations and testimony of terrorists involved in the attack without comment or context, and unsurprising because that account supports the narrative the Obama administration aggressively promoted for weeks after the massacre.

 

The first of the Grey Lady’s two key findings: “Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.” This means the Times reporter, David Kirkpatrick, has ignored the evidence that al-Qaeda-linked groups, such as the Egypt-based Jamal network, almost surely did have a role in the assault — as reported by the New York Times in October 2012. Such evidence has been uncovered by the American intelligence community, as attested to by Democratic and Republican representatives with knowledge of it.

 

The second finding: The massacre was partly a spontaneous event, and some of the Libyan attackers were angered by a YouTube video that Islamists across the Middle East cited as the inspiration for September 11’s violent demonstrations. This is remarkably thinly sourced — the account admits that “many [of those arriving at the U.S. compound] learned of the video for the first time,” and merely maintains that “Libyan witnesses . . . said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.” Even the Times didn’t manage to find witnesses who could support the Obama administration’s chronology. Susan Rice told us that a video-related demonstration gave rise to the attack; David Kirkpatrick and his Islamist sources say that those angered by the video arrived at a compound already overrun by attackers who had coordinated their assault.

 

The account is hard to believe on its face: Kirkpatrick pins the planned attack on Ahmed Abu Khattala, a local militia leader who granted him an interview. For his part, Khattala acknowledges his presence at the attacks but says he showed up late — and somehow “strolled coolly through” the raging firefight, Kirkpatrick reports. He heads the Benghazi branch of Ansar al-Sharia, a jihadist organization whose nearby franchise, in a town called Derna, is run by a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and associate of Osama bin Laden. The Derna group denies a role in Benghazi, but the groups share a propaganda outlet, and sources such as the Tunisian prime minister acknowledge there’s mounting evidence that the two groups are one, and connected to the al-Qaeda branch in North Africa. Khattala, like other Benghazi militiamen, gushes about his support for al-Qaeda’s worldwide efforts. Is it so hard to believe that, given the keen interest counterterrorism efforts take in the global network, he has been less than honest about his connection to it and its role in the Benghazi assault?

 

When Islamic terrorists who support the ideology and sport the heraldry of the global al-Qaeda network killed an American ambassador on the anniversary of 9/11, the Obama administration eagerly accepted their version of the story: that locally based protests had responded to offensive Western blasphemy. As the Islamist threat grows, the Obama administration has continually, carefully claimed success in defeating “the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11” — Arabs based in Afghanistan and Pakistan and known as “core al-Qaeda.” But there is evidence, though it’s not dispositive, to suggest that the groups participating in the attack in Benghazi had connections to this group. In fact, core al-Qaeda, now led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, urged the group’s affiliate in Yemen to “do something” on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, and his brother led the attack in Cairo that preceded Benghazi. In Benghazi, Islamist terrorist groups demonstrated, in a tragic and humiliating fashion, an ability to threaten the national-security interests of the United States. Rather than forthrightly address this failure, the administration has given credence to the idea that American deeds — words here, actually — are to blame for Islamist terrorism against the West. This claim is as poorly supported here as ever, but is convenient for this administration’s ideological leanings and political designs.

 

Ultimately, several other conclusions are undeniable: The Times report confirms that our representatives in Benghazi had laughably little security because of the administration’s naïve trust in Islamists, their inability to recognize the threat terrorist groups posed in Libya, and the efforts from the very top to keep the U.S. presence in the country low-profile. Those failures fall, first, at the feet of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. And the men who murdered Americans and humiliated our country have yet to pay any price for their crimes. That failure is ultimately traceable to her superior, President Barack Obama. The president will never contest another election, so he may not have to answer for these failures. The Times has done its best to ensure that Clinton doesn’t have to, either.

 

                                               Contents

Syria Will Haunt the President and his Advisers: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Feb. 17, 2014— It must be maddening spinning for the White House.

Handing the Middle East to Russia: Amir Taheri, New York Post, Feb. 16, 2014 —Some 40 years ago, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat ended his regime’s alliance with, and reliance on, the Soviet Union, and, in one of the Cold war’s most dramatic turnabouts, joined the Middle Eastern bloc of nations close to the United States.

Stop Jerking Canada Around: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Jan. 23, 2013— Fixated as we Americans are on Canada’s three most attention-getting exports — polar vortexes, Alberta clippers and the antics of Toronto’s addled mayor — we’ve somewhat overlooked a major feature of Canada’s current relations with the United States: extreme annoyance.  

Survey: U.S. Press Freedom Plunges Under Obama to 46th in World, After Romania: Meghan Drake, Washington Times, Feb. 11, 2014—The Obama administration’s handling of whistleblower Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaks and the investigation of a string of leaks produced a plunge in the country’s rating on press freedoms and government openness, according to a global survey released Tuesday.

The President Inhales: Wall Street Journal, Jan. 21, 2014 —To the delight of dorm rooms everywhere, President Obama has all but endorsed marijuana legalization.

 

 Contents:         

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Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

BENGHAZI AFFAIR REFUSES TO DIE – NEW TESTIMONY SUGGESTS COVER-UP, TALK IN GOP OF IMPEACHMENT

Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Contents:                          

 

Why the Benghazi Affair is Still so Important: Barry Rubin, Jewish Press, May 12, 2013—There is something terribly and tragically and importantly symbolic about the Benghazi attack that may be lost in the tidal wave of details about what happened on September 11, 2012, in an incident where four American officials were murdered in a terrorist attack.

 

The Benghazi Battle: Andrew Stiles, National Review, May 8, 2013—Gregory Hicks’s personal account of the tragic night of September 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, offered some of the most compelling public testimony to date regarding the deadly terrorist attacks that left four Americans dead, including U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens.

 

Did Clinton and Obama Believe Their Benghazi Baloney?: Michael Barone, Real Clear Politics, May 13, 2013—What were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton thinking? Why did they keep pitching the line that the 9/11/12 Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans started as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video?

 

Why the GOP Might Try to Impeach Obama Over Benghazi: Joshua Green, Business Week, May 13, 2013—Throughout last year’s campaign, President Obama assured voters skeptical of his ability to work with Republicans in Congress that his reelection would “break the fever” of implacable obstruction and finally persuade the GOP to submit to the will of the voters. That prediction quickly proved wrong. Instead of breaking, the fever has spiked.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Benghazi Lie: Mark Steyn, National Review, May 10, 2013

Seven Things We Learned from the Benghazi Whistleblower Hearing: Bryan Preston, PJ Media, May 8, 2013
Pentagon: Special Forces Would Not Have Saved Lives in Benghazi: Dustin Walker, Real Clear Defense, May 8, 2013

Right Mauls Hillary Clinton Over Envoy's Murder in Benghazi: Toby Harnden, Real Clear Politics, May 13, 2013

 

WHY THE BENGHAZI AFFAIR IS STILL SO IMPORTANT

Barry Rubin

Jewish Press, May 12, 2013

 

There is something terribly and tragically and importantly symbolic about the Benghazi attack that may be lost in the tidal wave of details about what happened on September 11, 2012, in an incident where four American officials were murdered in a terrorist attack. This point stands at the heart of everything that has happened in American society and intellectual life during the last decade.

 

And that point is this: America was attacked once again on that September 11, attacked by al Qaeda in an attempt to destroy the United States—as ridiculous as that goal might seem. Yet the U.S. government blamed the attack on America itself.

 

Other reasons can be adduced for the official position that what happened that day was due to a video insulting Islam rather than to a terrorist attack, but this is the factor of overwhelming importance. It transformed the situation in the following ways:

 

–Muslims were the victims of American misbehaviour, a point emerging from the administration’s wider worldview of U.S. aggression and Third World suffering, as in the lectures of all those left-wing anti-American academics and the sermons of Jeremiah Wright.

 

–“Hate speech” and racism (as “Islamophobia” is often reconfigured) was the cause of troubles, with the implication that while freedom of speech and such liberties should be defended they must be limited in some ways to prevent further trouble.

 

–America’s proper posture should be one of apology, as in the advertisements that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made for the Pakistani and other media.

 

–The “misblaming,” to coin a word, on the video showed terrorist groups that not only can they attack Americans but they can do so without fear of punishment or even of blame! As the House of Representatives’ hearings show, the misattribution of responsibility also delayed the FBI’s investigation, perhaps conclusively so.

 

–The exercise of American power has been the cause of America’s problems and not an excess of appeasement. The chickens—in Wright’s phrase—are merely coming home to roost. Yet once the video—which nobody in the Middle East was aware of—appeared there were in fact further anti-American riots in different countries, now over the video which Clinton and others made known, and in which dozens of people died. This showed that appeasement and apology caused worse problems.

 

–The solution to these Middle East conflicts required a change in U.S. policies in order to avoid further offense. This meant distancing from Israel and even historic Arab allies, showing respect and encouragement even for “moderate” Islamist movements, and other measures.

 

In short, this is the stance of blaming America and exonerating its enemies that has seized hold of the national consciousness. Of course, parallel responses met the Boston bombing as the mass media and academics scrambled to give alternative explanations to the terrorists’ motives.

 

The truth is, however, extremely simple: The United States faces a revolutionary Islamist movement that will neither go away nor moderate itself. To understand this movement and its ideology, how it is and is not rooted in Islam, its weaknesses and divisions, the forces willing to help combat it, and ways to devise strategies to battle it is the prime international need for the moment.

 

It is as necessary to do these things for revolutionary Islamism today as it was to do the same things regarding Nazism in the 1930s and 1940s; and for Communism in the 1940s and 1950s. Yet the U.S. armed forces and other institutions are forbidden from holding this inquiry. There are, of course, additional issues raised, though many of them also have far deeper significance:

 

–The failure of the Obama Administration to defend and rescue Americans in Benghazi is equivalent to its failures to defend American interests around the world.

 

–The fear of using American power in Libya that day parallels the overall retreat from the traditional bipartisan policies of credibility, deterrence, and all the other things in a great power’s lexicon.

 

–The standpoint that it is better to let Americans die than to risk offending certain groups. That might seem harsh but when it was decided not to send a rescue mission that was precisely what was happening.

 

–A lack of competence by a president who didn’t know his duty and by high-ranking subordinates who would not remind him of that duty.

 

–The perfect symbolism of the president of the United States going to sleep in the face of a crisis, the living embodiment of a 2008 election ad by his opponent about whether he would deal with a crisis that erupted at 3 AM.

 

–The perfect symbolism of the secretary of state being the one who put out that ad and who then said, “What difference does it make” regarding the attackers’ motives.

 

–The fact that the cover-up seems to be involved with the administration’s need to declare victory over al Qaeda. Not only is that claim untrue but the idea that if al Qaeda is defeated there is no more threat from revolutionary Islamism is the central bad theme of Administration Middle East policy.

 

–The issue of why the ambassador was in Benghazi that day. Remember that President Obama stood before the United Nations General Assembly and said that he was there to plan a new school and hospital wing. Was he telling an outright lie?

 

Was the ambassador there in an attempt to retrieve advanced weapons previously provided to Libyan Islamist groups in the war against the Qadhafi dictatorship because they could be turned against America? Well, such weapons were turned against America that day. If so, the situation showed the bankruptcy of the pro-Islamist policy.

 

Or was it an effort to funnel weapons to the Syrian rebels, in a policy likely to repeat the problems in Libya? If so, the situation showed the bankruptcy of the pro-Islamist policy. And finally what could be more symbolic than the hiring of Islamist terrorists to guard the consulate, men who deserted or even turned their guns against the Americans there? It is truly symbolic because the Obama Administration has turned to Islamists—in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Syria, and elsewhere–in the belief that they are best suited to guard U.S. interests in the Middle East.

 

In discussing the Benghazi affair none of these broader issues should be forgotten. It was not merely an order for the American rescue forces to “stand down” but for the United States to bow down.

 

Top of Page

 

 

THE BENGHAZI BATTLE

Andrew Stiles

National Review, May 8, 2013

 

Gregory Hicks’s personal account of the tragic night of September 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, offered some of the most compelling public testimony to date regarding the deadly terrorist attacks that left four Americans dead, including U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens.

 

The former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, who appeared before the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday, is the first person who was actually in Libya the night of the attacks to testify publicly. Hicks’s comments, which raised serious questions about the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks and their aftermath, are sure to fuel Republican efforts to expose a potential cover-up.

 

A decorated and widely praised 22-year veteran of the State Department, Hicks recalled being “stunned” and “embarrassed” watching U.N. ambassador Susan Rice’s now-infamous appearances on the Sunday-talk-show circuit, where she claimed that the Benghazi attacks were the result of spontaneous “demonstrations” inspired by an anti-Islamic YouTube video — a claim that President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other administration officials maintained for eleven days following the attack. “The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya,” Hicks said. “The only event that transpired was the attack on our consulate.”

 

Hicks said there was no doubt among U.S. personnel on the ground that the Benghazi attacks were carried out by terrorists — they were well aware that the terror group Ansar al-Sharia had quickly claimed credit on Twitter. In gripping testimony, he recalled how his team in Tripoli loaded ammunition into armored vehicles, smashed hard drives, and fled to a safe house in anticipation of an attack on the embassy in the capital city. He also described “the saddest phone call” he had ever received, when the Libyan prime minister told him that Ambassador Stevens was dead. An audience of more than a hundred staffers, reporters, and lawmakers hung on his every word.

 

Hicks was so shaken by Rice’s remarks on the Sunday shows that he contacted Beth Jones, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, to ask why the U.N. ambassador had incorrectly blamed the attacks on a video. “Her reaction was ‘I don’t know,’ and it was very clear from the tone that I should not proceed any further,” Hicks told members of the committee. He cited this exchange as the beginning of a problematic relationship with the administration, which ultimately led to his demotion from deputy mission chief to mere “desk officer.”

 

This testimony comes amid concerns that the State Department has been intimidating potential witnesses who have knowledge of the attacks and are seeking to testify. The three witnesses present at Wednesday’s hearing were repeatedly referred to as “whistleblowers.” Hicks made clear that the administration has sought to keep him on a tight leash, and his recounting of one particular interaction with Cheryl Mills, State Department general counsel and former chief of staff to Secretary Clinton, is sure to stoke the passions of Republicans eager to pin blame on the prospective 2016 nominee.

 

Hicks said that administration lawyers had instructed him not to meet in Libya with a congressional delegation led by Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) in the wake of the attack — the first time in his career he had ever received such a request. Hicks took the meeting, but a State Department lawyer who tried to sit in was barred because he lacked a security clearance. Hicks later received an angry phone call from Mills demanding a report from the meeting. “A phone call from that near a person [to the secretary of state] is generally not considered to be good news,” Hicks said.

 

Democrats, on the other hand, spent much of the hearing attempting to absolve Clinton of any blame, as well as (tactfully) cast doubt on many of Hicks’s claims. They pointed to a recent report released by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB), which found that Clinton was not responsible for the “inadequate” security at the Benghazi consulate prior to the attack. Republicans noted, with some skepticism toward the findings, that Clinton herself was never interviewed by the board. The ARB did interview Hicks, but he expressed frustration that he was never able to review its classified report.

 

The White House would clearly prefer to put an end to questions about its role during the Benghazi attacks and in the immediate aftermath, but Republicans aren’t going to let them off so easily. Wednesday’s hearing may not have changed many minds, but it showed that further questions are justified, and ought to be answered.

 

White House press secretary Jay Carney may think that September 11, 2012, was “a long time ago,” but as Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) said at one point during the hearing, “there is no statute of limitations to finding out the truth.”

 

 

DID CLINTON AND OBAMA BELIEVE THEIR BENGHAZI BALONEY?

Michael Barone

Real Clear Politics, May 13, 2013

 

What were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton thinking? Why did they keep pitching the line that the 9/11/12 Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans started as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video? One possible explanation is confusion. There was such an attack on our embassy in Cairo earlier that day that fit that description.

 

When Hillary Clinton on Sept. 14 talked of a "mob" and "violent attacks" over the caskets of the Americans slain in Benghazi, she could have been referring to the attacks in Cairo. In that case, she would not exactly be lying, as many have charged. But she would have been misleading people, quite possibly intentionally. We know that she assured one victim's father, Charles Wood, that "we're going to prosecute that person that made the video."  Not entirely successfully, by the way. "I knew she was lying," Woods said after the House committee hearing on Benghazi last week.

 

It's hard to escape the conclusion that Clinton was knowingly attempting to mislead. She certainly knows the difference between Cairo and Benghazi. And it's undisputed that Gregory Hicks, the No. 2 man in our Libya embassy, reported that it was an "attack" on Sept. 11. That was the word he heard in his last conversation with Chris Stevens. It's undisputed as well, after testimony at the House committee hearing last week, that Beth Jones, acting head of State's Near Eastern Division, emailed on Sept. 12 that "the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Shariah, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists."

 

That email went to Clinton counselor Cheryl Mills and State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, among others. You may remember Mills as one of the lawyers defending Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial. On Sept. 15, the day after Clinton's assurances to Woods, State Department and White House officials prepared talking points for members of Congress and for Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who was scheduled to go on five Sunday talk shows the next day.

 

Who chose Rice as the administration's spokesman? As Barack Obama said after the election, when she was reportedly under consideration to be the next secretary of state, Rice had "nothing to do" with Benghazi. Selecting which officials go on the Sunday talk show is a White House function. Either the president or someone who had good reason to believe he was reflecting his wishes selected someone who was out of the loop on the issue. The expectation must have been that she would say exactly what she was told — and would not betray any inconvenient facts known to those in the loop like Clinton.

 

The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes got hold of the series of Sept. 15 emails in which White House and State Department officials prepared the talking points. Deleted were references to warnings State received before Sept. 11 of Ansar al-Sharia and al-Qaida-linked attacks in Benghazi. Nuland describes these as "issues … of my building leadership."

 

The final talking points said "the currently available information suggests that the demonstration in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex." Rice went on TV and parroted the line. That was refuted by Hicks. The video was a "non-event" in Libya, he told the House committee. And he testified that he was chastised by none other than Mills for briefing Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz without a lawyer present.

 

The FBI did not find time to interview Hicks. But State did find time to yank him out of his job and give him a desk job he regards as a demotion.  Obama continued to attribute the Benghazi attack to a protest against a video on Sept. 18 ("Letterman"), Sept. 20 (Univision) and Sept. 25 ("The View" and the United Nations).

 

There were obvious cynical political motives for attempting to mislead voters during a closely contested presidential campaign. Obama did not want his theme of "Osama is dead, al-Qaida is on the run" to be undercut by an Islamist terrorist attack on our ambassador.  Clinton did not want her department's denial of pleas for additional security in Libya to become known. But maybe they were also trying to deceive themselves. Which may be even more disturbing.

 

Michael Barone is Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner.

 

Top of Page

 

 

WHY THE GOP MIGHT TRY TO IMPEACH OBAMA OVER BENGHAZI

Joshua Green

Business Week, May 13, 2013

 

Throughout last year’s campaign, President Obama assured voters skeptical of his ability to work with Republicans in Congress that his reelection would “break the fever” of implacable obstruction and finally persuade the GOP to submit to the will of the voters. That prediction quickly proved wrong. Instead of breaking, the fever has spiked.

 

Last week, with the White House struggling to contain scandals from Benghazi to IRS snooping, it culminated in a chorus of Republican calls to impeach Obama. “Of all the great coverups in history, the Pentagon papers, Iran-Contra, Watergate, all the rest of them,” Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma told a radio show host on Thursday, “this … is going to go down as most egregious coverup in American history.” Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee predicted, “This president will not fill out his full term.” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham called Benghazi “Obama’s Watergate.”

 

Right-wing calls to impeach Obama aren’t exactly new. (Salon has compiled 14 other instances.) But the combination of the Benghazi and IRS scandals has given them new force. So, presumably, has the eagerness of the Republican base to see such a fate befall the president they despise—a recent poll showed that half of Republicans favor impeachment.

 

The inclination of many liberals to fan the flames of impeachment has probably given oxygen to this crusade. Commentators from Jonathan Chait, a few years ago, to Michael Tomasky, just this morning, have predicted a Republican push for impeachment. And while none that I’m aware of has explicitly encouraged this push, many liberals privately view the prospect of a GOP impeachment attempt in the same way that Br’er Rabbit viewed getting tossed in the briar patch—as something that would quickly redound to their benefit, just as the impeachment of Bill Clinton ultimately hurt the GOP in the 1998 elections.

 

One obvious obstacle is that Democrats control the Senate. While the GOP-led House could initiate impeachment proceedings, they wouldn’t get much further. At least for now. Inhofe indicated, though, that the issue could “endure” and move forward if Republicans take back the Senate in 2014. The combination of all these factors—Republican legislators’ thirst to deliver Obama his comeuppance, pressure from the base, tacit liberal provocation—would suggest that the “fever” is likelier to go higher still than it is to subside.

 

Green is senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek in Washington.

Top of Page

 

Seven Things We Learned from the Benghazi Whistleblower Hearing: Bryan Preston, PJ Media, May 8, 2013—The Republicans mishandled the Benghazi whistleblowers’ hearing. What should have been stretched across several days to give the nation time to digest it all, was instead packed into a single day filled with an overwhelming amount of information. The media’s attention span is not that long.

 

The Benghazi Lie: Mark Steyn, National Review, May 10, 2013—Shortly before last November’s election I took part in a Fox News documentary on Benghazi, whose other participants included the former governor of New Hampshire John Sununu. Making chit-chat while the camera crew were setting up, Governor Sununu said to me that in his view Benghazi mattered because it was “a question of character.”
 

Pentagon: Special Forces Would Not Have Saved Lives in Benghazi: Dustin Walker, Real Clear Defense, May 8, 2013

The Pentagon is pushing back on claims that a Special Operations unit could have saved lives if sent to Benghazi during the attack there last fall.

 

Right Mauls Hillary Clinton Over Envoy's Murder in Benghazi: Toby Harnden, Real Clear Politics, May 13, 2013—In a temporary office beside a shopping mall in northern Virginia, half a dozen young Republican operatives were hunched over their computers as the House oversight committee questioned witnesses about last September’s deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.

 

Top of Page

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Editor, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org