The Post’s Islamabad correspondent Richard Leiby reflects on the memorable people and enduring images from his reporting in Pakistan.
I’m glad that President Obama finally and belatedly has acceded to the urgent pleas of our British, French, Libyan and Arab allies, all of whom have been urging the United States to stop Gaddafi’s mercenary army from crushing the rebel forces there.
Unfortunately, Obama’s public statements show that he is prepared to do far less than what might be required in Libya. This is in large part because Obama, like most of our political elites, is spooked by misplaced concerns about “nation-building” and “ground combat.”
And so, the United States will not deploy ground troops to Libya, Obama said. Nor will we “impose” change on the Middle East and Africa.
But why not deploy ground troops to Libya to assist the rebels there? Why, for instance, would it be wrong to deploy a contingent of Green Berets to help train Libyan rebels fighting to overthrow Gaddafi?
At the very least, even if you have ruled out such a move, why tell the enemy that? Why take that option off the table?
Because Obama’s goal is not regime change in Libya; it is
The Libyan regime’s declaration of a ceasefire only hours after the United Nations authorized the use of military force against the regime demonstrates what real leadership and the threat of force can achieve.
Unfortunately, this leadership, I regret to say, did not come from President Obama and the United States: It came from Britain, France, the Arab League, and Libya’s renegade ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbash, all of whom have been pleading with the United Nations to act.
To be sure, the Obama administration deserves credit for belatedly agreeing to support a no-fly zone in Libya — and not just a no-fly zone: The new United Nations resolution also authorizes “all necessary measures… to protect civilians and civilian populated areas, including Benghazi, while excluding an occupation force.”
So, finally and belatedly, the door has been opened to effect regime change in Libya. (The language about “excluding an occupation force” is troubling. Still, the resolution seems to allow for the use of allied ground forces or special forces, which, in all likelihood, will be integral to success.)
There’s only one problem: It’s not at all clear that President Obama supports forcibly removing Gaddafi from power. He and his foreign policy team have sent decidedly mixed and conflicting messages about their objectives.
This is a real concern because
John Bolton’s topic for his CA GOP convention speech was his “Problems with the Obama administration’s foreign policy”. He started right off throwing red meat to the Republican crowd:
“When President Obama took the office on Jan. 20, 2009, when it came to foreign policy and national security, he wasn’t qualified to be president,” Bolton said. “Today, more than two years later, he’s still not qualified.”
The Politico reported:
During his 27-minute speech to a state GOP convention here, Bolton criticized Obama’s handling of nearly every significant foreign policy matter.
On Libya, Bolton blasted Obama’s latest statement of American goals, saying the White House’s objectives are now “utterly inexplicable,” and that Obama had done a “180-degree shift” on the issue of a no-fly zone.
Likewise, Bolton said Obama was a flip-flopper on Egypt. “Obama had, by my count, four positions on Egypt before Mubarak finally fell.”
Bolton told reporters he’s still considering a 2012 run, but he hasn’t yet made up his mind.
Cross-posted at Nice Deb
Hat tip: Weasel Zippers
Tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM, I will have the honor of being the featured guest on Da Tech Guy’s awesome radio show. If any of you guys have some free time on Saturday morning, I would greatly appreciate it if you could give us a listen–or, even call in if you think of a question that you would like to ask one of us. We will be discussing all of the recent on-goings at The Minority Report, the Libyan crisis, and the sad, horrific murder of an Israeli family by Palestinian terrorists.
Take care, and I look forward to hearing from you all tomorrow morning!
Sincerely, Susannah Fleetwood
“Until the President submits both agreements to Congress for approval and commits to signing implementing legislation into law, we will use all the tools at our disposal to force action, including withholding support for any nominee for Commerce Secretary and any trade-related nominees.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The following is a letter signed by 44 Republican Senators, including Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican Whip Jon Kyl, Ranking Member for the Senate Finance Committee Senator Orrin Hatch and former U.S. Trade Representative, Senator Rob Portman, which was delivered to Senator Harry Reid on Monday. The letter states “As a result of the administration’s failure to act on these agreements, American companies and their workers are losing market share and are being denied valuable business opportunities. At the same time, Colombia and Panama are continuing to expand their trading partnerships elsewhere, signing bilateral free trade agreements with the European Union, Canada, and other countries which are eager to move into these large markets at the expense of U.S. workers.”
FTAs Letter 44 Signatures Full letter to Senator Reid:
Today, President Obama’s press conference was long on talking points but short on facts. Quoting the tired Democrat talking point that domestic production was at an all time high since 2003 and continuing the narrative that “big oil” is doing just fine!
>> WHITE HOUSE SPIN: “White House spokesman Jay Carney said … Domestic oil production last year rose to its highest level since 2003.” (Rising Gas Prices Spur Calls For U.S. Oil Production, NPR, 3/10/11)
>> FACT: Obama Administration policies have caused domestic oil production to drop by 16 percent versus projected levels, and future projections show continued decreases in domestic production and more foreign imports. (Obama Administration Spins U.S. Oil Production Numbers, Takes Credit for Predecessors’ Pro-Energy Polices, House Natural Resources Committee, 3/10/11)
The claim of Islamophobia has bandied about for years by so-called moderate Muslim groups like CAIR and their newly found liberal friends (the enemy of my enemy is my friend). A claim, that has never been fully supported by fact but blindly accepted by many in the main stream media to the detriment of our citizens awareness and having an adverse affect on our policies toward policing our country, fighting terrorism, and securing our nation.
Today the Center for Security Policy released a study which contradicts this false Islamophobia claim and further sets the groundwork for Americans to start having real “adult” conversation about our national security without this propaganda getting in the way.
The press release and study follow:
The promise that the Bush-McCain weary heard was that there were no red states and no blue states, but just the United States. The stimulus would arrest the recession and keep unemployment under 8%. ObamaCare would lower the deficit and you could keep your own insurance if you wanted. Foreign nations would love the anti-cowboy, and oh yes, anyone that was saddled with white guilt would have it instantly purged.
Two years later down the yellow-brick road, the curtain has been rent and revealed, not a wizard, but rather a lawless, arrogant alien in the White House that is not just presiding over American decline but actually egging it on.
He is not alien because he wasn’t born in Hawaii, but, rather because he doesn’t love America and what it is and has stood for. Rather, he loves the Obama-nation he is in the process of building in which he issues waivers to those that tickle the King’s fancy and organize communities for his Democrat like the hordes of spoiled public sector union brats in Wisconsin.
It was 2003, and French President Jacques Chirac expressed anger and hostility towards several countries who disagreed with his position regarding the impending US action against Iraq. He offered up the following commentary.
“They missed a great opportunity to shut up.”
- Jacques Chirac (HT:CNN)
While Chirac was acting in character (ie contemptibly obnoxious), his turn of phrase does well to describe many of the mistakes large nations make in diplomacy. The United States intelligence community has missed not one, but two valuable opportunities to zip their collective soup coolers in the last 48 hours.
The comedy of errors began with CIA Director Leon Panetta reporting that there is a high probability that Hosni Mubarak would step down yesterday. Panetta, according to the Washington Post, had complained that his job was complicated by not being able to get inside people’s heads. Well, he successfully got inside Mubarak’s head.
Mubarak will now, quite emphatically, NOT.STEP.DOWN. He probably won’t participate in US President Barak Obama’s March Madness Office Pool either. Nor will he be returning Hillary Rodham Clinton’s insistent emails and tweets. He is currently livid at the imbeciles in the US Government. He may well have been willing to accept a buy-out – before Leon Panetta publically pissed on his Hush Puppies.
Panetta back-pedaled with desperation reminiscent of a Free Safety burned by a play-action fake. The WaPo article linked to above describes the gathering of fig leaves, to cover Panetta’s exposed posterior.
After the committee chairman referred to media accounts predicting that the Egyptian president would step down, Panetta said, “I got the same information you did, that there is a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening, which would be significant in terms of where the hopefully orderly transition in Egypt takes place.”
Shortly thereafter, a U.S. intelligence official said that Panetta “was clearly referring to press reports alluded to” by the panel chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.).
They even remembered to obliquely blame a Republican. This was Democratic Party professionalism at its epic finest. If Mike Rogers would stop asking intelligence professionals for intelligence, they would be far less likely to say stupid things.
You can’t expect a multi-million dollar agency, which gathers data for a living, to know more about the world than your typical yuppie King Richard scanning the Internet on his Crackberry. It’s clearly the nefarious impact of The Tea Party storming Capitol Hill that leads brilliant men like Panetta to commit these hideous gaffes.
Ironically, the best advice the Democrats have received on this issue came from a man who knows more about arrogance than even Barack Obama has ever forgotten. Arlen Specter has once more been drawn to a TV camera like a moth to a candle flame. He opined intelligently below.
12:28 p.m. Former Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., tells MSNBC: “We have to recognize that President Mubarak is a very proud man…he has to be eased out.”
The bumbling, stumbling, mediocre, maundering of our morally bankrupt and intellectually suspect leadership not only has failed to properly read the chicken entrails concerning Mubarak’s travel plans. But even worse, it has also veered deleteriously into the dangerous terrain of disingenuous dhimmitude. The National Journal also reports the following nugget of brilliance from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told House lawmakers that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is “largely secular” and has rejected violence and decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam, NJ’s Chris Strohm reports.
(National Journal. Ob. Cit.)
Here we have the head of US Intelligence proving himself less well-informed than the dedicated reader of Takimag.com. Jim Goad lays out some basics that even the marginally well-informed know about the Muslim Brotherhood.
Still, their crossed-sword logo doesn’t exactly scream “peaceful.” And their motto—“Allah is our objective; the Koran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations”—doesn’t quite epitomize the words “moderate” or “nonviolent.” As recently as 2008, Brotherhood leader Mahdi Akef spoke of raising a new generation of Islamic warriors “who love to die as much as others love to live.”
Muslim Brotherhood leaders have openly expressed a desire to “take control of Europe” or that they issued a memorandum stating that their “work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house…so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
In essence, the Muslim Brotherhood rejects violence to the extent that they hate it when other people shoot back. They are determined to destroy the West and all who adhere to its values.
But let’s assume James Clapper knows more than hundreds of Arabic Speaking experts who have translated the writings of Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Let’s say the Muslim Brotherhood consists of wise and gentle peace activists who travel the world putting daisies into the rifle-barrels of the world’s most dangerous militarists. Just how well would such an organization fare in an open democracy that had an electorate similar to the population of Modern Egypt?
A Pew Center Survey suggests that a largely secular party that rejects violence would be in for a Walter Mondale 1984 Election Night. 95% of the Egyptian population believes Islam should have a large role in the nation’s politics. 49% of the Egyptian people like Hamas, only 48% disagree. 59% of Egyptians willing describe themselves as Islamic Fundamentalists. I’m relieved they aren’t turning into Jeebus-Land.
So if what James Clapper says is true, and what Pew says is true, we won’t have to worry about the Muslim Brotherhood unless it bothers our sense of aesthetics to see their dead and bloated corpses go floating down the Nile. Of course, what Clapper says is Bravo Sierra on a level of Recovery Summer and Warmal Cooling. The Muslim Brotherhood bankrolls Hamas. Hamas expresses their non-violence by firing shoulder-mounted rockets at people. Clapper is an idiot at best and a mendacious and willing accessory to mass-murder at his worst.
Or maybe Clapper and the people who hire him are something even worse. They could be knowingly and cynically trading the truth for a brief and illusory stretch of peace in our time. The Muslim Brotherhood will be no more interested in stopping at Cairo than Osama Bin Ladin was in hanging up the spikes after his success on 9-11. I wish US Intelligence was smart enough to figure that out.