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Obama and Romney’s Response to Attack on US Embassy in Libya

The latest uproar associated with the upcoming election involves Governor Mitt Romney’s response to the Obama administration’s reaction to the rising tension in the Middle East and to the administration’s direct response to the multitude of attacks on United States’ Embassies, Consuls and other U.S. interests in that region. During the past decade the United States has invested more than a trillion dollars and over six thousand American lives in attempts to defend itself from attacks that were planned and launched from this same region.

This is a complex discussion which involves sophisticated judgments relevant to whether we should have launched offensive operations in Iraq and maintained a long-term presence in Afghanistan. Necessarily, this must also involve equally complex discussions regarding the United States’ risky gamble in assisting unproven and potentially dangerous groups to seize control of Egypt and Libya.  These issues and discussions are all fair game during any election cycle.  We all realize that the culture within the Middle East is, well, very foreign to the American mindset.  Maybe Lawrence of Arabia, the protagonist of the 1962 film of the same name, understood these folks, but it seems clear our national leaders struggle in this regard.  Because of this challenge, we have made a number of missteps, and a fair number of these missteps occurred during the past four years, during the current administration.  Governor Romney wants to address them.  Is that fair in the context of an American presidential election?  I suggest that the answer to this question should be an absolute no-brainer: of course it is fair.  It is not only fair– it is critical.  We are losing American lives at an appalling rate and spending American treasure like there is no end to our wealth, all in order to address the threat posed by forces within this region.  Of course this is expected as a topic for debate.

The immediate issue at hand orbits around the Obama administration’s actions and comments regarding the most recent attacks in Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Many of the actions and comments were issued by the leadership within our embassies and consuls.  For the record, it is important to understand that our president personally selects each ambassador for each nation.  These handpicked men and women report directly to the president. It may appear that these ambassadors are under the control of the Secretary of State, but they are not. They are chartered directly by the president and serve as his personal representatives in their respective countries. Why this is important? The answer is simple, because this reality forecloses any argument that these folks do not represent the president’s administration.

News outlets such as Fox and http://www.independent.co.uk indicate that the Obama administration had intelligence that foretold the immediate threat of the attacks, yet the Marine guards were not allowed to load their firearms and the nature of the threat was not passed down to the various country teams.  Immediately before the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, the administration’s diplomat in Cairo released a statement basically apologizing for America’s actions.  Later, Obama made it clear that the statement released by this particular embassy official had not been approved by him or his cabinet. However, it must be remembered that these embassy officials are his direct representatives and take their marching orders directly from him. If they are marching without orders, then we have an appalling leadership void.  That, in and of itself, is a serious issue.

So what exactly happened and what exactly did Governor Romney say that generated criticism? First, an anonymous person aired an anti-Islamic video on YouTube.  In response to the video and ongoing riots, the U.S. Embassy in Egypt issued the now infamous apology to the people of Islam.  Thereafter, Romney, asserted that, as reported on www.phillyburbs.com, “The Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”  Again, President Obama said he never directed the apologies and is not responsible for them.  He then accused Governor Romney of not having his facts straight and irresponsibly making an accusation before he understood the facts.Here at The University of Tampa, I am a cadet in the ROTC program (although, I hasten to point out that this article does not reflect the opinion of the ROTC program at all, and is my own personal opinion). In this excellent program, I am taught leadership skills. Among these skills and responsibilities, we are taught that anything that occurs while we are in command or in charge is our responsibility. This is Leadership 101: when in charge, take charge and also accept responsibility. I believe that if a 22-year-old lieutenant is responsible for the acts of his junior leaders, then a 50-something-year-old U.S. president can be held to the same standard.

As we sort through the facts, a number of truths begin to rise to the top.  First, both the Obama and Bush administrations made decisions that locked our foreign policy into a certain path in the Middle East.  During the 2008 election, President Obama was highly critical of the Bush Administration’s decisions, yet, after he became president, he chose to stay the same course.  If these decisions were relevant during the 2008 election, they are still relevant in 2012.  Second, in 2008, Obama criticized the actions of all sorts of folks that Bush had appointed to office, even though Bush may or may not have known about the subject matter under critique.  President Bush accepted responsibility for the actions of the people he appointed.  I respectfully submit that our current president might take a lesson here.  Third, Governor Romney was undoubtedly right when he stated that the Obama administration apologized to the very evil people who launched the cowardly attacks on our embassies and consuls.  Fourth, the fact of the matter is that the United States government should not be apologizing for anything associated with this video. The government did not make or fund the creation of the video, nor should they accept responsibility for it. It was made by a person from private funds. It is in no way connected to our government.  Rather than show our strength as a nation, we, under the Obama administration, showed weakness to the entire world.

Many suggest that this entire episode will hurt the Romney campaign. If that is so, it is a very sad commentary on the American electorate. I choose to believe that the American people are too smart to be fooled by the administration’s attempt to avoid a meaningful debate of its policies, decisions, failures and successes in regard to the Middle East. It is obvious to me that this is an issue of extreme importance.  I might even find myself in this region fighting for my nation.  Accordingly, I have a vested interest in the competent and responsible handling of this issue. Everything done or not done must be subject to review, comment and debate before we all go cast our votes.

Richard Whitaker can be reached at richard.whitaker@spartans.ut.edu

4 Comments on Obama and Romney’s Response to Attack on US Embassy in Libya

  1. First off how can the President be held directly accountable for a tweet by the US embassy? I understand they are under his leadership but implying that their tweet equates to a direct statement out of President Obama’s mouth is ridiculous. Second, a statement saying that the US supports Freedom of Religion is not an apology of our American principles. It was an act to show that the American government was not behind or support the radical video. Get your facts right before you write an article

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  2. Sorry, Richard, but you are just factually incorrect when you say the Obama administration apologized to the embassy attackers. The administration immediately disowned the comments made by the embassy. Despite what you may think, one person tweeting from a U.S. Embassy does not dictate official government policy. Your implication that the administration accepted responsibility for the anti-Islamic video is equally baseless. I would suggest you spend more time factchecking, or I predict your future as a journalist may be limited.

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  3. stephencolbert // September 21, 2012 at 1:06 am //

    Who is this this nutjob?

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  4. Paul Felix Schott // September 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm //

    I WOULD NEVER TELL ANYONE TO BOW THEIR HEAD WHEN YOU SALUTE ONE ANOTHER. THIS IS DISRESPECTFUL TO ALL THAT SERVE IN AND FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND STILL LAND OF THE FREE!

    WE ARE THE ONE NATION THAT ALL ON EARTH KNOW THAT UNITED WE STAND IN GOD WE TRUST AND FREEDOM FOR ALL TO HAVE AND READ THE LORD’S WORD FROM THE BIBLE.

    ONLY THE BLIND CANNOT SEE THIS MANY IN THE
    INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY TOLD WASHINGTON D.C. .. Israel told us it was
    coming long ago oh i am sorry obama refused to talk or meet with the
    Prime Minster of Israeli why ?

    Do not Be Mislead

    NEXT THE SUNDAY FUNNIES TO GO.

    Wolf In Sheep Skin.

    The LORD’s Word in the Bible tells all to beware of many
    that will be False Prophets.

    Even the Devil cannot fake or hide that he is not
    a Christian. The Devil will always lead you to HELL.

    Most all on Earth, know that there is but one GOD.

    The Prophets of Our Lord and GOD would not tell others to
    hurt or harm others or to sin. But the wicked will.

    So how can so many be blind to think a Christian, a Prophet
    or anyone that wants to go to Heaven would tell others to do harm to one or
    anyone. Or to sin.

    Read the Bible

    do good and Help others

    and Listen to are Lord not Wolfs in sheep skin. Or the
    Wicked.

    September 11 ,2001 the middle east party in the
    streets celebrating. Christian why do you think they would do any think
    different each and every September 11, . Only weak Leaders will let this happen.

    Do you really want to see oh hear of more Americans killed for sport from the wicked.

    This Nation Under GOD Needs Good Strong Christian Leaders.

    Do we want to be like many other countries like Norway Muslims Attack children in schools and Norway Muslims immigrate rape women even a 12 year old.

    And yes they are holding up signs in the middle east today saying the they are peaceful, RIGHT, most of them with a big smile on their face.

    The Lord’s Little Helper

    Paul Felix Schott

    AMERICANS

    Please go to Kate Smith Introduces GOD BLESS AMERICA
    on You Tube

    Like

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