Skip to comments.Chaos in Middle East, US Ambassador Murdered, Media Fixated on Romney "Gaffe"
Posted on 09/12/2012 1:29:54 PM PDT by Kaslin
This has been an extremely disquieting day, for several reasons. First and foremost, the US Ambassador to Libya was murdered in cold blood last night, along with three other diplomats -- and horrifying images of the carnage are being beamed around the world. A few basic facts via Reuters:
The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three embassy staff were killed in an attack on the Benghazi consulate and a safe house refuge, stormed by Islamist gunmen blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad. Gunmen had attacked and set fire to the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of last year's uprising against Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule, late on Tuesday evening as another assault was mounted on the U.S. embassy in Cairo. California-born ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in the assault, but it was not clear how or where he died. U.S. consular staff were rushed to a safe house after the initial attack, Libya's Deputy Interior Minister Wanis Al-Sharif said. An evacuation plane with U.S. commandos units then arrived from Tripoli to evacuate them from the house. "It was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it. There was shooting," Sharif said. Two U.S. personnel were killed there, he said. Two other people were killed at the main consular building and between 12 and 17 wounded.
But hold the phone. Other media reports now indicate the "spontaneous" protests over the controversial Islam film were exploited as a cover for a pre-meditated assassination plot. The Libyan minister quoted in the story above wonders how "the armed groups knew about" the location of the US safe house. An apparent answer: They may have been tipped off by elements within Libya's security forces. There are also clues emerging that US intelligence officials knew about threats of embassy violence in advance. These puzzle pieces raise a number of unpleasant questions: (1) How on earth was our consulate and staff so poorly protected? (2) How badly compromised are our operations in Libya -- and possibly elsewhere -- if even our worst-case-scenario "safe houses" aren't safe? (3) If this was in fact a long-planned raid, did our intelligence community miss it, or was our response delayed and/or botched? (4) Why did our State Department decide to keep our diplomats on the ground after numerous "warning signs" of increasing aggression prompted the British to pull their team out of Benghazi? (If you click through to that article, be prepared to read a Libyan official blaming the victims). (5) How were we caught flat-footed by violence on the obvious and symbolic date of September 11?
If the news bulletins are correct, and this really was a separate assassination plot, yesterday's events also demonstrate an alarming degree of public relations savvy by the responsible parties. They deliberately used the street protests as a ruse, knowing full well that Western political and media structures would rush to condemn the speech that "caused" the bloodshed, further muddying the waters. An evil, brilliant play. Meanwhile, the wildfire is spreading to other Middle Eastern nations, and our Afghan "ally" Hamid Karzai is using the flap to incite his populous against the United States. This is a full-fledged foreign policy and national security crisis. The President of the United States and the State Department should be answering some of the tough questions I outlined above. (Also: Did Barack Obama skip important intelligence briefings in the lead-up to these outrages? How is it remotely appropriate for him to attend his planned Las Vegas political fundraiser tonight in the midst of a sweeping international crisis?) They should also be pressed to explain the US embassy in Cairo's craven and disgraceful statements apologizing for the free speech "abuses" of the Egyptian ex-pats who dared to offend the sensibilities of Muslims. Free speech can be ill-advised, and the US government can disavow certain messages, but attempting to placate the barbarians by diminishing and critiquing basic Constitutional rights is unforgivable. Byron York has a helpful column charting the administration's weak, then increasingly robust, condemnations of the attacks over the last 24 hours.
Which brings me to the second element of why today has been so upsetting. In the face of swirling, ongoing world events and horrific murders, the American press is positively obsessed with Mitt Romney's reaction to the initial Cairo protests. Remember, Egyptian extremists breached our embassy and pulled down our flag, replacing it with what appeared to be an Al Qaeda flag of some sort. Our embassy there issued two statements, each of which focused on scolding the people whose free speech "provoked" the riots, rather than rejecting the rioters. Mitt Romney filled the void on behalf of the First Amendment, refused to shy away from American first principles, and excoriated the embassy's posture (the White House eventually did the same). Whether he should have so directly tied the actions of the embassy staff to the president is a subject for reasonable debate, but his sentiments and priorities were absolutely spot on. Nevertheless, the insta-narrative is that Romney "jumped the gun" by "politicizing" the tragedy in Libya. He did nothing of the sort. He didn't capture the scope of the Benghazi murders in his statement *about Egypt* because he wasn't yet aware of the full extent of those events, which had not been confirmed. National Review's Dan Foster reviews the timeline:
1) U.S. diplomats in Cairo shamefully apologize more or less preemptively for private U.S. citizens exercising their First Amendment rights in a way that “hurts the religious feelings” of Muslims. 2) “Protests” intensify into attacks on embassy in Cairo and consulate in Benghazi. 3) Romney calls Cairo embassy response disgraceful. 4) Reports of murders of Americans in Benghazi confirmed. 5) Obama administration disavows Cairo embassy line. 6) Obama campaign flack LaBolt shames Romney for politicizing murders.
Romney gave a press conference this morning in which he expanded on his thoughts, strongly condemned the violent upheaval, affirmed America's commitment to free expression and expressed grief over the loss of American lives. Members of the media immediately peppered him with questions about his statement from last night, unwavering in their underlying assumption that he'd erred terribly. Katrina Trinko describes the astounding scene. Reporters honed in almost exclusively on the election horse-race implications of the Republican nominee's reaction to the unfolding crisis, based on a bizarre (and intentional?) misunderstanding of Romney's comments. They seemed entirely uninterested in the actual unfolding crisis itself. The governor's statement on Cairo has magically morphed into a callous and desperate attempt to score political points over the death of a US Ambassador in a totally separate incident, about which Romney didn't fully comment until this morning. Thus, what should be a news cycle about deeply unsettling international events instantly became a political pile-on -- not targeting the foreign policy team presiding over this disaster, mind you, but over something the president's challenger said in defense of free speech last night. I cannot think of a more comprehensive example of our media's endemic corruption and bias.
UPDATE - Some people will point out that some conservatives (many unnamed, a few named) have joined the media chorus against Romney. For shame. Romney is not above criticism from the right, even this close to a crucial election -- but those criticisms should at least be triggered by genuine campaign mistakes or policy missteps. But for supposed Romney allies to contribute to this absurd feeding frenzy is inexcusable. The media is blaming Romney for capitalizing politically on deaths that he *did not know about* when he released a (generally strong) repudiation of our Cairo embassy's reactions to a *different event.* They'd criticize him for any action he took here, unless it involved essentially applauding and agreeing with everything the Obama administration has done, then sitting quietly in a corner.
Romney should have spoken.
The media are pure evil. And the media got a Kenyan Marxist that had no executive experience and who never held a real job elected president of the U.S.
Obama is a traitor.
Obama issued a dictatorial decree giving Amnesty to a million illegals.That is unlawful as a president has no power to do this.
Obama has piled on 6 trillion in debt on the U.S. ensuring its collapse.
I can guarantee you this. That Muslims will get nuclear bombs and they will detonate them in U.S. cities and start a nuclear war. Can anyone dispute this to me now? Its not a matter of if but when . Islam will start a nuclear war , bank on it. Islam is evil. Islam is now in the laying low stage. As soon as they get enough nukes then they shift to war stage: http://www.faithfreedom.org
Shut up Noonan.
No Romney gaffe! The Demonrats have never observed the “Politics stops at the water’s edge” dictum. They openly, and incessantly declared the war in iraq lost. And that is what they wanted. They and the leftist media are supreme hypocrites.
Probably the safest and simplest statement for any politician at the beginning of a crisis like this is to express sympathy and concern for those harmed and affected, and express the desire to have a much fuller understanding and facts about what has actually transpired.
Since in both Libya and Egypt we have old supporters of Gaddafi and Mubarak, Islamists of various flavor, and secularly oriented groups. Who knows which group decided that this mischief would improve their position? It will take a while to sort it all out and may be somewhat different in each country, although the apparent coordination is suspect.
Hey, now these journ-o-lusts have to keep their priorities straight, can’t be changing a horse in mid-stream, y’know?
Therefore, ROMNEY is in the wrong, making all these unnecessary gaffes, y’know, and whatever is going down in Egypt and Libya, y’know, like, that is just good foreign policy being made up on the spot.
It is ALL-IMPORTANT to keep The Won in office, so he may finish his great conversion of America.
Saying that this administration is sympathetic with Islamic radicals is no gaffe.
Obama screwed up with his panty waist initial response.
Romney called him on it, because to apologize only invites an escalation in violence against U.S. interests.
Romney was right, and the only gaffes in this episode belong to the White House and State Dept.
The press is the enemy of our Republic. And I read somewhere that nearly all the press people pay NO income taxes, or they are cheating on their income taxes. PRESS PEOPLE ===PAY YOUR TAXES ! You will be turned in!
There is a reason the Obama protection agency in the News Media is busy spinning this on a movie no one has ever heard of. The mobs in the ME arent chanting about this movie, they are chanting 1 billion Osamas.
This is a reaction to Obama bragging 21 times last week about killing Osama
> I can guarantee you this. That Muslims will get nuclear
> bombs and they will detonate them in U.S. cities and start a
> nuclear war.
Thanks to Obama and the liberals, Muslims will gain access to nuclear arsenals of the US and other western countries, and Israel. Then they will threaten Asian countries.
Benghazi is right on the Libyan coast. I am REALLY unhappy we mothballed the USS New Jersey, along with the rest of the battleships. They could have had SO MUCH FUN off Libya if we had a real president.
“The media are democrats/marxists not reporters. They are posing as reporters.
The media are pure evil. And the media got a Kenyan Marxist that had no executive experience and who never held a real job elected president of the U.S.”
Yup, the SRM are our enemies! We need to take every opportunity to ridicule them personally. Call them out by name. Throw that Alinsky crap right back in their faces! This garbage needs to stop! R&R should tell the SRM that they are not showing up for their Obama butt-kissing, dog and pony show debates unless Levin and/or Limbaugh are moderators! I don’t care if the networks have to show Bozo playing with himself for 2 hours! Take a stand, or this nonsense will just continue to go on and on!
this is B/S, the state dept said sorry, oama didd and said nothing.
He does not even attend daily security briefings and the left, sorry the media try and change this whole fiasco to say Romney made a gaff
THis is F-IN B/S and the gop are cowards for not calling the media out.
There was NO gaffe by Romney, Romney was and is 100 percent right..the media in this country is NOT the media, its pravda, heck its worse than pravda, they will protect Obama no matter what he says or what he does. They are invested in Obama because they have to be, if Obama goes down so do they. Its very scary that the media in this country is so far gone they are just another wing of the Obama Administration
“Saying that this administration is sympathetic with Islamic radicals is no gaffe.”
I actually came to this post thinking that Romney had messed up some name or location.
The “gaff” was him telling the truth of the situation!
The lefty press is in full meltdown. They know that THIS is going to hurt Obama badly and are flailing around for something to hook onto.
This is was not the best thing for them, because it gives Romney the spotlight.
I saw Noonan on FOX this morning saying this crap and was going mad at the TV.
She is the old guard elitist types which need to piss off, they play right into the media and the lefts hands,even the way she acts and talks grates me
Except it wasn’t a gaffe. This SHTF yesterday and no one said a word. Where was obama yesterday on the anniversary of 911 when this happened? No where to be found. His chair was empty as usual. Romney stands with our ally. He is our candidate for President and has every right to speak out and take the lead where our so-called leader does not.
The mediots have learned since the Carter debacle to cover up better for their hero in the WH.