Skip to comments.Five (Non-Libya) Questions for Monday’s Debate
Posted on 10/19/2012 2:36:10 PM PDT by neverdem
Are you safer now than you were four years ago? Thats the most important question that needs to be answered in Monday nights foreign policy debate. Unfortunately for President Obama, theres ample evidence that the answer is no. His administration killed Osama bin Laden, but the war on terror is still very much alive. And while the Benghazi attack has been getting most of the attention lately, its just the latest symptom of a much more systematic national security problem for this administration.
Here are some questions that are indirectly related to Benghazi that would be interesting to raise at Mondays debate. And since it’s never a good idea to ask a question at a debate that you don’t know the answer to, the answers to all of these are already known:
Question One: Did you underestimate al-Qaedas Arabian Peninsula affiliate before the 2009 Christmas Day bombing attack?
Obamas counterterrorism advisor John Brennan surprised reporters when he referred to AQAP as one of the most lethal, one of the most concerning extensions of al-Qaeda at a press briefing two weeks after the attack, and noted that They carried attacks against Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in Saudi Arabia, against Saudi targets, inside of Yemen, against Yemeni as well as against U.S. targets.
U.S. targets — and yet the Obama administration hadnt even designated the group as a terrorist organization until after the failed attack.
We had a strategic sense of sort of where [al-Qaeda-Arabian Peninsula] were going, but we didn’t know they had progressed to the point of actually launching individuals here, Brennan added. And we have taken that lesson, and so now we’re all on top of it.” At least until the next attack.
Question Two: Did you call the Christmas Day bomber an isolated extremist three days after the attack?
Despite the fact that there was already evidence that showed Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had been training in Yemen weeks before the attack, and despite a statement from AQAP taking credit for the attack, President Obama called him an isolated extremist in his first public speech on the matter.
This incident, like several that have preceded it, demonstrates that an alert and courageous citizenry are far more resilient than an isolated extremist, said Obama.
Its one thing for the president to say he wanted to wait for facts before making a definitive judgment on Abdulmutallabs al-Qaeda ties. But Obama actually did make a definitive judgment — that Abdulmutallab was not affiliated with al-Qaeda, despite evidence to the contrary.
Question Three: Did John Brennan admit before the U.S. attack that al-Qaedas Yemen affiliate was capable of attacking the homeland?
In John Brennans January 2010 press conference, he said the Obama administration saw the plot was developing, but at the time we did not know in fact that they were talking about sending Mr. Abdulmutallab to the United States. Again, if they saw the plot developing, why had they not characterized AQAP as a threat to the country? Why was Obama so reluctant to say Abdulmutallab was tied to al-Qaeda?
Question Four: Did you underestimate the Pakistani Talibans ability to attack the homeland prior to the Times Square bombing?
The administration was caught flat-footed by the 2010 failed Times Square car bomb attack, which was carried out by a terrorist tied to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (PTT). Until then the PTT was not widely regarded as a group that was capable of carrying out an attack on U.S. soil.
And yet after the attack, Brennan told Fox News that the PTT was a significant threat that was almost indistinguishable from al-Qaeda.
Question Five: Did you miss warning signs in 2009, when CIA officers were killed in a suicide attack by a double-agent?
Seven CIA operatives were killed when a fake informant working for the Pakistani Taliban blew himself up inside a U.S. base in Afghanistan. A subsequent investigation found numerous red flags and intelligence breakdowns, including one CIA officer who had been warned about the informant weeks in advance, but hadnt passed on the information. The investigation said that CIA officials may have ignored warning signs because they were desperate to find someone who could lead them to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The U.S. cant have eyes everywhere all the time, and there is always the possibility that a plot will be missed. But all of these incidents show that the Benghazi attack wasnt an isolated lapse. The Obama administration has a pattern of intelligence breakdowns and missing clear signs prior to an attack. It also has a pattern of downplaying threats that may be politically harmful.
This isnt just a critique of past failings. There are implications here for the future. As Jeffrey Goldberg wrote yesterday: Biden said [at the vice presidential debate] the U.S. would know if the Iranians had begun to manufacture a warhead. But the U.S. didnt know its ambassador in Libya would be assassinated. It didnt know that the World Trade Center would be attacked. American intelligence doesnt know a lot of things. Such is the nature of intelligence. Bidens sanguine approach to weaponization suggests either that he strayed far from Obama administration policy, or that the White House is more relaxed and confident about stopping Iran than it should be.
Can we rely on the Obama administration the same administration that overlooked the threat from AQAP, dismissed the threat from the Pakistani Taliban, and ignored the multiple attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that led up to the 9/11/12 attack — to have a clear grasp of the Iranian nuclear threat? Preventing an Iranian bomb means that well need to rely heavily on intelligence, something the Obama administration has not had a great track record of gathering, processing, or acting on for the past four years.
“Could you elaborate on what ‘flexibility’ you were referring to, overheard in your recent discussion with former Russian President Medvedev?”
Also, "Why did you refuse to meet with foreign leaders, including Netanyahu, when all of you were together at the latest U.N. conference?"
"In light of what's happened in Benghazi, do you regret waging war in Libya without asking Congress for their input and permission first?"
Why is a soldier's sexual preference so relevant in your military?
"Do you think Morsi is better for Egypt, the U.S., and Israel than Mubarak was, and why?"
What promises did you make to the Europeon leaders if they would prolong their financial collapse until after the election?
Who, specifically and by name, concluded that a YouTube video triggered a 'protest', and who concluded that the 'protest' led to the use of RPGs, AK-47s, mortars, incendiary devices, and direct and indirect automatic weapons firefight?
Did these same people receive the live video and audio feeds as the quiet evening evolved into a terrorist attack?
Yep...first and foremost...what would obamski do with Russia after re-election that he would not do now.
QUESTION #1: What did you know about Fast & Furious and when did you find out about it? Let Romney go back to his interrupted question about this. After all, Mexico is still not one of our states, so it is foreign policy. I’m sure the people in Mexico would love to know why he ran guns to Mexico to allow the cartels to run riot over law enforcement officials as well as civilians. The number was over 3K the last time I heard anything about it.
Question #2: Why was our ambassador involved in gun running in Libya? To what purpose? Who knew about this? Is his death and the circumstances of his murder being purposely muddied to protect your hide? Just how many more countries are we arming and for what reason?
QUESTION #3: Why are you waging wars in the ME without consent of Congress? You are overstepping your presidential powers big time. We had troops on the ground in Libya and now have troops on the ground in Jordan. Why are you not leveling with the American people about our mission there?
And what precisely will you offer Putin AFTER the election when you have FLEXIBILITY that you couldn’t prior to the election because you know it would get you voted out of office?