Romney, Ryan and Akin bungle response to Libya crisis
The Kansas City Star
Barack Obama has been criticized throughout his presidency for taking his time before speaking up on national security matters.
That is not a bad thing.
Mitt Romney’s knee-jerk response to attacks on U.S. embassy building in Egypt and Libya bears out that contention. Romney used a statement put out by the embassy in Cairo, obviously intended to calm a volatile situation there, to once again falsely accuse the Obama administration of following an “apologist” diplomatic course.
Romney wrongly confused the Cairo embassy statement with the administration’s official response to the attack in Cairo and a more severe incident in Benghazi which resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.
In fact, the administration’s official response could not have been more on point. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did what leaders are supposed to do — they gathered pertinent information, evaluated what was going on and then spoke for the nation.
“This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world,” Clinton said. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of violence.”
She also said: “…we must be clear-eyed even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not by the people or government of Libya.”
Compare that to the statement by Romney, who said in a news conference this morning: “I think it is a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values.”
Or to statements made recently by Romney’s running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, who offered, completely without rationale, that Obama’s cuts to the defense budget make these kinds of attacks more likely.
Or to the strange statements made today in Platte County by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP nominee who is challenging Democrat Claire McCaskill for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat.
“We have to figure out who did it, of course, and then how do we take that organization apart,” Akin said.
At the time Akin spoke, both attacks were being portrayed as the result of spontaneous mob violence prompted by an anti-Islamic film produced in California. More recent reports say that the Obama administration is studying whether a more organized group may have been responsible for the violence in Libya, perhaps using the uproar over the film as cover. So Akin is right about that.
He also said: “I think weak foreign policy tends to create less stability in the world, and when you have a very strong leader, and it’s very clear where America is and what we stand for, it just seems as if there’s less violenc.”
That remark is irresponsible and dumb. No one ever accused George W. Bush of being an apologist, but the 9/11 attacks still occurred under his watch.
Republicans should back off of this “apologist” meme. Americans aren’t buying it. By a substantial margin, they express confidence in the Obama administration’s foreign policy.
(I made a change in this post. In regard to Todd Akin’s comments to reporters, it initially said the attack appeared to be the result of mob violence. It now appears Akin was correct in suggesting a more organized effort.)