Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Obama and his Islamist Friends

Mike L.

{Cross-posted at Geoffff's Joint.}

One of the important elements of the Benghazi scandal and cover-up is the fact that the Obama administration has such faith in the enemies of the American people that it actually put them in security positions at the Benghazi facility.

Barry Rubin writes this:
Consider the Benghazi scandal from the standpoint of Benghazi--where the militia that murdered the Americans is one of the most powerful forces in the city--and Libya itself. Suppose that from the beginning on September 11, 2012, the U.S. government announced that the U.S. facility was under attack by a militia group linked to al-Qaida. It would have had to explain why it had hired members of that militia group to guard the facility, a scandal in itself. We know 100 percent that this is true but it hasn't become an issue.
Why in this world would the Obama administration hire members of an Islamist organization to guard American diplomats in a region as violent and unstable as Benghazi, Libya?  Does it make even a wit of sense?  Why wasn't that compound guarded by American soldiers?

This question gets right to the root of the matter because it raises the question of Obama's relationship with, and friendliness towards, the movement of political Islam.  There are people on the hard right who believe that Barack Obama is a crypto-Muslim and there are those on the hard right that believe that he, himself, is an Islamist.  I do not think so.

What I think is that Barack Obama is not nearly so intelligent as they kept telling us that he is.  He put Islamists in charge of security in Benghazi because he honestly believes that political Islam is a force and movement that should be negotiated with and cultivated in America's favor.  This is why he helped install the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Egypt.  This is why he allowed Islamists to guard the American compound in Benghazi.  This is why he has deleted all references to Islam within internal government documents and discussion around the problem of international terrorism.

It's not so much that Obama favors political Islam as that he sees it as a legitimate expression of the will of Arab and Muslim peoples throughout the Middle East and therefore believes that it must be accepted, honored, and negotiated with.  If we wish to promote democracy in the Middle East - which would be in American interests - the United States does not get to say just what that democracy should look like.  If the Arab and Muslim peoples in the region wish to promote a violent political movement that is misogynistic, viciously homophobic, genocidal towards Jews, and deeply anti-American who are we to say "no"?

The Obama administration has proven itself friendly toward radical Islam.  This is not a matter of conjecture or theory, but a matter of fact.  The only question is just why is the administration friendly toward radical Islam?  The answer that seems the most reasonable is that the administration promotes radical Islam because it hopes to use that movement to advance American interests on the world stage.

And this is why we must conclude that Barack Obama is not really terribly bright.

Supporting radical Islam in the Middle East, or the Brotherhood in Egypt, will not promote American interests, but undermine those interests, particularly in the long term.  It takes a special type of stupidity to think that helping your enemies, while subverting your friends, can possibly be in the interests of the American people; a little fact that Barack Obama unwittingly taught Ambassador Stevens the hard way.

My suspicion is that Obama and his people are beginning to awaken to this reality, but it is far, far too late and there is little that they can do at this point to change course, anyway.  Barack Obama made a crucial and fundamental miscalculation at the beginning of his tenure and he will never admit what a profound mistake it was to support political Islam in that part of the world.  He cannot admit it because it would be tantamount to acknowledging responsibility for failure, which he will never do.  He won't do it and his supporters won't do it, even if they recognize it, which itself is rather doubtful.

One thing is certain.  Obama supporters will have much to answer for in the coming months and years.

The truth of the matter is that Obama's foreign policy borders on the treasonous.

You may not want to hear it, but it happens to be the truth.


  1. While I appreciate Mr Rubin's views, I tend to take a more sanguine tack and question whether this administration has any sort of recognizably functioning policy apparatus by design? It may not be that they have badly flawed assumptions and philosophies but that at its core there really is 'no there there'. There's no policy or posture or strategic view for America's role at all. And so with the tactic of withdrawing on every front, they've simply pitched the keys of their shoulder and said "You're on your own".

    This is more or less what Obama said he would do - reduce or eliminate America's footprint across the world. Politically, his base is isolationist in effect. He's looking to gut the Navy and the Air Force. And everywhere you can see is reluctance and refusal to have Americans on the ground. Drones are one thing but a policy or a doctrine or a desire to have one seems to elude them.

    I suspect that what many view as incompetence and appeasement has more to do with retreat. And on a personal note, he is a bit of an autocrat. He's singularly unwilling and unable to do the dealing of politics and relies instead on dictat and the bully pulpit. Which is fine in this country but internationally it doesn't work. And if it doesn't work, he'll take his ball and go home.

    In end I think we'll find the root of all this is rank indifference. And if truth be told, I'd rather the US approached them as and for the nihilists they all are. Haggling with Arab states is a non starter if you can't find the king or dictator or mullah or war lord who's going to crush all the other war lords with psychotic fury. Unless you can find a ruthless dictator you're not going to get anything done because all they will do is spend all their time killing one another.

    Here's a tip. Want to know why you don't hear much about Mali? Because the Tuaregs are the hardest toughest bastards alive and al Qaeda is no match for them. No, really. The Bedouins call where the Tuaregs live 'the dead place' and that's what it takes to sort out inter Arab/Maghrebi rivalries.

    But because the US isn't in the 'put a friendly dictator in charge' business anymore, there's no one for Obama or anyone else to deal with. not in Libya or Syria or much of anywhere else right now.

    So I say let Marathon Oil do their thing with whatever mercenary army they need, pull up stakes and leave Thunderdome.

    1. Trudy,

      you may very well be correct that the Obama administration simply has no agenda or vision beyond retreat, but this does not explain just how it happened that they hired local Islamist militias to defend the Benghazi facility, rather than using the US Marine Corps.

      Even if Obama's intention is/was to lighten the American footprint around the world, the US diplomatic corps in Libya still needed protection if they were to be there at all. Isn't it just a matter of commonsense that the United States should protect its State Department people in a hot-spot like Libya with American troops?

      What explains the Obama administration decision not to do so?

  2. I don't know other than a kind of naive trust in lightweight deployments. It does sort of align with his reliance on special forces and the CIA and electronic intel. But in a more granular view, it's not Obama's burden alone. The State Dept runs their own intelligence arm called the BINR (Bureau of Intelligence and Research) headed up by Asst Secy Goldberg. And believe it or not they are very capable and very well respected for their abilities to gather precisely the right information on the right people at the right time and place. The BINR actually got it right on Iraq in 2004 unlike all of their peers. I can only suggest that either they've failed badly from a leadership view or their work has become politicized or Clinton ignored them for the greater good of Obama's election. Read Goldberg's CV on Wiki - it has the patina of non official intelligence work so I think he knows what he's doing.

    Other than that? Who knows. I suspect they were taken by surprise and didn't have a plan on the shelf to deal with this. Obama is not all that good at ad-hoc operations. So I bet they were running around thinking that the world works like a news cable channel or a blog where you can blurt out anything you want and if it's wrong then you 'walk it back later. Huge error in judgment on their part if it's true.

    The other thing to keep in mind and I believe this often overlooked is that the White House is a very small closed loop but it's not a tightly controlled one. No one doubts today that the 2nd and 3rd most powerful people in the country, when they were there, were Axlerod and Jarrett. And neither of them were elected or approved. Obama does not typically seek the counsel or discussion of others. Susan Rice is another of the innermost coterie. So he pitched it over to her to speak on diplomatic terms, generally. Not because Clinton was unqualified or uninformed but because he doesn't like to work with her. Which is why she was given the State dossier in the first place: keep her on planes and out of Washington. Clinton can't be seen as the spokesperson for how the White House manages a crisis. That is inherently Obama's job or one of his delegates (anyone remember Al Haig when Reagan got shot? "I'm in charge here." Well no Al actually you're not, that would be coup and unconstitutional!)

    So now I think we are where we are through blunders, paranoia and inattention. But they're not going to admit to any of that. So they're hedging between cover up and looking for someone to throw under the bus. To be frank I think the real point with the talking points is not that they changed them, but that they changed them to something that excuses their being caught out. It's not that they deny the existence of terrorism it's that terrorists are people you should be able to study and plan for. Whereas if you claim it was a random mob no one could predict then no one's at fault.

  3. Some facts are just inconvenient. The funding for embassy and consulate security was cut even after the Republican led House had been warned that it could lead to a less secure environment for those State Department employees serving in more hostile locations. Because of these budget cuts the State Department was forced to outsource the security of these facilities to private contractors.

    1. The fact is that Charlene Lamb, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Programs, the official responsible for the decision to implement security, said in Congressional testimony that the refusal to provide more security was NOT caused by budget cuts to embassy security.

    2. Nagaura,

      I just want to say that I understand that your interaction with those of us who regularly post here has not always been on the friendliest of terms.

      Nonetheless, I honestly mean it when I say that this is a non-partisan blog.

      I would like for you to participate more, if you will.

      The only thing that I will not abide is rudeness or anti-Zionism.

      Peace to you, please, dear lady.

    3. Three Pinocchios

  4. Maybe maybe not. If only being the 4th most screwed up war torn flaming anarchic nation on earth doesn't qualify for attention then someone needs to take a gimlet eye to the operating budgets of other extremely high risk embassies and consulates like Paris, Zurich, Jamaica, the Vatican and so on. I am unconvinced by the "They tool our money!" argument. Everyone has a budget to deal with. A little more security a few fewer Fruit Blossom Festivals and fancy hat parties. After all half the US embassies in the world are run by fat dollar Obama bundlers who are then given plum jobs in the foreign service. Maybe if you're a billionaire and you're essentially buying a post you can kick in a little something on your own?

  5. In related news, Erdogan is making an official White House visit and he's bringing a senior IHH member and father of the one of the flotilla fools with him. This, after laughing at Obama and taking Israel to the ICC after he promised Obama he wouldn't.

    1. Netanyahu should never have apologized.

      It was both craven and wrong.