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Steve Kornacki has a review of Romneys unfortunate statements in Salon

 

The article is called “Mitt’s shameful Libya statement.”

Here’s how it starts:

That it’s fundamentally dishonest hasn’t stopped Mitt Romney from repeating his central critique of Barack Obama’s foreign policy over and over – the idea that the president “went around the world and apologized for America.”  So it shouldn’t be surprising that Romney’s response to the attacks on U.S. diplomatic installations in Egypt and Libya was rooted in the same caricature of Obama as apologizer-in-chief.

“It’s disgraceful,” Romney’s statement, which was released late Tuesday night, read, “that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

That’s not at all what happened, of course.

Read the rest HERE.

 

Waking up to horrible news from Libya and Egypt…

There are two upsetting I got from the news when I turned it on at 6:00 AM and which has made this the start of a very bad day.

1. Attacks at the US Embassies  by Islamic terrorists in Egypt and Libya. Our Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens  was killed with three other Americans, at least one was a diplomat. The Egyptian Embassy was breached, the American flag was taken and destroyed and replaced with an Islamic flag.

The provocation for these attacks was apparently an internet post of an amateur video satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. It seems that the Islamic press claimed this as a major Hollywood film done as revenge against Islamists for 9/11.

2. Although the two Presidential campaigns had come to an agreement that there would be no attacking each other on 9/11, Mitt Romney blasted the President and his administration for being “sympathetic” to the embassy attackers – calling Obama’s response to the incidents “disgraceful”. He did this at 10 PM last night defying the agreement between his and Obama’s campaigns.

“Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”              

 –  Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus

Obama waited to respond until after midnight when the day of remembrance was over. He announced his consolation to the families of the victims and his outrage at the incidents. Then he made everyone aware of his aggravation with Romney’s statement.

“We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.”

– Obama’s campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt

I would have to agree that I think Romney’s remarks were both unfortunate and representative of his unknowledgable command of foreign policy. That he showed lack of support for his country and its administration at a time of National crisis and at a time in which he had pledged to remain in non-attack mode in his campaign, would make Romney less than reliable as a President.

An article that caused me to question…again…our position in the Middle East.

A question I would like an answer to:

Why Are We Fighting On the Same Side with Al Qaeda?

The U.S. Is On the Same Side as Al Qaeda In Syria

Reuters notes that the leader of Al Qaeda – Ayman al-Zawahri – is backing the Syrian rebels, and asking his followers to fight the Syrian government.

Some of the main Al Qaeda fighters who overthrew Gadaffi – and now appear to be in control of Libya – are already helping the Syrian rebels.

This is curious, given that the U.S. is considering military options for ousting the Syrian government, American allies Britain and Qatar allegedly already have foreign troops inside Syria, and the U.S. has been planning regime change in Syria for over 50 years.

Mainstream reports also state that the U.S. and its allies are backing Iranian terrorists.

I thought Al Qaeda was America’s mortal enemy. Why are we backing terrorists?

I was asked by a radio caller last week if I thought we should charge back full force into the Middle East a la Rick Santorum and the right wingers. My answer was a simple “No.” Frankly, after the past 15 years or so of wondering what the hell we were doing there anyway, killing off our young soldiers and an immense quantity of Middle Easterners to keep our access to oil, the value of maintaining war there is invisible.

No matter that we have built a huge military industrial economy spread over many states in order to keep Senators and Congress folks voting to spend what’s left of the national wealth on tanks, planes, aircraft carriers and guns,guns,guns… no matter that we have been building a population consumed by fear of attack by Iranian nukes (caught that on the news this morning)… wanting to get out of all of this gets harder and harder.

Like the tri-national divided world in the novel 1984, the enemies of the country change constantly and become social buddies while previous friends become the enemies. It is an international trick to keep people under control. It is not far fetched to see Al Qaeda become our fighting allies.

I will say once again: Get out, get out, get out… oh, why bother repeating it? No one in authority listens and no one under that authority seems to be able to do anything about it.

So now what do you think of Obama’s “Leading From Behind” policy in Libya?

Remember when the Republicans had to run around in circles and find ways to downplay it when Obama took out Osama Bin Laden?

Well, now they will have to rethink statements they made about Obama’s Libya strategy as apparently his policy of dealing with the rebels has pushed Ghadafi out of power:

United States Senator Rick Santorum, sponsor o...

Rick (the Schmuck) Santorum

“As for Libya: It is a morass. If we were going to support the rebel forces, we should have acted swiftly in the early days of Benghazi‘s uprising by recognizing and arming the rebels and immediately enforcing a no-fly zone. Decisive action against [Qadhafi] would have been the end of him.” – Rick Santorum

“At a time of historic change and great opportunity in the Arab world, he’s hesitant and uncertain.” –Mitt Romney
“You have a spectator in chief, not a commander in chief.” – Newt Romney
… and things like that.
They’ll be running in circles today as well… since he carried out an apparently successful policy while he was on his much maligned “vacation.” I didn’t see Congress working on the legislation they should be crafting to provide jobs while THEY are on vacation.

The end seems near in Libya:

The leader de facto of Libya, Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Gadhafi

This from McClatchy News Service:

Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi’s regime appeared near collapse Sunday with the reported capture of his son and the surrender of his personal guard to rebel forces, Libyan officials and NATO said.

With NATO bombings paving the way, rebel forces swiftly closed in on Tripoli and by late Sunday were in control of large swaths of the capital. Live television footage showed crowds of opposition fighters in Tripoli unfurling the rebel tricolor flag and smashing Gadhafi portraits. Young men stomped on a large tapestry of the leader as they flashed victory signs.

Gadhafi made a brief audio statement on Libyan TV, sounding desperate as he called on individual tribes and cities to rise up and defend Tripoli. He pleaded with Libyans to “take weapons” and prevent the destruction of “beautiful Tripoli.”

The Longest Day of the Year…

Summer Solstice… today. Sunshine from early morning to early evening… the longest stretch of the year. We began the morning with rain, but the sun is out now (although there is a 60% chance that the rain will return later in the day or overnight. Great for the gardens, though.

I spent most of the morning at the dentist having a replacement tooth installed after a root canal. On the way home I stopped in the new local pharmacy to get my dentist’s prescription filled and ran into Delegate Doyle, our representative at the State legislature and a frequent visitor to the radio show. We exchanged some pleasantries and, later, the pharmacist said Doyle was checking out the new store… so he’s showing interest in his District.

I’m back at home now watching the Senate on C-Span2 as they debate Leon Panetta‘s nomination for Defense Secretary and whether or not to pull out of Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or Libya. Doesn’t look like we’re going to really get out anytime soon, although Obama is supposed to be presenting a partial Afghanistan withdrawal tomorrow (I don’t expect the percentage to be a big one or the time it takes to do it to be very fast.)

Meanwhile we move forward into the muck of the future..

EXTRA! EXTRA! Obama Signed Secret Libya Order Authorizing Support For Rebels!

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

President Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.

_______

Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.

News that Obama had given the authorization surfaced as the President and other U.S. and allied officials spoke openly about the possibility of sending arms supplies to Gaddafi’s opponents, who are fighting better-equipped government forces.

We’ll have more on this tomorrow as it becomes clearer what Obama has done and who the arms are going to (Al Qaeda, anyone?)

Diplomacy is the art of saying “nice doggie” until you can find a rock.
– Will Rogers

Here’s Obama’s update on Libya that he gave today… in case you missed it.

“Maybe this world is another planet’s Hell.”
– Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Warning: if you are hoping that this will change your mind on our involvement in Libya then I’ve got a nice bridge to sell you.

I’d be interested in your e-mail or comments. – Bill

OK… so we’re still going to be heavily involved in Libya.

1.) NATO’s takeover of the No Fly Zone is going to be gradual, or as said by a pundit last night, more like taking a temperature than flicking on a light switch.

2.) Bulk of ground combat will be conducted by the United States, with minor assistance from the coalition.

3.) Congress is concerned about who will pay for all this. Just us, again? Will Europe and Turkey kick in?

I’m getting really aggravated at all this.

Libya Update… Big Change Today

Cropped version photo of Ahmet Davutoglu, June...

Ahmet Davutoglu

Just announced by Hillary Clinton: NATO is taking over the No Fly Zone command.

Turkey‘s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said through Turkey’s state-run Anatolia news agency:

“The coalition that was formed following the Paris meeting will abandon the mission and hand it over entirely to a single command system under NATO.

“All of Turkey’s concerns, demands on the issue have been met,”

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe sought to debunk speculation that the allies were after oil-rich Libya‘s hydrocarbons:

“People always say that it’s oil behind all this – that’s not true. To have consistent, cheap oil, the best thing would have been to change nothing in Libya. It’s not oil that pushes us to all this.”

I guess we’ll just wait and see what happens next.

Sound Familiar? (or Why even a non-war is bad for Civilian health)

This from Reuters:

Reuters describes the bodies of eighteen Libyan civilians officials say were killed overnight by Western air strikes in Tripoli. Some of the bodies were charred beyond recognition, the agency reports after journalists examined what were the first victims seen by foreign reporters:

“They are civilians. They are not guilty of anything,” said morgue worker Abdel Salaam.


And we shot down a plane yesterday… wow!

Defining myself politically with the changes that have happened in the last 65 years.

On May 24th I’ll be sixty five and another 1st generation Baby Boomer will be officially “Old” (though, because of our cruddy economy which stands between employment and age, I am already retired and at the mercy of Social Security… which my Congressional leadership wants to do away with).

Most of my adult life I have been a liberal Democrat… in college during the height of the Civil Rights movement and the fiercest part of the anti-Vietnam War campaign, as a working citizen through booms and busts in the economy ending in the major recession we are apparently now out of (except in my house… yours too?)… and I voted as a liberal Dem in the past couple of elections. Now I’m not certain that “liberal Democrat” has meaning anymore.

While I shudder at people who are now called “Originalists” (heard this term on a CATO Institute panel on C-Span, where it was tied as a label on Justice Clarence Thomas),  who think of the Constitution as unchangeable and fixed, I am upset with some lack of adherence to Constitutional regulations which have not been changed in the document, but have certainly been changed in practice.

The power to declare war, for instance, is still Constitutionally the province of Congress, and specifically the House. Yet, from my earliest childhood when Truman got us into the “Korean War” – called a “Police Action” because it was never declared by Congress (and also never ended, btw); to my early adult years when LBJ got us into the “Viet Nam War“, started as a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), again, without the declaration by Congress as a war; to the first “Gulf War” that George H. W. Bush got us into without a Congressional Declaration; to the Second “Gulf War”…also known as the “War in Iraq”… which has really not ended since it was followed by a decade of occupation, which spread from George W. Bush through Bill Clinton to Barack Obama and continues, to some extent, today (although the government would have us believe that it is over); to the current “War in Afghanistan” started by Bush 2 a year before the Iraq War, allowed to simmer over a low flame for a dozen years, then refocused and put into first place by Barack Obama; I have seen the Congress give up it’s war declaration responsibilities and the Executive Administration take the freedom to do whatever they want with the Military it commands.

Whew…sorry for the long paragraph above. I had to get it out, however.

Now we are in a conflict in Libya, not yet called a “War”, although as you watch the TV news you can see that label arriving on swift feet. The President didn’t bother doing anything with Congress on this… they were on vacation (from the tedious job where they work from Monday to Thursday, then spend the rest of their week raising money for the next election) after all… but took the excuse of a U.N. Resolution taking precedence over our National Law and all of a sudden we are in our third Middle East conflict, going on simultaneously with the first two. And we’re doing all of them without a supporting economy… the romance of borrowed funds.

Now I read that the Conservatives in Congress are going to come back this week, from the much needed time off they have had, and express opposition to Libyan war. As Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R – Maryland) said last night:

“The United States does not have a King’s army. President Obama’s unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution.”

Of course, some would say that the Conservative Republican majority in the House, by spending most of their year on voting against anything their more liberal colleagues are in favor of, in areas which have little to do with our current problems, ignoring the unemployment problem the recession has created and deciding to “fix” the economy by defunding most of the services that keep us going, while making sure the rich don’t get taxed, has also been in an affront to our Constitution.

I’m getting more and more upset with both sides of our elected officialdom and with the outrageous empire we have established worldwide with our 200+ military bases and rush to be the “defense” force in countries where there is oil for our insatiable power demands. I am frustrated that, as an individual, there seems to be little or nothing I can do about the situation, with the one exception of pointing the problems out in this blog. Voting doesn’t seem to solve the problem because politicians lie… they run saying they will do one thing…they get elected…and then they become the managers and implementers of the “same old same old.”

The Corporate World eats up the majority of our economic resources. The Corporate world controls the officials their support elects. The Corporate world does not mind that they have allowed our millions of jobs to move to China and India for cheap costs and have wrecked our own economy in the process. Yet they are not a power that is recognized by our Constitution… only by those our Constitution allows us to elect.

I guess I would like to define myself as a “Constitutional Progressive” and no longer as a “Democratic Liberal.” I would like to see us uphold those regulations and responsibilities that the Constitution-as-Amended contains, yet support changes in the Constitution that reflect our current world and the protection of the people in our Nation without depriving them of their rights and input. That means not an “Originalist” viewpoint, but a believer in the social and political equality of citizens and the ability to lead full and meaningful lives in a country that our taxes support.

I don’t know if this is likely, but I will campaign for it as if it is.

Once again we are in a “war”-like (after all, no Congressional declaration) situation where we misread our “friends”:

Coat of_arms of United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

Here’s a change that has happened in only a few hours with our Arab allies:

5:48 a.m. Tuesday ET, 11:13 a.m. Tuesday in Libya] The United Arab Emirates said at least two aircraft squadrons are ready to be deployed within 48 hours to support the international mission in Libya, a military leader said.

But only a couple of hours later:

[8:43 a.m. Tuesday ET, 2:43 p.m. Tuesday in Libya] The United Arab Emirates had been prepared to send two aircraft squadrons to participate in the international effort to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, said Maj. Gen. (Staff) Pilot Khaled Abdullah Al-Buainnain – the former commander of the Emirates’ air force and air defense. However, he said, those plans have changed due to criticism by the United States and the European Union of the Gulf Cooperation Council‘s deployment of troops to help the monarchy stabilize Bahrain. The UAE has chosen not to take a military role in Libya until Washington and the European Union clarify their position on the use of troops in Bahrain, but it will contribute to the humanitarian effort in Libya, Al-Buainnain said.

I ask once again…why are we committing to more military action, which we can’t afford, with more “undeclared by Congress” war on countries that we are concerned with solely because they have oil (if we were really humanitarians we would be in the Ivory Coast and other countries)?

When is Congress going to quit fighting with each other and protect our economy and our people by directing the President to get us out of this crap (Constitutionally, it IS their function.) I am getting more and more depressed over the situation that lying politicians have gotten us into.

Now it looks like our participation in the No Fly Zone in Libya is a bigger thing than the UN asked for…

Muammar al-Gaddafi at the 12th AU summit, Febr...

Gaddafi

Here’s what Obama says:

United States military efforts are discrete and focused on employing unique U.S. military capabilities to set the conditions for our European allies and Arab partners to carry out the measures authorized by the U.N. Security Council Resolution.

President Obama states that despite warnings, Gaddafi has not implemented a promised cease-fire:

His illegitimate use of force not only is causing the deaths of substantial numbers of civilians among his own people, but also is forcing many others to flee to neighboring countries, thereby destabilizing the peace and security of the region. Left unaddressed, the growing instability in Libya could ignite wider instability in the Middle East, with dangerous consequences to the national security interests of the United States.

NBC’s Richard Engel reports from Libya:

“Rebels say they are incredibly encouraged now that they have Western military support, but the rebels are leaderless. They are poorly armed; they are disorganized.”

Gaddafi’s forces are not giving up, however. This from Reuters:

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fired on a crowd of unarmed people in the rebel-held city of Misrata on Monday and are using civilians as human shields against air strikes, residents said.

It looks like the United States forces are taking over leadership of the UN action… however, I just heard the NY Times reporter in Paris say on the radio that we are doing more in the eyes of the Arabs than the UN has called for. That is, to me, our regular stumble in the Middle East.

I’m going to check out and listen to Obama’s press conference going on now from South America where he is travelling.

Quote of the Day – Is Libya the Women’s War?

“Silly, sexist me. Yesterday, I associated military action against Libya with testosterone. As the New York Times reports today, the pressure for action came Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and the NSC human rights expert Samantha Power–with the macho boys over at the Pentagon opposed. This may be a first in American history, a welcome one I might add–although I remain extremely skeptical about military action and heartened that the President seems intent on letting other countries take the lead.”

Joe Klein

So who’s in charge?

OK…We’re committed in Libya. Here’s Obama’s statement this afternoon…

Good afternoon, everybody. Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.

In this effort, the United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people. That coalition met in Paris today to send a unified message, and it brings together many of our European and Arab partners.

This is not an outcome that the United States or any of our partners sought. Even yesterday, the international community offered Muammar Qaddafi the opportunity to pursue an immediate cease-fire, one that stopped the violence against civilians and the advances of Qaddafi’s forces. But despite the hollow words of his government, he has ignored that opportunity. His attacks on his own people have continued. His forces have been on the move. And the danger faced by the people of Libya has grown.

I am deeply aware of the risks of any military action, no matter what limits we place on it. I want the American people to know that the use of force is not our first choice and it’s not a choice that I make lightly. But we cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy, and his forces step up their assaults on cities like Benghazi and Misurata, where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.

So we must be clear: Actions have consequences, and the writ of the international community must be enforced. That is the cause of this coalition.

As a part of this effort, the United States will contribute our unique capabilities at the front end of the mission to protect Libyan civilians, and enable the enforcement of a no-fly zone that will be led by our international partners. And as I said yesterday, we will not — I repeat — we will not deploy any U.S. troops on the ground.

As Commander-in-Chief, I have great confidence in the men and women of our military who will carry out this mission. They carry with them the respect of a grateful nation.

I’m also proud that we are acting as part of a coalition that includes close allies and partners who are prepared to meet their responsibility to protect the people of Libya and uphold the mandate of the international community.

I’ve acted after consulting with my national security team, and Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress. And in the coming hours and days, my administration will keep the American people fully informed. But make no mistake: Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world.

Thank you very much.

_________________________________

I really hoped we wouldn’t end up with our third simultaneous conflict in the Middle East. Hopefully, this time we’re not paying for all of it.

This from Cory Doctorow in Boing Boing:

clipped from www.boingboing.net

UN approves military intervention to protect Free Benghazi

The UN Security Council has approved air strikes against Gadaffi loyalist forces and the Gadaffi mercenary army as they advance on “Free Benghazi,” the Libyan rebel stronghold. In response, Gadaffi told a Portuguese TV station,

“This is craziness, madness, arrogance. If the world gets crazy with us we will get crazy too. We will respond. We will make their lives hell because they are making our lives hell. They will never have peace.”

The no-fly zone and intervention will be enforced with support from Arab League members who earlier passed a resolution calling on the UN to take action (the Arab League has always had a fraught relationship with Gadaffi, whose presence at League meetings has been marked by the aforementioned “crazy”).

blog it

7.11pm ET: US enforcement of a no-fly zone in Libya could begin by Sunday or Monday, according to anonymous US officials quoted by AP, and would involve “jet fighters, bombers and surveillance aircraft”.
Looks like we start up another one, this time under the auspices of the UN.