[Continuing our series on deception in politics and policy.]
In politics, the worst position to hold is that of responsibility without power. During the George W. Bush administration, which was characterized by the establishment media as a conservative administration, Big Government policies (Medicare expansion, massive growth in government spending, promotion of Global Warming theory, the invasion of Iraq, the Big Bank bailout), conservatives and free-market advocates took the blame and paid the political price for policies that they (or, at least, many of them) opposed.
The opposite position, the best position to hold, is that of power without responsibility. With the sycophantic support of the Washington establishment, including the so-called “mainstream” news media, the President and his supporters are able to do as they will, without ever being held accountable for the resulting disasters.
Take the case of Benghazi, Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and Boko Haram.
In 2012, President Obama ran for reelection with the theme “General Motors is alive, and Osama bin Laden is dead/Al Qaeda is on the run.” The General Motors bailout, it turns out, was one of the crookedest deals in American history, robbing bondholders to reward the unions that played a large role in destroying Detroit, stripping dealers of their dealerships based on political affiliation, and, it now appears, shielding the company from the consequence of alleged negligence that may have killed people.
The “bin Laden dead” part was likewise fake. President Obama actually opposed the use of waterboarding, including the waterboarding of three terrorists—one of them the mastermind of 9/11—that pointed to information that led to the killing of bin Laden by Navy SEALs. Mr. Obama suggested that the people who did such a thing were criminals, then took credit for their work.
The killing of bin Laden, while emotionally satisfying to every patriotic American, was not without a big price. It damaged the U.S. relationship with the government of Pakistan (an Islamic power with a nuclear weapons); it exposed Stealth helicopter technology, apparently dropping it into the hands of the Communist Chinese; it resulted in a 33-year prison sentence for a doctor, involved in a CIA-created vaccination program, who helped us find bin Laden, an imprisonment which will serve as a warning to anyone who might help us in the future; it even put a crimp in global public health campaigns by making people in developing countries suspicious about vaccination programs. It also revealed information about our SEALs that may have led to a Taliban attack that killed 38 people, including SEALs, other U.S. military personnel, and seven allied Afghan soldiers.
In any event, it is clear that, since bin Laden’s death, Al Qaeda has reached historic highs.
As noted in January by CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen of the left-wing New America Foundation, writing with Jennifer Rowland of Harvard’s Kennedy School (http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/07/opinion/bergen-al-qaeda-terrority-gains/):
From around Aleppo in western Syria to small areas of Falluja in central Iraq, al Qaeda now controls territory that stretches more than 400 miles across the heart of the Middle East, according to English and Arab language news accounts as well as accounts on jihadist websites.
Indeed, al Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history.
How did it come to this? Here’s how.
►President Obama led the effort to overthrow the Mubarak regime in Egypt—the one that was at peace with Israel—and replace it with one led by the fascist Muslim Brotherhood. At the time, the takeover of Egypt by Islamofascists was the #1 goal of Al Qaeda, whose current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, got his start in terrorism as part of the organization that assassinated Mubarak’s predecessor. (Fortunately, the people of Egypt rose up against the Muslim Brotherhood and are in the process of sending many of them to their rightful reward.)
►The President took us into an illegal war in Libya on the side of Al Qaeda.
►He attempted to take us into an illegal war in Syria on the side of Al Qaeda.
►The Obama administration has continued the effort, begun by previous administrations, to mislabel terrorist incidents as something, anything else. Terrorist attacks ranging from the anthrax letters to the Beltway Sniper shootings to Major Hassan’s attack at Fort Hood were dismissed as definitely not the work of Islamic terrorists. (Meanwhile, deadly shootings by G.W.Bush-haters in Tucson and in Overland Park, Kansas were characterized as the work of “right wingers.”)
►As part of the no-Islamic-terrorists-here campaign, the Obama State Department, headed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, blocked the designation of Boko Haram, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Nigeria, as a terrorist organization.
It was to protect the illusion that “Al Qaeda is on the run” that the Obama political machine concocted the absurd tale that the sophisticated attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi was the result of a spontaneous protest about a video. The various 9/11 protests around the world in 2012 were rooted in 9/11, of course. Even in other countries where protests occurred at U.S. embassies, such as in Egypt, references to the video were no more than a cover for the connection to 9/11/2001. In Benghazi, there was no connection whatsoever, a fact that was known immediately. (I wrote on my Facebook page on Friday 9/14/2012, prior to Susan Rice’s infamous appearances on the Sunday political talk shows, that the video story was phony, that it was part of a cover-up, that this fact was known by everyone knowledgeable about the attack, and that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was lying to the press corps about it.)
Hillary Clinton told the families of the Benghazi victims that the maker of the video would be “brought to justice”—brought to justice, that is, for exercising his First Amendment rights. In protest of the genocidal effort to erase the Copts from Egypt, he made a video that attacked Islam, and government officials such as the President and secretary of State, sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, went after him. The President even declared in a United Nations speech that “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
To understand how deeply offensive that comment was, or should have been, to all Americans, it is important to remember that failing to acknowledge Muhammad as the ultimate prophet of God is “slander” in the eyes of Islam. Thus, all Christians, Jews, agnostics, and other non-Muslims commit such slander continually.
Imagine the firestorm if President G.W. Bush had declared that “The future must not belong to those who slander the messiah of Israel,” i.e., Jesus.
By the way, in defending the rights of the video-maker, I do not mean to defend the video itself, or any crude denigration of Islam. I treat all peaceful religions respectfully, including those schools of Islam that oppose violence and oppression. I defend the First Amendment rights of the video-maker as I would defend the rights of a communist or Klansman or Nazi or anyone else with whom I disagree profoundly. I’m an American, and Americans stand up for the Constitution and for the principle expressed in Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s paraphrase of Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Americans aren’t despicable cowards who jail video-makers, framing them for the crimes of terrorists, in order to appease our enemies, or to fool the voters, or for any other reason.
Well, most Americans.