Romney’s Missed Chance on Libya

In the debate last night Governor Romney unfortunately seemed caught off guard by President Obama’s dramatically indignant, yet dishonest grandstanding towards the end of the debate, in which he yet again accused Romney of exploiting the Libyan situation for political gain. Now, it is not so easy to charge the President of the United States with deliberately lying to and misleading the American public.  Thus distracted by President Obama’s bold tactic, Romney seemed unable to follow through with a logical response to Obama’s statement.

Remember, Obama was now saying he had from the beginning described the events that killed Ambassador Stevens and three others as ‘acts of terror’; in other words, terrorism.  Romney’s response to this ought to have been that if Obama indeed thought this a terrorist attack from the beginning, apparently having received intelligence to that effect, why then did he and his Administration go out of its way to present an alternate, non-terrorist narrative of what happened?  Why did they for weeks, all over the media and even before the UN, claim the acts were not pre-planned but rather, the spontaneous, violent reaction of a mob to an offensive video made by a US citizen?

Here then, is what Romney could have said to President Obama during last night”s debate.

Mr. President, with all due respect, in the Rose Garden, when you used the phrase “acts of terror”, you implied that the attacks on the Libyan Embassy that left 4 Americans dead were indeed terrorism.  Everyone knows terrorism means a planned attack, not the spontaneous acts of a mob in response to a video. Why then did your Administration and you yourself, over the course of the following few weeks, keep explaining these events as violence in response to an offensive American-made video? Apparently you deemed the initial intelligence presented to you convincing enough to lead you to the conclusion that these were “acts of terror” and this in turn is what you presented to the American people.  But ‘acts of terror’ contradicts the narrative your administration strongly pushed in the days that followed, when it kept claiming that this seemed to be not terrorism at all but spontaneous acts in response to a video.  Your administration also said it could not be more conclusive about what happened until the results of its investigation were in.  Nevertheless from day one this Administration, as you just claimed, described these events as an ‘act of terror’. So you must have believed the intelligence info was good and accurate enough in order to make such a statement.  Indeed thus far your State Dept has corroborated the classification of these events as a planned terrorist attack, saying that from the start they knew this could have been nothing but terrorism, based on the nature of the events.  Thus it is becoming more and more apparent to the American people that this Administration, though it knew from the beginning that the attacks on the Libyan Embassy were terrorist in nature, have purposely misled the country about them.  It seems it was not politically expedient for a terrorist attack to kill 4 Americans on the anniversary of Sept 11 in the midst of re-election campaign.  This is a great tragedy.  So on behalf of my fellow Americans, especially on behalf of the families of the 4 brave men who died in service to this country, I ask you to stop obfuscating in an attempt to protect your bid for re-election, and give the American people the honest answers it deserves as quickly as possible.

Romney didn’t say this, but let’s hope the American people will hold President Obama accountable on these things.
But perhaps, as some are saying, Obama’s Rose Garden remarks about “acts of terror” were not meant to definitively categorize the Libyan attacks as an act of terrorism.  Yet Obama during last night’s debate was more than happy for his Rose Garden statement to be interpreted as him saying it was terrorism.  In any case, whether Obama was clear from the start that the Libyan attacks were terrorism, or not, what is clear is that his Administration had more than enough intelligence from the field to be able to categorize the acts as terrorism.  It is the height of hypocrisy for President Obama and his team to accuse Romney of politicizing the Libyan events, when it is for political motives that the Administration did not label these acts terrorism, when all along they knew better.

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Filed under Election 2012, Political Issues

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