Monday, October 15, 2012

The Death of Our Ambassador and Diplomats Should Be Off Limits

During Thursday's Vice Presidential Debate between current US Vice President Joseph Biden and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, a line was crossed. Through the Romney Campaign in an attempt to gain political points, Congressman Ryan accused the Obama Administration of denying Ambassador Stevens additional security, after he made several requests for additional security.  Ryan attempted to poke holes in the foreign policy strategy and response to the September 11th 2012 terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of four Americans including US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. 

Debate moderator Martha Raddatz opened the debate with a question on the attacks in Libya asking this:

"I would like to begin with Libya. On a rather somber note, one month ago tonight, on the anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. The State Department has now made clear, there were no protesters there. It was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Biden?" 
Ryan said this:
"But what we also want it do is make sure that we're not projecting weakness abroad, and that's what's happening here. This Benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself, but unfortunately it's indicative of a broader problem. And that is what we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, which is making the world more chaotic us less safe."
After this response moderator Martha Raddatz attempted to throw Congressman Ryan a bone and help him repair his statement and recent statements of the campaign by asking this: 
"I just want to talk to you about right in the middle of the crisis. Governor Romney — and you're talking about this again tonight — talked about the weakness, talked about apologies from the Obama administration. Was that really appropriate right in the middle of the crisis?"
Instead of taking a clue, Ryan doubled down:

"What we should not be doing is rejecting claims for — calls for more security in our barracks, in our Marine — we need Marines in Benghazi when the commander on the ground says we need more forces for security. There were requests for extra security. Those requests were not honored. Look, this was the anniversary of 9/11. It was Libya, a country we knew we had al-Qaida cells there. As we know, al-Qaida and its affiliates are on the rise in northern Africa. And we did not give our ambassador in Benghazi a Marine detachment? Of course there is an investigation so we can make sure that this never happens again. But when it comes to speaking up for our values, we should not apologize for those."
This all comes on the anniversary of the attacks and one day after several State Department officials testified on Capitol Hill before a congressional hearing, about the scale of security and concerns at the embassy. Interestingly the testimony revealed a less damaging recount than the Romney Campaign is trying to paint to the people. Charlene Lamb, the Deputy Secretary of State for diplomatic security for U.S. embassies and consulates, testified that, "we had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11." Officials also stated that the number of U.S. and local security guards at the compound were consistent with what had been requested by the post. 

It's more than apparent here that this is a national tragedy and the story is unfolding. We have four grieving families who are in search of answers, and deserve to have the deaths of their love ones thoroughly investigated as we would for any murder victim killed on our streets. Jan Stevens, father of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens released a statement condeming the politicizing of his son's death for the advancement of a political campaign. 
“The security matters are being adequately investigated, we don’t pretend to be experts in security. It has to be objectively examined. That’s where it belongs. It does not belong in the campaign arena.” 
This is outright embarrassing. Mr. Stevens is mourning the loss of his son and this is the last thing he should have to hear about, and releasing a statement is the last thing that he should of had to do. 

Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Virginia on Friday:
"When the vice president directly contradicts the sworn testimony of state department officials, the American people deserve to know what happened."

Once again I am forced to question the leadership capabilities of Mitt Romney. Why are we talking about this? Why is the Romney Campaign talking about? This is not a spy flick or "Mission Impossible IV," this is real life. The lives of Americans are affected across the globe. This is "I Want to Be President" 101. Don't criticize or make accusations against the sitting President and his administration, especially when you really don't know all of the intricacies of the situation. It's sloppy and not presidential to attempt to undermine a sitting President on an issue as serious as foreign policy, it plays a direct role in our national security. You can disagree with the President and his administration, but do this in a diplomatic manner. Does Mitt Romney not understand that if he wins the presidency he will inherit this? The Romney camp needs to be quiet on this and find another issue to attack the President on. 

Sound Off......

1. Is the Romney Campaign politicizing the deaths of US Ambassador Stevens and the three US Diplomats?

2. If Romney wanted to pivot away from this issue, what should he say to remove himself in a respectful manner?

3. Do you believe that the Obama Administration is hiding something on the attacks?
blog comments powered by Disqus