If there were any lingering doubts about why Mitt Romney should not be president, his response to the events in Cairo and Benghazi should have dispelled them. Mitt simply is not presidential timber. He does not have the bona fides, the temperament, and the good judgment to direct U.S. foreign affairs. Look how he chose to take the low road after the savage murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and of three other American diplomats. Without being fully informed on what had happened and in what order it happened, Mitt seized the political opportunity to launch a sleazy attack---not only on the administration's foreign policy in the Middle East, but--- by suggesting the president 'sympathized' with the terrorist thugs--- also on Mr. Obama's core patriotism. Hasn't this been a meme of Romney's sordid, manipulative campaign up till now? Remember the joke about Obama's birth certificate.? Obama is somehow foreign, different, not American.
In the case of the outrage in Benghazi, Mr. Romney put the cart before the horse when he lashed out at the president. He used an official statement coming out of the American Embassy in Cairo as if it were the president's response to the tragic killings, when in fact the statement preceded those events and even the rioting in Cairo. The U.S. Embassy's statement was an attempt to defuse a tinderbox precipitated by a virulently anti-Muslim internet video made in California by extreme right-wing Islamophobes. Here is what the Embassy said:
"The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims---as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."
Mr. Romney didn't wait to get the chronology right. To paraphrase President Obama, he fired before taking aim. This is the complete antithesis of statesmanship. This is George W. Bush Redux.
On the Today Show this morning Senator McCain called the Embassy statement "weak" and indicative of President Obama's "feckless" overarching Middle East strategy. An objective person would not be so judgmental.
What we need is not a return to the Bush days when warmongering neo-cons like John Bolton led us into a trumped-up conflict in Iraq, costing us dearly in blood and treasure. Not brinkmanship and saber-rattling. Americans are fed up with this militant- macho-testosterone nonsense. This has enriched Big Oil and corrupt private contractors like Blackwater, while impoverishing our country as a whole and desensitizing our moral compass.
We need a president who will not shoot from the hip. We need a real statesman who will act decisively and only after carefully weighing all the options, all the critical circumstances, all the contigent consequences.
The goal of our government should be peace with honor. Not dishonorable war at every flashpoint. Mr. Obama has restored the luster of our good name throughout the world community. Over the past four years, he has kept his pledge to keep us safe. He has made Bin Laden pay for masterminding the horrific destruction of 9-11.
We are now at a watershed moment in history when strong and wise leadership is critically important. Indeed, Mitt Romney talks tough. But we need someone who will talk softly and carry a big stick.
Lincoln once said it was unwise to swap horses in midstream. In these turbulent waters that we are riding through, there is no better advice.
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