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Article published October 5, 2012
Mideast policy a failure
Dick Rittelmann Butler Township
The current discourse over the recent events in the Middle East, specifically centered around the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, seems to me to be specious. The Obama administration’s initial claim was that the attack was in reaction to a video trailer of a crude, vulgar film released on the Internet several months ago. Those claims subsequently were shown to be false. Why did the administration put out such a falsehood? The president has long maintained that his Middle East policy has been very successful and that since the demise of Osama bin Laden, that al-Qaida “has been decimated.” Obviously, admitting that the attack at Benghazi was a planned, coordinated attack by an al-Qaida group would be an admission that his Middle East policy had failed. The ultimate result is that it doesn’t seem to matter which story line is true. If al-Qaida forces perpetrated the attack, President Barack Obama’s foreign policy is a miserable failure. If a 12-minute trailer of an amateurish video can cause the violence, which we’ve seen through the world, the 3½ years of foreign policy-building in the Middle East was extraordinarily shallow and absolutely unsustainable. It doesn’t matter which story is believed, the outcome is the same. We have a complete failure of our Middle East foreign policy. Our intelligence forces should have known of this planned attack and properly prepared for its defense. The best intelligence comes usually from the proper assessment of information from a variety of sources. In the past, the U.S. has had excellent cooperation from our allies’ intelligence agencies. I wonder if the U.S. would have known more about this impending attack if Obama had not thrown Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under the bus.