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Mission accomplished

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By John Barnhart

    This month began with the Justice Department filing sealed indictments against several unnamed suspects in the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi last year. This is the attack that left our ambassador to Libya and three others dead. According to an Aug. 6 Wall Street Journal article, one of these suspects is said to be Ahmed Abu Khattalah, founder of Libya’s Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia. The article stated that Abu Khattalah was seen at the compound when it was overrun.
    I’m sure Abu Khattalah is just shaking in his shoes to learn that he faces criminal charges in the United States. Yeah, right. Most likely neither he nor any of his terrorist buddies could care less.
    The Benghazi terrorist attack is something President Barack Obama should be ashamed of. Or, rather, his reaction to it is something that he should be ashamed of. It’s one of the more shameful episodes in American politics, almost as bad as the break-in at “Democratic” Party headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington during Richard Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign.
    President Obama was entering the last month of a reelection campaign and, while he was doing well in the polls against a weak opponent, it seems he didn’t want to take any chances with bad news. A planned terrorist attack on a U. S. consulate was not the sort of news he wanted. It didn’t fit with his claim that al Qaeda had been defeated.
    Instead of being honest with the public, the Obama administration tried to claim that it wasn’t a planned terrorist attack. They tried to put the blame on a crude anti-Muslim video that had been posted on the Internet. There had been angry protests against the movie in Muslim-majority countries and the Obama administration wanted us to believe that this was just a violent protest that got out of hand. The administration maintained this story in spite of the fact the Libyan government was calling it a terrorist attack — an approach that implies that the folks running the Libyan government are too stupid to understand what just happened in their own country. What a brilliant diplomatic ploy!
    President Obama eventually had to admit that it was, indeed, a planned terrorist attack and his administration has taken the meaningless action of filing indictments.
    The State Department came under criticism for failing to request increased security at our diplomatic facilities in Libya. There was also criticism about how the State Department reacted to the attack as it was in progress. This criticism seems to have hit home, judging from the Obama administration’s response to the latest rumblings about an attack by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). We closed all our embassies in Arab countries for a week and evacuated all non-essential embassy personnel from Yemen. I’ve read suggestions that this is being seen, in some quarters, as an overreaction because some of the jabs the Obama administration took over Benghazi hit home. Some folks in other countries think this overreaction makes the United States look weak.
    Barack Obama’s assurances, last year, that al Qaeda is a defeated force reminds me of the George W. Bush and his “Mission Accomplished” banner back in the late spring of 2003. Like President Bush, nine years ago, President Obama is being presented with evidence that the enemy is still alive and dangerous and has shape-shifted into another form. Instead of a centrally controlled al Qaeda, we are now seeing a decentralized al Qaeda with affiliates coming up with their own plans. Al Qaeda 2.0 may not be able, at least for now, to launch the type of large scale attack that al Qaeda 1.0 carried out in 2001, but it can launch localized attacks against U. S. interests, such as our embassies, overseas.
    What’s worse is that President Obama still doesn’t want to face the reality of the situation. Notice that Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s shooting at the Army military base Fort Hood in Texas that left 13 people dead, another 30 wounded has been defined as “workplace violence” rather than terrorism.