The situation in Mali is becoming increasingly tense. Our own Travis Thornton recently touched on what’s going on in the Saharan nation, noting that the problem there “comes as a consequence of NATO’s 2011 Libyan intervention, in which the United States involved itself without congressional approval.
The country’s interim president, Dioncounda Traore, has ruled out any discussions with Islamic militants, putting the prospect of a peaceful ending to the violence out of reach. And while French military forces have been able to handle the situation to this point, there is a chance that the United States may intervene.
Earlier this week, Ron Paul, who recently retired from Congress and twice ran for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, explained that the United States is involved in yet another military action without the consent of Congress:
President Obama last week began his second term by promising that “a decade of war is now ending.” As he spoke, the US military was rapidly working its way into another war, this time in the impoverished African country of Mali. As far as we know, the US is only providing transport and intelligence assistance to France, which initiated the intervention then immediately called Washington for back-up and funding. However, even if US involvement is limited and, as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, US boots on the ground are not being considered “at this time,” this clearly is developing into another war. As usual, the mission is creeping.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the next Secretary of State, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday to discuss the administration’s foreign policy. While the confirmation hearing was mostly easy for Kerry, he did face a tough line of questioning from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
Paul, who has been a frequent critic of the prevailing foreign policy views of both parties, asked Kerry about his views regarding unilateral war, specifically regarding military action in Libya.
“I agree with candidate Barack Obama, who said in 2007 that the president doesn’t have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack,” explained Paul. “I’d like to know if you agree with candidate Barack Obama or President Barack Obama, who took us to war in Libya without congressional authority, unilaterally?”
Kerry responded, “Well, Senator Paul, one of the things this committee has spent a lot of time on is the War Powers Act, which I support, and I believe in congressional authority to go to war.” However, Kerry tried to give himself some latitude, explaining that “are occasions which I have supported which a President of the United States has to make a decision immediately and implement that decision, execute on it, immediately.” Kerry listed occasions where he has supported a president bypassing Congress, explaining that he though President Obama went with that tradition when he authorized military action in Libya.
After delays due to health concers, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee to answer questions about the security failures, for which she has accepted responsibility, at the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya that ultimately cost the lives of four American citizens, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
While Republicans on the committee where hoping to get answers, Clinton, who will soon be leaving her post, showed a lot of emotion in fighting back accusations that the State Department didn’t do its job. During an exchange with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who had said that UN Ambassador Susan Rice misled the public by claiming that the incident was a protest gone awry, Clinton sharply responded, “Whether it was attack preplanned by terrorists or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill Americans — what difference does it make?”
Instead, Clinton said, the lesson that Washington should be coming away with is “to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.”
With the “fiscal cliff” debate raging in Washington, the security failures that led to the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which cost the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, has been off of the radar. However, a report released yesterday shines some light on the mistakes made by the State Department, which is headed up by Hillary Clinton:
The failures resulted in a security plan “that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the 39-page, unclassified version of the report concluded.
Veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, both members of the review board, are scheduled to brief members of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees in private on Wednesday.
The board cited a lack of resources as at least partly to blame.
“The solution requires a more serious and sustained commitment from Congress to support State Department needs,” it said.
The board found that Washington tended “to overemphasize the positive impact of physical security upgrades … while generally failing to meet Benghazi’s repeated requests” to beef up personnel.
After facing constant questions over her handling of the post-Benghazi narrative, UN Ambassador Susan Rice took her name out of contention yesterday to succeed Hillary Clinton as the next Secretary of State:
United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice on Thursday withdrew her name from consideration to be appointed secretary of state by President Barack Obama.
“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly — to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a letter to the president. “That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country. … Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.”
Rice’s chances were damaged after her Sept. 16 appearances on Sunday morning TV shows defending the administration’s handling of the attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
“The position of Secretary of State should never be politicized,” Rice wrote to Obama. “As someone who grew up in the era of comparative bipartisanship and as a sitting U.S. national security official who has served in two U.S. administrations, I am saddened that we have reached this point.”
What in heaven’s name has happened to the country I grew up admiring? That is the question I’ve been asking myself over and over since the re-election of Barack Obama. While it’s easy to blame the crumbling of those principles, values and characteristics on Obama and liberal Democrats, that’s an easy way out, a little white lie we tell ourselves as a comfort mechanism. We blame it on Obama having run a campaign of distractions and outright lies to hide his failures (he did), or Romney not running an effective ground game (he didn’t) or being an eloquent spokesman for conservative principles (he wasn’t). We blame it on widespread voter fraud by Democrats (there was), or the media being complicit in protecting Obama by helping cover up the truth about scandals like Fast and Furious, or Benghazi (they were).
Yet not even those things reveal the underlying truth about the hastening erosion of what was once the foundation of American exceptionalism. We once valued hard work, honesty, fidelity in marriage, humility, and personal responsibility. We held up as men and women to be admired those who were industrious and entrepreneurial. These were traits we aimed for, even though we often fell short. Yet where are these values today? John F. Kennedy, the iconic president adored by Democrats, once exhorted us to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Contrast that Democrat’s pseudo-messianic figure in Obama, who shuns the call for sacrifice, for hard work, telling us we have a right to free health care, welfare checks, food stamps, and a plethora of other goodies, all paid for by taxing at ever greater levels the hated, evil rich.
Facing an uncertain path to succeeding Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, Susan Rice met with some Senate Republicans yesterday who have expressed opposition to her possible nomination due to comments made after the terrorist attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya, during which four Americans died.
Five days after the September 11th attack on the consulate, Rice, who currently serves as Obama’s UN Ambassador, appeared on Sunday talk shows, claiming that the incident was a “spontaneous” protest gone arwy. Intelligence officials, including former CIA Director David Petraeus have said that was quickly apparent that the incident was a terrorist attack, not a protest. Rice’s comments indicate that there was more to the post-Benghazi narrative that faulty intelligence.
While Rice was hoping to alleviate concerns with Senate Republicans over her role in the post-Benghazi narrative, the meeting seems to have had the opposite affect, according to The Hill:
During a meeting on Capitol Hill that lasted for more than an hour, Rice acknowledged “there was no protest” at the consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11 and said that talking points she relied on for making that claim were wrong.
But Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John McCain (Ariz.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) said they were not satisfied with the ambassador’s answers to their questions.
During the Republican presidential primary, Jon Huntsman took some hits for serving at President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. Many conservatives were skeptical of the association, though Huntsman’s performance in the primary can be attributed more to his not throwing out nearly enough red meat to the GOP base.
But with Susan Rice’s path to the lead the State Department looking bleak in the Senate, President Obama may look at Huntsman as a potential successor to Hillary Clinton, who has said that she not stick around for a second term:
White House officials suggest Jon Huntsman (R), the former Utah governor, Obama’s ambassador to China and Republican presidential candidate, might be a candidate for Secretary of State, the AP reports.
“Huntsman is still widely respected by the administration even if he’d hoped to unseat Obama. Choosing Huntsman would allow the president to claim bipartisanship while putting an Asia expert in the job at a time when the U.S. is focusing more attention on the world’s most populous continent.”
KSL-TV: “The speculation caught many political observers off guard. Some told us that taking another job in the Obama administration might make it hard, if not impossible, for him to run as a Republican again for the White House.”
With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expected to step down soon, the thinking is that President Barack Obama will likely appoint UN Ambassador Susan Rice to fill the role in his second term. Though they will have no say over the appointment in practical terms, nearly 100 House Republicans sent a letter to Obama yesterday expressing concern over the potential appointment due to her role in the narrative over Benghazi:
In a letter to Obama, the 97 Republicans said the credibility of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has been gravely wounded by her account of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“Though Ambassador Rice has been our representative to the U.N., we believe her misleading statements over the days and weeks following the attack on our embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of Ambassador [Christopher] Stevens and three other Americans caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world,” Republicans wrote in their letter, which was spearheaded by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and sent to Obama on Monday.
Stevens and the three others were killed in the attack on the Benghazi consulate.
The letter says Rice “propagated a falsehood” that the attacks were a spontaneous response to a video that depicted the Prophet Muhammad. The administration then said, more than a week later, that terrorism might have played a role.
“Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter,” the letter says. “Her actions plausibly give U.S. allies (and rivals) abroad reason to question U.S. commitment and credibility when needed.
With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not sticking around for President Barack Obama’s second term, there has been much speculation that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice will get the nod for the job.
Rice has been scrutinized for the part she played in shaping the narrative in the days following the terrorist attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th. During an interview on This Week, five days later, Rice claimed that the incident was a “spontaneous” protest against an anti-Islam video gone awry.
But during his testimony before lawmakers on Friday, former CIA Director David Petraeus said that it intelligence officials knew not too long after the incident in Benghazi that it was a terrorist attack carried out by a group with close ties to al-Qaeda. However, Petraus noted that talking points had been edited to remove references to terrorism:
Former CIA Director David Petraeus stoked the controversy over the Obama administration’s handling of the Libya terror attack, testifying Friday that references to “Al Qaeda involvement” were stripped from his agency’s original talking points — while other intelligence officials were unable to say who changed the memo, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.