News broke last week that the Obama Administration decided further its involvement in the Syrian civil war by arming rebels fighting against Bashar Assad’s regime. The development was well-received by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ), two of Washington’s most hawkish politicians. But increasing our intervention in Syria remains a hot topic among conservatives, especially among two who may seek the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016.
This past weekend at the Faith Freedom Coalition’s conference in Washington, DC, two very distinict foreign policy agendas were put before conservatives. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) took a skeptical approach to Syria, explaining that intervention there doesn’t serve America’s interests. And it would seem that Americans overwhelmingly agree with that sentiment.
Since he got back from his Memorial Day trip to Syria, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has come under fire from many conservatives who are having a hard time understanding why he wants to get the United States involved in yet another perilous military engagement that would align us with al-Qaeda.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been a voice of reason when it comes to the prospect of intervention in Syria, noting that our history of arming so-called “rebels” hasn’t worked out so well. He has pointed to Libya as example of how our intervention, lead by President Barack Obama and hawkish Republicans, has caused us further problems in the region and that Syria is very likely to turn out with the same ending.
In a column at the National Review, Andrew McCarthy, — a former Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted the “Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdel Rahman, on terrorism charges in 1995, explained why Republicans to ignore McCain’s call for the next war:
There is a stubborn fact Republicans may want to consider as McCain, their wayward foreign-policy guru, tries to browbeat them into Libya Act II — because, you know, Act I has worked out so well. It is this: The Obama administration’s shocking derelictions of duty in connection with the Benghazi massacre cannot erase the GOP fingerprints all over the Libyan debacle. Obama is the one who took us over the cliff, but only after McCain shoved him to the very edge.
On Friday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) delivered a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library where he called for a more inclusive Republican Party, praised the Gipper, and slammed the policies of President Barack Obama and the recent scandals that have plagued his administration. The speech has also been labeled as a potential presidential platform for Paul in 2016.
After his speech, Paul took some questions from audience members. One question in particular sticks out due to the current events in Syria. He was asked his thoughts on what the top priority should be foreign affairs. He explained that the “top priority for the country — constitutionally, historically, and appropriately — is defense of the country.”
“That being said, Reagan’s motto was ‘peace through strength’; it wasn’t ‘war through strength.’ There are some, sometimes in our party, who mistake war for defense,” Paul continued. “And if you don’t believe in eternal and perpetual war doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in a strong national defense — and this is an important distinction.”
Paul went onto explain that American foreign policy has been inconsistent in this region of the world, using Moammar Ghadafi, the Libyan dictator who was deposed in 2011, as an example. “There’s some in our party who wanted to give arms to Ghadafi, and then a year later wanted to give money to rebels to overturn Ghadafi,” he said. “There’s a certain inconsistency.”
As you may have heard, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spent his Memorial Day palling around with his new al-Qaeda buddies in Syria. He wants Congress to appropriate funds to help these terrorists rebels, one of whom was responsible for kidnapping Lebanese pilgrims, as they fight Bashar al-Assad for control of the country.
But Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) warned Americans of the dangers of intervening, in an op-ed at CNN, noting that our history of arming so-called “rebels” and hasn’t exactly worked well for the United States.
Paul recaps the history of our involvement in Iraq in the 1980s and 1990s, both in support of and opposition to Saddam Hussein, has had the effect of empowering Iran in the region. He goes to recap our more recent problems in Libya, where our support of rebels included helping elements of al-Qaeda:
In 2009, members of the U.S. Senate — Republicans Lindsey Graham and John McCain and an independent, Joe Lieberman — would travel to Libya to meet with Gadhafi to offer further aid. Sen. McCain said: “We discussed the possibility of moving ahead with the provision of nonlethal defense equipment to the government of Libya.” President Obama would eventually meet with Gadhafi to reconfirm the same relationship established during the Bush administration.
While the scandals that have emerged out of the IRS and the Justice Department have taken center stage over the last two weeks, the Obama Administraton’s refusal to come clean about Benghazi still remains very much an issue.
The Heritage Foundation offered a new video this week that highlighted how President Barack Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other administration officials tried to spin the incident at the American outpost in Benghazi as a protest against an anti-Muslim YouTube video gone awry.
After it was revealed that it was in fact a pre-planned terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda, during which four Americans were killed, the White House and Obama Administration tried to shift away from their initial talking points. Americans have since discovered that there was political influence within the administration to avoid discussion of terrorism. While President Obama has labeled questions on the early narrative as a “side show, Heritage notes that each new answer has brought new questions.
Check the video out below:
The IRS and DOJ scandals may have taken Benghazi out of the headlines, but that doesn’t mean that Americans aren’t any less concerned. According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 55% of Americans believe that the Obama Administration is trying to cover up the facts about the terrorist attack that claimed the lives of four Americans:
Last year’s deadly attack on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya is shaping up as a real political problem for President Obama, with concern extending well beyond the conservative base. More than half of Americans say his administration is trying to cover up the facts of the attack, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Fully 55 percent say the Obama administration is trying to hide the facts, while just 33 percent say it has honestly disclosed what it knows of the incident. It’s not just Republicans crying foul: Six in 10 independents and nearly three in 10 Democrats say the administration is not being forthright.
Here’s a look at the results:
Unfortunately, the White House has been trying to avoid the scandal. And many of President Obama’s apologists treat Benghazi in much the same way former DNC Howard Dean does. In an appearance on CNBC last week, Dean called the concerns over Benghazi a “laughable joke.”
During a press conference yesterday, President Barack Obama slammed Republicans who are focusing on the talking points that his administration used to try to set the narrative after the terrorist attack on the American outpost in Benghazi:
Repeated GOP attacks claiming the White House covered up the truth about the September attack in Benghazi, Libya, are nothing more than a politically motivated “side-show,” President Obama said Monday.
“The whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a side-show,” Obama said during a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron. “The fact that this keeps getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations.”
“We don’t have time to be playing these kinds of political games here in Washington. We should be focused on what are we doing to protect them,” Obama said. “We dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political circus.”
The Obama administration initially claimed the Benghazi attack, ending with the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, was the result of an anti-U.S. protest gone wrong.
The claim come just days after State Department whistleblowers testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Gregory Hicks, who served as the top diplomat in Libya after the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, explained that it was clear from the very beginning that the incident was a terrorist attack.
What we now know about the post-Benghazi narrative that the Obama Administration tried to create is nothing short of stunning. On Friday, ABC News reported that the talking points produced by the CIA underwent 12 different revisions with significant input coming from the State Department, which was run by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department. The edits included requests from the State Department that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia be deleted as well references to CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack.
In an email to officials at the White House and the intelligence agencies, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland took issue with including that information because it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned …”
The paragraph was entirely deleted.
Like the final version used by Ambassador Rice on the Sunday shows, the CIA’s first drafts said the attack appeared to have been “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” but the CIA version went on to say, “That being said, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.” The draft went on to specifically name the al Qaeda-affiliated group named Ansar al-Sharia.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) didn’t mince any words for the White House during a press conference yesterday — he wants the White House to cooperate with investigators by turning over e-mails relating to the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
House Speaker John Boehner is demanding that the White House release a series of unclassified emails related to the Sept. 11 fatal terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Boehner is seeking emails Republican lawmakers say were sent the day after the attack from a senior state department official to her superiors in which she reported that she told the Libyan ambassador that Islamic terrorists were responsible for the attack.
“The State Department would not allow our committees to keep copies of this email when it was reviewed,” Boehner said. “I would call on the President to order the State Department to release this email so the American people can see it.”
The letters Boehner is seeking would show the State Department was aware it was a terrorist attack well before Obama sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on a round of Sunday talk shows to push the YouTube video as the cause.
His demand comes a day after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on startling revelations brought forward by State Department whistleblowers that shined light on the events that led up to, during, and after the attack.
In what was a highly anticipated hearing, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hosted three whistleblowers — Gregory Hicks, Eric Nordstrom, and Mark Thompson. The three State Department staffers have come forward with a clearer picture of what happened before, during, and after the terrorist attack that took place last September at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which claimed the lives of four Americans.
The three biggest allegations on which Republicans on the committee focused was the State Department’s involvement in the initial talking points that removed references to terrorism, the role those talking points played in preventing the FBI from getting to the consulate to investigate the attack, and a “stand down” order given that kept military assets from responding in its aftermath.
Hicks, who made the most damaging allegations and was the primary focus of the questioning from both Republicans and Democrats on the committee, offered a detailed description of the attack:
In his first full public accounting, Gregory Hicks, a Foreign Service officer and ex-deputy chief of mission in Libya, recounted in vivid detail what happened the night of the attacks. Republicans insist that the Obama administration and the State Department didn’t do nearly enough to aid U.S. personnel under attack in September 2012.