US in denial- Opinion piece

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US in denial- Opinion piece

Post by Kris on Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:53 pm


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US in denial (copy pasted)

Post by Kris on Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:00 pm

Stevens arrived in Benghazi at an early phase of US involvement in the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi, a former US foe who had been neutered since 2004. But even then it was clear that the rebels with whom he worked included jihadist fighters associated with al-Qa'ida. Their significance became obvious when just after the regime fell in November last year, rebel forces hoisted the flag of al-Qa'ida over the courthouse in Benghazi.

Did Stevens understand what this meant? Perhaps. But his boss, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, certainly didn't. Following Tuesday's attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Clinton said, "Today, many Americans are asking - indeed, I asked myself - how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be."

Clinton then proclaimed with utter certainty there was nothing to be concerned about. "We must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya," she said.

Of course, what she failed to mention was that after the rebels felled Gaddafi's regime - with US support - they began imposing Islamic law over the country.

Clinton was not the only senior US official who didn't understand why Stevens and three other Americans were murdered or why the US consulate in Benghazi was reduced to a smouldering ruin.

The day after the murderous assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, and in the face of an ongoing mob assault on the US embassy in Cairo, and on US embassies in Yemen and Tunis, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called pastor Terry Jones in Florida and asked him to withdraw his support for a film that depicts Mohammed negatively. Dempsey's belief that a third-rate riff on Mohammed supported by a marginal figure in Florida is the cause of the terrorist attacks on US embassies is not simply shocking. It is devastating.

It means that the senior officer in the US military is of the opinion that the party to blame for the assaults on US government installations overseas was an American pastor. To prevent the recurrence of such incidents, freedom of speech must be constrained.

A word about the much mentioned film about Mohammed is in order. The film apparently was released about a year ago. It received little notice until last month when a Salafi television station in Egypt broadcast it to incite anti-American violence. If the film had never been created, they would have found another - equally ridiculous - pretext. And here we come to the nature of the attacks against America that occurred on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 jihadist attacks.

A cursory consideration of the events that are still taking place makes clear these were not acts of spontaneous rage about an amateur internet movie. They were premeditated. In Egypt, the mob was led by Muhammad al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qa'ida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The US's first official response to the assault on its embassy in Cairo came in the form of an embassy Twitter feed apologising to Muslims for the film.

The day before the attacks, al-Qa'ida released a video of Ayman al-Zawahiri in which he called for his co-religionists to attack the US in retribution for the killing in June of his second-in-command Abu Al Yahya al-Libi by a US drone in Pakistan. Zawahiri asked for the strongest act of retribution to be carried out in Libya.

As for the attack in Libya, it apparently came as no surprise to some US officials on the ground. In an online posting the night before he was killed, US Foreign Service information officer Sean Smith warned of the impending strike. Smith wrote, "Assuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures."

The co-ordinated, premeditated nature of the attack was self-evident. The assailants were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns. They knew the location of the secret safe house to which the US consular officials fled. They laid ambush to a marine force sent to rescue the 37 Americans hiding at the safe house. Yet Clinton and Dempsey could not fathom why the attack occurred.

Like Dempsey, the US media was swift to focus the blame for the attacks on the film.

By Wednesday afternoon the media shifted the focus of discussion on the still ongoing attacks from the film to an all-out assault on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for his temerity in attacking as "disgraceful" the administration's initial apologetic response to the attacks on the embassies.

Following the September 11 attacks, the US congress formed the bipartisan 9/11 Commission and charged it with determining the causes of the assault.

In the end, they claimed that the chief failure enabling the attacks was "one of imagination".

Unfortunately it wasn't that imagination failed America before September 11. It was that imagination reigned in America. And it still does. It's just the land of make-believe occupied by the US foreign policy elite has shifted.

Until September 11, 2001, the US foreign policy elite was of the opinion that the chief threat to US national security was the fact the US was a "hyperpower". That is, the chief threat to the US was the US itself.

After September 11, the US decided the main threat to the US was "terror". The perpetrators of terrorism were rarely mentioned, and when they were they were belittled as "marginal forces".

Then president George W. Bush imagined a world where the actual enemies of the US were marginal forces in Islam. He then determined - based on nothing - that the masses of the Muslim world from Gaza to Iraq to Afghanistan and beyond were simply Jeffersonian democrats living under the jackboot.

If freed from tyranny, they would become liberal democrats nearly indistinguishable from regular Americans.

With President Barack Obama's inauguration, the imaginary world inhabited by the American foreign policy elite shifted again. Obama and his advisers agree that jihadist Islam is the predominant force in the Muslim world. But in their imaginary world, jihadist Islam is a good thing for America.

Hence, Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan is Obama's closest confidante in the Middle East despite his transformation of Turkey from a pro-Western secular republic into a pro-Iranian Islamic republic in which secularists are jailed without trial for years.

Hence Israel - the first target of jihadist Islam's bid for global supremacy - is a strategic burden rather than an ally to the US.

Hence the US abandoned its most stalwart ally in the Arab world, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and supported the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in the most strategically vital state in the Arab world.

Hence it supported a Libyan rebel force penetrated by al-Qa'ida.

Hence it is setting the stage for the reinstitution of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

It is impossible to know the thoughts that crossed Stevens's mind as he lay dying in Benghazi. But what is clear enough is that as long as imagination reigns supreme, freedom will be imperiled.

Caroline B. Glick is the senior contributing editor of The Jerusalem Post where this article first appeared.


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