From The NY Times: “After Benghazi Attack, Talk Lagged Behind Intelligence”

Full post here.

‘Even as Susan E. Rice took to the Sunday talk shows last month to describe the Obama administration’s assessment of the Sept. 11 attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, intelligence analysts suspected that the explanation was outdated.’

The CIA is going to take some responsibility for the intelligence it seems, but not necessarily for those acting (or not acting) on it.

It appears that Ansar Al Sharia, an Al Qaida affiliate, and other extremists were gaining ground in Benghazi and points east of Tripoli (as other intelligence showed) and coordinated this attack.   Why have we waited for over five weeks to still not send the message that such violence is not acceptable, appeasing our most violent enemies?

If we are doing this as part of a larger strategy to appeal to and include the “Muslim-on-the-street” in our policy-making, and not inflame such folks further and allow really bad people to gin up support for their own causes across the Middle East, how is that working?  How is the liberal internationalist platform under Obama’s leadership working out with respect to our freedoms at home (speech) and our security?

It’s still not clear to me why we chose to bet on the opposition horses (and many extremists) in Libya to overthrow Gadhafi, but dawdled on Syria and Assad by the logic of our current policy (though we likely have special ops and some intelligence on the ground).  Syria is turning into the protracted civil conflict feared, which is also spilling over into Turkey and Lebanon along sectarian lines.

More broadly, we are still in a war on terror, targeting Al Qaida and Al Qaida groups in AfPak which is helping us to meet our Afghanistan objective.  This is done through drone strikes which cause retaliation, and a current administration approved surge as well.  The centerpiece of the current administration’s policy is the timeline and withdrawal.  Al Qaida is regrouping in Somalia and Yemen and other locations, and the Iranian and Pakistani governments have close ties with terrorist organizations.  How is our current timeline for withdrawal in Iraq and Afghanistan going to help win this war on terror?

What’s the strategy?  Who’s responsible?  Anyone?

The Foreign Policy Initiative suggests a safe zone in Syria…so much for the U.N.

Addition:  Walter Russell Mead has this:

‘If President Obama’s biggest problem in a foreign policy debate is that his grand strategy is in crisis, Governor Romney’s biggest problem is that the Obama strategy offers what most voters want. Americans are profoundly tired by the Middle East; they don’t think we can do much good over there, they don’t like or understand the region and they want to get out’

Related On This Site:  Lara Logan On Afghanistan Via Youtube: ’2012 BGA Annual Luncheon Keynote Speech’

The rise of Islamism across the region…Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

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