Richard Clarke Calls Romney Out for Asking Novice Questions about Libya
Richard Clark weighed in on Mitt Romney’s attacks on Obama over Libya. Clarke, whose resume gives him far more credence on the issue than most people’s– including by far Mitt Romney’s, wrote for the New York Daily News, “Mitt Romney seems fixated on why Washington did not know with better clarity and sooner what went on during a terrorist attack. It is the kind of question that comes from someone who has no experience dealing with terrorism crisis management or, indeed, combat.”
You might recall Richard Clarke as the guy who issued the August 6, 2001 Daily Briefing Memo, entitled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US” that George W Bush ignored, which warned that Al-Qaeda was going to strike the US. (The Bush administration tried to argue that the memo didn’t actually discuss being attacked in the U.S. in order to redact it, but it did.) Clarke is a national security expert who worked under Reagan and Bush – he’s no partisan hack. After Clarke objected to invading Iraq, his character was assassinated by the Bush regime, but he was proven correct with time.
Clark continued, “I dealt with scores of incidents and military operations over 30 years in the Pentagon, State Department and White House. I never saw a case where there was initial and accurate clarity about what happened.”
Boom goes Mitt Romney’s wishful talking point about Libya.
Clark indicts Romney, “If there were not a presidential campaign going on, a campaign in which the incumbent (Obama) has a stellar record of fighting terrorism, I doubt Romney would care about the details of what happened in Benghazi. In 20 years of running for office, he has never demonstrated any expertise or even real interest in the details of national security.
But it is politics to rush out with a press release critical of the President’s handling of a crisis while the crisis is still going on, while American diplomats are still under fire. The Romney campaign did just that and got many details wrong in so doing.”
Romney’s foreign policy team is made up of former Bush Cheney neocons. They are desperate to clear their names from the WMD lie and the failure to read intel.
Unlike Romney’s rush to judgment, the 9/11 Commission and subsequent investigations and outings have proven that Bush ignored the intel and that we were led into war on a false premise. It took so long for us to learn these facts that Bush won a second term before the public knew what had happened.
Yet Romney and Republicans expect that this administration would know the second something happened in Libya exactly who, what, why, and how. And not only know, or suspect, but deem it safe for all (including the CIA base the Republicans outed in their “investigation”) to disclose this information to the public.
What happened in Libya is a tragedy, but there is no evidence that the administration withheld any information. In 30 years, Clarke never saw a situation where the intital intel was correct. Maybe, just maybe, this is why there was conflicting information in the beginning and new info trickling in still.
This line of attack by Romney is clearly a Rovian political strategy by a man who couldn’t even manage to show up at the Summer Olympics without insulting our greatest ally by suggesting that their security wasn’t ready for the games, because that’s what all terrorist experts recommend — get on international TV and tell the entire world that you are not prepared and cannot defend yourselves now, at this particular time and place (not). This is also not so good for tourism (read: economy). That’s our Mitt.
It has yet to occur to Mitt Romney that perhaps caution is warranted when making public statements about acts of terror or the possibility thereof. His own behavior demonstrates that he sees no need for caution — he just rushes to the nearest microphone to blurt out whatever info he thinks he has about a situation he doesn’t understand.
Romney wasn’t done stumbling through national security and foreign policy like an eager, panting puppy. He later broke protocol and security by revealing his secret meeting with M16, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service. Romney sounded like a hyper active kid who got to sit at the grown ups’ table. Once was probably enough for M16.
Romney has no experience with terrorism or combat, whereas Obama’s record on getting the bad guys is a devastating rebuke to Republicans. This won’t stop Romney from trying to smear Obama with Bush’s failures at the next debate, which will be centered around foreign policy. Romney promised his wealthy friends that he would take advantage of any hostage-like situation, and he is doing just that.