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EDITORIAL

A sad but logical consequence of our foreign policy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 12:01 am

"Lead from behind" leads to leaving our citizens behind.

The more we learn about the events surrounding the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, the more disturbing the scandal becomes.

It was bad enough when all we knew was that the Obama administration was trying to sell a lie for weeks, that the deaths were the result of a “spontaneous” riot sparked by an Islam-mocking video. The truth that the attack as a well-planned and -executed terrorist attack to mark the anniversary of 9/11 would have undermined the administration’s narrative that the killing of Osama bin Laden had put al Qaida on the run. Such duplicity is, alas, politics as usual these days.

But now we learn the even more shocking fact that military personnel asked several times to be able to go to the aid of their comrades and were told to stand down every time. We abandoned trapped Americans to their fate at the hand of murderous thugs, and that is simply indefensible.

But listen to Secretary of State Leon Panetta trying to justify the inaction, in the most outrageous statement of the whole affair so far: “…you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.” How blandly that asserts a policy that goes against everything this country and its military have ever stood for.

“The notion that we don’t send our forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on is patently absurd and false,” writes Herschel Smith at the Captain’s Journal website. “Simply said, it’s a lie. We deploy Army Rangers to take control of air fields and landing zones in potentially hostile environments, for which we do not know all of the desired information; we deploy Marine infantry into situations of potentially unknown threats all of the time all over the globe; each and every time a patrol left the outpost at the Korengal in Afghanistan, they were deploying into potentially deadly situations without specific and detailed knowledge of the situation.”

“Patently absurd and false,” but it’s a natural outcome of the administration’s “lead from behind” philosophy of foreign policy. It’s not leading at all – it’s drifting with the currents. It’s an absurd extension of the Vietnam-era policy requiring soldiers to phone permission to return fire. And we always say no.

Some critics are beginning to suggest the unthinkable, that Obama deliberately turned his back on Americans for political considerations, which would make him a moral monster of the first order. We don’t have to go that far – suffice it to say that his foreign policy amounts to dereliction of duty.