Tuesday, July 24, 2012

VFW Speech: MItt Romney Lies about President Obama... Yet Again

Cross posted at Daily Kos

In his speech to the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney continues along his trajectory of lies and deception about the Presidents policies in the Middle East.

Here is a full transcript of Romney's festival of distortions.

Most of it is fairly boilerplate as Mr. Romney continues to spin a foreign policy that is full of platitudes yet lacking in any substance. But here are some interesting things to point out.

The first thing that struck my eyes was the talking points concerning the adage "Loose Lips Sink Ships" where Mr. Romney is directly criticizing the White House for leaks involving the successful killing of Osama Bin Laden. Romney's comment:

Exactly who in the White House betrayed these secrets? Did a superior authorize it? These are things that Americans are entitled to know – and they are entitled to know right now. If the President believes – as he said last week – that the buck stops with him, then he owes all Americans a full and prompt accounting of the facts.
Now this is particularly rich coming from a man that counts as his "foreign policy experts" the same people that exposed an active CIA agent during wartime for political game due to the fact that her husband opposed the policies of the Bush Administration and had the nerve to do so publicly.  Given his advisors, his voice in this matter carries as much moral voice as an arsonist discussing the needs for fire prevention. It simply cannot be countenanced.

Meanwhile in the "real world" the President has addressed and IS ADDRESSING this. In discussions on June 8th, 2012 the President strongly denied these charges saying:
Obama said he will "root out" those responsible for revelations in the press about a joint US-Israeli assault on Iran's nuclear programme using a computer virus known as Stuxnet, the role of the president in deciding a "kill list" of targets of drone strikes in Pakistan, and revelations about a CIA sting operation in Yemen that blocked an attempt to blow up a transatlantic flight.

"The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It's wrong," he said....

...."Since I've been in office, my attitude has been zero tolerance for these kinds of leaks and speculation," he said. "We have mechanisms in place where if we can root out folks who have leaked they will suffer consequences. In some cases, it's criminal. These are criminal acts when they release information like this. And we will conduct thorough investigations, as we have in the past."
The Presidents record of killing or capturing more leaders of al-Qaeda than the Bush Administration ever did and doing it with such effectiveness gives lie to the Republicans shameful exercise of rhetoric. Claiming that the White House would purposefully expose national secrets at this level is at best simple projection (given the Republican record on this front).

But let's look at some other distortions or lies in the Romney Speech (and there are really too many to count so I want to focus on a few regarding the Middle East).
I will tell you right here – before I leave – what I think of this administration’s shabby treatment of one of our finest friends.

President Obama is fond of lecturing Israel’s leaders. He was even caught by a microphone deriding them. He has undermined their position, which was tough enough as it was. And even at the United Nations, to the enthusiastic applause of Israel’s enemies, he spoke as if our closest ally in the Middle East was the problem.
Hmmmm aside from agreeing with former French President Sarkozy that Prime Minister Netanyahu is a "pain the ass" (something many Israeli political figures would agree is a "generous assessment"), here are some of the things Israeli leaders have said regarding the President. Here is Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak speaking of the President in November of 2011 in a CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria:

Ehud Barak: He is extremely strong supporter of Israel in regard to its security. Traditionally, the president will support Israel in keeping its collective military edge and taking care of its security needs. But this administration is excelling in this. And it could not have happened without the immediate direct support of the president. So I don’t think that anyone can raise any question mark about the devotion of this president to the security of Israel
Perhaps Mr. Romney is not familiar with the Israeli Defense Minister or what that position means. But here let's see what the President of Israel Shimon Peres (A U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient - something the President does normally to leaders of countries he wants to disrespect) had to say regarding this President:
"To receive it is an honor. And to receive it from you, Mr. President, is a privilege that I shall cherish forever," Peres said after receiving the medal. "It is a testament to the historic friendship between our two nations. I receive this honor today on behalf of the People of Israel. They are the true recipients of this honor. With this moving gesture, you are paying tribute to generations upon generations of Jews who dreamed of, and fought for, a State of their own. A state that would give them shelter. A state that they could defend. Mr. President, you are honoring the pioneers who built homes on barren mountains, on shifting sands. Fighters who sacrificed their lives for their country. On their behalf, I thank America for days of concern, for sleepless nights, caring for our safety, for our future."
Perhaps Mr. Romney is also not familiar with the Israeli President (and twice Prime Minister of the Country) Shimon Peres.

Finally, here is Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel talking about the President has "undermined" Israel (/snark):

"I would like to express my gratitude to the president of the United States, Barack Obama," Netanyahu said. "I asked for his help. This was a decisive and fateful moment. He said, 'I will do everything I can.' And so he did. He used every considerable means and influence of the United States to help us. We owe him a special measure of gratitude."
"This attests to the strong alliance between Israel and the United States," the Israeli leader said. "This alliance between Israel and the United States is especially important in these times of political storms and upheavals in the Middle East."

Binyamin Netanyahu Prime Minister USA Today 9/14/11
Apparently, Mr. Romney never heard of the vote at the U.N. when the U.S. stood in the face of unilateral Palestinian action and convinced the Security Council to vote against such an action. And let's not forget all the other votes at the U.N. where the President stood strongly with it's friend Israel.
Mr. Romney really needs to familiarize himself with the Presidents record here if he wants to criticize. Right now he seems ill-informed about the reality of the region.

And speaking of the U.N. where the U.S. has acted almost alone against the world in defense of it's friend. Romney had this to say:
The people of Israel deserve better than what they have received from the leader of the free world.
I guess Mr. Romney missed out on the Presidents pushing through of EXTRA funds for Israeli Missle Defense systems, Magic Wand, David's Sling, and Iron Dome (which just today intercepted a rocket from Gaza). Fortunately the people that Mr. Romney claims the President did not support understand the level of Mr. Romney's deception.

The joint US-Israel missile defense programs, including the Arrow and David's Sling are slated to receive $106.1 million in 2012. Congress normally increases this aid by tens of millions of dollars over the administration's request, but it is not certain that this will happen this year.

Global Business News 12/04/11
Unless that person is completely unfamiliar with this administration or the subject, like Mr. Romney seems to be it is easy to see how the ignorance of Mr. Romney's speech would be accepted here.

There were two other things in this speech that I feel it necessary to comment on.

The first was the strange fiction of Mr. Romney saying:
I have been critical of the President’s decision to withdraw the surge troops during the fighting season, against the advice of the commanders on the ground. President Obama would have you believe that anyone who disagrees with his decisions is arguing for endless war. But the route to more war – and to potential attacks here at home – is a politically timed retreat.
and then saying
As president, my goal in Afghanistan will be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.
Ummm... this is EXACTLY President Obama's plan. I am just going to let that one sit as is.

But also:
Egypt is at the center of this historical drama. In many ways, it has the power to tip the balance in the Arab world toward freedom and modernity. As president, I will not only direct the billions in assistance we give to Egypt toward that goal, but I will also work with partner nations to place conditions on their assistance as well. Unifying our collective influence behind a common purpose will foster the development of a government that represents all Egyptians, maintains peace with Israel, and promotes peace throughout the region. The United States is willing to help Egypt support peace and prosperity, but we will not be complicit in oppression and instability.
So... basically Romney is adopting the Presidents position.  One might notice that though the President of Egypt is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood - an organization that absolutely despises Israel and he has said that he will respect all international treaties that Egypt had signed. Now, how does one suppose he got to that position? Hmm? But let's see what the The Obama administration has said in this matter:
She also said Morsi must stick by his commitment to uphold Egypt's international commitments, which include the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
Speaking alongside Clinton, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said Morsi had reiterated his commitment to Egypt's treaties.
Perhaps... Mr. Romney should put aside the lies and deceptions and get on with actually understanding what is happening in the region. His lack of knowledge AND honesty in this regard is frankly frightening.


  1. It seems like Obama has handled the situation in Egypt quite deftly. Contrary to the assertions of some that he "supports" the Muslim Brotherhood, the Obama administration recognized the facts on the ground early on and realized that the MB was probably destined to win an election once Mubarak the paper tiger was inevitably cast aside. Rather than quickly and pointlessly ostracizing the MB, the administration indicated they were willing to play ball if the MB did things like affirm the peace treaty with Israel, which they did. In the end the continuity of that peace treaty is about the most important thing for Israel's security. It was a classic case of Realpolitik done well.

  2. Excellent comment fiz. I could not have said this better myself...

    Did you notice that Romney's position is a complete copy of the Presidents as well. For those who think Romney will cut aid to the Brotherhood, they should probably actually read what he said, particularly the part about where he would contine to fund Egypt.

    1. Thanks.

      It is amazing to me that people can't grasp the concept of, and the need for, realpolitik.

      I remember back on Daily Kos one time when I was saying that we should think before pulling support from the Bahraini monarchy, because an Iranian client state would probably rise in its place, in the middle of the Persian Gulf. You would have thought I had three heads. The tiny little reptile brains there couldn't even conceive that a President might have to, at some point, be not absolutely completely ideological in this complicated world in service of a greater, more important goal.

      And it's the same thing with these people like Lumish and Norman F who think that Obama "supports" the Muslim Brotherhood because he is not sabre rattling and threatening to nuke Egypt, but rather playing the realpolitik game with, gasp, an actual power player in the region. By their logic, Reagan "supported" communism because he never actually went to war with the Soviet Union, instead had a bunch of summits with them. It is ridiculous.

    2. Well that's it exactly.. It is "realpolitik".

      Here is the thing. Regional politics are shaping up to be a battle between the West and Iran (and by proxy it seems more and more the Russians). I think we have three options.

      The first is that We have to ask ourselves do we abandon the region to the Iranians (which would be awful for everyone, Israel, Europe and the U.S.), by simply alienating everyone else because they have Islamist backgrounds and going all in with YESHA vision of Israel.

      The Second is that we do the same thing and allow the rise of Sunni extremism to battle Shia extremism with our holding out on both sides and allowing power vacuums to be filled by whoever can fill it.

      The Third (and I think right course) is to do what we are doing in Egypt. Supporting a democratically elected government and tying aid to support of American regional goals. This gives a defacto alliance to stand against Iranian regional hegemonistic goals.

      So far, this is working. The Egyptians are maintaining the treaty in the Sinai (which is far and away the most important thing going). Sure they have have to toss some "red meat" to the crowd regarding Jews and Israel but, if they don't break the treaty, then what is the realistic effect?

      FURTHER, until the Leviathan fields get up and running Egypt is an energy supplier (or potential energy supplier) and Israel only has one other supplier.

      And still further... The real power in Egypt is not the Muslim Brotherhood, but the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) who have strong vested economic interests in maintaining the Peace amongst other things. The Brotherhood can hold all the street rallies they want. It is the SCAF that makes the call.

      And right now even Romney knows that (and that is saying something). The only ones who don't seem to understand this is the "STOP TEH EBILZ MOOSLIMS" Crowd.