The president’s Sept. 12 Rose Garden “transcript,” to which he referred us all during the most recent presidential debate, suggests that our commander in chief refused then — and is still refusing now — to heed at least one aspect of Sun Tsu’s admonition, “If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
On Oct. 17, 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported that, “Ansar al-Sharia has been a focus of the joint U.S.-Libyan investigation after U.S. intelligence officials disclosed that they had intercepted phone calls between members of the group and al-Qaida leaders in Northern Africa, made immediately after the Sept. 11 consulate attack, bragging about the incident."
The president’s persistent refusal to acknowledge this blatant terrorist attack by a group whose members are tied to al-Qaida belies the president’s competence as commander in chief, and puts into question both his professed commitment to transparency in government and accountability, and his oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Centuries before the birth of Christ, the Chinese General Sun Tzu admonished in “The Art of War” that in order to win any war you must know both yourself as well as the enemy: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” On the other hand, “If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
The president’s persistent public refusal to acknowledge, as recently as the October 16 presidential debate, that self-declared enemies of the United States (including a group with known ties to al-Qaida) were responsible for the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 demands a public explanation and accountability.
In Federalist #70 (March 15, 1788), Alexander Hamilton could well have been describing our current president’s persistent evasive maneuvers when called to account for his misleading public suggestions in his Sept. 25, 2012, speech to the U.N. General Assembly — two weeks after the deadly Benghazi Consulate attack on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 – that an amateurish YouTube video trailer being behind the Benghazi terrorist attack:
“Man, in public trust, will much oftener act in such a manner as to render him unworthy of being any longer trusted, than in such a manner as to make him obnoxious to legal punishment. But the multiplication of the Executive adds to the difficulty of detection in either case.
"It often becomes impossible, amidst mutual accusations, to determine on whom the blame or the punishment of a pernicious measure, or series of pernicious measures, ought really to fall. It is shifted from one to another with so much dexterity, and under such plausible appearances, that the public opinion is left in suspense about the real author.
"The circumstances which may have led to any national miscarriage or misfortune are sometimes so complicated that, where there are a number of actors who may have had different degrees and kinds of agency, though we may clearly see upon the whole that there has been mismanagement, yet it may be impracticable to pronounce to whose account the evil which may have been incurred is truly chargeable.”(www.constitution.org/fed/federa70.htm).
During the recent presidential debate, when challenged publicly to admit that the Sept. 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was a terrorist attack, the president simply said, “Get the transcript,” apparently referring to the transcript of his September 12 White House Rose Garden comments about the death of Ambassador Stevens.
From the transcript of the debate, here is what the president claims he had said in the Rose Garden: “The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror.”
In the official White House-posted “Remarks by the President on the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya: Rose Garden,” here are the relevant portions of the prepared remarks from which the president read on Sept. 12, 2012, in the Rose Garden (with secretary of State Clinton at his side):
“Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None.
"The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts. . . . As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.
"Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe. . . .No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”
Nothing in the above Rose Garden “transcript” amounts to a public acknowledgement by the president that the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi assault on the American Consulate was a “terrorist attack.”
Moreover, the president has yet to explain why two weeks after the terrorist attack he was still talking publicly, in a prepared speech to the U.N. General Assembly, about an amateurish YouTube video trailer, as if it was the cause of Ambassador Stevens’ death in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
If the commander in chief refuses to acknowledge “the enemy” even as that self-declared enemy of the United States is attacking U.S. sovereign territory, and killing our U.S. ambassador, how can the American people have confidence in the president’s ability to lead this nation in any war?
In this regard, recall that it was this president who unilaterally ordered the U.S. military's strategic air bombardment of Libya and the targeted strike of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi (without a declaration of war by the United States Congress).
In 1788, Alexander Hamilton concluded Federalist #70 with this still timely contrast.
“In England, the king is a perpetual magistrate; and it is a maxim which has obtained for the sake of the public peace, that he is unaccountable for his administration, and his person sacred . . . I will only add that, prior to the appearance of the Constitution, I rarely met with an intelligent man from any of the states, who did not admit, as the result of experience, that the UNITY of the executive of this state was one of the best of the distinguishing features of our Constitution.”
Thank God we still have an elected president and commander in chief who is bound by oath to “support and defend the Constitution,” and not a king.
Joseph E. Schmitz served as inspector general of the Dept. of Defense from 2002-2005 and is CEO of Joseph E. Schmitz, PLLC. Read more reports from Joseph E. Schmitz — Click Here Now.
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