A real leader doesn’t jump the gun and put countless lives in danger with careless bravado in responding to acts of aggression. A good president waits for reliable reports, considers the implications of his words, which will be closely parsed, and makes a measured statement. Mitt Romney did the exact opposite, immediately leaping to wild accusations long before all the facts were in.
Building on my earlier post, Mitt Rommey can’t even get his facts straight. When Romney accused President Obama of sympathizing with the rioters and apologizing for an attack on our American values the White House hadn’t even made a statement yet. The only statement that had been issued was by the American embassy in Cairo. That statement was issued before any violence had occurred, in an attempt to defuse the situation before it turned violent.
At the presser this afternoon, when Romney was asked if he “jumped the gun” he said: “I don’t think we ever hesitate when we see something that’s a violation of our principles.”
Well let’s just look at the statement the U.S. embassy in Egypt released:
U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement
September 11, 2012
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
Anybody see an “apology” or an “attack on American values” in those words? They’re upholding free speech, freedom of religion and condemning the deliberate incitement of violence by extremists. How is that a violation of our principles? And contrary to the Romney camp’s pitiful attempt at damage control, the White House did not refute the content of the Embassy’s statement. They merely noted it was released independently without White House authorization.
It’s worth noting that no one died in Cairo. Sadly, the similar rioting at the consulate in Libya ended in the death of a dedicated Ambassdor who served our country well. He earned the gratitude of the ordinary Libyan people as they showed in a demonstration of U.S. solidarity today.
Dealing with the tinkerkeg that is the Middle East today requires a cool-headed temperment to avoid exploding an isolated incident into another full scale, ten year war. The presidency requires unemotional judgments of, and measured responses to, international incidents. In the last 24 hours, Mitt Romney has simply not demonstrated any of those things. It’s not even clear he understands there were two attacks in two different countries. Nor does it appear he knows the difference between an embassy and a consulate. That’s an important distinction in diplomatic relations.
Only one thing is clear. He may well be a wonderful family man, but Mitt Romney is simply not qualified to hold the Oval Office. [photo via BentBenghaze]