NORTH: Obama’s September surprise

Only the clueless didn’t see this coming

The storming of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the murders of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, produced chaos this week in the liberal media. Instead of asking about how the heck this could have happened in the aftermath of the Obama administration’s Arab Spring euphoria, “reporters” started looking for scapegoats.

The potentates of the press first focused their ire on something few of them had even seen — a puerile Internet video titled “Innocence of Muslims” — and then turned their guns on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. As usual, the O-Team’s media cheerleaders got it all wrong.

As Americans in Manhattan, Arlington, Va., and Shanksville, Pa., participated in solemn ceremonies honoring our nearly 3,000 countrymen killed in the terror attacks 11 years ago, angry crowds were gathering around our embassy in Cairo. The U.S. Embassy responded by issuing an apologetic statement condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” That did not defuse the situation; the crowd swelled and stormed the embassy, tore down the U.S. flag and replaced it with a radical Islamic banner.

Meanwhile, 700 miles west of Cairo, a well-armed Islamist paramilitary force was laying siege to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. By 8:30 p.m. EDT, U.S. and international news services were reporting that Americans had been killed and wounded in Benghazi — without specifying numbers or names. Many reports speculated that the Libyan onslaught was part of a growing “spontaneous” protest against the “Innocence” video.

At 10 p.m. EDT, the State Department finally issued a written statement from America’s most-traveled-ever secretary of state, in which Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned “in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today” and confirmed “that one of our State Department officers was killed.” But in a reference to the offensive Internet video, the press release also noted that “the United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” There was no mention of the attack on our embassy in Cairo.

Less than a half-hour later, the Romney campaign lifted an embargo on a previously prepared statement: “I am outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” It was the first “official” reference to the events in Cairo.

Shortly after midnight, the Obama campaign — not the White House — sent an email to reporters: “We’re shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.” But once again, no mention of the attack on the embassy.

By dawn on Sept. 12, it was known that Mr. Stevens and three other consulate personnel were among the dead in Benghazi. Since then, the media feeding frenzy has been nonstop. So, too, have anti-American “protests” — in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Sept. 13, in a Telemundo interview that was supposed to focus on his outreach to Hispanic voters, President Obama was asked about the U.S.-Egypt relationship. In his response, Mr. Obama said, “I don’t think that we would consider them to be an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy. They’re a new government.” That statement prompted another round of diplomatic doublespeak from White House and State Department officials — and demands from some on Capitol Hill to cut economic and military aid to Egypt totaling more than $1.5 billion this year. Those calls finally prompted Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s handpicked president of Egypt, to promise better protection for U.S. diplomats and missions in Cairo.

Here’s what the media powers aren’t telling us about these developments:

Focus on the “Innocence” Internet video as a pretext for all this is simply wrong. Ayman al-Zawahri — Osama bin Laden’s successor — issued a far more relevant video, urging Libyans to “strike back” at Americans for killing his operations chief, Abu Yahya al-Libi, in a “targeted attack” from an unmanned aerial vehicle. So much for the O-Team’s claim that al Qaeda is “all but finished.”

The myth of the “Arab Spring” has been exposed. We are seeing not the rise of democracy but the imposition of neo-Nazi regimes devoted to imposing Shariah throughout the region.

Gutting our defense budget, Mr. Obama’s “apologetic diplomacy,” kowtowing to foreign potentates, abandoning our ally Israel, delaying the installation of ballistic missile defenses and “leading from behind” have not worked. Nor have “harsh sanctions against Iran” deterred the ayatollahs in Tehran from the race to acquire nuclear weapons.

It’s now up to the Romney campaign to explain how he would do better. He has seven weeks to do it. That’s no surprise.

Oliver North is host of “War Stories” on Fox News Channel, founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance and author of “American Heroes in Special Operations” (Fidelis, 2010).

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