The media narrative of the events in Libya and Egypt is, quite frankly, sickening.
It's as though the political press—many of whom are a thinly-disguised President Obama cheering section—decided they would turn the initial focus almost entirely on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, recognizing the potential the murder of a U.S. ambassador in the streets of Benghazi, Libya might have on the president's prospects for re-election.
It is laughable to hear anyone question Romney's foreign policy credentials in light of the "Hosannas" that followed Obama—just a couple of years out of the Illinois State Senate—everywhere he went on the campaign trail in 2008. So is this new idea that American foreign policy in times of crisis should be "bipartisan."
It wasn't in 2008, when Obama was running against GOP Arizona Sen. John McCain and every piece of bad news from Iraq was laid at McCain's feet. It wasn't in 2004 when Democratic Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry tried to deny President George W. Bush a second term in the White House. It wasn't really all that bipartisan after the 9/11 attacks. Sure the Democrats followed the Republicans' lead on sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, but they also did everything they could to prove Bush knew about the terror plot before it was executed—or at least that he should have known—and that "he lied" the nation into war.
The only thing bipartisan right now is the way in which a very few, not-particularly important Republicans are joining the Democrats and the media in criticizing Romney for his defense of American values counter to the official statement—since withdrawn—of the U.S. embassy in Egypt as it was being assaulted by a mob.
All this, however, brings up several interesting points. Earlier this summer media leaks exposed several high-value secret intelligence operations, leaks that most likely came from inside Obama's own White House. It's now fair to ask if any of those leaks led, even indirectly, to the debacle in Libya.
It’s also been reported, and apparently not denied by the White House that the president has missed a number of important intelligence briefings over the last month. It’s also been reported in the British press that the U.S. government had advance warning of both the assault on the embassy in Egypt and the attack on Libya. Did the White House know what was coming? Did it fail to act appropriately to safeguard the lives of U.S. personnel in those two countries?
The focus on Romney has pushed these key questions into the background, questions that it is more than fair to ask. Rather than place the blame for what happened on the shoulders of the man who is president, the media firestorm Romney faced diverted all the attention onto the man who wants to be president. This is not as it should be. It’s time to start asking the hard questions and it’s time for the White House to answer them.
Updated 9/14/12: An earlier version of this blog post was missing the final two paragraphs. They have been restored.