Eight years ago, a series of bombings rocked Spain’s passenger rail system killing 191 people and injuring over 2,000 more.
The explosions occured on the eve of Spain’s competitive national election and played a role in changing the government and that country’s foreign policy.
The governing conservatives, the Partido Popular, had positioned themselves as allies of then-US President George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq despite the fact that an overwhelming number of Spaniards opposed involvement including the Socialists, the leading opposition party.
Initially, the conservative government accused Basque separatists for the attack though it later became clear that north African Islamists with a professed affiliation with al-Qaeda were actually responsible.
Spanish voters believed that the Partido Popular had manipulated the facts of the Atocha train station bombings to frame Basque terrorists (the usual suspects involved in domestic terror) so as to avoid creating a link between the attacks and Spain’s involvement in the unpopular Iraqi War and the party suffered for it at the polls.
Not long after taking power, Spain’s new socialist government recalled the country’s forces from Iraq, though critics of the move argued that the withdrawal validated the terrorists’ actions as they accomplished their objective.
Fast-forward eight years to Benghazi, where an attack on the US consulate in Libya’s second largest city resulted in the murder (and allegations of other atrocities) of the US ambassador and three other Americans.
Reacting to the deaths of American personnel in Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement where she claimed the violence was related to a third-rate You Tube video that mocked Islam and its main mortal figure. In fact one quarter of the release is dedicated to speaking out against intolerance, in effect blaming an internet clip and a crackpot pastor for the killing of our ambassador.
At the arrival ceremony of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty’s remains at Andrews Air Force Base, President Barack Obama railed against “voices of suspicion and mistrust” that seek to divide countries and cultures, a reference to Pastor Terry Jones, who attained more fame than he otherwise deserved for burning some Qur’ans, and has promoted the controversial movie “Innocence of Muslims”, which portrays Islam’s central prophet in a disrespectful light.
And adding to the absurdity of it all, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff personally reached out to the rogue Florida minister to request that he end his association with the most controversial quasi-motion picture practically nobody has ever seen but thanks to the media and the US government, almost everyone has now heard of.
By their rhetoric and posturing, the president and his officials have attempted to publicly pin the anti-American violence in Libya and other corners of the Islamic world on a handful of nutcases and third-rate provocateurs.
Pastor Jones makes a politically convenient scapegoat for the acts of Islamic rage and violence in a crass attempt to divert attention from the Obama Administration’s continued denial about militant Islamists’s war with the West and the White House’s failure to improve relations between the US and Arab governments, both old and new.
Now the White House is starting to backpedal a bit on the root of the evil visited upon our foreign service staff in Benghazi and the insult to our national dignity and violation of our embassy in Egypt and other locales.
White House press secretary Jay Carney, while still maintaining that the online video disparaging the Prophet led to the protests, has conceded that armed “violent groups” may have exploited the furor to execute a preplanned attack on the Benghazi consulate.
Spain’s governing party misrepresented the true culprits of the 2004 Atocha bombings and was driven from office for it.
If the Obama Administration did the same regarding the Benghazi assault, then Mitt Romney and objective journalists are right to question and criticize the deliberate misrepresentation of events and the White House and State Department’s mishandling of them.
Even more so if intelligence provided by the Libyan government about an imminent assault on the anniversary on the September 11th hijackings was dismissed and that a decision was made to not engage in visible security strengthening of the consulate in Benghazi and in other predominantly Muslim regions to avoid upsetting the sensitivities of those who loathe us.
The amateurish “pin the blame on the pastor” debacle on the highest levels should invite a closer review of President Obama’s other foreign policy blunders that have been diplomatically swept under the rug by the mainstream media.