It’s not rare these days to hear Mitt Romney lying his ass off about President Obama and all the things President Romney would do to make things better. However, it IS rare to see as thorough and effective a response as the one from President Obama’s foreign policy team this week in Foreign Policy magazine.
It’s long but every word is worth your attention. Here are some snippets to whet your appetite.
Dear Governor Romney,
The letter in yesterday’s National Review signed by your foreign policy advisors painted a distorted picture of President Obama’s national security record. We’re writing you to set the record straight. Today, al Qaeda’s senior leadership has been decimated, the Iraq war has been brought to a responsible end, the transition in Afghanistan has begun, and the president has restored our leadership role in the world. We urge you to clarify exactly how and why you would depart from many of President Obama’s policies.
Because you have repeatedly said that your foreign policies will be informed by the advice of experts, we wanted to highlight some of the factual inaccuracies in the letter from your advisors. The American people deserve an honest, fact-based discussion about these important issues. Here are those facts:
- Iran is weaker and more isolated today precisely because of actions that President Obama has taken.
- No president since Harry Truman has done more for Israel’s security than President Obama.
- After nearly nine years of war in Iraq, the president ended the war responsibly, brought our troops home, and developed a strong relationship with a sovereign Iraq.
- The president also has a clear strategy to end the war in Afghanistan based on a transition plan embraced by NATO, our ISAF partners, and the Afghan government at the Lisbon Conference.
- Regarding Russia, President Obama signed the New START treaty, reducing the number of strategic nuclear weapons in Russia and allowing inspections of its nuclear arsenal to resume — without placing any constraints on U.S. missile defense and conventional strike capabilities.
- On the defense budget, the president’s new strategy both keeps the U.S. military as the best fighting force in the world and keeps faith with the men and women who serve.
- And finally, on Cuba, President Obama has repeatedly renewed the trade embargo, and he has promised to continue to support liberty for the Cuban people and to provide humanitarian assistance to dissidents.
Each of these is just the headline and come with a paragraph of smackdown for Mitt Romney. They then ask him some questions:
We are prepared to engage your advisors on these and other issues. While they were criticizing the president, they have failed to answer the following basic questions about your national security proposals:
- What specifically would you do to address the Iranian threat that is different from what President Obama is already doing? Do you believe there are still viable options for dealing with the Iranian threat short of war?
- You have said you would have left tens of thousands of U.S. forces behind in Iraq. Would you have done so against the wishes of the Iraqi government and people, with no legal protections?
- Why have you not outlined any policies to achieve U.S. objectives and end the war in Afghanistan?
- What did you mean when you said, “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,” referring to Osama bin Laden?
- Why did you call Russia “without question our number one geopolitical foe,” especially when strategic cooperation with Russia is essential for countering the Iranian nuclear threat? What do you think is gained by casting Russia in this role?
- Why do you continuously mischaracterize President Obama’s support for Israel, which threatens America’s longstanding bi-partisan consensus in support of our ally, by suggesting that the president is not doing things that in fact he’s already done — such as increasing military cooperation and assistance every year since he took office?
Again, these are just the headlines. Check out the entire article. It’s an epic public spanking like none I have ever seen. It deserves wider attention and I hope this is a preview of coming attractions for the Obama campaign who clearly are not going to sit on the sidelines and get Swift-boated this year.
By the way, here’s the list of the signatories on this letter: Michèle A. Flournoy, Adm. John Nathman (ret.), Colin H. Kahl, Jeffrey A. Bader, Spencer Boyer, Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.), Richard Danzig, Janine Davidson, Nathaniel C. Fick, Nina Hachigian, Bruce W. Jentleson, Brian Katulis, Cliff Kupchan, Mel Levine, David Shorr, Sean Smith, Richard Verma, and Jeremy Weinstein.
Cross-posted from Eclectablog.
[CC image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr]