This is the question that neo-con Frank Gaffney and his colleagues at the Washington Times are asking their readers to consider: Is Obama really a covert Muslim who’s “Fast and Furious” policy includes walking guns to al-Qaeda and various terrorists groups in Libya and Syria?
Gaffney, in a Washington Times article titled, “GAFFNEY: The real reason behind Benghazigate: Was Obama gun-walking arms to jihadists?” Gaffney answers the question by stating correctly, “yes.” What Gaffney doesn’t tell readers is that the plan to arm these terrorists and array them against Syria was a plan set into motion, not by Obama the alleged “crypto-Muslim,” but in 2007 during the Bush administration.
Seymour Hersh, in his 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” (covered in depth here) compiled interviews from Bush administration officials, as well as Saudi and Lebanese politicians who openly admitted that weapons, cash, and support were already being lent to extremist groups, many with direct ties to Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Hersh would report:
“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)
Hersh’s report would continue:
“the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)
The report also stated:
…[Saudi Arabia’s] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.” –The Redirection, Seymour Hersh (2007)
Clearly, at least as early as 2007, the US, then under the Bush administration, was already funding and arming terrorists across the Arab World to trigger the very sectarian war now unfolding in Syria and beyond.
Gaffney echos the 2007 Hersh report, but attempts to pin it entirely on President Obama, claiming in his recent Washington Times article that:
What we do know is that the New York Times — one of the most slavishly pro-Obama publications in the country — reported in an Oct. 14 article, “Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.”
In short, it seems President Obama has been engaged in gun-walking on a massive scale. The effect has been to equip America’s enemies to wage jihad not only against regimes it once claimed were our friends, but inevitably against us and our allies as well. That would explain his administration’s desperate and now failing bid to mislead the voters through the serial deflections of Benghazigate.
We share the concerns of many in Congress about the way in which the Obama administration has conducted and justified this operation. The problem is not that the President has done too much, however, but that he has done too little to achieve the goal of removing Qaddafi from power. The United States should be leading in this effort, not trailing behind our allies. We should be doing more to help the Libyan opposition, which deserves our support. We should not be allowing ourselves to be held hostage to U.N. Security Council resolutions and irresolute allies.