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Once Again, It's About Associations and Judgment

July 3, 2008

By Frank Salvato

There has been much ado about Barack Obama’s associations and the judgment used in maintaining and entering into those associations. Obama’s associations with Jeremiah Wright, Williams Ayers, Frank Marshall Davis, the Progressive-Left activist group ACORN and his ideological association with Saul Alinsky are all perfect examples of his judgment, his willingness to associate with radical and troubled individuals and organizations.

Is it fair to judge Barack Obama by his associations and the judgment used in acquiring and maintaining those associations? Sorry Mr. Colmes, all is fair in love and war...and politics.

Many of us have a friend or acquaintance that may possess a questionable background. Such is life. Many of us like to believe that, with our help, these individuals can straighten out their lives, or “see the light,” setting themselves on a path of health, prosperity and productivity. It is noble to want to help those in need or those whose full potential has not been recognized. It’s what Americans do. But we Americans expect more from our leaders. We do so because we want to believe in them, in their judgment. We want them to have vision and foresight, judgment that proves to us that they possess the ability to stay above the fray. This is exactly the problem that Barack Obama is having with the electorate. His judgment hasn’t allowed him to “stay above the fray.” In fact, by his own refusal to readily explain and disassociate himself with the less than savory characters and organizations noted above, he chooses to remain “in the fray.” Not a good place to be for someone who wants to be the leader of the free world.

A perfect example of Barack Obama’s questionable judgment comes in the form of his selections for his “Senior Working Group on National Security.” As we face a most ominous and violent foe in the form of a cadre of aggressive Islamofascists, terrorist groups who are on record as joining Osama bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa against the United States – a declaration of war against the United States, Barack Obama wants to “turn the page” on today’s “with us or against us” foreign policy.

Barack Obama has been quoted as saying:

“Instead of adhering to a rigid ideology, I want to get back to a more pragmatic tradition of American foreign policy which has been so ably advanced by the people in this room...”

The problem here is that the people he is referring to presided over some of the most horrific decisions in US foreign policy history.

While US Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright did absolutely nothing to thwart the Rwandan Genocide.

From approximately the beginning of April 1994 until late July of that same year – over the course of 100 or so days – over 900,000 Rwandan Tutsis were slaughtered in an open act of genocide by their Hutu countrymen. Despite repeated requests from Rwandan leaders and the General in-charge of the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda at that time, Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, Albright refused to lead, instead allowing her surrogates to issue a repulsive statement, that to help those being slaughtered wouldn’t be politically advantageous for the Clinton Administration or the United States.

In fact, the Clinton Administration – Albright included – refused to even refer to the slaughter as genocide.

During Albright’s tenure in the Clinton Administration – and in addition to the Rwandan Genocide – the US experienced the first bombing of the World Trade Center by radical Islamists affiliated with al Qaeda (1993), the al Qaeda victory in Mogadishu as depicted in the film Blackhawk Down (1993), the alliance with the Kosovo Liberation Army (a radical Islamist group affiliated with al Qaeda) and the Kosovo War (1999), and the bombing of the USS Cole by al Qaeda operatives (2000).

In retrospect, Madeleine Albright’s contributions to US foreign policy culminated in a policy that was not only a complete failure but one that witnessed the United States literally allying itself with a group affiliated with al Qaeda.

The same can be said for another Obama panelist, Warren Christopher, who served as Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1993 until 1997 when Albright took the mantle.

Then there is David Boren who, as senator from Oklahoma chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 1987 until 1993. When one comes to understand that his position provided oversight to the total of the intelligence community it would be fair to say that the intelligence failures leading to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 happened under his watch.

Greg Craig, in addition to being a senior advisor to Madeleine Albright through her disastrous tenure, also led the legal team that defended President Bill Clinton in his impeachment defense, a defense which failed in the US House of Representatives. He also, in his capacity as a lawyer, defended John Hinckley, the would-be assassin of President Ronald Reagan.

In addition we have former national security advisor Anthony Lake, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig, former Deputy National Security Advisor James Steinberg and former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, all of whom served under President Clinton through – let’s cover it again:

  • The Rwandan Genocide
  • The first bombing of the World Trade Center by radical Islamists affiliated with al Qaeda,
  • The al Qaeda victory in Mogadishu as depicted in the film Blackhawk Down
  • The alliance with the Kosovo Liberation Army (a radical Islamist group affiliated with al Qaeda) and the Kosovo War
  • The bombing of the USS Cole by al Qaeda operatives (2000).

If that weren’t enough we need to remember that all of the above mentioned were serving during a time when al Qaeda was growing, organizing, training and planning the attacks of September 11, 2001; attacks that could have been avoided had President Clinton’s crack team of policy advisors advised the president to take Osama bin Laden out when they had the chance.

Additional members to Barack Obama’s panel of foreign policy advisors include both former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, who served on the 9/11 Commission, as did his junior, Indiana Congressman Tim Roemer. Lest we forget, the 9/11 Commission allowed fellow commission member Jamie Gorelick, author of the famous “Gorelick Wall” memo that obstructed terror investigations after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, to facilitate the redacting of the commission’s final report by Clinton Administration officials.

The last man standing is former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), who, since his retirement from elected office, has championed nuclear non-proliferation and the securing of the former Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal. To put it mildly, Nunn stands as the lone voice of authority on the issue of foreign policy among his assembled “peers.”

Barack Obama says he wants to turn the page on today’s foreign policy back to a time when it was more “pragmatic.” Once again, Obama fails to “vet the vettors.” Once again, he demonstrates that his judgment is not worthy of the highest office in the land. Once again his associations paint a picture of weak leadership and naiveté.

How else could you explain confusing the notion of pragmatism with assembling a foreign policy team responsible for over a million dead?
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Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network and on The Captain's America Radio Show catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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