But when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and some of his supporters leapt into the fray, attempting to use the tragedy to score political points, we were troubled and embarrassed. What we had heard from the White House did not match Romney's description of the "disgraceful way that the Obama Administration's first response was... to sympathize with those who waged the attacks," and his accusing the President of "apologizing for America's values." And when the Chairman of the Republican Party echoed these charges, tweeting "Obama sympathizes with the attackers," and a leading GOP Senator chimed in, attributing the attacks to "President Obama's failure to lead and his failed foreign policy of appeasement and apology," we became deeply concerned.
What is clear is that this Republican assault was not a spur of the moment off-hand verbal gaffe. Rather it was a coordinated attack that reflected a consistent mind-set shaped by the neo-conservative critique of President Obama's Middle East diplomacy and, I might add, diplomacy in general.
The world, as seen by the neocons, is one of black and white absolutes. We, Americans, are good, inherently good. And our goodness is measured not by what we do, but who we are. Our goodness is ordained to confront evil and is destined to triumph. But our victory is assured only if we remain resolute, because our enemies take advantage of any display of weakness. For that reason, neocons maintain that we do not negotiate with evil -- hence diplomacy is eschewed in favor of military strength and "resolve."
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