The conservative's speculation after the al-Qaida attack in Benghazi as to why it was so mishandled was that the administration had a narrative that al-Qaida was on the run, and this would destroy their narrative. The President referred to al-Qaida as "decimated" over and over again in August and September of 2012 as he made his case to the American people as to why he and his team deserved a second term despite record debt/deficits/unemployment. Bin Laden is dead and al-Qaida is on the run became a phrase used 32 times by the President in different speeches over those 2 months. As we now know Ambassador Chris Stevens was cabling a much different story during August and up till his death on September 11th. The hotly August 16th's cable was proof of that and of course there were more.
So today's announcement that the United States is closing 21 Embassies around the middle east Sunday may be received as a wise move. Play it cautious. Apparently in conjunction with the embassy closings, the State Dept has also issued a world wide travel alert.
Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.
They are closing the embassies in the middle east Sunday because they would normally be open. The rest of Europes is closed because it's not regular business hours there like it is in the middle east. But those could remain closed Monday as well. As the spokesperson announced; "Those closings could be extended depending on our analysis".
I am all for being cautious, but this has to be seen as one of the greatest victory's in al-Qaida history. The didn't lose one suicide bomber or even fire a shot, and they brought the most powerful nation in the history of the world to it's knees...for a day...maybe longer. I can hear them screaming Allahu Akbar now from their camps over this news.
When I say I'm for caution, I mean acknowledge a threat and prepare to neutralize it. I don't mean hide from it for a few days and hope it goes away. If you are wondering how to al-Qaida recruit today's announcement will send a message to young radicals around the world that they can "bring down the great Satan". One of radical Islam's most renowned leaders never even came close to having this kind of success despite his best efforts in 70's.
The al-Qaida terrorists broke out at least 500 high level prisoners 2 weeks ago. And they're already having this kind of effect on US Foreign policy? VP Biden said "I promise you President Obama has steel in his spine". Shutting down our embassies around the world till further notice in response to chatter would seem to indicate otherwise. And I'm afraid this weakness will be embolden al-Qaida and put all of us at greater risk. Because with no signs of success in their war against the United States for about a decade they still haven't had any trouble recruiting belivers to blow themselves up. If they can show that it's working...well God help us.