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When Leading (Even from Behind) Gets Tough, Obama Gets Going

10:24 AM, Oct 2, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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In late March 2011, the United States intervened in Libya to save Benghazi. A year and a half later, we've withdrawn:

The Obama administration has withdrawn all official government personnel from Benghazi, the Libyan city where the country’s revolution was born and where the U.S. ambassador was killed last month, U.S. officials and local residents said Monday.... 

“Everybody who was in Benghazi and posted there has been withdrawn,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. She said she knew of no other U.S. government employees in the city to help investigate the attack or perform other work....

The FBI has been unable to set up operations in Benghazi as part of the investigation into the deaths of Stevens, information manager Sean Smith and government contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. The absence complicates efforts to gather evidence and interview witnesses....

“I don’t know why the Americans don’t come here,” said Wissam Bin Hamid, commander of the Libyan Shield Brigade, a militia that came under sustained attack while helping defend the second compound on Sept. 11. “Maybe they are afraid.”

Yes, the Obama administration is afraid. Afraid to discuss to foreign policy issues here at home. Afraid to be candid about the threats we face. Afraid of the responsibilities of American world leadership. At one point the Obama administration pretended to lead—if only from behind. Now it's simply in retreat. When leading (even from behind) gets tough, the Obama administration gets going.

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