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News & Politics News & Politics

The Inconvenient Truth About Benghazi

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What happened in Benghazi last Sept. 11 and 12 was terrible in every way. The genesis of the scandal? It looks to me like this:

The Obama White House sees every event as a political event. Really, every event, even an attack on a consulate and the killing of an ambassador.

Because of that, it could not tolerate the idea that the armed assault on the Benghazi consulate was a premeditated act of Islamist terrorism. That would carry a whole world of unhappy political implications, and demand certain actions. And the American presidential election was only eight weeks away. They wanted this problem to go away, or at least to bleed the meaning from it.

image

Gregory Hicks, a State Department foreign service officer and former deputy chief of mission/charge d'affairs in Libya, during Wednesday's congressional hearing on Benghazi.


Because the White House could not tolerate the idea of Benghazi as a planned and deliberate terrorist assault, it had to be made into something else. So they said it was a spontaneous street demonstration over an anti-Muhammad YouTube video made by a nutty California con man. After all, that had happened earlier in the day, in Cairo. It sounded plausible. And maybe they believed it at first. Maybe they wanted to believe it. But the message was out: Provocative video plus primitive street Arabs equals sparky explosion. Not our fault. Blame the producer! Who was promptly jailed.

If what happened in Benghazi was not a planned and prolonged terrorist assault, if it was merely a street demonstration gone bad, the administration could not take military action to protect Americans there. You take military action in response to a planned and coordinated attack by armed combatants. You don't if it's an essentially meaningless street demonstration that came and went.

Why couldn't the administration tolerate the idea that Benghazi was a planned terrorist event? Because they didn't want this attack dominating the headline with an election coming. It would open the administration to criticism of its intervention in Libya. President Obama had supported overthrowing Moammar Gadhafi and put U.S. force behind the Libyan rebels. Now Libyans were killing our diplomats. Was our policy wrong? More importantly, the administration's efforts against al Qaeda would suddenly come under scrutiny and questioning. The president, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, had taken to suggesting al Qaeda was over. Al Qaeda was done. But if an al Qaeda offshoot in Libya was killing our diplomats, the age of terrorism was not over.

The Obama White House didn't want any story that might harm, get in the way of or lessen the extent of the president's coming victory. The White House probably anticipated that Mitt Romney would soon attempt to make points with Benghazi. And indeed he did pounce, too quickly, the very next morning, giving a statement that was at once aggressive and forgettable, as was his wont.

The president's Republican challenger was looking for gain and didn't find it. But here's the thing. More is expected from the president than mere politics. That's why we tend to re-elect them. A sitting president is supposed to be bigger, weightier, more serious than his rival.

This week's testimony from Messrs. Hicks, Thompson and Nordstrom was clarifying, to say the least.

Mr. Hicks, deputy chief of mission at the time of the attack, said the YouTube video was never an event in Libya, and no one in Benghazi or Tripoli saw what was happening as a spontaneous street protest. Beth Jones, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, sent an email on Sept. 12 saying: "The group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists." Mr. Hicks himself said he spoke to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 2 a.m. Benghazi time the day after the attack and told her it was a planned attack, not a street protest.

Still, the administration stuck to its story and sent out Susan Rice—the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., someone with no direct connection to the event—to go on the Sunday talk shows and insist it was all about a video. They sent someone who could function as a mouther of talking points, someone who was told what to say and could be relied upon to say it. Mr. Hicks said that when he saw what Ms. Rice said his jaw dropped.

All of this is bad enough. Far worse is the implied question that hung over the House hearing, and that cries out for further investigation. That is the idea that if the administration was to play down the nature of the attack it would have to play down the response—that is, if you want something to be a nonstory you have to have a nonresponse. So you don't launch a military rescue operation, you don't scramble jets, and you have a rationalization—they're too far away, they'll never make it in time. This was probably true, but why not take the chance when American lives are at stake?

Mr. Hicks told the compelling story of his talk with the leader of a special operations team that wanted to fly to Benghazi from Tripoli to help. The team leader was told to stand down, and he was enraged. Mark Thompson wanted an emergency support team sent to the consulate and was confounded when his superiors in Washington would not agree.

Was all this incompetence? Or was it politics disguised as the fog of war? Who called these shots and made these decisions? Who decided to do nothing?

From the day of the attack until this week, the White House spin was too clever by half. In the weeks and months after the attack White House spokesmen said they were investigating the story, an internal review was under way. When the story blew open again, last week, they said it was too far in the past: "Benghazi happened a long time ago." Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, really said that.

Think of that. They can't give answers when the story's fresh because it just happened, they're looking into it. Eight months later they don't have anything to say because it all happened so long ago.

Think of how low your opinion of the American people has to be to think you can get away, forever, with that.

Will this story ever be completely told? Maybe not. But it's not going to go away, either. It's a prime example of the stupidity of all-politics-all-the-time. You make some bad moves for political reasons. And then you suffer politically because you made bad moves.

by on May. 12, 2013 at 2:07 AM
Replies (11-20):
blues_pagan
by on May. 12, 2013 at 5:43 PM

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on May. 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM
3 moms liked this

CORRECTION:

The terrorists always are the ones who committed the murders. 

The issue is: Did the administration faciliate those murders - in their requirements and responses re: security and safety, and in efforts to try to save our fellow Americans on 9/11/12?

The answer to that question appears to be yes, based on the amount of a$$ covering that has been happening for 8 months.

And give me a break - Ambassador Stevens was a Democrat. And the whistleblowers are all Democrats who experienced a horrible thing and want to tell what they know, so no one in government gets away with facilitating and covering up murder.


Quoting blues_pagan:



29again
by Gold Member on May. 12, 2013 at 8:42 PM
2 moms liked this

Benghazi was also the fault of terrorists.  But Obama really didn't need to try to cover up his & Billary's non reaction to those events,  Flying to a Vegas fundraiser must not be interrupted, no matter what!

Quoting blues_pagan:


jcrew6
by Jenney on May. 12, 2013 at 9:53 PM
2 moms liked this
Quoting blues_pagan:





Bush and his admin wasted no time calling 9/11/01 terrorism.

Obama and admin didn't handle Benghazi the way a leader should.

That's the difference.
jcrew6
by Jenney on May. 12, 2013 at 9:59 PM
3 moms liked this
Quoting blues_pagan:





Ohhhhh and did you hear the parents of those killed were told by Hillary Clinton's camp that it was a result of the movie? So, your little graphic is bullshit. Obama and his admin are the ones who didn't call it terrorism in the beginning. They failed the families. They failed the American people.
SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on May. 13, 2013 at 2:49 AM

BUMP!

denise3680
by Gold Member on May. 13, 2013 at 7:17 AM
1 mom liked this

Did the President not come out into the Rosae garden the very next morning and call it an act of terrorism?  I do beleive he did.  So whatever breakdown was going on was on the State Department.  Failed the American people?  Really?  Come on:/  Noone knows if this could have been prevented even with the extra security in place.  The Libyan security tucked tail and left also, are they to blame also?  Yes, someone should get introuble for the failure of communication on the part of safety, but it is known that every 9/11 since the towers came down has been high alert status.  It was always a possibility that something could happen to one of our American Embassies or facilities somewhere in the world, noone knew where.  What information could have been told, before everything was known, that wouldmake a difference?  Noone is saying this is not a major deal, but what exactly is the information needed to get past this and do the things that need to be done to get this country back in order.  I feel if they spent this much time on fixing the economy and domestic affairs, we would have some progress:/

jcrew6
by Jenney on May. 14, 2013 at 1:27 AM
1 mom liked this

Actually, first he made references to the protest about religious difference. Then he brought up his visit to troop gravesites, then he made a general statement on acts of terror.  But,in the rose garden he never specifically said~ Benghazi was an act of terror.  Meanwhile, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton were making more references to a movie than they were to a planned terroristic attack.   But now, ohhh wait...  back to Obama? yea, he promised justice. Justice equates to blame game and coverup in your world?  Obama and his admin have failed the American people.  

Quoting denise3680:

Did the President not come out into the Rosae garden the very next morning and call it an act of terrorism?  I do beleive he did.  So whatever breakdown was going on was on the State Department.  Failed the American people?  Really?  Come on:/  Noone knows if this could have been prevented even with the extra security in place.  The Libyan security tucked tail and left also, are they to blame also?  Yes, someone should get introuble for the failure of communication on the part of safety, but it is known that every 9/11 since the towers came down has been high alert status.  It was always a possibility that something could happen to one of our American Embassies or facilities somewhere in the world, noone knew where.  What information could have been told, before everything was known, that wouldmake a difference?  Noone is saying this is not a major deal, but what exactly is the information needed to get past this and do the things that need to be done to get this country back in order.  I feel if they spent this much time on fixing the economy and domestic affairs, we would have some progress:/



denise3680
by Gold Member on May. 14, 2013 at 8:30 AM

 


Quoting jcrew6:

Actually, first he made references to the protest about religious difference. Then he brought up his visit to troop gravesites, then he made a general statement on acts of terror.  But,in the rose garden he never specifically said~ Benghazi was an act of terror.  Meanwhile, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton were making more references to a movie than they were to a planned terroristic attack.   But now, ohhh wait...  back to Obama? yea, he promised justice. Justice equates to blame game and coverup in your world?  Obama and his admin have failed the American people.  

Quoting denise3680:

Did the President not come out into the Rosae garden the very next morning and call it an act of terrorism?  I do beleive he did.  So whatever breakdown was going on was on the State Department.  Failed the American people?  Really?  Come on:/  Noone knows if this could have been prevented even with the extra security in place.  The Libyan security tucked tail and left also, are they to blame also?  Yes, someone should get introuble for the failure of communication on the part of safety, but it is known that every 9/11 since the towers came down has been high alert status.  It was always a possibility that something could happen to one of our American Embassies or facilities somewhere in the world, noone knew where.  What information could have been told, before everything was known, that wouldmake a difference?  Noone is saying this is not a major deal, but what exactly is the information needed to get past this and do the things that need to be done to get this country back in order.  I feel if they spent this much time on fixing the economy and domestic affairs, we would have some progress:/

 

 

Ok, so that happened and was said, but what exactly are you guys wanting in this?  Is it really the truth or Obama to be impeached?  It seems that no matter what is revealed it will never be enough unless you get that one very thing.  There are plenty of other people that are in charge or have say so in this situation but it appears many on this board are only focusing on one thing and ignoring everything else.  The information I gave came from many news and article sources, I have read much of the transcripts and many if not all fingers point to the State Department and their lack of doing whatever needed to be done, if that is true what they are saying.  All the information is not known but many have already come to their own conclusions:/  I am tired of fighting this fight.  You guys will never see everything I am done:/

 

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on May. 14, 2013 at 9:08 AM
1 mom liked this

So you don't believe the president must tell the American people the truth?

You think the president and the Secretary of State should tell lies over Ambassador Stevens' coffin and to his family?


Quoting denise3680:



Quoting jcrew6:

Actually, first he made references to the protest about religious difference. Then he brought up his visit to troop gravesites, then he made a general statement on acts of terror.  But,in the rose garden he never specifically said~ Benghazi was an act of terror.  Meanwhile, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton were making more references to a movie than they were to a planned terroristic attack.   But now, ohhh wait...  back to Obama? yea, he promised justice. Justice equates to blame game and coverup in your world?  Obama and his admin have failed the American people.  

Quoting denise3680:

Did the President not come out into the Rosae garden the very next morning and call it an act of terrorism?  I do beleive he did.  So whatever breakdown was going on was on the State Department.  Failed the American people?  Really?  Come on:/  Noone knows if this could have been prevented even with the extra security in place.  The Libyan security tucked tail and left also, are they to blame also?  Yes, someone should get introuble for the failure of communication on the part of safety, but it is known that every 9/11 since the towers came down has been high alert status.  It was always a possibility that something could happen to one of our American Embassies or facilities somewhere in the world, noone knew where.  What information could have been told, before everything was known, that wouldmake a difference?  Noone is saying this is not a major deal, but what exactly is the information needed to get past this and do the things that need to be done to get this country back in order.  I feel if they spent this much time on fixing the economy and domestic affairs, we would have some progress:/



Ok, so that happened and was said, but what exactly are you guys wanting in this?  Is it really the truth or Obama to be impeached?  It seems that no matter what is revealed it will never be enough unless you get that one very thing.  There are plenty of other people that are in charge or have say so in this situation but it appears many on this board are only focusing on one thing and ignoring everything else.  The information I gave came from many news and article sources, I have read much of the transcripts and many if not all fingers point to the State Department and their lack of doing whatever needed to be done, if that is true what they are saying.  All the information is not known but many have already come to their own conclusions:/  I am tired of fighting this fight.  You guys will never see everything I am done:/




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