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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 (41-49):
SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on May. 15, 2013 at 9:52 AM

BUMP!

autodidact
by Silver Member on May. 15, 2013 at 2:22 PM


I never made any such proclamation.

Quoting jcrew6:

It was a comment made in jest referencing your reply to me. @58 seconds is your focus? Seriously? Why not discuss the entire speech. Out of all of the speeches and interviews Obama had in the days/weeks after Benghazi.... Interesting how you only posted about one tidbit and are not expanding your discussion to acknowledge his other words in that speech and other interviews he had around the same time period. I don't see that little, tiny focus as a wise response.  

Feel free to discuss the questions I asked  of you earlier in regards to Obama. 


Why do you think Obama would, in the beginning of his speech, talk about religious differences on Sept 12, if not trying to reference a YouTube movie? He spent more airtime discussing this than your statement of focus @58seconds. 

Why do you think, when Obama was specifically asked in one-on-one interviews(multiple channels/shows) ~ why did Obama refuse to call it terrorism? According to you, he already called it terrorism @58 seconds of the video you posted.  Why not own those words in other interviews, thereafter? 

Why do you think Hillary and Susan Rice focused on a movie more so than terrorism? 

Why do you think talking points to the media changed at least dozen times in a 24 hr period? 

Do you see a trend of Obama not knowing and not accepting blame for the incompetence of his words and the words/actions of his admin? 


Quoting autodidact:


self proclaimed wise one? what are you talking about?

Quoting jcrew6:

Well, if you listen to the ENTIRE speech~ you clearly hear that he is talking about visiting grave sites of troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He also talks about religious differences ( hrmmmm, YouTube movie? ) why talk about religious differences on Sept 12? 

Riddle me this oh self proclaimed wise one~ why is it when specifically asked in one on one interviews(multiple channels/shows) ~ why did Obama refused to call it terrorism? 

Why did Hillary and Susan Rice focus on a movie more so than terrorism? 

Why were talking points tomthe media changed at least dozen times? 

Why does there seem to be a trend of Obama not knowing and not accepting blame for the incompetence of his words and  the words/actions of his admin? 


Quoting autodidact:

actually, he did, @ 58 seconds. what else would be be talking about on Sept 12? 


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:/













Autodidact, Unrepentant Heathen

Citygirlk
by on May. 15, 2013 at 2:32 PM

This whole thing probably could of been avoided if "some people" didnt vote for security cuts.

Citygirlk
by on May. 15, 2013 at 2:38 PM

This.

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:/


Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on May. 15, 2013 at 3:39 PM

 

There were no "voted on" security cuts.

Quoting Citygirlk:

This whole thing probably could of been avoided if "some people" didnt vote for security cuts.


 

JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on May. 15, 2013 at 6:25 PM
I;m bumping this to read when a toddler isn't crawling on my head.
jcrew6
by Jenney on May. 15, 2013 at 8:27 PM


Nor do you posses the ability to actually discuss this OP.  

Quoting autodidact:


I never made any such proclamation.

Quoting jcrew6:

It was a comment made in jest referencing your reply to me. @58 seconds is your focus? Seriously? Why not discuss the entire speech. Out of all of the speeches and interviews Obama had in the days/weeks after Benghazi.... Interesting how you only posted about one tidbit and are not expanding your discussion to acknowledge his other words in that speech and other interviews he had around the same time period. I don't see that little, tiny focus as a wise response.  

Feel free to discuss the questions I asked  of you earlier in regards to Obama. 


Why do you think Obama would, in the beginning of his speech, talk about religious differences on Sept 12, if not trying to reference a YouTube movie? He spent more airtime discussing this than your statement of focus @58seconds. 

Why do you think, when Obama was specifically asked in one-on-one interviews(multiple channels/shows) ~ why did Obama refuse to call it terrorism? According to you, he already called it terrorism @58 seconds of the video you posted.  Why not own those words in other interviews, thereafter? 

Why do you think Hillary and Susan Rice focused on a movie more so than terrorism? 

Why do you think talking points to the media changed at least dozen times in a 24 hr period? 

Do you see a trend of Obama not knowing and not accepting blame for the incompetence of his words and the words/actions of his admin? 


Quoting autodidact:


self proclaimed wise one? what are you talking about?

Quoting jcrew6:

Well, if you listen to the ENTIRE speech~ you clearly hear that he is talking about visiting grave sites of troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He also talks about religious differences ( hrmmmm, YouTube movie? ) why talk about religious differences on Sept 12? 

Riddle me this oh self proclaimed wise one~ why is it when specifically asked in one on one interviews(multiple channels/shows) ~ why did Obama refused to call it terrorism? 

Why did Hillary and Susan Rice focus on a movie more so than terrorism? 

Why were talking points tomthe media changed at least dozen times? 

Why does there seem to be a trend of Obama not knowing and not accepting blame for the incompetence of his words and  the words/actions of his admin? 


Quoting autodidact:

actually, he did, @ 58 seconds. what else would be be talking about on Sept 12? 


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:/















autodidact
by Silver Member on May. 15, 2013 at 8:31 PM


ability, yes. 

inclination? not so much

Quoting jcrew6:


Nor do you posses the ability to actually discuss this OP.  


Autodidact, Unrepentant Heathen

jcrew6
by Jenney on May. 15, 2013 at 8:36 PM


IMO, you lack ability.  

Quoting autodidact:


ability, yes. 

inclination? not so much

Quoting jcrew6:


Nor do you posses the ability to actually discuss this OP.  




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