Benghazi: Emperor Obama's Waterloo?
It is now obvious that the U.S. government's original story about the Benghazi consulate attack, delivered by its two heaviest hitters, the president and secretary of state, was false, and, more importantly, that it was intended to deceive. How can Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton outrun the scandal that now chases them, a scandal that makes Watergate look like cheating at tiddlywinks? As if "Fast and Furious" weren't enough, the administration now gives America "Slow and Spurious."
On the morning of September 12, Obama and Clinton gave a joint statement that every sentient being could immediately recognize as a pack of lies, delivered (particularly on Obama's part) with the conviction and intonation of a child actor doing a first read-through of a new script. The president could not have projected less seriousness about the murder of his Libyan ambassador if he had delivered his speech wearing a propeller beanie. (Of course, as we learned during the vice-presidential debate, someone else has dibs on that cap on weekdays.)
Though vague about details, Obama and Clinton were clear, unequivocal and emphatic about a few key points during that official statement: (1) this assault on the Libyan consulate was an expression of understandable anger in the Arab world about a YouTube video mocking Muhammad; (2) the American government will not tolerate any intolerance toward Islam; and (3) violence - even as an expression of understandable anger over "disgusting" and "offensive" YouTube videos - never solves anything.
The administration, through its various mouthpieces, continued to emphasize these three points over the days and weeks following the Libyan consulate assassination/movie review. As time passed, however, and various truth missiles from beyond Washington's reach found their way through Obama's media defenses and into the American mainstream, the fissures in the government's official story became increasingly inescapable, even to those who had desperately hoped to help Obama escape them.
Obama himself, in his Univision town hall interview on September 21, fell back on his original script, connecting the attack to a "natural protest" ("natural"?) about a video, days after his own administration had begun to pull away from this script in the face of ridicule and exposure. So indefensible has this grand lie become that Martha Raddatz, though thoroughly devoted to the task of holding Joe Biden's hand through his debate with Paul Ryan, was forced to begin the evening with a carefully worded question about the lie:
The State Department has now made clear there were no protesters there. It was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Biden?
Biden's response, naturally, ignored the thrust of the question, repeating the usual talking points about "the ongoing investigation" before quickly moving on to praise the broader Obama foreign policy.
But the phrasing of Raddatz's question is itself part of the issue. Much like George Stephanopoulos' famous question to Obama regarding his relationship with Bill Ayers, it was designed and framed, not to discover anything, but to give the Democrat a chance to answer an unavoidable charge, and then move on.
Notice that the question was not, "Why did Obama and his surrogates run immediately to the media, to the American public, and to the UN, to blame a YouTube video and downplay any talk of a planned terrorist attack, when this was in fact an Al-Qaeda operation with no connection whatsoever to any video?"
"Intelligence failure" is a cute way of deflecting blame from the administration itself. "Failure" suggests error and ignorance, rather than dishonesty and duplicity. Blaming the "intelligence" is a clever attempt to produce some "fog of history" around the initial moments of this story, in the hope that the public will accept the inaccuracy of the administration's official narrative as an honest mistake.
But the primary scandal here, masked by the establishment media's new "intelligence failure" trope, is not that an assault on the Libyan consulate occurred "without warning" -- there was warning -- but rather that the government knowingly and repeatedly lied about the attack's cause and meaning.
Candy Crowley's unconscionable intervention into the second presidential debate, falsely affirming that President Obama attributed the Benghazi attack to pre-meditated terror in his September 12 Rose Garden address, has merely served to keep in the public eye the trail of deception and misdirection as the administrations scrambles to reconcile its multiple conflicting stories about the terror attack.
Do a quick internet search about the Arab protests over the YouTube video. You will find that every story is dated September 11 or later. No one was talking about this video at all prior to that time frame. How did it become the administration's convenient "root cause" cover story in the hours after the Benghazi attack? And why were they so quick and unequivocal in embracing a storyline which, as we now know, was completely unsupported by any facts?
The video -- a purported "trailer" for an alleged film -- was posted on YouTube in July. No one saw it or cared, until, on September 8, Sheikh Khaled Abdullah, a host on the Egyptian Islamist TV station Al-Nas, played an excerpt from it on the air. (Note: Al-Nas altered the video, blurring out a female character, because they do not allow women to be seen on the air.)
Three days later, which just happened to be September 11 ("don't jump to conclusions," the White House warned), a larger than usual group of "protesters" swarmed the American embassy in Cairo. As Ian Lee, the CNN reporter on the scene, noted during his live report from Cairo that day, this was "not the usual crowd that we see at most protests," but rather "definitely a very Islamic-looking crowd -- we see a lot of men in their traditional garb."
Members of this "very Islamic-looking crowd" tore down the embassy's American flag and replaced it with a black al-Qaeda flag.
Then, within hours, came the "intelligence failure" in Libya, in which hundreds of armed movie critics, knowing exactly where to look, attacked both the U.S. consulate and an alternate safe-house location, killing the ambassador and three of his protectors -- protectors who, as Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Wood reveals, were woefully undermanned and ill-armed, due to the administration's explicit refusal to provide requested reinforcement, and the State Department's explicit demand to stop asking for reinforcement.
By September 12, mainstream media sources from everywhere but the United States were reporting on this attack as an al-Qaeda plot carried out behind the thin cover of "ordinary protesters." These media sources were relying on statements from members of the Libyan government, reports from witnesses on the scene, and even statements from "U.S. officials."
For example, Reuters, while spouting Obama's official line, also neglected, in the confusion of those early hours, to delete the actual reporting that had slipped into its original story:
U.S. government officials said the Benghazi attack may have been planned in advance and there were indications that members of a militant faction calling itself Ansar al Sharia -- which translates as Supporters of Islamic Law -- may have been involved.
They also said some reporting from the region suggested that members of Al-Qaeda's north Africa-based affiliate, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, may have been involved.
Ansar al-Sharia has been identified as the name of a variety of al-Qaeda front groups. Within hours of the attack, while many of the details remained understandably confused, and while the White House was preparing its official position -- to paraphrase, "we despise our deplorable infidels as much as you do, so please stop killing our ambassadors" -- the BBC was reporting eye-witness accounts of Ansar al-Sharia's involvement.
On September 11, the Daily Telegraph described al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri's message, issued on September 10, calling for jihadists to "puncture" America's arrogance in revenge for the death of Libyan al-Qaeda commander Abu Yahya al-Libi. The next day, following the murder of Ambassador Stevens, the Telegraph observed, pointedly, that (a) Zawahiri's message of September 10 was too late to have provoked such a carefully planned and successfully staged attack, and (b) the calls for protests against the video seemed to have fallen on deaf ears in Libya, as no protest took place in the capital, Tripoli, where the actual U.S. embassy is located.
The efforts, in the days immediately preceding September 11, of a hard line Egyptian Islamist broadcaster, along with the official head of al-Qaeda, to drum up protests and anger against the evil empire, in conjunction with the well-orchestrated attack in Benghazi on the very day those protests were to be staged, suggests more than an opportunistic connection between the two. Rather, it seems plausible that Islamists were attempting to stoke general public protests as a smokescreen for their assault team(s), or perhaps that they hoped, having drawn a crowd, to commandeer the assembled mob in order to swell their jihadist numbers, in a well-known strategy of militant revolutionary groups worldwide. (This technique was attempted by the Weather Underground, for example, during Chicago's Days of Rage in 1969.)
The key to this Slow and Spurious scandal, however, is that all of this information -- Libyan officials' descriptions of a planned attack, eye-witness accounts of armed Ansar al-Sharia militants approaching the consulate, the direct involvement of al-Qaeda's leader in calling for revenge for the death of a Libyan commander, repeated requests from Ambassador Stevens and his security team for more resources, and, obviously, the fact that this was the eleventh anniversary of September 11, 2001 -- was readily accessible to the entire world on September 12. And yet on that same day Obama and Clinton, who would have had access to all of this information and more, issued their joint statement explicitly blaming the whole thing on a cheap video exhibiting disrespect for Islam, a narrative the administration and its media enablers attempted to cling to for weeks, while the rest of the world -- along with Americans who seek their information beyond the bubble of the American legacy media -- was learning more and more about the horrors and indignities of the ambassador's murder, and the extent of the planning and security breaches that made it possible. (More on this latter issue from James Lewis at American Thinker.)
Hundreds of armed men carried out a carefully planned attack in a public place. Many witnesses described the events. U.S. and Libyan personnel who were at the scene, and survived, were already being debriefed on the attack.
The real question is not, "Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure?" The administration's new template of "intelligence failure" is just a convenient and untenable diversion from the central issue.
Rather, the real questions are: Why did the president and the secretary of state try to hide the facts about this attack, facts that were being reported by mainstream media sources in Europe and Canada from day one? Why did they try to deny that this was a planned al-Qaeda operation? Why did they repeatedly recite and disseminate the script about a "deplorable" video, and their disavowal of "religious intolerance," when they knew that Ambassador Stevens' death had nothing to do with any video, or any slight against Islam? Why did the world have to suffer through weeks of conflicting and contradictory tales from the administration, as they tripped all over each other trying to conceal their own obfuscations?
Current events reveal the complete and tragic disaster of Obama's Middle East policy of combining appeasement, apology, and empathy for Islamists with showy targeted attacks on individual terrorists. This policy has turned most of the region into civilization jihad's playground, and signaled open season on representatives of the self-emasculated Great Satan. The Bush policy may have been foolish. The Obama policy is suicidal.
The coordinated and concerted effort to conceal the relevant facts about the Libyan attack is merely the final and most egregious lie in the continuing cover-up of the realities of Arab Spring, and the Obama administration's complicity in this reality. And this cover-up is, in turn, just one facet of the sparkling jewel of subterfuge, concealment, and untruth that is the Obama presidency.
Will the Benghazi cover-up become Obama's Waterloo? If so, then it is fitting that in this Battle of Waterloo, the role of the Duke of Wellington, the emperor's nemesis, will be played by Truth itself, which, as Shakespeare wrote, will out.