NY Times scrubs Benghazi narrative for the White House
The New York Times picked the week between Christmas and New Years to help the White House scrub up the narrative on the Benghazi attack of September 11, 2012.
It wasn't exactly a spontaneous attack - but it sort of was. The anti-Muslim video played no role - except when it did. And there wasn't much planning involved in the attack - except when there was.
Yes. That should just about cover it.
The New York Times ties itself in knots in order to validate part of the administration's narrative.
Are they serious?
The investigation by The Times shows that the reality in Benghazi was different, and murkier, than either of those story lines suggests. Benghazi was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.
Mr. Abu Khattala had become well known in Benghazi for his role in the killing of a rebel general, and then for declaring that his fellow Islamists were insufficiently committed to theocracy. He made no secret of his readiness to use violence against Western interests. One of his allies, the leader of Benghazi's most overtly anti-Western militia, Ansar al-Shariah, boasted a few months before the attack that his fighters could "flatten" the American Mission. Surveillance of the American compound appears to have been underway at least 12 hours before the assault started.
The violence, though, also had spontaneous elements. Anger at the video motivated the initial attack. Dozens of people joined in, some of them provoked by the video and others responding to fast-spreading false rumors that guards inside the American compound had shot Libyan protesters. Looters and arsonists, without any sign of a plan, were the ones who ravaged the compound after the initial attack, according to more than a dozen Libyan witnesses as well as many American officials who have viewed the footage from security cameras.
Perspective is vital in this case, and the obvious perspective of the Times is to totally trash the GOP version of the narrative while carefully upholding some parts of the administration's story. Somewhere in that mess of illogic and confusion is a germ of truth.
I have problems with parts of the GOP narrative but it's a darn sight more accurate than what the White House or New York Times have come up with. The resurrection of the video as motivation for some of the attackers is outrageous. Who cares if a bunch of fanatics were demonstrating in front of the mission? They certainly werent' the ones who killed Ambassador Stevens or were firing .50 cal machine guns and other automatic weapons at our diplmomats. It may also seem a little strange that none of the demonstrators were apparently hit by fire from the attackers. I don't care how fanatical you are, you don't stand in front of a building and scream "Death to America" in the middle of a firefight. How "spontaneous" were the demonstrators if they didn't feel it necessary to take cover during the attack?
The White House owes a debt of gratitude to the Times for trying to rescue their original narrative about the attack in Benghazi.