The Malignant Narcissist and the Benghazi 'Snuff Film'

Credible sources indicate that the president of the United States watched in real time what might well be called the Benghazi snuff film.

Among those sources is retired Lt. Col. Tony Schaffer.  At the time of the assault, Shaffer relates, two U.S. drones were hovering to the consulate and recorded the final hours of the attack, which killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other brave Americans.

"This was in the middle of the business day in Washington, so everybody at the White House, CIA, Pentagon, everybody was watching this go down," Shaffer said on Fox News.  "According to my sources, yes, [Obama] was one of those in the White House Situation Room in real-time watching this."

Frankly, I have found myself wondering what sort of president could sit through a viewing of what was essentially a snuff film.

What sort of man could watch Americans fighting and dying while his administration gave the order for rescuers to "stand down?"

The same sort of president who would demand that he and he alone be the final arbiter of the fate of the persons assigned to his "kill list"?  And, yes, there really is a "kill list."

According to the New York Times, a paper known to be a shill for the president, there is a ritual for figuring out who is next to be snuffed:

It is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals: Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government's sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects' biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die.

This secret "nominations" process is an invention of the Obama administration, a grim debating society that vets the PowerPoint slides bearing the names, aliases, and life stories of suspected members of Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen or its allies in Somalia's Shabab militia. ...

The nominations go to the White House, where by his own insistence and guided by Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama must approve any name. He signs off on every strike in Yemen and Somalia and also on the more complex and risky strikes in Pakistan - about a third of the total.

The Times article goes on to ask: "Could he [Obama] order the targeted killing of an American citizen, in a country with which the United States was not at war, in secret and without the benefit of a trial?"  Since the Benghazi debacle, we certainly can hazard a guess that the answer is "Yes."

Back to the original question -- namely, what sort of person could coldly organize killings and take in snuff films without a normal reaction?  I believe that Erich Fromm, author of The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness can help us understand just what we are dealing with in president Obama.  His analysis of malignant narcissism fits Barack Obama's profile to a tee.

One of the chief characteristics of the malignant narcissist: He is interested only in himself, his desires, his thought, his wishes... his ideas, his past, his plans; the world is real only as far as it s the object of his schemes and desires; other people matter only as far as they serve him or can be used; he always knows everything better than anyone else.

Fromm goes farther in his profile, writing that such a person lacks love, tenderness, or empathy for anybody.  He is cold and pitiless.  He deceives by exhibiting apparent warmth, but in fact the warmth is only superficial.  He might show "courtesy, charm, tranquility, correctness, amiability and self-control," but the dominant traits of coldness and lack of empathy remain deep within.

He may have a talent for influencing, impressing, and persuading, Fromm continues.  He may have personal magnetism so strong that he mesmerizes those who meet him or hear him speak.

These virtues, combined with absolute certainty about his generally simplistic ideas, mean he is implacably opposed to those who might question his authority.  Because of his egotistical self-centeredness, he feels uneasy with people who are his equals or superiors, wishing to be always in the position of the Infallible One.  He covers up his inadequacies with a veneer characterized by amiability, kindness, consideration, and courtesy.  But he actually has two faces: a friendly one and a horrifying one.  Both are genuine.

If he is in a position of leadership, he often pursues his goals with unwavering determination and an iron will to win regardless of consequences.  Therefore, human lives and their destruction are immaterial to his goals and may even be his desire.

Fromm concludes his analysis of the malignant narcissist with the following observations:

I had still another aim: that of pointing to the main fallacy which prevents people from recognizing potential Hitlers before they show their true faces. This fallacy lies in the belief that a thoroughly destructive and evil man must be a devil - and look his part; that he must be devoid of any positive quality; that he must bear the sign of Cain so visibly that everyone can recognize his destructiveness from afar. Such devils exist, but they are rare. As I indicated earlier, much more often the intensely destructive person will show a front of kindliness; courtesy, love of family, of children, of animals; he will speak of his ideals and good intentions. But not only this. There is hardly a man who is utterly devoid of any kindness, of nay good intention.

... The naïve assumption that an evil man is easily recognizable results in a great danger: one fails to recognize evil men before they have begun their work of destruction... there are enough of them to be very dangerous if they attain influence and power. To be sure, not every destroyer would become a Hitler, because he would lack Hitler's talents; he might only become an efficient member of the SS. But on the other hand, Hitler was no genius and his talents were not unique. What was unique was the sociopolitical situation in which he could rise; there are probably hundreds of Hitlers among us who would come forth if their historical hour arrived.

C.S. Lewis, the great twentieth-century theologian, makes a similar point:

I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of 'Admin.' The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of crime' that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.

No one should suggest that Obama is a Hitler.  However, narcissism, including malignant narcissism, does not appear just in the person of a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Mao Tse-Tung.  It appears in a number of human beings on a graduated scale from bad to very, very bad to horrendous.

The narcissism a pretty twelve-year-old exhibits when she can't tear herself away from the mirror is also bad.  The self-love of an adolescent kissing his biceps is not good.  Both are attributable mostly to overgrown vanity.  The difference, of course, between the run-of the-mill narcissist and the malignant narcissist is apparent in everyday life.

We know of many examples: the kindly grandfather who comes bearing a lollipop and a doll in order to seduce his granddaughter; the guy who is a hard worker at the office, gives the shirt off his back to the neighbor, but who comes home to kick the dog and slap his wife; the mother-in-law who appears a goody-two-shoes in church but who domineers her daughter-in-law, making her life miserable.

The chief difference between the malignancy of the aforementioned mother-in-law and Catherine the Great or Valerie Jarrett of "After We Win This Election, It's Our Turn -- Payback Time" fame is opportunity and power.  The force that increases the malignancy of narcissism is power and plenty of it.  The power to imprint his narcissistic image on society has been handed to Obama.  By means of the military, a bloated bureaucracy, and a sycophantic press, the president has been able to impress his image on American society and the world as surely as Emperor Tiberius stamped his visage on a coin or Napoleon carved the names of his successful battles on the Arc de Triomphe.

Of course, as noted, the ultimate malignancy of the extreme narcissist lies in the power to decide who lives and who dies.  President Obama has that power and has used it.

We presently have reason to believe that the president allowed and watched the deaths of our ambassador to Libya and the heroic men who tried to rescue Chris Stevens on live video.  That probability, coupled with what can properly be termed our commander-in-chief's obsessive interest in his "kill list," should send shivers up the spine of every American.  The "kill list" and the possible Benghazi "snuff film" should be enough to send every voter to the booths to roust out the malignant narcissist presently residing in the White House.

Fay Voshell, a contributor to American Thinker and National Review Online, may be reached at

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