With each passing day, it is becoming more and more difficult to understand what exactly the President and UN Ambassador Susan Rice should have done in the eyes of their critics in the aftermath of the tragic murders at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.
Should they both have jumped out immediately and said “this was a terrorist attack planned and perpetrated by Al Qaeda”?? Should they have said such a thing regardless of what they were told by the intelligence apparatus? Should they have ignored any sensitivities they may have been requested to bear in mind by the same intelligence community as they disclosed information?
After following this “debate” for two months now, I have come to one incontrovertible conclusion: to the critics of the Administration, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THEY SAID in the aftermath of the incident or why they said it. (more below)
Regardless of the reaction, if it came from the lips of President Obama or one of his appointees, especially that unqualified black woman, then it must have been an EVIL LIE. It is classic Obama derangement. (I should say the one Obama appointee who seems to escape the wrath of the conservative misinformation industry is the one who really should be receiving the lion’s share of the scorn from critics – General Petraeus)
The current anti-Obama narrative seems to be that he and his political advisors looked at the intelligence in the immediate aftermath of the incident which, so the story goes, very clearly indicated that it was an Al Qaeda attack, but they decided that this disrupted the President’s stump speech claim that under his leadership Al Qaeda was decimated and is on the run (because of course “decimated and on the run” = “completely eliminated from the face of the earth never to return”… or something). As such the President made a political calculation to purposefully remove any mention of Al Qaeda terrorists from the CIA talking points for public release, and simply concocted a falsehood about the attack being related to a spontaneous protest of a YouTube video. That way the President would get to keep saying Al Qaeda was on the run (something that in reality, he actually stopped saying after the incident anyway) and would avoid an embarrassing counter to one of his key points of self-promotion.
Let’s just pretend for a moment that we are in an alternate reality – one in which the President, Secretary Clinton, and Ambassador Rice went to the news media right after the attack and said “this was a planned terrorist attack against the United States by Al Qaeda, and we will hunt down those who did this.” It seems like maybe this is what the critics wanted to hear, right? So in this alternate reality where this is exactly what was said, there would be no controversy over the Administration’s handling of information release on the incident, right?... WRONG.
I do not have even a sliver of doubt in my mind that if the President or Ambassador Rice had said this, the reaction would be thus:
“The President is shamelessly wagging the dog right before the election. The unskewed polling indicates he’s behind and in trouble, so what does he do? He takes advantage of a tragic incident in Libya by claiming that it was an Al Qaeda attack before allowing our intelligence community time to really get to the bottom of it, which could take weeks or even months. He and his political team are well aware that when Americans feel that they’re struggling against a common enemy and have been attacked by that enemy, they tend to rally behind the President. Americans certainly believe in the war on Al Qaeda – even more so if they are still attacking us. Things have been quiet on the Al Qaeda front lately so when this incident in Benghazi presented him the opportunity, President Obama took advantage of it to bring Al Qaeda back into the conversation and remind everyone that he’s still leading our struggle against them and that we need to support him. This is a politically motivated move and we need to get to the bottom of who instructed who to say what and when. It’s clear that the intelligence community sought the removal of any mention of Al Qaeda from the talking points they issued, so then why was Al Qaeda still mentioned? Did the Obama Administration defy the CIA’s wishes and compromise the safety of our intelligence sources for political gain? Everyone knows that there were protests sweeping across the region that day on account of an anti-Islam YouTube video. Eyewitness interviews on the scene in Benghazi clearly indicate that people involved in this attack were upset about the video. Does the President expect us to ignore this and just trust his story that this was an attack planned by Al Qaeda? There needs to be a thorough investigation here and maybe public hearings on why the President pushed this politically motivated ‘Al Qaeda’ narrative instead of giving the intelligence community time to investigate all the possibilities. Until that happens, there is no way any of us can in good conscience accept the nomination of Susan Rice for Secretary of State.”Of course we don't live in the alternate universe where this sequence of events took place, so I can't prove that this would have been the reaction of the anti-Obama crowd, but I can certainly deduce it from their confused, conflicting, and outright mangled reactions to what did take place.
Meanwhile, the incident itself remains no less tragic, and to my knowledge anyway, we have yet to apprehend the perpetrators. One would think that this would be the focus of our indispensable opposition.