Are the Benghazi Talking Points Quite Done, Here?

The use of the deadly attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans as a political tool has frankly astonished me since the foreign policy naif Mitt Romney had the bad taste to broach it the very evening that it happened. For that reason, I see a kind of lukewarm vindication of the Obama Administration’s public statements regarding the matter in the NYT’s in-depth study on it,  which draws two meaningful conclusions: that al-Qaeda was not involved in the attack and that it did stem in part from the widespread protests over a rather dumb bigoted little video, just as was stated by current NSA Susan Rice.

It has long seemed to me that the Benghazi affair as initiated by the Romney folks was a matter of using President Obama’s perceived strength (as having authorized the successful raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden) against him. The failure on the Romney side began with the claim that a statement attempting to ameliorate matters from the Cairo embassy was a sign that the Obama Administration actually sided with radical Islam, but this blew up into a claim that the administration was actually somehow derelict in defending the Libyan embassy from attack from several others on the Republican side, including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa. The use of the Benghazi tragedy as an indictment of the Obama Administration spans a number of criticisms that conservatives have had with the Commander-in-Chief—that he is Muslim or more sympathetic to radical Islam, that he isn’t a real leader, or that he wants America to fail.

It’s pretty much always been bullshit. Senators McCain and Graham did the best job of giving the game away when they failed to attend a briefing on the matter, opting instead to hang their faces in front of a camera pointing fingers. Rep. Issa, supposedly a kind of watchdog, has fluffed the matter at intervals, but is mostly of the school of investigation that insists that if he doesn’t hear what he thinks he ought, there is surely a cover-up afoot.

And it appears that, for the time being, he is not apt to drop this very tasty rag while there is yet some flavor in it:

On Sunday, “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked Issa to respond to The Times story, which was published online Saturday. The story also said the Benghazi attacks were “fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”

“We have seen no evidence that the video was widely seen in Benghazi,” Issa said Sunday. “People from this administration … have said under oath there was no evidence of any reaction to a video.

“What we know, David, is the initial reports did not name this video as the prime cause,” he added.

Is that so? (No, it is not. And being a very concerned person, he might perhaps have looked at more than a few media accounts, no?) He’s also said that if a group alleges it has some connection with al-Qaeda, then that is good enough for him, which must be very validating to jihadi-come-lately groups who can at least claim to know somebody who knows somebody.

I’m afraid until Fox News gives the high sign, the idea that there was something more than usually rotten in Benghazi will be as certain a thing as the unbearable whiteness of Santa Claus in some quarters.

What I do want to point out, though, is that there is a sobering side to this in that the militants who made this attack came from the people the US supported in the overthrow of Qaddafi. I think there is an analogy that could be preemptively applied to involvement in Syria, for example. If anyone has the ear of, say, Sen McCain, they might want to try to explain it to him. I sort of hope President Obama has figured it out, but I’ve no real idea. Something about good intentions.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/29/13 at 11:22 PM • Permalink

Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsBarack ObamaBedwettersElection '08St. McSameThe Late Slight HopeElection '12MittensNuttersSkull Hampers

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Another excellent analogy would be the US support for Afghani tribesmen against the Russian invaders of Afghanistan, who happened to include Osama Bin Laden his own self. 

The wingers and GOP in general continue to suffer from black&white;-ism, meaning that if a group of anti-Qaddafi guys accepted US assistance, then obviously that means they will be US buddies for life.  Turned out (yet again) that this was incorrect.  Oh for the Cold War, when after you bought them, your buddies stayed bought!

Pretty much, SOAS. The idea of “allies” as a long-term relationship without strings attached is something I think a few people may still believe in, but at best our relationships are temporary and transactional, and involve a real trade-off: for our partners in that a materiel assist comes with a possible lack of credibility with locals due to the perception of being “bought”, and for the US in a potential security breach when friends turn out not to be so close.

There is now a talking point uttered by a few (Rep Lynn Westmoreland, Charles Krauthammer) which suggests that the NYT is giving cover to Hillary Clinton—I say the article hardly does if you look at the security situation on the ground leading up to the incidents. Not to give the 60 Minutes’ crew credit with the badly-vetted Lara Logan/Dylan Davies’ piece, but I will say that it, in a roundabout way, shed some light on the use of contractors for security who recruit, train, and utilize (probably inefficiently) regional employees. Our reliance on contractors is a good subject for investigation, why we have not reformed that practice more since the Bush years and do not question their accountability.

Unfortunately, most americans are oblivious to any nuance in these situations.  Their eyes glaze over (and I admit to being guilty of this on occasion) on in depth analysis of a given situations.

Yes, overuse of contractors, and also not wanting to admit on the world stage that the Benghazi embassy was chock full O’ CIA assets/agents, just like you’d expect it to be in a turbulent situation as Libya was dumping Qaddafi.  The lust for contracting out everyfreakingthing is just one more way to mine government $; and it is paying off very, very well for those who first got connected under the Bush regime.

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