Written by Phil Guarnieri Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
It was an appalling moment in American diplomatic history, indelibly searing the psyche of the civilized world. I can still see the bloody images of Ambassador Christopher Stevens being dragged through the streets by an angry mob. Such atrocities are not supposed to happen to Ambassadors who represent the genteel and sophisticated world of international diplomacy.
It was the 11th anniversary of September 11, and right from the start the Obama Administration was using every media outlet to let the American people know that this was not premeditated terrorism, but was the result of some nut case in California who had the temerity to put an anti-Muhammad video on YouTube. Once again, it was American provocation that lit the fuse. The Administration sent U.N Ambassador Susan Rice all over the airwaves to make it clear that this was not a planned and coordinated attack, despite the fact that it occurred on September 11th and not on any of the 364 other days of the calendar year.
The presidential election was seven weeks away and there was among the president’s closest political advisors a gnawing fear that with the economy still singing the blues, this latest development could spell ignominious defeat. A mostly compliant media bought into the Administration’s palsied explanations or, at the very least, embarrassingly ignored its more troubling implications. The Benghazi horror did not fit into the Obama narrative of the post-Bush world, a new epoch of Islamic moderation brought on by a more understanding and reasonable occupant in the White House. It was but another illusion snuffed out like a lit cigarette butt under a twisting shoe heel.
I was essentially reticent about this tragic event since it is so easy to exploit these things for political advantage. The Right, though lacking the gunpowder and resources of the Left, is also fully capable of blowing things out of proportion for partisan purposes. Politics can be all elbows in close quarters and it is prudent to withhold judgment until obscurity is illuminated by the facts. The administration’s attempt, however, to be politically ambidextrous has backfired into a conundrum where their very credibility is at stake.
Well the facts, while hardly fast and furious, have nonetheless crawled in and they don’t paint a very pretty or flattering portrait of the Obama Administration. We now know from career diplomat Gregory Hicks’ testimony that at 8 a.m. Eastern time, which would be September 11, Ambassador Stevens’ last night on Earth, that Hicks, Stevens’ deputy in Libya, spoke to Secretary Clinton and informed her of the shocking news that the consulate was attacked and that Stevens was dead. Moreover, said Hicks, the attack was unmistakably premeditated. This explosive information, however, was not enough to move Secretary Clinton who stubbornly clung to the party line that terrorism had no connection to Stevens and the death of three other Americans. Yet, the talking points given to U.N. Ambassador Rice on the all-important weekend political shows were edited at least a dozen times and were done so, at least in part, by the State Department to reinforce this myopic interpretation.
If this isn’t disturbing enough, a leader of a special operation team wanted to fly a rescue mission but was denied permission. Perhaps it would have been a case of too little and too late, but it seems a damn shame that no one even tried to save our people, including a diplomatic agent of the highest rank. The journalist Mark Steyn said it very plainly: “The government dispatched more firepower to arrest the California crackpot who made the video than it did to protect the mission in Benghazi.” It’s not the response the world would expect of the greatest military and economic power in the world. Instead of looking to our enemies like a bodybuilder on steroids, the U.S. response to our endangered diplomats resembled an emaciated hospital patient with an acute case of anemia desperately in need of a blood transfusion. It’s what happens when politics interferes with principle and the behavior is both shameful and inexcusable.
Meanwhile, the mendacities of the Administration continue to compound as we see by the latest revelations that I will not go into at this time. Suffice it to say that the bloom over the Administration’s high idealism has faded into a distant memory. Its arrogance and entitlement are the hallmarks of an Imperial Presidency. It’s what drove Richard Nixon from office and while I don’t expect that these shenanigans and the Administration’s blatant disingenuousness will have such galactic consequences, there is no gainsaying that the lingering stench is pungent and that such toxicity is even being decried by Obama’s most steadfast political allies.
The world will go on and the Administration will blindly limp right along with it. But one thing is certain: It is going to take more than half-baked apologies and off-putting remarks by Secretary Clinton about “what difference does it make when we have 4 people dead” to stop further inquiry into the subject. Notwithstanding the political opportunists, who will always be with us, the fact is, Secretary Clinton, that the truth always makes a difference.