Every week on Monday morning, the Council and invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question: Do you think the White House has been forthcoming on Benghazi, and if not, why?
The Noisy Room: Once I stopped laughing at the thought that the White House might or could be forthcoming on anything, I stopped to consider the question on Benghazigate.
Where do I start? I firmly believe they have not been forthcoming because they have been up to very naughty things. If you are a peace-loving, anti-war president, being outed for gun-running — not only in North America, but also in the Middle East — is likely to be quite distasteful, therefore you’re probably not going to be terribly ‘forthcoming.’ You might in fact find yourself wishing for a carpet the size of a small continent under which to sweep the whole sordid affair. You would certainly distance yourself from blame and let your lieutenants take the fall, so you have ‘plausible deniability.’ Happily, Obama had career wrecking blackmail on one lieutenant (well, a general really) and on another he held a large seven figure debt that was magically paid off out of thin air just in time. All a coincidence I am sure. The only remaining issue was keeping national attention away from the nitty gritty of the event until after the election was safely passed.
There is also the small matter of Obama’s love for all things Islam. Don’t want to make the Religion of Peace look bad, but must help their militant causes. What’s a few dead Americans in the global Jihadist cause? I believe there is much worse to come and Obama will hide and deny, trying to stay away from the political shrapnel that is coming. Better to look incompetent, than complicit.
Rhymes With Right: Do I think that the White House has been forthcoming on Benghazi? Heck no — though perhaps we have finally found out why in the last few days. One need not get into theories of gun-running or other top secret conspiracies to explain the web of deceit and efforts to blame the peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights in America to explain what happened in Libya. The truth came out this week — in a 5:00 PM analog to Hillary Clinton’s 3:00 in the morning commercial from the 2008 primaries, Barack Obama didn’t bother answering the phone — or picking it up to be proactive — in the face of a crisis that resulted in a dead Ambassador and three other dead Americans. The Obama Administration could not be forthcoming — because doing so would have required an admission that Obama was more interested in winning reelection than in making the tough choices that go with being president. Instead, we got lies and deceit — and claims or racism — to cover up the truth so as to protect the president’s reelection campaign from his dereliction of duty during a terrorist attack on the anniversary of the original 9/11 attacks. The truth has now begun to dribble out — but don’t expect to get the full story as long as AWOL Obama remains in the Oval Office.
JoshuaPundit: Well, to answer the question most simply and directly, obviously not! As to why, the simple answer is because when the incident occurred, we were in a presidential campaign, and one of the selling points (since he had few actual accomplishments, especially on the economy) was that President Barack Obama was a foreign policy genius. The president’s campaign and their media allies sold this nonsense so well that they even had the hapless Mitt Romney believing it, when he simply kept saying how much he agreed with President Obama in the disastrous third debate.
What happened that night, as Leon Panetta testified is that the president got a perfunctory briefing on what was going on in Benghazi but had other things on his mind of more importance, so as Panetta said, “He left it up to us.” Contrary to what the president said, he never issued a directive to rescue the Americans, never even checked in to find out what was going on and apparently no one could locate or contact him. And in the absence of that, no orders were given to send in security assets we had available, and it appears that four Americans literally died while the White House watched.
But of course, the political narrative needed to be maintained, and it was. Sort of. And it was enough to get the president through his re-election.
There’s a great deal more to this, of course, that I’ll explore in a subsequent piece. It’s not pretty.
Bookworm Room: I do not believe the White House has been forthcoming. To begin with, in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack, the White House lied both directly or by implication, when it let it be know that Benghazi was a negative movie review that got out of hand. They even imprisoned the video’s maker to add an air of verisimilitude to an otherwise unconvincing narrative.
When Hillary was questioned about events that night, rather than answering honestly and forthrightly, she engaged in Kruschev-esque table pounding: “What difference does it make?” Well, aside from the fact that four men who were serving their country died horrific deaths, you wouldn’t be asking that question if you were in a position to tell the truth, Hillary. Only someone hiding information would try to shift the ball that way, although I’ll willingly admit that Hillary’s technique is unusually crude.
No one got fired in the State Department, in the Pentagon, or in the White House. Why not? Because the administration didn’t want disgruntled former employees to go to the alternative media and spill the story.
So what happened? Many people think that Ann Althouse is close with this guess:
Here’s what I’ve been assuming happened: It looked like our people were overwhelmed and doomed, so there was shock, sadness, and acceptance. But then the fight went on for 7 or 8 hours. The White House folk decided there was nothing to do but accept the inevitable, and then they witnessed a valiant fight which they had done nothing to support. It was always too late to help. It was too late after one hour, then too late after 2 hours, then too late after 3 hours…. When were these people going to die already? After that was all over, how do you explain what you did?
Close, perhaps, but still not right. Ann’s theory could explain why the White House telephone was silent as the night progressed. It doesn’t explain why there were no phone calls early on in the evening, when the President, just to be polite or appear interested, could have called to find out what was happening. In other words, Ann’s probably being too generous attributing shame to Obama. He really and truly didn’t care, because, as they always say on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland: “Dead men tell no tales.” Given what the Obama administration was probably doing in Libya in the lead-up to the attack (gun running), and given the administration’s denials about al Qaeda’s resurgence, it would have been disastrous if these men had returned from Libya and spilled the beans. From the administration’s viewpoint, they were necessary political sacrifices.
The Independent Sentinel: The WH has not been forthcoming. They released minimal information in piecemeal fashion and some government officials blatantly lied without suffering any repercussions. The most important questions have gone unanswered and the administration refuses to provide answers.
Consider the questions that are left unanswered:
Who came up with the video story and why was it repeated at the UN and in ads in Pakistan when the WH knew within 24 hours that it was a terror attack? Why did Hillary tell Ty Woods’ father that she would have the movie producer arrested when she knew it was a terror attack at the time?
Who changed the talking points used by Susan Rice? She had access to all the accurate information, so why did she repeat what she knew to be inaccurate?
Why did it take President Obama until mid-November to admit he sent Susan Rice out to relay the faux talking points on the Sunday News Shows on September 16th?
Why did our President not follow up on this attack given a US Ambassador was involved? He never even made a call to find out what happened. Where was Hillary Clinton during this attack?
James Clapper testified before Congress that he did not know who changed the talking points. He later said that someone in his office changed the talking points.
Hillary Clinton said they did not have the information in real time, but Charlene Lamb, deputy assistant secretary of state for international programs in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, said they did have information in real time and were in almost constant contact from early on in the attack.
Why did it take the FBI weeks to get to the site and why was the FBI investigating and not the CIA since this was not a criminal matter, but rather a terrorist attack?
Why isn’t Congress being allowed to interview the survivors and why are they being refused critical documents? What happened to our balance of powers?
Why was there no retaliation or response against the terrorists from the administration as promised? Why did we ignore the suspect arrested in Tunisia?
Why were we told officials were fired for the Benghazi affair when they were merely transferred or furloughed?
The report by the Accountability Review Board harshly criticized the State Department and cited systemic failures, but Hillary Clinton was and is being praised for her her work as head of state. How is this possible?
The response as to why the consulate was left undefended prior to the attack is inadequate. Blaming funding problems when there were sufficient funds and saying it was a mistake doesn’t cut it. The administration knew there were terrorist training camps in the vicinity.
Well, there you have it.
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