Nine months ago most people would have guessed "Ben Ghazi" was the name of a professional basketball player. Now, of course, we know it as the Libyan city where four Americans, including our ambassador, lost their lives when terrorists stormed the U.S. consulate on Sept. 11, 2012.
Predictably, both sides have been spinning their version of what "really" happened (while conveniently omitting key facts), what went wrong, and who is to blame.
Since our political climate is now ultra-partisan, we probably will never know the real story of Benghazi. But cutting through the hype, here’s a reasonable analysis:
1. Violent attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions are not rare. There were 13 during the George W. Bush presidency, including a brazen assault on the consulate in Saudi Arabia that left nine dead, and major attacks in Tanzania and Kenya under Bill Clinton. Given that history, then, why is Benghazi still in the headlines? To highlight Obama administration incompetence? To score political points against Barack Obama, and, possibly, preempt a Hillary Clinton run in 2016? To show that American interests need to be better secured? All of the above.
2. Was the budget for diplomatic security cut, in part by the Republican Congress? Yes. Does that make some GOP critics of Benghazi’s security appear inconsistent? Yes. Does that make them responsible for the attack? No, though this is what happens when both parties spend like drunken sailors — not enough money is available for the truly important things because so many trillions are utterly wasted. The piper has been calling but Congress isn’t listening.
3. Was the attack precipitated by an anti-Islam movie made in America? Uh, no. That film may have added to the problem, of course, but while it was used as an excuse to riot and loot throughout the Arab world, it certainly was not the primary reason for the attack. To suggest otherwise, as some administration officials did, belies a gross naiveté, since many Muslim protestors had never heard of YouTube, let along owned a computer or smartphone capable of viewing the "offensive" movie. Being naïve isn’t a crime, but it doesn’t help matters.
4. Is there credence to the view that Obama wouldn’t label Benghazi a "terrorist" act and didn’t respond with more force because it would shatter his narrative that terrorism had been contained under his watch — and that such an attack would help Mitt Romney? That’s laughable. Romney wasn’t going to win, period. Benghazi (along with Hurricane Sandy and Chris Christie) had absolutely nothing to do with Romney’s loss — he took care of that feat all by himself. And quite frankly, the opposite would have occurred. Had U.S. forces beaten back the attack, saving lives in the process, Americans would have overwhelmingly approved of their commander in chief’s actions, totally ending what little chance Romney had of eeking out a victory.
So why wasn’t there a quicker response? Why didn’t the intelligence agencies see the attack coming? And who is ultimately to blame?
For all the blabbering from the talking heads, they still don’t get it.
Obama is solely to blame, because he, and he alone, willfully eliminated the best security system America had in Libya. One that, had it not been changed, would have almost certainly prevented the attack and saved lives. Continued…
123See Full StoryMuammar Gaddafi.
The minute Barack Obama made the Bush-esque decision to engage in nation-building/regime change in Libya, there was no going back.
You reap what you sow, and the seeds of that ill-fated decision grew into Benghazi. There’s no sinister conspiracy behind why we didn’t act upon intelligence on the ground in Libya — for the simple reason that we didn’t have intelligence in Libya. That went out the window when Obama took out Gaddafi.
The rebels Obama armed in 2011, who gleefully executed Gaddafi in front of the world, are now running the country. Unfathomably, these very same folks were the largest foreign fighting force to engage the U.S. military in Iraq. A naïve question, to be sure, but did anyone in the Obama administration bother to think about that before participating in regime change of a sovereign nation?
Apparently not. And we just paid for that mistake in blood.
Did we really expect the new Libyan government to provide adequate defenses and intelligence to protect our diplomatic missions? For all we know, the attack could well have been coordinated by the thugs whom we put in power, using the very weapons we supplied — not to mention the 20,000 surface-to-air missiles missing since Gaddafi bit the dust.
Let’s be very clear here. Muammar Gaddafi was never an angel. But he became a leader with whom the West could work, even if his transformation was born of self-preservation. He was told to shape up or face the consequences, and he played ball. He admitted complicity in the Pan Am 103 bombing, paid reparations, dismantled his WMD/nuclear program, stopped harboring terrorists, and kept the oil spigots flowing. As a result, Libya was removed from the Terrorism List by the Bush administration, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praising it for its "renunciation of terrorism and the excellent cooperation Libya has provided to the U.S."
But that "excellent cooperation" wasn’t enough. America broke its word when President Obama eliminated a leader who had done everything the United States had asked. Worst of all, there was no benefit to America in doing so, as the U.S. fought Europe’s oil war (85 percent of Libyan oil flows there).
In March 2011, Freindly Fire wrote: "The United States’ involvement in Libya, a nation that did not harm America, sets a dangerous precedent. Ironically, this effort, executed with no foresight and with no endgame, further endangers our security. Playing into the mentality of Muslims that the U.S. seeks to dominate their countries will only inflame anti-American feelings … the result will be chaos and armed factions roaming the country."
If a not-too-bright commentator saw what was coming, why didn’t the president? Continued…
Obama may weather the IRS and AP scandals, but he will have Benghazi blood on his hands forever. And that’s an unimpeachable prognostication.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. His column appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at [email protected].