Commentary | Much has been said over the last few months about the debacle in war torn Benghazi, Libya that led to the destruction of the United States Consulate and the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods. Although the Obama Administration failed miserably to protect the consulate and the men who lost their lives, Mr. Obama’s highly talented clean up crew did a world class job of protecting the President and delaying any investigation until well after the 2012 Presidential election.
The manner in which the President, members of his Cabinet, and his obliging team of yes men, including Press Secretary Jay Carney, managed to evade and obfuscate any and all inquires into the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi should go down in American history as the greatest example of how to effectively deflect a horrendous Presidential failure and still win an election.
Certainly, the legendary sign from Harry Truman’s desk that reads “The Buck Stops Here!” was thrown out the window early in Obama’s first term, probably after “Blame Bush” was uttered for the 1000th time, but following the events in Benghazi, the President retrieved it from the bushes and ran it over several times with a steamroller.
We might expect that a President running for re-election will do everything possible to protect their legacy and defeat their opponent. We certainly understand that Obama was facing a serious challenge from Mitt Romney. However, our President swore an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” and the well being of 315 million American citizens should come before his personal ambition. President Obama and his campaign advisers made a deliberate decision to do everything in their power to sweep Benghazi aside until after November 6, 2012 and the American people have been ill served by their actions.
The first step in the Benghazi cover-up was the Administration’s dishonest attempt to portray the attack on the Consulate as a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video that appeared three months earlier on YouTube. Obama used the occasion of his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly to hammer the point home, mentioning the video six times in his speech.
“In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others.”
“That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
Working in tandem with the President, the White House trotted out UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who made the rounds of the Sunday news shows, and repeatedly blamed the video for the attack. Americans heard Rice emphasize two key Administration talking points on every major television network: “Spontaneous Protest” and “Anti-Muslim Video.” Ambassador Rice took a bullet for Obama, completely misled the American people, and demolished her dream of becoming the next Secretary of State.
When embassy cables and other official State Department documents began to surface and it became clear that Benghazi was a premeditated attack by terrorists, the White House was forced to change its narrative and switch to the Washington version of a prevent defense. Hillary Clinton announced the formation of an Accountability Review Board and then refused to discuss Benghazi until the ARB submitted their report after the November election.
Much to the disappointment of Americans who put the truth ahead of getting re-elected, the mainstream media continued their herculean effort as front-line cheerleader’s for the President. They did their utmost to ignore anything that ran counter to the official White House narrative, and did everything they could to portray anyone who doubted the President’s version as little better than the birthers. During the Presidential debates, the Moderators, all well known Obama supporters, did their best to avoid asking any questions about Benghazi.
Someday in the distant future, the second debate between Obama and Romney may be mentioned as the day the independent press finally died in America. The normally unflappable Romney was stunned to silence when Crowley interrupted him mid-sentence as he was commenting on Obama’s handling of the Consulate attack. Unbelievably, Crowley, a well known and outspoken Obama supporter, took it upon herself to join the debate, dispute Romney’s statement on Obama’s response to the attack, and recite talking points to shore up the President’s narrative on Benghazi.
Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, the White House strategy on Benghazi worked and Obama was re-elected. We can only speculate how things might have turned out if General Petraeus, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, General Dempsey, Charlene Lamb and Eric Nordstrom had testified prior to the elections. The delay in testifying was nothing short of a blot on the honor of the Presidency and an insult to the families of four dead Americans.
Imagine for a moment how the people might have voted if Hillary Clinton had testified in late October instead of January, 2012. How would they have reacted when she shouted, “What Difference Does It Make” at a United States Senator, after he asked about the four Americans brutally murdered by terrorists. Perhaps she will blame her incredibly thoughtless words on her famous concussion.
The only word to describe Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs Charlene Lamb’s testimony is “chilling.” Lamb repeatedly refused to increase the security for the Benghazi Consulate, despite months of pleading from the head of the security team in Libya. Lamb not only ignored the requests, but she ordered him not to ask again, even after the British Ambassador’s motorcade was hit with an RPG while driving through the streets of Benghazi, the Tunisian Consulate in Benghazi was bombed, and the International Red Cross headquarters in Benghazi was attacked.
Joining Ms. Lamb in front of the House Committee investigating Benghazi was State Department Former Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom. Prior to his testimony before the committee, he was interviewed by House lawyers and he told them the security at the Benghazi Consulate was dangerously low. After making his initial statement, Nordstrom was ordered by superiors at the State Department not to have any further contact with the House investigators. When he finally testified, he informed the committee that his prepared statement was screened by State Department officials prior to his appearance before the committee. Once again, the American people were treated to a sanitized, misleading, incomplete version of Benghazi.
This week, the final group of witnesses spoke about the conduct of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey portrayed a disinterested Obama, who was out of contact with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the evening of the attack in Libya until the following day. In plain English, our Ambassador and three other Americans were dead, and the President was AWOL.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also unavailable to Panetta and Dempsey from the beginning of the attack until the following day. General Dempsey expressed his amazement when Senator Graham told him that Secretary Clinton testified she had never seen the August 15, 2012 cable from Ambassador Stevens. The cable to the State Department warned that the security at the Benghazi Consulate was not strong enough to stop an attack.
Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard wrote about the behavior of Barack Obama on the night of the attack on our Consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
“While Americans were under assault in Benghazi, the president found time for a non-urgent, politically useful, hour-long call to Prime Minister Netanyahu. And his senior national security staff had to find time to arrange the call, brief the president for the call, monitor it, and provide an immediate read-out to the media. I suspect Prime Minister Netanyahu, of all people, would have understood the need to postpone or shorten the phone call if he were told that Americans were under attack as the president chatted. But for President Obama, a politically useful telephone call—and the ability to have his aides rush out and tell the media about that phone call—came first.”
President Obama and members of his Administration made a conscious decision to mislead the American people by blaming an old YouTube video with only 3500 views for the attack. They disregarded the fact that the attack came on the anniversary of 9/11 and they ignored the reports that had been appearing in the media for weeks prior to the attack, threatening to burn down US diplomatic facilities in the Middle East and kidnap our diplomats unless the “Blind Sheikh” was freed.
The American people were deliberately deceived in order to win an election, four Americans were murdered by savages, and it was business as usual in Washington, D.C.. Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods cry out from their graves for the truth. We are still waiting for your reply, Mr. President.