by Daniel Greenfield
May 21, 2013
May 21, 2013
Will Rogers, the great humorist, once said, “If you ever injected truth into politics, you would have no politics.” If you injected truth into the teleprompter during one of Obama’s speeches, there would be nothing left but an empty chair.
Fourteen days after the September 11, 2012 attacks, Obama appeared at the United Nations to deliver a eulogy for the man he had not troubled to save and to declare that the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
Obama denounced the “crude and disgusting video” that had “sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world” and explained that it couldn’t be banned only because of the pesky Constitution. Two days later, the man behind the video, a Coptic Christian protesting the Muslim persecution of Christians in Egypt, had been arrested. The actual perpetrators of the attack still walk the streets of Benghazi.
That lopsided injustice appeared to have been the plan all along. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had told Charles Woods, the father of murdered Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, that the administration was going to arrest and prosecute the man who made the video.
It was the only promise that Obama and Clinton made about Benghazi which they faithfully kept. Everything else was a lie. Doubletalk had become an administration habit. Obama would say one thing and do another. Or he would loudly tell a lie and quietly speak some version of the truth in order to hedge his bets.
On May 13, 2013, standing alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama said, “The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.” The phrasing suggested an admission, rather than an assertion. A thing that had to be dragged out of him. But even that much was not true.
At the United Nations, Obama had not used the word, terrorism. On 60 Minutes, he carefully avoided calling it a terrorist attack. There and on The View, he took refuge in delaying tactics about a developing investigation that was doomed from the start because the FBI had no power to take any action in a city run by the same terrorist militias that had carried out the attacks.
In campaign speeches, Obama mentioned acts of terror, plural and unspecified, while administration proxies like Susan Rice blamed a YouTube movie trailer for the carnage and Obama and Clinton spent $70,000 on an apology commercial denouncing the video in Pakistan.
There was no question that the dominant message coming out of the White House after the attacks was that the trailer for The Innocence of Muslims was to blame. The infamous talking points trimmed away any mention of terrorism and reduced a heavily armed attack to a spontaneous protest over an online movie trailer.
This Sunday, Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer was sent to do a tour of the morning shows where he declared that Obama’s whereabouts during the attack were irrelevant and that the process by which the talking points were altered was likewise irrelevant.
At his joint press conference with Cameron, Obama had taken the same line, declaring the investigation a “sideshow” and insisting that there was nothing there and that no one had known what was going on. Gregory Hicks, the lead diplomatic figure in Libya, however had testified that everyone there knew that it was a terrorist attack and that it had nothing to do with the video.
At 2 AM, local time, Hicks had briefed Clinton. Despite everything the one man in the position to know what was happening was saying, the administration chose a disastrous and dishonest narrative instead.
The dishonesty isn’t ending any time soon.
At a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, a known supporter of terrorism, Obama once again shifted the blame to Congress for a lack of security and the failure to intervene.
The myth that the State Department lacked the funds to provide security in Benghazi was the defense against accusations of administration malfeasance. But it’s a myth that fell apart when Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, testified in Congress that budget issues had not prevented the hiring of more security personnel.
The Washington Post had pointed out that Congress would have provided supplemental security funding if it had been requested. Despite pleas from diplomats on the ground, it was not. Instead the State Department’s bureaucrats and donor diplomats were busy squandering money on all sorts of wasteful vanity projects.
The State Department had plenty of money. It just chose to use it in the wrong ways. It had millions to spend on embassy art, ridiculously overpriced Kindlesand even on an Afghan YouTube channel.
At the press conference, Obama went so far as say, “We’re going to need Congress’s help in terms of increasing the number of our Marine Corps Guard who protect our embassies” when under him, not only were 20,000 Marines being fired, but at the presidential debate, Obama had mocked Romney’s objections to his drastic naval cuts by saying that we no longer needed outdated horses and bayonets.
The real reason that the Marines had not been there protecting Benghazi was the same reason that no military forces came to the rescue once the attack began. It was the same reason that Obama blamed the video and used the United Nations as a forum for denouncing that video, instead of denouncing terrorism.
The issue was never the budget. It was appeasement.
The United States was not incapable of using armed force over Benghazi. Obama’s first Libya lie, the one that led to the war, was the claim that Gaddafi forces were about to carry out a massacre in Benghazi. No such massacre had occurred anywhere or was going to occur, but it was enough for Obama to go to war, without ever admitting that he was at war.
Was the military power that was leveraged to defend Benghazi incapable of being leveraged to defend the mission in Benghazi? Was overthrowing Gaddafi really easier than protecting American diplomats and security personnel under siege?
Benghazi was, from beginning to end, a story of appeasement gone bad. The serial lies by a serial liar have covered up the ugly truth that American lives were sacrificed on the altar of appeasement. Four men are dead and a fifth has been locked up to keep the lie alive.
About Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.