A collaboration with Edward Ingold of Mundelein, IL
The Obama campaign accuses Governor Romney of politicizing the deaths of four Americans in the Libyan consulate. It would be more accurate to say that Romney is informing the public about the way in which Obama and the State Department handled the aftermath of the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other American diplomats in Benghazi, which seems fully justified given the gravity of the situation.
In the Vice Presidential debate on Thursday, October 11, Joe Biden said the Administration didn't blame terrorists for the attack, because they didn't know until later about the nature of the attack. Yet from a Reuters report the day after the Benghazi assault on September 12, officials related how some reporting from the region suggested that members of Al-Qaeda's north Africa-based affiliate, known as Al Zaueda in the Islamic Maghreb, may have been involved. According to one U.S. official, "It bears the hallmarks of an organized attack and appeared to be preplanned."
It is curious that the Administration didn't report what later proved to be true, but responded immediately, and continued to report for nine days, that the attack was instigated by a 14 minute video, which proved to be false. Apparently it's OK to make up a story that fits your "Al Qaeda is Dead but General Motors is Alive" narrative whether or not you have facts to back it up.
Biden also said "We didn't know..." that the embassy had requested additional security, based on a series of attacks leading up to the anniversary of 9/11.
It's quite possible that the White House didn't know the details, since that would be handled at a lower level in the State Department. However, the reason this request was denied was consistent with White House policy to maintain a low profile in Libya and elsewhere in the middle east.
History repeats itself if we ignore its lessons. Maintenance of a low profile is also the reason Delta Force in Somalia, 1993, was denied tanks and armored vehicles, and air support from C-130 gunships. As a result, we lost two Blackhawk helicopters, 19 dead and 100 wounded soldiers in that incident, as described in the book and movie "Blackhawk Down!" (Casualties would have been far greater if the Pakistanis in Somalia left their tanks and APC's at home, or refused to come to America's aid.) It is probably the reason 256 American soldiers were lost in the attack in Lebanon under Ronald Reagen, where the Marine barracks were left essentially unguarded. It is likely the reason we continue to take casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan - keep a low profile so we can pull out quietly -- along with the infamous "rules of engagement," which also come from the top down.
Governor Romney's comments 16 hours after the incident were to decry the Administration's apology over an obscure video and to point out that America's interests were at stake - sovereignty of embassy property and personnel, and the rights and principles which Americans hold dear. You don't need the details when you know the United States has been attacked, and the Administration failed to acknowledge these basic facts!
Followed predictably the next day (Sept. 12) when an irate President Obama denounced Governor Romney, not the Libyan murderers, and then only after a campaign speech in Las Vegas and an appearance on "The View." Obama's most significant statement of the day was to the ladies of "The View," that he was there only as "eye candy." Indeed! Now, four weeks later, we find that Romney was right, but Obama's, the State Department and Susan Rice were wrong all along.
Now fast forward to Monday, October 15, a day before the 2nd presidential debate, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, more that a month after the Benghazi, Libya assault on 9/11, and while away from American soil and on a South American junket in Peru, South America, that she was responsible for the breach of security that led to the terrorist attack and death of the U.S. Ambassador and three others Americans on September 11.
It seems like Obama put a peg on Truman's motto where he can hang a name tag for the appropriate sacrificial goat. Hillary fell on her sword for Obama. Having purchased her soul (and silence) in the Chicago tradition (keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer). Obama stepped in to collect in an effort to exonerate himself. http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/15/us/clinton-benghazi/index.html
Then there was the debate on Tuesday night (Sept. 16) when Candy Crowley likewise tried to help Obama on the Libya question when she inappropriately chimed in while Romney had the floor by claiming that Obama had called the Benghazi Embassy attack a terrorist attack the day after (Sept. 12) in the Rose Garden. The next morning Crowley had egg on her face in an admission that Romney had spoken correctly,
Did Crowley not remember how Barack Obama's address to the U.N. on September 25, two weeks after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, mentions "the video" no less than six times and apologizes for it, further saying that "a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world." http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/25/did-obama-stand-up-for-a-free-society-at-the-un0.html
In the meantime, the individual who made the disputed film, which was a non-issue until Obama held it up for the world to see, sits in jail, not for the movie, but for an unrelated parole violation which would otherwise merit an admonition and possibly a fine. http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/anti-islam-filmmaker-nakoula-basseley-nakoula-jail-not-innocence-muslims
Who do you believe at this point? The facts should speak for themselves, but will they?
Published, in part, at Illinois Review on Wednesday, October 17.