Friday, October 26, 2012

Benghazi: Truth and Coverup

Jonathan S. Tobin writes in Commentary about Charles Woods, the father of Ty Woods, the ex-Navy SEAL who died while trying to defend Ambassador Chris Stevens in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Turns out the son was safe at a safe house a mile away, yet responded to calls for help coming from the consulate. According to the father:
within minutes of the first bullet being fired the White House knew these heroes would be slaughtered if immediate air support was denied. Apparently, C-130s were ready to respond immediately. In less than an hour, the perimeters could have been secured and American lives could have been saved. After seven hours fighting numerically superior forces, my son’s life was sacrificed because of the White House’s decision.
Charles Woods was particularly upset with, following his son’s death, the exchange of words he had with Secretary of State Clinton. She “not only attempted to promote the story of the video being the cause of the attack, but went so far as to promise to have the man who produced it jailed.”

Comments Tobin:

While the White House has been furiously trying to persuade the country that it always knew that what happened was a terrorist attack, Clinton’s comments are another reminder of the administration’s effort to falsely blame it all on the video. That Clinton would go so far as to push for the man’s arrest for exercising his free speech rights is chilling, especially given the State Department’s prior and subsequent efforts to appease radical Islamists.
The administration. . . seized upon a lie about the video and promoted it relentlessly for as long as they could get away with it. They were determined to do anything to suppress the facts about the revival of al-Qaeda-related groups in Libya. Rather than Woods and Republican critics speaking out of turn, it was [the] administration that was [playing politics--] campaigning on the idea that the death of Osama bin Laden ended the war on terror.
Comment: The White House was covering multiple disasters in real time. By 10:00 pm Washington time on 9.11, it was known the American Embassy in Cairo had been breached and that Americans were dead in Benghazi (Ambassador Stevens’ death confirmed publicly 4-1/2 hours later). AmEmbassy Cairo had blamed the Cairo breach and flag destruction on an American anti-Muslim video, but events were still unfolding in Benghazi when Mitt Romney (10:10 pm Washington time) issued a statement attacking the AmEmbassy Cairo press release as a craven Obama administration attempt to mollify Muslim extremists.

The White House at that point had to deal with these facts: 1) anti-American actions in Cairo and Benghazi, including the death of the American Ambassador, offered dramatic evidence Muslim terrorism, possibly al Qaeda terrorism, was alive and well, 2) timing the attacks to 9.11 particularly drove home the al Qaeda connection, 3) Obama could not afford an al Qaeda success so shortly after the Democratic convention had wedded Obama’s winning foreign policy to a single accomplishment: the killing of Osama bin Laden and subsequent collapse of al Qaeda, and 4) Benghazi was a complete mess--a potential “Desert One” disaster similar to the failed hostage rescue attempt that brought down the Carter administration in 1980, in Benghazi involving (ex-)SEALS but the mirror opposite of the highly-touted SEALS raid on bin Laden’s compound.

Faced with these facts, the White House worked to make the anti-Muslim video and the Romney statement mistakenly blaming Obama for the AmEmbassy Cairo press release (the State Department didn’t clear the release) into a fog machine designed to obscure actual details surrounding the Benghazi attacks. The fog machine generated its greatest output with Ambassador Susan Rice’s September 16 definitive statement on five TV networks that what happened in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to the U.S.-made video that had led to the earlier Cairo demonstration, and was not a pre-planned 9.11 al Qaeda terrorist attack. The cover up worked for a crucial two weeks, as media focused on Romney's statement and the video, not on what actually happened in Benghazi.

Now that Charles Woods is talking, does anybody still care?

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