Mango Juice in Benghazi!
How to explain Benghazi, it’s a rolling question? It’s a hole that gets deeper by the day; the administration seems to insist that the answer is more shovels in the hole. The administration fails to understand that shutting down the information flow, as the State Department has done, is perhaps the biggest shovel of all. The transparent attempt to push the issue past Election Day simply increases its importance and could be a point of downfall for the President.
Conspiracy theories abound; Ambassador Stevens would be set up to be kidnapped and then rescued to enhance administration machismo and prove that the President is the anti-Carter. Or, he was too tied up in and possessed of dangerous information regarding the schemes to move weapons from the Libyan inventory to Syrian rebels. These theories and others cannot, in the moment, be proven, combined with the fact that we just simply don’t want to believe that level of callousness exists in our leadership. Symptoms are disturbing, things are not adding up.
The New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick reports an interview with Libyan militia leader Ahmed Abu Khattala. Mr. Khattala was reported to have been directing the action against the consulate that killed Ambassador Stephens and three others. He says he was just directing traffic!! He is unafraid, makes fun of the US. The interview apparently takes place as the gentleman sips a drink on the patio of a café. The ever vigilant Times made a point of posting a correction related to the exact drink he was drinking; not a strawberry frappe, it was a mango juice.
Mr. Khattala, must have become an instant hero to the administration as he adopts the original administration position that it was all about the video. He further contends that Consulate security shot first. Unlikely; when you are lightly armed (pistols only) facing heavy weapons and greater numbers, you generally retreat to a defensive position and do not motivate or exacerbate the attack.
Why is Mr. Khattala unafraid? Why has, according to him, no authorities questioned him? Why is the fact that his location is known not a concern to him? Why is he giving an interview to the Times? It’s hard to make sense of it. It’s nearly impossible to walk away from that interview without wondering who has what on whom and what the back story might be.
The State Department was, according to some, attempting to project normalization! In Diplomatic speak it is a strategy of creating the impression that ‘all is well’; “relax, we’re from corporate and we’re here to help you, the checks in the mail”. The Benghazi complex and the absence of appropriate security was, according to some, an effort to project ‘normalization.’ He guys, we’re one of you, no need to fight! In meeting rooms, classrooms and amongst high minded non reality based ‘thinkers’ it sounds great; normal………..normalization. Of course to Islamists it’s just another indication of weak minded policy, a misunderstanding of Jihadist goals and techniques and a great opportunity to punish the Great Satan on September 11th. We then casually retire to the Café for a mango juice and an interview with the New York Times. You just can’t make this up.
Based on the document dump by Rep. Issa and new interviews with the security folks pulled out of Benghazi there is absolutely no question that the security situation was deteriorating. The Ambassador reported it, the security professionals reported it; the regional desk for security operations reported it. As the security situation deteriorated, security was decreased! Ah yes, normalization. Latest reports are clearly factual representations and the Ambassador’s cable traffic is unassailable. The information gives lie to two full weeks of administration posturing. Worse, it also gives lie to recent statements by the President! Were the administration confused for two or three days, that would be understandable. To extend the fiction for two weeks is either a cover up or gross incompitence.
‘Al Qaeda and terrorism is being fought down by the administration!’ President Obama can stand on President Bush’s shoulders, claiming that he, as well, kept us safe in the aftermath of the first 9/11. This situation, however, clearly gives lie to that supposition. To be subjected to a terror attack, on 9/11, in advance of an election, when National Security was supposed to be a strength for the President was simply too much to bear politically.
It would give lie to the Arab Spring and what was truly happening in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. Recall, Secretary Clinton was aghast at the attack in Benghazi; “how could this happen, we liberated their country?” It happens, Madam Secretary, because the Arab Spring should be renamed ‘The Islamist surge’. The Arab Spring is no more than cover for the rise of Islamist ideology. The administration was a willing tool to be used to build an Islamist power base in the Middle East and North Africa based upon dogged reliance on the fiction of the Arab Spring.
Intelligence failure? Within 24 hours reports have the CIA station chief labeling it terrorism. Everyone on the ground in Libya reported a deteriorating security situation and a rise in organized Islamist violence. What began as lawlessness became an organized attempt to drive out Western influence. There was a “critical situation” message sent from Benghazi, the entire national security infrastructure received that transmission as the attack was happening.
The Video; that dog won’t hunt, never did.
The why of Benghazi can, at this point, be explained only as pure political cover up motivated by panic. Panic never, ever results in good decision making. Middle East policy was going to be exposed as vacuous and non-reliant on factual representations and analysis.
The why of Benghazi is a belief in what you want to be the case as opposed to what is the case. The worst of all premises for Foreign Policy, worst still as basis upon which you communicate to the American Public. Mango juice anyone?