I tuned into the Presidential press conference for two reasons: Benghazi witnesses that have bubbled up and the supposed Syrian red line. The first question from Fox’s Ed Henry addressed both of them. It would have been nice if there was a real answer to either.
Over the past 24 hours it has come to light that Benghazi witnesses are being subjected to intimidation and threats. No surprise, the administration’s Benghazi narrative has failed to pass the smell test from the outset and the aura of cover up is pervasive. There have been two letters from Chairman Issa requesting a process whereby the witnesses could discuss classified information. There have been requests to certify a process whereby witnesses can discuss what they know with the legal counsel. Three State Department and one CIA employee have sought legal counsel regarding potential testimony. Additionally, much to the relief of those in search of answers, Victoria Toensing is on the case to both shine a light on the current evolution of Benghazi stonewalling and to challenge the media in general to get on the story.
Additionally, a Special Operator appearing in silhouette on Fox News has specifically identified a potential response capability training in Croatia at the time of the attacks. The Administration has contended that since they could not specifically identify security conditions on the ground at the time they could not mount an effective response. Surely, they know that Special Operators are specifically trained to deal with those circumstances. The Special Operator in question identified the specific unit, C110, and contended that the unit could have been there in advance of the second attack on the Consulate. This unit is specifically trained to deal with situations such as Benghazi. He also identified units in Tripoli that were not deployed. The bottom line is that the State Department report on Benghazi has stretched credulity to the breaking point and is clearly little more than a document intended to provide political cover.
In light of all of this the President remains “unaware”! That’s right sports fans, a White House highly sensitive to criticism, is “unaware” that Benghazi survivors have sought a process whereby they can discuss their experience with their lawyers and Congressional Committees. However, fear not, the President promised that he’s going to “look into it.” If anyone believes that the White House staff has not been running around for the past 14 hours with their hair on fire, they simply don’t understand how these things work. The ‘unaware’ answer is pure deflection and also does not pass the smell test.
Syria is the perfect counter point to ‘unaware’. The President was clearly prepared for the question of U.S. credibility in the context of a red line. The President went through a long list of what his administration has done regarding Syria: a clear statement that Assad must go, organization of the International community, humanitarian aid, sanctions and non- lethal support for the rebels.
On the question of chemical weapons the President defined what a red line really is. He must know to a certainty how they were used, who used them and exactly what happened in terms of their use. The President needs hard evidence and factual surety. He needs to make sure there are no objections from the International Community or regimes in the region. Once again, fear not, the administration is investigating.
We also now know what ‘game changer’ means in regards to Syria; the President clarified, it means “rethinking our options”. The President, unlike any number of prior situations, now needs hard and fast facts this time around. OK, fair enough. There is, however, a counterpoint; that being, that none of the long list of actions the President takes such pride in have had any impact on the situation at all. His initial reluctance to involve himself in any meaningful way has, in essence, supported the chaos we now see in Syria.
The President’s answer to the question regarding Syria was not intended to actually provide an answer as he avoided the issue of U.S. credibility which was at the heart of the question. The President did, however, provide supporters with their talking points to justify the President’s initial red line bluff. Predictably, Iraqi WMD will be the foil for discussing what a wonderful job the President is doing, how measured and careful he’s being. The talking points will ignore the fact that 23 other countries believed Iraq possessed WMD. The re-litigation of Iraqi WMD will wear us out; that’s part of the strategy.
To consider boots on the ground in Syria is, at this point in time, madness outside of Special Operations capabilities. To provide weapons is madness as well. The administration will, in short order, also point out that arms length attacks on WMD stockpiles could produce civilian casualties and collateral damage. All true. What this administration fails to comprehend is the potential cost in the future. Were we to fail to attack WMD stockpiles, collateral damage notwithstanding and insure that they do not get into the hands of groups that have embraced terror; what are the potential, predictable future consequences?
Does anyone question that Hiz’bAllah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad or al Qaeda would use WMD. We already know that al Qaeda had their own chemical and biological weapons program, albeit it failed. We know they pursued nuclear materials. We know that there are Fatwa’s justifying the use of WMD.
If the administration’s answer is yes, we have considered the consequences of WMD in the ‘wrong hands’ then the failure to destroy them will guarantee their use.
We can thank whatever God we may pray to that Israel suffers no such paralysis as they have experienced the consequences associated with the evolution of Islamic terror groups with ever more sophisticated weapons. The Israelis will do what is necessary; by doing so they will protect America, Europe and Infidels the world over.