Nine months ago most people would have guessed “Ben Ghazi” was a basketball player. Now, we know it as the Libyan city where four Americans lost their lives when terrorists stormed our consulate on Sept. 11, 2012.
Predictably, both sides have been spinning what “really” happened.
Given our ultra-partisan climate, we’ll probably never know the real story. But cutting through the hype, here’s a reasonable analysis:
1. Attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions are not rare. There were 13 during the George W. Bush presidency, and major attacks in Tanzania and Kenya under Bill Clinton. So why is Benghazi still in the headlines? To highlight administration incompetence? To score political points against Obama, and pre-empt a Hillary Clinton run in 2016? To show that American interests need to be better secured? All of the above.
2. Was the budget for diplomatic security cut, in part by Republicans? Yes. Does that make GOP critics of Benghazi’s security appear inconsistent? Yes. Does that make them responsible? No, though this is what happens when both parties spend like drunken sailors. Not enough money is available for the important things because trillions are wasted. The piper has been calling but Congress isn’t listening.
3. Was the attack precipitated by an anti-Islam movie? Uh, no. While that film was used as an excuse to riot throughout the Arab world, it was not the reason for the attack. To suggest otherwise, as administration officials did, belies a gross naiveté, since many protestors had never heard of YouTube, let along owned a computer or smartphone capable of viewing the “offensive” movie. Being naïve isn’t a crime, but it doesn’t help.
4. Is there credence to the view that Obama wouldn’t label Benghazi a “terrorist” act and didn’t respond with more force because it would shatter his narrative that terrorism had been contained under his watch, and that an attack would help Mitt Romney? That’s laughable. Romney wasn’t going to win, period. Benghazi (along with Hurricane Sandy and Chris Christie) had absolutely nothing to do with Romney’s loss; he took care of that all by himself. Quite frankly, had U.S. forces beaten back the attack, Americans would have overwhelmingly approved of their commander-in-chief’s actions, ending any chance Romney had.
So why wasn’t there a quicker response? Why didn’t the intelligence agencies foresee the attack? And who is ultimately to blame?
For all the talking-head blabbering, they still don’t get it.
Obama is solely to blame, because he eliminated the best security system America had in Libya, one that would have almost certainly prevented the attack.
Once Obama made the Bush-esque decision to engage in nation-building/regime change, there was no going back.
You reap what you sow, and the seeds of that ill-fated decision grew into Benghazi. There’s no sinister conspiracy behind why we didn’t act upon intelligence in Libya, for the simple reason that we didn’t have intelligence in Libya. That went out the window when Obama took out Gadhafi.
The rebels Obama armed in 2011 now run the country. Unfathomably, these very same folks were the largest foreign fighting force to engage the U.S. in Iraq. Did anyone in the administration bother to think about that before participating in regime change of a sovereign nation?
No. And we just paid for that mistake in blood.
Did we really expect the new Libyan government to provide defense/intelligence to protect our diplomatic missions? Heck, the attack could have been coordinated by the thugs whom we put in power, using the very weapons we supplied!
Moammar Gadhafi was no angel. But he became a leader with whom the West could work, even if his transformation was born of self-preservation. He was told to shape up or face the consequences, and he played ball. He admitted complicity in the Pan Am 103 bombing, paid reparations, dismantled his WMD/nuclear program, stopped harboring terrorists, and kept the oil spigots flowing.
As a result, Libya was removed from the terrorism list by the Bush administration, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praising it for its "renunciation of terrorism and the excellent cooperation Libya has provided to the U.S."
But that wasn’t enough. America broke its word when Obama eliminated a leader who had done everything the U.S. had asked. Worst of all, there was no benefit, as the U.S. fought Europe’s oil war (85 percent of Libyan oil flows there).
In March, 2011, I wrote in Newsmax: “The United States’ involvement in Libya, a nation that did not harm America, sets a dangerous precedent. Ironically, this effort, executed with no foresight and with no end game, further endangers our security. Playing into the mentality of Muslims that the U.S. seeks to dominate their countries will only inflame anti-American feelings . . . the result will be chaos and armed factions roaming the country.”
If a not-too-bright commentator saw what was coming, why didn’t the president?
Obama may weather the IRS and AP scandals, but he will have Benghazi blood on his hands forever. And that’s an unimpeachable prognostication.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.
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