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Benghazi: a storm in a teacup

Published by marco on

The following are a series of responses I wrote to a friend in response to accusations that the liberal media was deliberately ignoring the story of what had happened in Benghazi. The implication was that the Obama administration had committed a severe transgression in its handling of the whole affair and was trying to cover it up.

Response #1

I did no special research in order to compose my initial reply, instead relying simply on that which I had picked up in various places.

Benghazi is a tempest in a teapot, a storm in a teacup, ein Sturm im Wasserglas. It is a red herring, a bauble dangled before you to distract from dozens of more important issues. I think your sources confuse theories with reality, causing you to expend your outrage on a non-issue with very little basis in fact. Is this not a more likely explanation for why almost no-one—other than the inventors of these theories—is willing to propound these ideas?

Here are my humble predictions offered as support of the hypothesis I outline above:

  • The Benghazi attacks will be a huge issue in the anti-Obama campaign until November 6th
  • After the election – regardless of who wins – the issue will disappear entirely from everyone’s radar
  • The calls for investigations will likewise die down. After all, the people crying for one now were adamantly opposed to an investigation into 9–11. Was the Benghazi attack worse than that attack, to justify such outrage?

Response #2

I received a reply asking my friend was wrong in interpreting my reply to mean that I thought that 9–11 was provoked for political purposes as in the case of Benghazi.

You most certainly did misread me. I was merely pointing out that for an attack on the scale of 9–11 there was a reprehensible reluctance to launch an official investigation. If you look at the page for the official investigation—the 9–11 Commission (Wikipedia)—you’ll see that it was only started in November of 2002, over a year after the attack. Talk about dragging their feet. When it’s a matter of a stain on a dress (Ms. Lewinski) or an attack on an embassy (Benghazi) out of which political hay can be made, then our heroes are much more interested in investigating. So, yes, there is politics involved—as will always be the case—but the majority of the spin comes not from the administration but from its detractors, who are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Unless I haven’t been paying proper attention, but of what, exactly, is the Obama administration being accused in the case of the embassy attacks? I know, more or less, what the official story is, but you write as if you have some other ideas…can you point me to some better sources of information?

My prediction remains that those who are crying from the mountaintops that the Benghazi issue is of utmost importance will forget the issue entirely by November 7th because they are only using the issue for political gain.

Response #3

I received a reply that talked of e-mails sent asking for help and how they were ignored and the administration didn’t care, preferring instead to campaign in Nevada. And now, the administration is covering up their shameful behavior. At this point, I began to research the issue in earnest.

I searched on: “benghazi asking for help” in Google and got the following sources that had that in the title:

  • Daily Mail
  • Right Side News
  • Washington Examiner
  • The Pirates Cove
  • Right Wing News
  • The Right Perspective
  • …and so on

When I took Google’s suggestion and searched instead on “benghazi asked for more security”, I got:

  • The Examiner
  • Fox News
  • Free Republic
  • Breitbart
  • etc.

The ones I checked were either pretty virulent right-wing forums (Free Republic, Breitbart, etc.), so I won’t lend credence to those. The others (like the Washington Examiner and Daily Mail) are well-acknowledged right-wing propaganda sources. The article for the Washington Examiner (Wikpedia) describes it as “a megaphone for [owner Anschutz’s] right-wing views on taxes, national security and President Barack Obama”, which doesn’t inspire confidence for its journalistic integrity. The Examiner is likewise owned by the same guy. The journalistic integrity of the Daily Mail I’m well-equipped to judge on my own (spoiler alert: it’s not good).

The few that actually had what felt like salient content discussed 3 emails that were sent during the attack, but it was already too late to do anything at that point.

It seems that the real issue is of “proof” that Obama had denied extra security (personally!) well in advance of the attack. But the source is a self-hosted internet TV show—BlazeTV—and the interviewee was Ed Klein (Wikipedia), who wrote a book about Hillary Clinton that had “serious factual errors, truncated and distorted quotes and overall themes [that] don’t gibe with any other serious accounts of Clinton’s life”. Hell, even the reviewer from the NY Post couldn’t stand it (and he works for Rupert Murdoch). Klein also has a new book called “The Amateur” (can you hear the cash registers ringing?) about Barack Obama, which I’m certain is of much higher journalistic quality. It must be, because good old Donald Trump, Norman Podhoretz and Dinesh D’Souza (director and writer of the movie 2016) think it’s the bees knees and heartily endorse it. If you think those sources are reliable and factual, then Klein’s the guy for you.

This is a classic misdirection. The whole intent is for you not to think, to simply absorb what you’re hearing without evaluation. There are so many sources, all saying the same thing. It must be true. No? After all:

Repetition + Volume = Truth

By the way, the plethora of sites listed above? The lead-in paragraph for most of them was exactly the same. They all listed Ed Klein as the source, impeccable and trustworthy as he has proved to be.

This research, as unpalatable as it was, took me about half an hour (including this entire write-up). I understand that I’m lucky to be well-equipped for navigating this sea of misinformation. My opinion is that you are being bamboozled.

I’m sure you would love to see this blown up into an impeachment for Obama, but you should wish for it to be done for something real.

For example:

Have your news sources ever told you this? The Obama administration, a few months ago, admitted that drone attacks have killed quite a few hundred people, into the low thousands, most of them in Pakistan (a nation with which we are not at war, by the way, not that most people care about the rule of law). However, these kills were all enemy combatants, so that’s OK, of course. When pressed as to the number of civilians that were killed, the administration answered that “remarkably few” were killed. It was later revealed that any male above the age of 16 killed by a drone attack is automatically classified as a terrorist. He, or rather his family, is free to appeal this judgment, post-mortem, of course. I hope the irony of that advice does not escape you.

You have likely not heard of this. It is true. It was reported in the papers of record. Further reading:

- Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will (NY Times)
- Living under drones (the original report)
- Drone attacks in Pakistan (Wikipedia): “The report also noted the US policy of considering all military-age males in a strike zone as a militants unless exonerating evidence proves otherwise.”

Ask yourself whey the right-wing machine is cavilling about Benghazi when this shocking issue is there, ripe for the picking. Why expend all this effort to nail Obama for what amounts to miscommunication when they can nail him for killing civilians?

Why? Because this is not an issue in America. All sides of the issue think it’s A-OK to execute little brown foreigners without trial or judgment. Also, bringing up this issue in America will also not gain the Republicans anything politically because hundreds of dead foreign civilians is a feather in Obama’s cap in bloodthirsty America. The Republicans do not use this information because, abhorrent as it is, they know that it will improve Obama’s chances. So, instead, they focus on a pissant issue that is orders of magnitude less horrible but involves dead Americans. Now there’s a political lever.

So why are you hearing so much about Benghazi? And why now? Why, because in one week there is an election and, since Mitt Romney spent the whole foreign policy debate agreeing with Obama, the Republicans are desperate to make something stick in that department.

On a side note, I have to say that this research was quite eye-opening. There seems to be a whole alternate reality out there, telling a tale of a world that is only tangentially associated with reality. What an elaborate echo chamber! I’m sure there is something similar on the left-wing side (DailyKos, for example) but my friend’s not trapped in that one, so I’ll leave it for another day.