Tag Archives: act of terror

Benghazi explained

Kevin Drum from Mother Jones does a wonderful job laying out exactly what happened.

benghazi

The reporting on what we know about the Benghazi attacks on September 11 just gets more and more interesting. Let’s do a quick Q&A:
Why was President Obama initially unwilling to call it an act of terror?

He wasn’t. The day after the attack, on September 12, he gave a Rose Garden speechin which he said, in reference to the assault, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.” At campaign stops that day and the next, he again referred to the Benghazi assault as “an act of terror.” A McClatchy report sums up the evidence: “In the first 48 hours after the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya, senior Obama administration officials strongly alluded to a terrorist assault and repeatedly declined to link it to an anti-Muslim video that drew protests elsewhere in the region, transcripts of briefings show.”

A day after the attacks, the CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington that there were eyewitness reports that the attack was carried out by militants. Why didn’t Obama administration officials say so?

They did. Hillary Clinton, for one, referred to it as an attack “by a small and savage group.”

OK, but that McClatchy report quoted above also says that a few days after the attacks administration officials started putting more emphasis on the “Innocence of Muslims” video. Why? It had nothing to do with the Benghazi attacks.

That’s not what locals said. As David Kirkpatrick reports: “To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck the United States Mission without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video….The fighters said at the time that they were moved to act because of the video, which had first gained attention across the region after a protest in Egypt that day.”

So the video might have played a role. But why did UN ambassador Susan Rice put the video front and center in her Sunday morning appearances a week after the attacks?

She didn’t, really. On Face the Nation, she said the “best information” at that moment suggested that Benghazi began “as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where […] there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video.” She then immediately added: “But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.” Continue reading Benghazi explained

How President Obama Won the Debate

President Obama won this debate by being President Obama. The formula was simple, really. Tell the truth. Don’t waver. Say what you mean. Don’t play around with long complex answers. Made it simple and to the point. In the video above, the president points out that he mentioned that Benghazi was an act of terror on September 12, the day after the attacks.

Here’s exactly what the president said:

Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe. No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.

Benghazi has been a weak spot in President Obama’s foreign policy armor. He and his team were slow to jump on this and put out the cinders before it was a big fire. I agree that questions remain. I admit that I don’t understand exactly what happened. I don’t understand the security situation. On the other hand, I haven’t seen or heard of any information that would suggest that President Obama didn’t act on intelligence or advice that would have saved or protected the ambassador.

Robert Reich points out why the President won:

Obama told voters what Romney’s plan was for women (take away their freedom of choice), and for Hispanics (allow police to stop them and demand proof of citizenship, as in the Arizona law “that’s his [Romney’s] policy, and it’s bad policy.”)

He took responsibility for the security lapse in Libya, but made sure Americans understood the danger in Romney’s shoot-from-the-hip, rush to judgment approach to foreign policy.

And the President explained why the way to create more jobs and to get the economy back on track is to strengthen the middle class, in sharp contrast to Romney’s trickle-down redux.

Romney was as combative as in the first debate, but our newly-invigorated president made Romney’s combativeness look like that of a child in a tantrum rather than a principled adult with facts and detailed proposals to support his position.