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Return to the Events in Benghazi

800px-Flag_of_Libya_(1951).svgThe NYT has a rather thorough piece detailing the events leading up to, and encompassing, the attack on the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi that is worth a read:  A Deadly Mix in Benghazi.

The piece is framed as follows:

Fifteen months after Mr. Stevens’s death, the question of responsibility remains a searing issue in Washington, framed by two contradictory story lines.

One has it that the video, which was posted on YouTube, inspired spontaneous street protests that got out of hand. This version, based on early intelligence reports, was initially offered publicly by Susan E. Rice, who is now Mr. Obama’s national security adviser.

The other, favored by Republicans, holds that Mr. Stevens died in a carefully planned assault by Al Qaeda to mark the anniversary of its strike on the United States 11 years before. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of covering up evidence of Al Qaeda’s role to avoid undermining the president’s claim that the group has been decimated, in part because of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The investigation by The Times shows that the reality in Benghazi was different, and murkier, than either of those story lines suggests. Benghazi was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.

The piece is, by internet standards, lengthy, but is worth reading in full.  The story presented does confirm more the general narrative presented by the administration (although it does not defend the Rice statements) far more than it does the cover-up theory approach, so this will likely color how many read it.

The narrative nature of the piece does leave open some question about how some of the information was obtained (although in many cases specific sourcing is noted).  The piece does not deal with the response to the attacks, but rather with the immediate lead up and the night itself.

A few things that are worth noting.

One, the main attack was not spontaneous.  The piece details quite a bit about this, and in a way that is difficult to excerpt.  The section titled “Bedlam” describes the compound being cased in advance of a coordinated attack.

Witnesses at the scene of the attack identified many participants associated with Ansar al-Shariah. Mr. Abu Khattala’s presence and leadership were evident. He initially hung back, standing near the crowd at Venezia Road, several witnesses said. But a procession of fighters hurried to him out of the smoke and gunfire, addressed him as “sheikh” and then gave him reports or took his orders before plunging back into the compound.

A local Benghazi official named Anwar el-Dos arrived on the scene and identified Mr. Abu Khattala as directing the fighters, people present said. Then Mr. Dos approached Mr. Abu Khattala for help entering the compound.

Two, the notion that this was part of a grand plan of al Qaeda in the broad, international sense of the organization does not appear to be supported by the evidence.

But the Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local extremist organizations like Ansar al-Shariah with Al Qaeda’s international terrorist network. The only intelligence connecting Al Qaeda to the attack was an intercepted phone call that night from a participant in the first wave of the attack to a friend in another African country who had ties to members of Al Qaeda, according to several officials briefed on the call. But when the friend heard the attacker’s boasts, he sounded astonished, the officials said, suggesting he had no prior knowledge of the assault.

Al Qaeda was having its own problems penetrating the Libyan chaos. Three weeks after the attack, on Oct. 3, 2012, leaders of the group’s regional affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, sent a letter to a lieutenant about efforts to crack the new territory. The leaders said they had sent four teams to try to establish footholds in Libya. But of the four, only two in the southern Sahara “were able to enter Libyan territory and lay the first practical bricks there,” the letter said.

The letter, left behind when the group’s leaders fled French troops in Mali, was later obtained and released by The Associated Press. It tallied up the “spectacular” acts of terrorism the group had accomplished around the region, but it made no mention of Benghazi or any other attacks in Libya.

More than a year later, the group appears more successful. People briefed on American intelligence say the regional affiliate has established a presence in Derna.

Here’s the BBC’s definition of Ansar al-Sharia:

Comprising former rebels from several militias based in eastern Libya – notably the Abu Obayda bin al-Jarah Brigade, Malik Brigade and 17 February Brigade – Ansar al-Sharia is a Salafi militia which came to prominence in June 2012 when it paraded armed vehicles in central Benghazi to demand the imposition of Islamic law, or Sharia. It stands accused by the US of being part of the events that led to the burning of the US consulate in Benghazi and the killing of US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in September 2012. These events triggered a popular revolt against the militia, prompting it to flee the city, but it later returned and ensconced itself in a number of former army bases.

Although Ansar al-Sharia has helped provide security in public places, such as al-Jalaa hospital, it has also been accused of human rights abuses, and was involved in the destruction of Sufi shrines in Benghazi and elsewhere.

According to one observer, Noman Benotman, a former member of the Libyan Islamic fighting group who currently leads the Quilliam Foundation’s work on de-radicalizing jihadists in the UK and abroad, Ansar al-Sharia is less an organisation and more an amorphous coalition of Islamist and Salafi groups active in eastern Libya.

Three, in fact, it does appear that some of the activity was motivated by anger over the video:

Then, on Sept. 8, a popular Islamist preacher lit the fuse by screening a clip of the video on the ultraconservative Egyptian satellite channel El Nas. American diplomats in Cairo raised the alarm in Washington about a growing backlash, including calls for a protest outside their embassy.

No one mentioned it to the American diplomats in Libya. But Islamists in Benghazi were watching. Egyptian satellite networks like El Nas and El Rahma were widely available in Benghazi. “It is Friday morning viewing,” popular on the day of prayer, said one young Benghazi Islamist who turned up at the compound during the attack, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

By Sept. 9, a popular eastern Libyan Facebook page had denounced the film. On the morning of Sept. 11, even some secular political activists were posting calls online for a protest that Friday, three days away.

The notion that ideologically-slanted news channel and social media could create a significant level of discontent is certainly a realistic scenario.

Indeed, after the initial attack:

Soon scores, if not hundreds, of others were racing to the scene. Some arrived with guns, some with cameras. The attackers had posted sentries at Venezia Road, adjacent to the compound, to guard their rear flank, but they let pass anyone trying to join the mayhem. Witnesses said young men rushing inside had left empty pickup trucks from Ansar al-Shariah, but also all the other big militias ostensibly allied with the government.

There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers. A Libyan journalist working for The New York Times was blocked from entering by the sentries outside, and he learned of the film from the fighters who stopped him. Other Libyan witnesses, too, said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.

The scene appears to have gone from attack to a mob:

Witnesses described utter bedlam inside. Men looted suits of clothes and carried them out on their hangers. They lugged out televisions. Some emerged from buildings clutching food they had found, and one poured what appeared to be Hershey’s chocolate syrup into his mouth. Others squabbled over trophies as small as a coil of rope left on the ground.

A newly acquired and uninstalled generator sat near the main gate, with large cans of fuel beside it. Attackers stumbled upon it within 15 minutes of entering the compound, according to officials who have seen the video footage, and soon begun using the fuel to set fire to vehicles and buildings.

Four, as the piece also details, US security was woeful given the conditions.  For example:

The compound had a total of eight armed guards that night: five Americans and three Libyans affiliated with the February 17 militia. All of them fell back. The Americans raced to grab their weapons in the compound’s other buildings but then found a swarm of attackers blocking their way to the main villa.

This continues to appear, to me, as a case of inadequate security in a very volatile situation that went very badly and not a situation that has been worthy of the grand conspiracy theories that it was generated.  But, of course, mileage will vary.  Regardless, I recommend the linked piece.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Here comes a fresh round of “Ben-Gazzzee!” For the new year..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  2. Jim Henley says:

    Steven, this is the best recap possible of an endlessly fascinating subjzzzzzzzzz…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  3. Jim Henley says:

    NB: The previous is not a jab at Steven.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  4. RAOUL says:

    Paging Doug Mataconis, paging Doug Mataginis who to his eternal chagrin may have done more to hyperbolize the story than anyone else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Darrell Issa, paging Darrell Issa.
    Please pick up- a White (what else?) Courtesy Phone.
    (Do they still have those at airports?)

    Benghazi! Yes, 30 years ago 240 U.S. Marines were killed in the bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut, and yet, for some reason we’ve spend more time investigating this tragic incident, that resulted in the death of 4 American diplomatic staff, than we did investigating the bombing and killing of 240 Marines.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  6. Gustopher says:

    It’s hard to imagine a YouTube video having that much of an effect.

    Here, we need Fox News running 24/7 to generate that much hatred.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  7. Stonetools says:

    Some are calling on the Republicans to apologize to Susan Rice for their smear job about Benghazi. Not holding my breath, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  8. @Gustopher: Part of the point on that count:

    hen, on Sept. 8, a popular Islamist preacher lit the fuse by screening a clip of the video on the ultraconservative Egyptian satellite channel El Nas. American diplomats in Cairo raised the alarm in Washington about a growing backlash, including calls for a protest outside their embassy.

    No one mentioned it to the American diplomats in Libya. But Islamists in Benghazi were watching. Egyptian satellite networks like El Nas and El Rahma were widely available in Benghazi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  9. Ron Beasley says:

    Why anyone would listen to that showboating political hack Issa. He has never been about anything but himself.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  10. RalphB says:

    Since there were over 20 CIA personnel at The Annex in Benghazi and, at least, part of their mission was to do threat evaluations the attack was less a State Dept security screw up than an intelligence failure. These failures are all too common for the CIA in the past thirty years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  11. jukeboxgrad says:

    Steven:

    it does appear that some of the activity was motivated by anger over the video

    Correct. There’s plenty of evidence that the attackers were motivated by the video (link). The popular right-wing claim that “the video had nothing to do with it” is a lie. And this was already known before the NYT issued a long report finding the same thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  12. C. Clavin says:

    I’d love to see how much Issa has spent on this nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  13. Hal_10000 says:

    Some are calling on the Republicans to apologize to Susan Rice for their smear job about Benghazi. Not holding my breath, though.

    Considering that she said this was a protest that spun out of control when it clearly wasn’t any kind of protest, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    We’re basically back to where we were on September 12 — wondering why security was so poor in a hotbed of Islamist activity. The conspiracy theories continue to distract from that point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Just a quick comment: there is an underlying assumption at play here. And that it is perfectly acceptable and predictable that a very significant percentage of Muslims can and will be driven into homicidal rages over such trivial things as cartoons and videos, and will exert that rage on people only tangentially — if at all — connected to the source of the “insult.”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 35

  15. jukeboxgrad says:

    Hal_10000:

    it clearly wasn’t any kind of protest

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, there actually was a protest (link):

    Witnesses in Benghazi said a small crowd gathered Tuesday night outside the consulate, a villa in a walled compound, to protest the anti-Muslim video… Some in the crowd had learned of the protest through Facebook. Others had heard of the video from Libyan students abroad or seen TV images of the Cairo protest. About 10 p.m., Abdel Monem Monem, a former advisor to the leader of the rebels’ transitional government, went to check and found about 50 people demonstrating without violence. … About 11:30 p.m., armed men drove up in about 20 cars bearing Islamic slogans. Sheik Mohamed Oraibi, a young Islamic preacher of the hard-line Salafist movement who was involved in the peaceful protest, watched as what he called “religious extremists” armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades arrived and began firing at the consulate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  16. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Just a quick comment: there is an underlying assumption at play here. And that it is perfectly acceptable and predictable that a very significant percentage of Muslims can and will be driven into homicidal rages over such trivial things as cartoons and videos, and will exert that rage on people only tangentially — if at all — connected to the source of the “insult.”

    No, there isn’t. You are injecting that notion in solely on your own.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 0

  17. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jenos:

    that it is perfectly acceptable and predictable that a very significant percentage of Muslims

    “Acceptable” is a lie.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  18. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, balls.

    You and your ilk just wasted hundreds of thousands of words obsessing over this extremely minor event. Based on nothing at all you trashed Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama and insinuated that they were guilty of actual crimes.

    And now you lack the integrity to simply admit that you were wrong. Wrong not once, but again and again and again and again to the utter stupefaction of everyone exposed to your insistent, unrelenting wrongness.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 2

  19. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    When you own up to how wrong you, and all the other Benghazi truthers, have been…then maybe we’ll take anything you type seriously.
    The fact they you would even post a comment as if you hadn’t been proven 100% wrong shows the kind of person you are.
    You and the rest of the truthers ought to be apologizing to Susan Rice.
    But that would require integrity.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  20. C. Clavin says:
  21. wr says:

    Wow. On being proved absolutely, one hundred percent wrong on Benghazi, Baby Jenos’ sole response is: “Oh yeah? Well, you guys are the real racists.”

    No doubt to be upgraded once Red State et al come up with language for him to cut and paste.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  22. Tillman says:

    @Gustopher: The similarities are eerie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. Thomas de Cive says:

    The NYT piece was a political hatchet job.
    OK, this NYTimes reporter….David D. Kirkpatrick….. makes a claim…

    “The other, favored by Republicans, holds that Mr. Stevens died in a carefully planned assault by Al Qaeda to mark the anniversary of its strike on the United States 11 years before.
    Republicans have accused the Obama administration of covering up evidence of Al Qaeda’s role to avoid undermining the president’s claim that the group has been decimated,”

    Yea…”Republicans”….but….this very same reporter, David D. Kirkpatrick, in Oct, 2012 makes an interesting observation in another article of his.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/world/africa/election-year-stakes-overshadow-nuances-of-benghazi-investigation.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&adxnnlx=1388296961-nOS%20dBzeR8EbkyMeJYwqTg

    The article quote…
    “On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told CNN, “I take responsibility” for protecting diplomats. “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha,” she said.

    But in a speech at the United Nations 10 days after the attack she became the first administration official to suggest that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb might have had some role. “They are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions under way in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi,” she said.”

    “United States intelligence officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have said they intercepted boastful phone calls after the fact from attackers at the mission to individuals affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 20

  24. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    When the blame for the deaths is put on the filmmaker, and not the people who actually did the killing, then the killing is being accepted. Mature religions don’t respond to “insults” and “blasphemy” with violence.

    Stripped of the PC language, here’s the belief I’m seeing here: Many Muslims are dangerous psychotics who can be triggered into homicidal ragesby such trivial things as cartoons and videos and burning a book, so don’t do anything that might set them off. In fact, we’ll demand you don’t set them off, and even threaten you if you seem like you might set them off.

    Like that dippy Florida preacher who threatened to burn a book that he had bought with his own money, and just that got the US government involved.

    And this continuing whitewash is just laying the groundwork for Hillary 2016. Ed Morrissey has a pretty good take on this that is a bit more reality-based.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 29

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh shut up. Seriously, if you are participating in a discussion, and your point has been categorically proven wrong, and you don’t admit it, but instead run around like a monkey throwing scat in the air in an attempt to distract from your own astounding wrongness, you have no place in rational discussion.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 2

  26. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    What a f’ing coward.
    How do you live with yourself ?
    No balls.
    No integrity.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

  27. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Statistically, many Muslims don’t fly into rages over seeing desecration, or else we’d have a really big homegrown Islamist movement here in the U.S., what with our millions of Muslims.

    The same could be said for other countries. Indonesia would be the country with the most anger issues if this was the case. Obviously not all Muslims fly into rage at the drop of a hat, and obviously it’s not “many” since the damage and death toll from jihadist terror attacks globally is lower than the number of Americans who die from heart disease every year.

    When the blame for the deaths is put on the filmmaker, and not the people who actually did the killing, then the killing is being accepted.

    Point out where people are blaming the filmmaker. You seem to be making that up to disguise a flimsy premise as a coherent point.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  28. Tillman says:

    @Thomas de Cive: You realize the first bit you quoted was something the reporter said, and the second bit you quoted was something Hillary Clinton said, right? The reporter isn’t contradicting himself.

    Not to mention that no one had much of an idea that could be verified ten days after the attack.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  29. anjin-san says:

    integrity

    That’s more or less a stop word when talking about Jenos.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  30. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    When the blame for the deaths is put on the filmmaker, and not the people who actually did the killing, then the killing is being accepted.

    There is nothing in this post or anything I have ever written on this subject that a) blame the deaths on the filmmaker, or b) that the killing is acceptable.

    If you are going to argue, argue with what it before you, not an alternate universe version.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0

  31. @Thomas de Cive:

    The NYT piece was a political hatchet job.

    You will have to explain that assertion. Apart from stating that claims made by some Republicans about al Qaeda are not supported by evidence, the piece doesn’t say all that much about domestic politics.

    Who is being hatched here, in your opinion? For that matter, what is your definition of the phrase “political hatchet job”?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  32. anjin-san says:

    alternate universe version

    Don’t take Jenos’ alternate universe from him – it’s the only place he can get dates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  33. Jeremy R says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Considering that she said this was a protest that spun out of control when it clearly wasn’t any kind of protest, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    To this day, I still don’t even understand what Rice is being accused of. The congressional investigations have shown that she repeated the declassified intelligence community talking points almost word for word, except she added a ton more qualifiers to make it super clear how preliminary the intelligence was. For example, her Meet the Press appearance:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49051097/ns/meet_the_press-transcripts/t/september-benjamin-netanyahu-susan-rice-keith-ellison-peter-king-bob-woodward-jeffrey-goldberg-andrea-mitchell/#.UFew57IgfW4

    MS. RICE: Well, let us– let me tell you the– the best information we have at present. First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons which unfortunately are readily available in post revolutionary Libya. And it escalated into a much more violent episode. Obviously, that’s– that’s our best judgment now. We’ll await the results of the investigation.

    From her Face the Nation appearance:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3460_162-57513819/face-the-nation-transcripts-september-16-2012-libyan-pres-magariaf-amb-rice-and-sen-mccain/

    SUSAN RICE (Ambassador to the United Nations): Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the assessment at present. First of all, very importantly, as you discussed with the President, there is an investigation that the United States government will launch led by the FBI, that has begun and–

    BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): But they are not there.

    SUSAN RICE: They are not on the ground yet, but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of– of various sorts already available to them and to us. And they will get on the ground and continue the investigation. So we’ll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy —

    BOB SCHIEFFER: Mm-Hm.

    SUSAN RICE: –sparked by this hateful video. 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– 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.

    BOB SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with him that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?

    SUSAN RICE: We do not– we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.

    BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you agree or disagree with him that al Qaeda had some part in this?

    SUSAN RICE: Well, we’ll have to find out that out. I mean I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.

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  34. Stonetools says:

    Have we ever had a situation in which one party has been so consistently wrong on anything foreign policy? I’m getting truly frightened at the idea of Republicans ever taking over US foreign policy again.
    Wonder what John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Kelly Ayotte have to say about this? The last in particular must be crapping her pants. She is in a competitive state.
    Somewhere Ms. Rice and Clinton must be laughing…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @Jeremy R:

    What Susan Rice is accused of is of not saying what right-wingers needed her to say to feed their obsessive Obama hatred. The truth is a lie unless it confirms your prejudices, dontcha know.

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  36. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The White House, from day one, blamed the riots on the then-anonymous filmmaker and promised the family of one of the deceased that they’d find and punish him. And that was before they knew who the guy was and that he had violated his probation.

    The way it played out was as if, after Reagan was shot, the Secret Service had arrested Jodi Foster, or after John Lennon was shot, J. D. Salinger was blamed.

    And the Obama administration spent weeks pushing the “riot triggered by a YouTube video” angle while downplaying or dismissing the possibility that it was a pre-planned terrorist attack, even though they knew early on that it was a terrorist attack.

    And it happened on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Why the hell weren’t our people battened down and braced for something like this?

    Even common sense said that. What the eff kind of spontaneous riot involves mortars?

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  37. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Give it up, loser.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  38. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “And the Obama administration spent weeks pushing the “riot triggered by a YouTube video” angle while downplaying or dismissing the possibility that it was a pre-planned terrorist attack, even though they knew early on that it was a terrorist attack.”

    And now it turns out… it was triggered by the video. What the administration said all along turns out to be the truth. Which has Baby Jenos squealing that everyone but him is a racist because… well, because… um, because…

    Oh, screw it. It’s because he’s a mewling piece of crap who can never admit when he’s caught lying.

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  39. @Jenos Idanian #13: They did not blame the deaths on the filmmakers, nor did they absolve the actual killers. This is simply, plainly, and unequivocally. nonsense.

    The issue of the film was always about public diplomacy–and it needed to be addressed whether you like it or not.

    You are purposefully conflating and confusing issues.

    Seriously: you should just follow sports, where you can have all the subjective, emotional views of your favorite team that you like and it really doesn’t matter.

    While there is certainly room for interpretation on a number of issues relevant to these events, you aren’t interested in understanding. You are, as always, interesting in rooting for your team and your self-constructed views thereof.

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  40. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Even common sense said that. What the eff kind of spontaneous riot involves mortars?

    First, if you read what I wrote, you would note that I am not asserting that all the violence was spontaneous.

    Second, having said that, in the context of a recent civil war, and with the existence of numerous militia groups, the notion of mortars being involved in an unplanned way is hardly outside the realm of possibility.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

  41. @wr:

    And now it turns out… it was triggered by the video

    Well, no. It would appear that the initial attack had been planned, but that many of the participants who joined in had been hyped up by responses to the video.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  42. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    What the eff kind of spontaneous riot involves mortars?

    Yeah, who the hell has mortars in a country that just underwent a violent revolutio….oh, ah, I see.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  43. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Pathetic.
    100% wrong.

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  44. Hal_10000 says:

    jukeboxgrad, your link is broken but appears to link to a story a couple of days afterward. The NYT article indicates this was an attack partially motivated by the video, but that was coming at some point. That protesters showed up after the attack had begun is irrelevant (note your timeline: the attack happened at 9, this “protest” happened at 10 or 11).

    Jeremy, I don’t see how your quotes exonerate her at all. What she says is simply not true and this was known at the time. She clearly says this was a spontaneous demonstration and extremists joined in. It was, at best, the other way around. That she included the usual government flack weasel words “to the best for our information, etc.” is kind of beside the point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

  45. Lounsbury says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Libyan militia riots / protests. They also involve other heavy weapons such as vehicle mounted AA guns and other home-made exotica (and not just for the charmingly naive Americans, just all by themselves, intra-Libyans).

    One of the downsides of a populace living the wilder American constitutional dreams I have read of now and again.

    Quite charming.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  46. anjin-san says:

    And it happened on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Why the hell weren’t our people battened down and braced for something like this?

    Good question. Why don’t you ask the Republicans who cut funding for embassy/consulate security? You remember them don’t you? They are the same folks who did not want to fund medical care for 9.11 first responders.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  47. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    When the blame for the deaths is put on the filmmaker

    No one here has done that. If I recognize that the Vancouver riot in 2011 came as a response to the Bruins beating the Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals, that doesn’t mean I am blaming the teams. You are full of shit.

    Stripped of the PC language, here’s the belief strawman I’m seeing here dishonestly inventing

    FTFY. You are full of shit.

    Like that dippy Florida preacher who threatened to burn a book that he had bought with his own money, and just that got the US government involved.

    You imply that the government did something to stop him. You are full of shit.

    The White House, from day one, blamed the riots on the then-anonymous filmmaker and promised the family of one of the deceased that they’d find and punish him.

    None of that is true, and you have repeatedly failed to support it when challenged. You are full of shit.

    The fact that you come here peddling the same bullshit now just shows you have no shame, no integrity, and no brains. What a pathetic schmuck.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  48. michael reynolds says:

    I believe Steven Taylor, Lounsbury and many others have now gathered, they have milled around, they appeared to be angry and . . . yes, there goes the mortar!

    Jenos: All you had to do was admit you were wrong, which is now an undeniable fact. But you just couldn’t, could you? You just don’t have the strength of character. So instead you flail around like some cranked-up meth head on Cops.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  49. Tony W says:

    While amusing, it is also tough watching the Jenos’, Jan’s & Bitheads’ of the world try and reconcile the talking points they have been given against new facts as they emerge and are proven correct. Sometimes I wonder why their heads don’t just explode…but I suppose that’s why Fox News is on 24/7.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  50. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Thank you…I will remember that with every Jenos comment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  51. Stonetools says:

    One of the truly annoying things about conservatives is that they never, ever admit they are wrong. They have Been dead wrong about practically everything for at least the last decade, but they maintain they are right, no matter what. This would be ok if they didn’t have a lot of political power but unfortunately for the USA, they do.
    Did the founding fathers really foresee that a politico-religious death cult would be in a position to sabotage and block even routine attempts at governance? Hard to imagine they did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  52. Jeremy R says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Jeremy, I don’t see how your quotes exonerate her at all. What she says is simply not true and this was known at the time. She clearly says this was a spontaneous demonstration and extremists joined in. It was, at best, the other way around. That she included the usual government flack weasel words “to the best for our information, etc.” is kind of beside the point.

    Exonerate her of what? Accurately relaying the declassified CIA talking points to the American public? Also, if you look at the transcript, Schieffer specifically asked her about the GOP’s conspiratorial hobbyhorse, Al Qaeda involvement, and she put zero effort into trying to bury the possibility, instead saying we’ll know after the investigation.

    From last year:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/benghazi-attack-becomes-political-ammunition/2012/10/19/e1ad82ae-1a2d-11e2-bd10-5ff056538b7c_story.html?hpid=z2

    According to the CIA account, “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.”

    The CIA document went on: “This assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated.” This may sound like self-protective boilerplate, but it reflects the analysts’ genuine problem interpreting fragments of intercepted conversation, video surveillance and source reports.

    The senior intelligence official said the analysts’ judgment was based in part on monitoring of some of the Benghazi attackers, which showed they had been watching the Cairo protests live on television and talking about them before they assaulted the consulate.

    “We believe the timing of the attack was influenced by events in Cairo,” the senior official said, reaffirming the Cairo-Benghazi link. He said that judgment is repeated in a new report prepared this week for the House intelligence committee.

    Here’s how the senior official described the jumble of events in Benghazi that day: “The attackers were disorganized; some seemed more interested in looting. Some who claimed to have participated joined the attack as it began or after it was under way. There is no evidence of rehearsals, they never got into the safe room . . . never took any hostages, didn’t bring explosives to blow the safe room door, and didn’t use a car bomb to blow the gates.”

    The Benghazi flap is the sort of situation that intelligence officers dread: when politicians are demanding hard “yes” or “no” answers but evidence is fragmentary and conflicting. The political debate has focused on whether the attack was spontaneous or planned, but the official said there’s evidence of both, and that different attackers may have had different motives.

    The official said the only major change he would make now in the CIA’s Sept. 15 talking points would be to drop the word “spontaneous” and substitute “opportunistic.” He explained that there apparently was “some pre-coordination but minimal planning.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  53. jukeboxgrad says:

    Hal_10000:

    your link is broken

    I just checked it again and it works just fine.

    That protesters showed up after the attack had begun is irrelevant

    No, it’s not irrelevant, because it means that people like you who are claiming there was no protest (“it clearly wasn’t any kind of protest”) are wrong.

    note your timeline: the attack happened at 9, this “protest” happened at 10 or 11

    That’s not what the article says. It says this:

    About 10 p.m., Abdel Monem Monem, a former advisor to the leader of the rebels’ transitional government, went to check and found about 50 people demonstrating without violence.

    That doesn’t say the protest started at 10. It only says the protest was underway as of 10. Not the same thing.

    She clearly says this was a spontaneous demonstration and extremists joined in.

    Two groups were present: spontaneous demonstrators, and heavily armed extremists. There will never be perfect clarity regarding the details of exactly how the two groups interacted, but there’s plenty of evidence that both groups were motivated by the video. This knowledge is sufficient to exonerate Rice and to demolish the right-wing narrative (“the video had nothing to do with it”).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  54. Hal_10000 says:

    Interestingly, on Fox this morning, a Democrat and a Republican both agreed that Al-Qaeda was involved in the Benghazi attack. I know, it’s FOX. But it’s still two members of the committee the investigated Benghazi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  55. Hal_10000 says:

    No, it’s not irrelevant, because it means that people like you who are claiming there was no protest (“it clearly wasn’t any kind of protest”) are wrong.

    Do you accept the NYT’s reporting or not? Read Page 4 very carefully. There was no one at the compound when the attack started. No protest at all. After the attack started, then hundreds of people began to show up and were told by the attackers about the video, at which point more destruction and looting occurred.

    I realize a lot of people have a lot invested in the idea that this only exists in the fevered minds of partisan Republicans. But you either accept the reporting of the NYT and the Congressional committees or you don’t. You can’t cherry-pick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  56. jukeboxgrad says:

    Read Page 4 very carefully. There was no one at the compound when the attack started.

    I can’t find the words that say that, so quote the exact words you’re talking about.

    No protest at all.

    I see this:

    a false report spread much wider and faster: that guards in the compound had shot and wounded Libyans who had come only to protest

    I think that implies that there were “Libyans who had come only to protest.” Show me where the new article says there was “no protest at all.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  57. Andre Kenji says:

    I can read in Spanish, and I have something close to a basic reading level in French, and I´ve read dozens of articles in Spanish and French newspapers about Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb for years. Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb in fact are fusion of different Salafist groups(Including former leaders of the GIA, an Algerian group that managed to bomb the Paris Metro and to hijack an Air France airliner in 1994).

    Many French analysts agree that AQIM does not have the capacity to organize large scale attacks. That´s not the same people that attacked NYC in 2001. Besides that, no one knows if Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula(Or, whatever is the main branch of Al Qaeda) has any real influence over AQIM, Al-Nusra Front or the Somali Al Shabaab.

    Since Al Qaeda is basically a franchise, not a centralized terrorist group, saying that Al Qaeda was involved in the attack in Benghazi does not mean anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  58. Hal_10000 says:

    jukebox, here it is. Sorry for the long quote:

    At 8:30 p.m., British diplomats dropped off their vehicles and weapons before flying back to Tripoli. At 9:42 p.m., according to American officials who have viewed the security camera footage, a police vehicle stationed outside turned on its ignition and drove slowly away.

    A moment later a solitary figure strolled by the main gate, kicking pebbles and looking around — a final once-over, according to the officials.

    The attack began with just a few dozen fighters, according to those officials. The invaders fired their Kalashnikovs at the lights around the gate and broke through with ease.

    Soon scores, if not hundreds, of others were racing to the scene. Some arrived with guns, some with cameras. The attackers had posted sentries at Venezia Road, adjacent to the compound, to guard their rear flank, but they let pass anyone trying to join the mayhem. Witnesses said young men rushing inside had left empty pickup trucks from Ansar al-Shariah, but also all the other big militias ostensibly allied with the government.

    There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers. A Libyan journalist working for The New York Times was blocked from entering by the sentries outside, and he learned of the film from the fighters who stopped him. Other Libyan witnesses, too, said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.

    So from a lone figure at the gate to a dozen fighters attacking to hundreds of people showing up and being lectured about the video. So the “protest”, if you want to call looting and destruction a protest, happened after the initial attack.

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  59. jukeboxgrad says:

    So from a lone figure at the gate

    This is what the article says:

    A moment later a solitary figure strolled by the main gate

    This is a description of what someone saw on a security camera. “Solitary figure” doesn’t necessarily mean the camera saw no one else. It just means he was not part of a group. And this is a description of what was seen at one moment, by one camera, which could obviously not show every position around the compound. Were there other cameras? What did other cameras show? You are not told.

    This is what you said:

    Read Page 4 very carefully. There was no one at the compound when the attack started. No protest at all.

    A view from one camera does not tell you “There was no one at the compound when the attack started. No protest at all.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  60. jukeboxgrad says:

    I find it interesting to notice how the right-wing narrative is shifting. Here’s a typical example of what they used to say (link):

    It had nothing to do with a YouTube video.

    That’s Powerline, 10/9/12. And both Jonah Goldberg and Rush Limbaugh said this:

    the video had nothing to do with it

    Using the exact same words. Now notice what Powerline said on Saturday (link):

    I don’t mean to deny that some of those who attacked the U.S. compound were influenced by the video.

    And Ed Morrissey said this on Sunday (link):

    Before dismissing this out of hand, the Times isn’t the only voice reporting on this sequence of events. Lee Stranahan has independently reported on the same thing, and has spent considerable time on Twitter and his website arguing that Benghazi was a planned terrorist attack triggered by the video … Even if one accepts that the YouTube video had something to do with the motive for the attack and the ability of terrorists to recruit fighters for it (and the timing of the broadcast certainly lends that significant credibility) …

    So now there is “significant credibility” to the idea that “the YouTube video had something to do with the motive for the attack.” Where we used to find “nothing” we now find “something.” Hilarious.

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  61. jukeboxgrad says:

    There is a nugget of Fox baloney that should be addressed. The NYT article says this:

    By Sept. 9, a popular eastern Libyan Facebook page had denounced the film.

    A couple of days ago Fox pushed back, saying this (link):

    The claims by the New York Times … contradict a separate report by a leading social media firm that found that the first reference to the anti-Islam film that was initially blamed for sparking the attack was not detected on social media until a day later.

    That is a reference to a Fox story from 12/18/12 which said the same thing (link). John Rosenthal is a National Review contributor, and months ago he reported finding the evidence that Fox was oddly unable to find (link):

    examination of contemporaneous chatter on Libyan websites shows that locals really were in an uproar about the video in both the run-up to and immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack

    Fox’s “leading social media firm” missed a few things that Rosenthal and Kirkpatrick did not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  62. Lounsbury says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Ahem a nuance as AQIM is something I pay attention to as I have occasion to do business in areas where they are active, and while I suppose it could be an interesting career move to spend a few years as a hostage and improving my Quranic exegesis skills (presently being absent as such), however relaxing that might be….

    I would not say AQIM is incapable of large scale action, some of its moving parts – which are essentially simply rebranded Algerian groups – certainly are, in their specific geographies. That would not at that time include Libya of course.

    However if one pays attention to AQIM, it is more than clear the idea that there is some kind of organized unitary organization is utter bollocks. A bunch of contrabandiers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  63. Tyrell says:

    Has anyone been arrested for these murders? If not, why not? There has been plenty of time to round up those responsible and put on trial. There are plenty of photographs. Even the news people were able to get information. Someone in the state department is stonewalling and needs to be held accountable – now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  64. @Andre Kenji:

    Since Al Qaeda is basically a franchise, not a centralized terrorist group, saying that Al Qaeda was involved in the attack in Benghazi does not mean anything.

    Indeed.

    Further, in the US press/politics, I think that this notion is often lost on those alleging al Qaeda activity, Moreover, I think that they often use “al Qaeda” as an umbrella term for “any Islamic terrorist.” This muddle the analysis more than a bit.

    At a minimum, it is problematic to think of, as many people do, al Qaeda as some massive, global organization.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  65. Jim Henley says:

    @Tyrell: Tyrell, did you see a Schoolhouse Rock video that indicated the US State Department is the branch of the Libyan government responsible for bringing indictments? Because I don’t think that’s correct…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  66. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    Someone in the state department is stonewalling and needs to be held accountable – now.

    I’ve always thought that Hillary had Vince Foster killed because he knew something about Benghazi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  67. mantis says:

    @Tyrell:

    Sorry Tyrell, but Team America: World Police is a fictional group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  68. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    I heard that Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Dung were updating some of their lyrics under the title of “Four Dead in Ben-ghah-zi”.

    Funny how a nation so mesmerized by the death of a young thug in Florida has no problem with four Americans lying a-moldering in their graves. I mean in a non-funny way.

    Forward !!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  69. C. Clavin says:

    @11B40:
    Who said they have “no problem” with the four deceased?
    If your opinion is based on total BS… Then your opinion is total BS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  70. wr says:

    @11B40: Let me guess:

    Four “Americans” = white

    Young “thug” = black.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  71. Tyrell says:

    @Jim Henley: The Libyan government has had their time. Secretary Kerry needs to issue a progress report. If they don’t have a strong list of suspects by now, there is something seriously wrong in the intelligence department. Someone needs to be held accountable. There seems to be an attitude of “well there’s nothing we can do about it now”.

    “This flag ain’t no rag and these colors don’t run” (Daniels)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  72. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:
    Did you read the article?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  73. al-Ameda says:

    @11B40:

    I heard that Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Dung were updating some of their lyrics under the title of “Four Dead in Ben-ghah-zi”.

    Why do you think Neil Young is “Dung”?

    @Tyrell:

    There seems to be an attitude of “well there’s nothing we can do about it now”.
    “This flag ain’t no rag and these colors don’t run” (Daniels)

    The Right just will not be satisfied with any explanation unless it is damaging to the president, Hillary Clinton, or both.

    “So follow me, it’s good for you, That good old fashioned Medicated Goo, Ooo, aint’ it good for you?” (Steve Winwood)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  74. Lounsbury says:

    @Tyrell:

    How deliciously naive. You’re planning to send in your International Police Department to execute arrests?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  75. anjin-San says:

    @11b40

    Do you have a problem with 241 marines dead in Lebanon?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  76. Steve V says:

    @Andre Kenji: It isn’t just meaningless; it’s pernicious. I recall that when “al Qaeda in Iraq” was discovered, the fact was used to basically retroactively justify the war and the absence of any connection between Saddam Hussein and bin Laden. If I recall correctly, “al Qaeda in Iraq’s” ties to the actual al Qaeda were basically only aspirational, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  77. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-San:

    @11b40
    Do you have a problem with 241 marines dead in Lebanon?

    Yes, it’s a problem of inconvenience – it happened during the Reagan presidency.

    One thing I’ve learned from this Benghazi kabuki is that 4 American deaths that happen during a Democratic president’s watch are 60 times more serious than 240 deaths on a Republican president’s watch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  78. Jim Henley says:

    @al-Ameda: I was always amazed that all four of the US “striped-pants set” that right-wingers ever had a kind thought toward ended up in the same building during the same attack. What are the odds?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  79. Hal_10000 says:

    This is a description of what someone saw on a security camera. “Solitary figure” doesn’t necessarily mean the camera saw no one else. It just means he was not part of a group. And this is a description of what was seen at one moment, by one camera, which could obviously not show every position around the compound. Were there other cameras? What did other cameras show? You are not told.

    Yes, I’m sure that a camera focused on the front of the compound somehow wasn’t able to see the supposed gigantic protest that spun out of control, as Susan Rice said it did but the NYT specifically says did not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  80. jukeboxgrad says:

    the supposed gigantic protest

    No one ever said it was “gigantic.” The compound is large, and there’s a lot that one camera would not see.

    that spun out of control, as Susan Rice said

    The original CIA memo said this:

    We believe based on currently available information that the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo

    “The protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” is an obvious reference to the video, because those protests were undoubtedly about the video. Explain why it was wrong for Rice to tell us what CIA told her.

    but the NYT specifically says did not

    You are once again falsely claiming that NYT said there was no protest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  81. anjin-San says:

    @11b40

    Can you give us specifics on how 4 kids being shot dead at school on US soil by our own troops and 4 professionals serving their country in a dangerous place (by choice) being killed by hostile forces is the same thing?

    I will stand by.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  82. @anjin-San: I was having a hard time with that comparison as well.

    I look forward to the explanation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  83. 11B40 says:

    @anjin-San:

    Greetings, anjin-san: ( @ Monday, December 30, 2013 at 17:12 )

    I’ll admit that I had some second thought about this one, that it might just be too subtly tricky. So, let’s work backwards from your protestation. Feel free to be seated.

    First, there’s the “4 kids”. As much as I thought the my minimal quantitative aspect would be sufficient, the “kids” certainly indicates that I caused a qualitative problem. Initially, I thought you were referring to Newtown, CT. You know, actual “kids”, not those of a draft-eligible age “kids”, like “Pajama Boy”. And, I think that the “school” was more like a university of some sort where back in those heady days “kids” in my part of the Bronx knew better than to throw rocks at people with rifles. But I realize that’s a lot of qualitativeness for one paragraph.

    Now, I’m beginning to see that your “4 kids” were nothing more than pre-cursers of the fundamental transformation we are so now enjoying and that their contribution to that transformation should have been recognized differently, but still a little bitty ditty about 4 non-kids “serving their country in a dangerous place” couldn’t possibly hurt the transformation all that much, could it ??? I mean, I would be the last to require that Madam Secretary’s or Mr. President’s name be included in the lyric. A simple “she” or “he” should suffice sufficiently, no ???

    No soldiers or bombers coming.
    You’re totally on your own.
    The President’s out golfing.
    Madam Secretary’s home.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  84. Stonetools says:

    I’m watching the reporter on Meet the Press, and he says that there was not a protest, but also that :
    1. The attack was motivated by the video
    2. There was no direct al Queda involvement.

    Don Issa bobbed and weaved to try to say that there was no evidence that the video motivated the assault, but that directly contravenes the NYT report. There was also ZERO evidence of any coverup, according to the report.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  85. Steve V says:

    @Stonetools: Admin opponents took a weird position. They argued that because it was a “terrorist attack” it couldn’t have been motivated by the video. That is, they were so eager to prove that everything the administration was 100% false — and to mock the claim that the video was a motivating factor — that they took an absurd position. The idea that it could have been a terrorist attack that was motivated by the video wasn’t allowed, because it would mean that the administration was partly (if not mostly) right. As for al Qaeda, conservatives who wish to convince the public that Obama (and Democrats generally) are “weak” throw the name al Qaeda around an awful lot, the better to argue that Dems are willfully ignoring existential threats to the country. I give them a pass on that to some extent, because the media can’t seem to report on a terrorist attack without implying that it was carried out by “al Qaeda” too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  86. jukeboxgrad says:

    Admin opponents took a weird position. They argued that because it was a “terrorist attack” it couldn’t have been motivated by the video.

    Exactly. Consider these two statements:

    A) It was a protest that spontaneously became violent
    B) The attackers were motivated by the video

    We now understand that A is false, but this does not demonstrate that B is false. There is plenty of evidence that B is true.

    The entire right-wing narrative is based on the idea that A and B are somehow inseparable, and that if A is false then B must also be false. Trouble is, that’s nonsense, because A and B are quite separate. This fallacy that is at the heart of the right-wing narrative is also a major feature of mainstream coverage of this story. That darn liberal media.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  87. Jim Henley says:

    @Tyrell: So your indictment is now down to “John Kerry hasn’t sent a Sternly Worded Letter? Okay. How many more hearings should we hold on that subject?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  88. Rafer Janders says:

    @Tyrell:

    if they don’t have a strong list of suspects by now, there is something seriously wrong in the intelligence department.

    Not only do we have a strong list of suspects, the Justice Department has already indicted the alleged ringleaders of the attack. But because they’re in Libya, not in the US, we can’t just arrest them off the street.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  89. Jim Henley says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    But because they’re in Libya, not in the US, we can’t just arrest them off the street.

    THIS IS SO COMPLICATED

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  90. stonetools says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Not only do we have a strong list of suspects, the Justice Department has already indicted the alleged ringleaders of the attack. But because they’re in Libya, not in the US, we can’t just arrest them off the street.

    I expect the Administration will try for a time, to continue to arrest them. But if that proves impossible, oh well-DRONEZ!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  91. stonetools says:

    The right wing’s problem is that there is no evidence whatsoever that higher level Administration officials were engaged in any malfeasance at Benghazi. As Issa made clear, though, they are going to continue looking for such evidence until they find something. So expect more witch huntery .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  92. bill says:

    funny, a belated Christmas gift to the obama/clinton admin. the grey lady sure has soiled herself lately….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  93. anjin-san says:

    @ 11B40

    Please prove that any of the kids (yes, kids, as in “college kid” – every hear that one?) was throwing rocks at anyone. Failing that, just admit that you are making shit up about people who have been shot.

    I am curious about your reference to “no bombers coming” – what was your though? Send in some B-52s and save our people with some carpet bombing? At any rate, Bob Gates, who’s integrity and expertise is not in question by anyone from the reality based community, has already explained why the military did not come riding to the rescue. Sorry.

    So, while we are discussing the deaths of eight Americans, you are basically lying and/or making things up.

    Stay classy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  94. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Mature religions don’t respond to “insults” and “blasphemy” with violence.

    When exactly did Christianity mature?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  95. jukeboxgrad says:

    11B40:

    No soldiers or bombers coming.

    More wingnut folklore. Link:

    Around 12:30 a.m. (6:30 p.m. ET): A six-man security team, including two Defense Dept. personnel, leave Embassy Tripoli for Benghazi.

    In the future try to be more honest.

    bombers

    Link:

    Gates told host Bob Schieffer on CBS’s “Face the Nation” there was no time to reach the Americans under attack in Benghazi – and had he been in the job at the time, “my decision would have been just as theirs were.”

    I would not have approved sending a single aircraft over Benghazi in those circumstances,” Gates said, due to fears of surface to air missiles.

    “Getting somebody there in a timely way would have been very difficult, if not impossible,” he said.

    Gates decried the “cartoonish impression” people have of the military’s capabilities to be dispatched in a moment’s notice, adding that the U.S. does not have a ready force standing by in the Middle East.

    Emphasis added.

    20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing. The only mystery is why Bush hired Gates to run DoD instead of you.

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  96. de stijl says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Why do you think Neil Young is “Dung”?

    He wrote / performed “Southern Man” – there is a [ahem] certain type [ahem] that doesn’t care for that song.

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  97. anjin-san says:

    No soldiers or bombers coming.
    You’re totally on your own.
    The President’s out golfing.
    Madam Secretary’s home.

    Good lord, do you know what a rhyming is? It is supposed to involve the entire verse.

    Conservative lies and madness
    Republican minds are blown
    Brain dead on Fox and Limbaugh
    The Savage nation drones…
    The Savage nation drones…

    Young wrote the original in 20 minutes in his head, and it is a stone classic. Kindly refrain from hacking up his work.

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  98. mantis says:

    Mature religions don’t respond to “insults” and “blasphemy” with violence.

    Religions don’t commit violence at all. People do. Every religion in the world is mocked and insulted and every god blasphemed in these United States, every day. We have millions of followers from all of those religions living here, and yet we have remarkably low levels of religiously-inspired violence compared with nations less diverse than the US and far more deferential to the religions of the population. People commit religious violence for reasons that have much more to do with those people than religion. The idea that one religion is more violent than all others is ahistorical ignorance employed to justify bigotry.

    Also, many wars have been fought over insults in human history that had little or nothing to do with religion. I’m not claiming it’s “mature,” mind you, and the idea that your preferred religions are “mature” is absurd, when so many adherents, and leaders, are so childish. People are people.

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  99. 11B40 says:

    @anjin-san:

    Greetings, anjin-san: ( @ Monday, December 30, 2013 at 21:49 )

    As to your paragraph the first, why yesss, I have heard of “college kids” and grammar school kids and high school kids and even kindergarten kids. So, why so ambiguous ??? Expliquez moi,si’l vous plait. Certainly not dishonesty or making stuff up, right ???

    Now, the second. The original CSN&D song went something along the lines of “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming” which wasn’t actually historically accurate which often happens in cases of poetry or propaganda. I don’t believe that B-52s would have actually have saved our abandoned “kids” but the former do tend to leave an impression. Like I like to say the difference between an earthquake and a B-52 strike is that in the former things fall down while in the latter things fall up. Getting to work in the morning and find your oil refinery missing is something we have yet to try with our Islamaniac brethren so, hey, what do you say ???

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  100. jukeboxgrad says:

    Getting to work in the morning and find your oil refinery missing

    Are you in favor of higher taxes to pay for your next wonderful war, or do you prefer the Bush approach of sending the bill to our kids? Just curious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  101. anjin-san says:

    @ 11B40

    so hey, what do you say

    Ummm, get back to us when you are coherent?

    BTW, I am 54. To me, someone in college who is in their late teens or early 20’s is a kid. Is that so hard to comprehend?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  102. Andre Kenji says:

    @Lounsbury:

    I would not say AQIM is incapable of large scale action, some of its moving parts – which are essentially simply rebranded Algerian groups – certainly are, in their specific geographies. That would not at that time include Libya of course.

    I´ve found the interview! It´s in French. Jean-Pierre Filiu, a specialist on Al Qaeda, said in 2010 that the main priority of AQIM was to survive, that they did not have a cell in Europe and that they were under pressure because of the collaboration between Intelligence Services on both sides of the Mediterranean.

    http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2010/07/26/01003-20100726ARTFIG00522-aqmi-a-besoin-de-publicite.php

    He also pointed out that Bin Laden pressured AQIM to kill a French hostage, but that only very rarely sent emissaries between the two territories and that they relied on satellite cell phone. Note that AQIM sent an ultimatum against France, something like three years ago.

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  103. Ron Beasley says:

    Josh Marshall makes a good point – there is no real way to know what happened.

    The salient point in this whole non-scandal – from the start – has been that the fog of war makes it very difficult to know with certainty who attacked you in the middle of the night,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  104. wr says:

    @de stijl: “He wrote / performed “Southern Man” – there is a [ahem] certain type [ahem] that doesn’t care for that song.”

    Generally the same ones who write angry letters to the editor about “Hanoi Jane” when Jane Fonda is in a new movie.

    The song you don’t like is 40 years old. The people he was talking to/about are long dead. The world has changed and so has he. Hopefully, so have you.

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  105. wr says:

    @wr: And as I reread, I’m thinking you don’t include yourself in the group that holds the grudge. Consider my comment aimed at those who do…

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  106. wr says:

    @11B40: ” Getting to work in the morning and find your oil refinery missing is something we have yet to try with our Islamaniac brethren so, hey, what do you say ???”

    No, we save that treat for the good citizens of Texas. And the good news is for them, they’ve probably been blown to hell with the refinery that has not been inspected in three decades because of Freedom!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  107. An Interested Party says:

    …the death of a young thug in Florida…

    Why not just call him a ni@@er and get it over with…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  108. Lounsbury says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    I am aware of Filiu. As it happens what was true c. 2009 is not true c. 2011, nor 2013. AQMI (or rather sub elements) have shown reach and ability within the Saharan limitrophes. They are of real concern in their geographic zone.

    Of course their organisational consistency is about that of the contraband smuggling groups from which they arose. Which is to say rather low.

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  109. Lounsbury says:

    @11B40:

    I’d say you’re a simple minded provincial yokel and a drooling idiot whose instincts about ‘making impressions’ are at once childish (rendering statements above by your compatriot in provincial ignorance and idiocy about ‘mature’ anything rather ironic) and a perfect example of the simple-minded playground level instincts that led your country to pointlessly invade Iraq and piss away trillions of your national wealth for an absolutely negative return on investment.

    Of course adults would realize that the leveling of an oil refinery (owned by people who had nothing at all to do with the riots) would merely inflame those actually sympathetic against you, send petrol prices sky high (to the benefit of those people you hate blindly and doing massive damage to your own economy). Something we on the other side of the pond call “an own goal.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  110. 11B40 says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Greetings, Lounsbury: ( @ Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 05:26 )

    Welcome. It’s always nice to hear from the other side of the obviously not large enough pond. Your English is remarkable good. How’s your Arabic ??? Any German, perhaps ???

    As much as I appreciate your input, I’m glad you didn’t delve too deeply into the Iraq issue lest it diminish your self-image. I can certainly agree that the venture would quite (that’s a British “quite” if you read carefully) likely have gone much better had we made use of the prior British experiences over there. And the wonderful job they did in that town they took over.

    I still not quite sure what you mean by “an own goal”. Is it a soccer term ???

    And speaking of “leveling”, the Twin Towers don’t count, right ???

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  111. An Interested Party says:

    I still not quite sure what you mean by “an own goal”. Is it a soccer term ???

    The internet is just amazing

    And speaking of “leveling”, the Twin Towers don’t count, right ???

    Oh but they do…but no one has ever given a good reason why that tragedy should have justified the botched Iraq debacle…

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