Benghazi: Incompetence But No Cover-Up
Yesterday's hearings shed more light while also raising yet more questions to which we'll likely never get a satisfactory answer.
I must confess to having tuned out the investigations into the Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others long ago. Republicans, including 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, seized on it for partisan political gain too early and it blew up in their face. Yesterday’s hearings before Congress, seemingly the hundredth set, which I absorbed by osmosis via my Twitter feed, seems to have shed more light on the situation while also raising yet more questions to which we’ll likely never get a satisfactory answer.
In a piece titled “Benghazi: Incompetence, But No Cover-up—The hearings deepen the tragedy, but not the scandal,” National Journal‘s Michael Hirsh brilliantly captures my sense of what we know now:
There was tragic incompetence, plainly, in the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attacks, and even possibly some political calculation. It is a record that may well come to haunt Hillary Clinton, the first Secretary of State to lose an ambassador in the field in more than three decades, if she runs for president in 2016.
But the obvious Republican effort to turn this inquiry into the Democratic (Obama) version of the Iraq intelligence scandal that has tarred the GOP since the George W. Bush years — led by that least-credible of champions, the almost-always-wrong Darrell Issa — is just not going to amount to much.
The testimony Wednesday by three highly credible witnesses before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee added to the serious questions that have been raised for months about Benghazi. Last December, Clinton’s own “Accountability Review Board” — chaired by two major national-security figures, retired Amb. Thomas R. Pickering and Adm. Michael Mullen—detailed a broad failure of U.S. intelligence and policy-making over the deaths of Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Statements and testimony in recent days from the three State Department officials, led by Stevens’ former deputy in Libya, Gregory Hicks, only appeared to underline the administration’s failure to take action, futile though it might have been, to save the lives of its emissaries. Hicks, in prepared testimony, said the U.S. military turned down his request for help during the attack, both special operations troops and F-16 fighters. Another witness, Mark Thompson, the deputy coordinator for operations at the State Department, was expected to say that Hillary Clinton sought to cut her department’s counterterrorism bureau out of the chain of decision-making, suggesting that she was downplaying the rise of terrorism in keeping with the administration’s political line during the 2012 presidential campaign (which Clinton has already denied). The last witness, Eric Nordstrom, the diplomatic outpost’s former chief security officer, has said that the Benghazi compound failed to meet security standards despite serious security threats.
The most moving — if still-not-quite scandalous — testimony came from Hicks, who described how he virtually begged for help as Stevens and his colleagues were being killed that night of Sept. 11, 2012. The help never came. The administration’s response has been that Hicks, a diplomat, is no expert in military capabilities, and his allegations have already been directly rebutted by both Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs chairman, and former Defense Sec. Leon Panetta. Dempsey testified in February that it would have taken “up to 20 hours or so” to get F-16s to the site, and he called them “the wrong tool for the job.” Panetta testified that “the bottom line” is that “we were not dealing with a prolonged or continuous assault, which could have been brought to an end by a U.S. military response, very simply, although we had forces deployed to the region. Time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”
The closest thing we have at this point to a scandal remains the one that Romney and others tried unsuccessfully to exploit during the closing days of the campaign: Susan Rice’s being trotted out on the Sunday morning news programs to spread the known-to-be-incorrect talking point that the attack stemmed from a protest over a YouTube video.
What there is still no evidence of, however, all these months later, is a deliberate cover-up by Obama, Clinton or other senior officials concerning what they knew about the attack and when. As occurred last fall, in the heat of the presidential campaign, much of the questioning on Wednesday focused on why four days after the attacks, on Sept. 15, intel briefers sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice off to tape the Sunday talk shows with talking points that suggested Stevens’ death was the result of “spontaneous” protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo against a short film made in California lampooning the Prophet Mohammad. According to Hicks, in a phone call after Rice’s appearance he specifically asked Beth Jones, the acting assistant secretary of State for the region, “why the ambassador had said there was a demonstration when the embassy had reported only an attack.” Hicks had said previously he thought what happened was “a terrorist attack from the get-go.”
Hicks’ testimony appeared to lend credence to longstanding GOP charges that the administration was deliberately hiding evidence that new al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups were at work killing Americans, since one of the president’s big talking points in the election was that he had decimated al Qaida.
In fact, however, even today it is not clear exactly what happened to precipitate the Benghazi attack, and Libya remains somewhat in a “fog of war” situation just as it was during the Benghazi attacks. It was only a week ago that the FBI posted images of three suspects captured by surveillance cameras the night of the attack, asking the public’s help in identifying them. Just two weeks ago the French embassy in Tripoli was hit by a mysterious car bomb, injuring two guards.
Intelligence officials say it took a week or so after Rice’s TV appearances to clarify, for certain, that there had been no protest before the assault on the compound —and that, as the office of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement on Sept. 28, two weeks after Rice spoke, that “it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists.”
The intelligence community continues to maintain the same defense: that at the time of Rice’s appearance it simply did not have a good grasp of what had happened, and in some cases could not divulge classified information that was coming in about the attack.
I remain unsold on this explanation. If the administration simply didn’t know what happened at that point, why invent a talking point? And people on the ground surely knew there was no protest. Even if we totally reject the “fog of war” explanation and discount various “protect sources and methods” arguments and attribute Rice’s statement purely to political calculation—and I don’t think the evidence takes us that far—it’s pretty minor as scandals go.
Otherwise, the tragedy is that a lot of people and institutions—including the Congress—made a series of what hindsight revealed to be bad decisions. But American embassies, much less remote consulates, are not armed fortresses. They’re soft targets because they have to be welcoming in order to perform their mission. Given how many hot spots we have American diplomats stationed, the true wonder is that these attacks are so rare.
UPDATE: The other thing that causes me some concern—and this is new news, at least to me—is Hicks’ claim that he was punished for speaking to a congressional delegation about the administration’s early stance on what happened. He claims Clinton’s chief of staff chewed him out and that he was effectively demoted. While, again, bullying of career officials by political appointees is hardly unprecedented or of Watergate levels, it’s troubling if true.
And considering that we are talking about unsworn statements/explanations (of something that happened in the past) made on a TV program, I am at a total loss to see the “worse than Watergate” thing that some people keep claiming.
Agreed on your second statement James.
That said, it seems like that treatment is all to common – both in Washington and beyond.
As Glenn Reynolds notes, the National Journal seems to be of two minds on what was revealed yesterday…
Its a minor scandal. But the Republicans have to go with the scandal they have, not the major Katrina/ 911/Iraq War/economic crash type scandal they wish they had….
@stonetools: You wanna talk about Katrina? The time that the Democrat mayor and Democrat governor completely and totally bailed on their responsibilities, but somehow managed to dump all the blame on Bush?
Nice try at changing the topic, but you might wanna be a bit more careful on your choices of diversions.
This is the only piece for which I don’t think the administration has provided a satisfactory explanation. It was quite clear within 24 hours that this was a planned and coordinated terrorist attack, but the administration was still pushing the “YouTube video” line for a week. “It was based on the best knowledge we had at the time” doesn’t inspire confidence when it’s so obviously wrong.
As far as the rest goes, I’ll defer to the CJCS and SecDef regarding the un-feasibility of some airpower show of force. And, as you wrote, embassies and consulates aren’t generally fortresses.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
That brief essay offers little new in the way of commentary or analysis beyond “this isn’t going away.”
So tell me what it actually adds beyond pointing out how “meh” this entire scandal is.
Again @jenos, why is this worse than Watergate?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
That you could say this after choosing a diversion in just the previous sentence only clarifies what a caricature you truly are.
Just to be clear, the human toll is not “meh.” And there are lessons to learn here.
But the fact is IDSA and others focus on SCANDAL! versus actually trying to improve things is completely and totally “meh.”
It’s a shame the Obama Administration only has the “we’re not corrupt, we’re just incompetent” peg to hang their hat on.
He also said they should have at least tried, even if they knew it probably wouldn’t work. Which is a strange statement from some one who has spent a lifetime making the best of bad situations or at the least not letting them get any worse. Understandable considering his closeness to the situation, but all the more reason for others to take a deep breath and slow down, and not do anything rash.
In truth, to me anyway, this all sounds like Monday Morning Quarterbacking. And there is a place for that, but making political hay is not one of them.
As opposed to other administrations “we are corrupt AND incompetent?”
@matt bernius: “But last week, Billy broke a vase and tracked mud into the living room!”
True, but considering the Bush Admin had both the “we’re incompetent” and the “we’re corrupt” pegs to hang their hats on, you have to admit it is an improvement.
Frankly, its not even clear they were incompetent. That’s the Republican’s BEST CASE scenario, assumed for the sake of argument.
Believe it or not you can be doing OK and STILL be the victim of a terrorist attack. At least, this was the Republican argument after 19 terrorists launched an attack and killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11/2001.
Guess that argument went down the memory hole on January 20, 2009. All of a sudden the US government had to be PERFECT in its response to any terror attack possible, as well as being able to faultlessly predict any terrorist attack possible. Anything else is “unacceptable incompetence.”
The administration could easily be forgiven for “we did our best, it didn’t work but we tried.” It’s an American tradition, after all–I mean, 300 firefighters died in ultimately futile attempts to get everyone out of the Twin Towers on 9/11/01.
Americans don’t like to hear that there are circumstances in which the government will basically write them off, and that’s the perception of many people about Benghazi.
Not saying I agree with it, but that I understand where they’re coming from.
Yup…seems Huckabee was right…this will be the end of Obama’s second term.
Does that mean Huckabee will be ridiculed and driven from the airwaves for spewing nonsense?
Of course not.
That would make too much f’ing sense.
@Mikey: I’m guessing you’re too young to remember the lashing Jimmy Carter took over the failed hostage rescue attempt.
Those firefighters weren’t ordered into the buildings on 9/11, they went in on their own. Had a military person ordered rescuers into Benghazi with bad results there would be no end to the republicans screaming about Obama sending even more brave patriots to their deaths.
Mistake but no cover up! Will that stop the idiotic Republicans? Hell no. They will harp on about this until the cows come home. So desperate to pin something on their worst enemy, President Obama. Scared stiff of their next biggest threat who, if she runs will be Hillary Clinton. The party of no have become the party of no sense. The country is sick to the back teeth of their obstruction these past four years and their time wasting on nonsensical bills they pass that have little to do with helping the country. Repealing Obamacare has become an obsession, in fact they are obsessed with that to the point of madness I’d say. Just a sad party that has little relevance today.
Frankly, I think the Us should be a little tougher about the possibility of loss of life in a dangerous world.
WW2 is considered our “Good War”. But they were foul-ups all plenty during that war (starting with Pearl Harbor) and lots of casualties. But we toughed it through all of that and got the job done.
Lets be blunt. In a dangerous world, Americans are going to die EVEN IF WE DO EVERYTHING RIGHT. That’s realistic.
Ambassador Stevens understood that. He knew he was taking risks by travelling to a lightly defended consulate in a city where there were jihadists. He felt the risk was worth it, and necessary to achieve his mission of reaching out to the Libyan people. That’s what makes him a hero, not the fact that he died. We cheapen his heroism when we conclude that what we should do is retreat behind fortress walls when we establish a diplomatic presence in a foreign country. And of course, we mock his heroism when we make his death a vehicle for ginning up fake outrage for partisan gain.
I think incompetence is the wrong word. It pretty much means that the error CAUSED the event.
What you have here was a completely unusual, out of left field, attack, which was not handled perfectly.
To put differently, incompetence might be the opposite of perfection, but there is a lot of ground between the two. Most of human life, in fact, is lived between the two.
@beth: Not only am I not too young to remember that, I served in the military command that was created to eliminate the causes of the failure: JSOC. So I know quite clearly what it would have taken to accomplish an intervention or rescue in Benghazi.
Which is why I closed my comment by saying (about those who think an intervention should have been attempted): “Not saying I agree with it, but that I understand where they’re coming from.”
Slight build… I agree with the use of “error” but I take issue with “cause.” An attack caused the event. Errors exacerbated the event.
As far as futile attempts, any trained first responder knowable that the first rule is not to attempt a rescue if there is a significant chance that your safety will be compromised. A lifeguard should not risk drowning to save a person who is pulling her under.
@stonetools: I can’t disagree with any of what you wrote here. And I said, at the time, that the Ambassador was in the best position to determine what he did or didn’t want at the embassy and consulate.
Sometimes we forget, because (as James wrote) such attacks are so rare, that our diplomatic missions are not all cushy and safe. But they’re not.
I don’t think you can call this attack out of left field when the ambassador recognized there was a terrorist presence and asked for more security and was denied.
Also 9-11 is a pretty significant date for Islamic terrorists and the administration didn’t have anyone on alert in case something happened?
I think the “it was a video” excuse was created to protect the president in the last couple of months of the election-I don’t think they particularly cared what the fall out would be post election since they rightly didn’t see this as impeachable and of course the media did a nice job of running interference by focusing on anything but Benghazi.
If this had been a GOP candidate with these exact circumstances Benghazi would have been front page news daily until the election and then some.
To quote Ari Fleischer: Irony: Bush Admin accepted CIA talking points on WMD. CIA was wrong. O Admin altered CIA TPs on Benghazi. CIA was right.
The initial reports said NOTHING about riots inspired by that YouTube video. SOMEONE chose to add that in there, and kept pushing it for a solid week. So this dumb schmuck in California suddenly found his parole violation was an international cause, he was vilified on a global scale, and is still in jail. The Secretary of State and the UN Ambassador repeatedly told the world (and the embassy victims’ families) that this was all this dumb schmuck’s fault, painting a giant bullseye on his back. And the painters all KNEW it was bullshit.
1) Someone fabricated the connection between the video and the attack.
2) Someone decided to push that despite all the facts known at the time pointed in a completely different direction.
3) Someone put a lot of effort into maintaining the false story for as long as they could, to the point of threatening those who might contradict the official story.
The most obvious explanation, of course, was that there was a presidential election going on, and one of Obama’s main arguments was that he had utterly decimated Al Qaeda, especially by getting Bin Laden, and the fact that Al Qaeda had successfully attacked our facility and killed the US Ambassador would take a bit of the luster off that glory. So it had to be described as something else — anything else — but a terrorist attack. Kind of like how the Fort Hood shooting wasn’t terrorism, but “workplace violence.”
The most obvious, of course, but not the proven explanation. That remains to be seen.
Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice got the attack/video connection from someone, who either convinced them it was valid or directed them to act as if was valid. And the list of people who could do either is not that long.
Dude, do you remember Democrats engaging in a witch hunt after 9-11 to pin blame on the Bush Administration for the loss of THREE THOUSAND AMERICAN LIVES, despite them getting a memo month before, “Al Qaeda Poised to Strike in the US”?
How many paramilitary attacks have there been on US embassies in the last 30 years?
2 or 3?
That makes them somewhat hard to predict and staff for, unless you are willing to make every embassy (and as in Benghazi, every secondary office) a fortification.
@Boyd: Last time I checked, the predominant religious Western tradition is based around the core truth that humans are fallible in judgment and deed, and that it is that fallibility that makes us human rather than God. Imperfect people make imperfect decisions based on imperfect judgment. Sometimes, bad stuff happens as a result.
If this is too uncomfortable for you to deal with, I suggest you start working in Skynet.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
If Obama’s been arguing that he’d utterly decimated al Qaeda, then who’s he been running those drone attacks against?
As usual with this commenter, it’s a lie. There’s never been any claim by the administration that we’ve “utterly decimated al Qaeda” — quite the opposite, it’s been that the Qaeda is still an ongoing threat, and that that’s why we have to maintain an ongoing campaign against them.
For what it’s worth, I think this is a very strange section:
Do you notice the transition from “administration’s failure” to “the U.S. military turned down?”
First, I’d like to know a lot more about that military decision. Second, this seems like a real effort to “lump” decisions into the White House.
Or put differently, “accident” and “negligence” have different standards under the law.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Here ‘s the big difference, Indiana Moron. The Obama Administration didn’t use those CIA talking points to start a war that cost Americans 4,000 killed
There have been ZERO casualties as a result of any mistaken CIA talking points coming out of Benghazi.
@Rafer Janders: If Obama’s been arguing that he’d utterly decimated al Qaeda, then who’s he been running those drone attacks against?
Not the guys who killed our people in Benghazi, that’s for sure.
I don’t give a damn. The American people don’t give a damn. The deaths are tragic, but this entire thing doesn’t amount to a pimple.
Five years in, and this is all the Republicans have.
Anyone who would quote Ari Fleischer on any topic is just flat out dumb.
I keep hoping, some day, for a defense of Obama that doesn’t boil down to “herp derp Republicans are bad.” Guess today isn’t that day.
And has anyone ever apologized to Mr. Nakoula for “outing” him to the world and painting a big fat bullseye on his back? Maybe he should thank them for keeping him safe in jail, and not out free where he could get the Theo Van Gogh treatment. Because, after all, it’s not like there’s not a long, long, long rap sheet of critics of Islam being subjected to threats, violence, and even death.
Oh, yeah. He’s a crook anyway, and he’s a Coptic Christian, so he deserves it.
And the families of those killed at Benghazi who were told that it was Nakoula’s film that caused it, and they should rest assured he’d be punished for making his film trailer? There’s gotta be some knid of rationale for why they shouldn’t be upset over being lied to.
@Jenos Idanian #13: Oh please. That film did cause a lot of trouble in other places around the world which is just what he wanted it to do. And he did violate his parole by posting it on the internet. He got just what he deserves. He freely jumped into that fire.
@beth: But it didn’t cause the deaths in Benghazi. Which the Obama administration wanted us to believe.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
You know, when even your most tendentious, faux-outraged version of events sounds picayune, you got nothing. You can’t even huff and puff and bullsh!t your way to this being anything.
@Jenos Idanian #13: Yes, it is a terrible tragedy that a convicted felon who violated his parole has been returned to jail for violating his parole.
I eagerly await your crusade to ensure that any parole violators be freed immediately.
Oh, and here’s my defense of Obama:
Obama needs no defense here, because he did nothing wrong.
Oh, and here’s the other part of my defense of Obama:
Those who are accusing him of perfidy and yet can’t find an actual single thing he’s done wrong are nothing more than pond scum. And if you’re keeping score, that’s not “Republicans are bad.” That’s “You are a loathesome troll.”
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Yes, all this man ever did is publicly fund, produce and make an anti-Muslim video and then put it up on YouTube for worldwide distribution! It’s not like he asked for the publicity! What kind of world do we live in when a man can’t put up a controversial video on the Internet and not expect to be left alone!
lol, they don’t give a damn because they are brain washed into stupidity with stupidity and you don’t give a damn because you don’t have a moral compass.
How do you even argue against this kind of liberal madness? They lied and lied and lied. For an election.You people can’t see it?
As I was saying, brain wahsed with stupidity and no moral compass…It is that ******* simple.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
You heard a defense, which you either ignored or were too stupid to see. And the defense is:
“Even if there were mistakes made to the response to the Benghazi attack, those mistakes were inconsequential.”
Conservatives have been frothing at the mouth trying to make the argument, “Mistakes were made!” But when you ask the question, “What difference do these alleged mistakes make?”, a deafening silence descends. You try to make something out of what happened to Nakoula. Dude, he put his YouTube video on the Internet months before this happened, in violation of his parole terms . He earned what happened to him.
In any case, what happened to him is a personal problem. What national interest has suffered because some erroneous CIA talking points were put out for a few days? So far, the conservative response has been…………..
( Watches tumbleweeds go by, while crickets chirp)
@Jenos Idanian #13:
A defense of Obama?
Have you put him in the Benghazi command and control cycle?
Or are you just saying that Magic Black Jesus should be everywhere at once?
I think Americans should care, but their care should be proportionate.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Forget about the Republicans. Forget about a “defense of Obama.” What did you want Obama to do about the attack in Benghazi? He’s the president, not Superman.
Just admit it…..you guys on the right don’t give a rip about who attacked what in Benghazi unless you can use it as a political weapon against Obama. A bunch of fair-weather patriots, who spent 8 years making excuses for Bush and the last 5 shoveling $hit about birth certificates and Benghazi cover-ups. Seriously?
All the GOP really wants to hear is that Obama is a secret Muslim traitor who doesn’t have the balls to flatten Benghazi in order to save four Americans–two employees of the State Department and two murkily CIA-types.
But no one really even believes this about Obama. That’s the funny part. It’s just self-justification now–the haters have dug such a hole with their lies that they can’t admit that they’re stuck. Meanwhile, Obama is running drone attacks and kill programs and pulling psychos like Ray Davis out of jail.
It’s like Vietnam fast-forwarded in five seconds, comfort food for the losers who believe that the hippies stabbed Rambo in the back, and who can remember way back when this cliche won an argument or mattered.
People should care about the policy that led to a quasi-occupying force being so exposed in what was a region controlled by a hostile militia.
I think everyone agrees that the American strategy in Iraq and in Afghanistan was/is a fiasco. Using less force and more diplomacy in a country like LIbya may have been the strategy. If that’s true, then there are acceptable risks. Benghazi would be one.
On the other hand, if the official position on Benghazi was bullshit and people were placed there as if there weren’t militias operating, then it’s different.
I think the trip to Benghazi was “put together,” and thus involved less pre-planning than other aspects of the Libyan cycle.
I meant overall, as in “The Benghazi consulate is perfectly safe because we say so.”
I don’t think this was the case, though, and I don’t think the GOP thinks it is either.
Not my invention, but bears repeating here:
Shorter entire GOP/Fox: Obama is too out-of-touch with local realities to have any good policies in Texas/Arizona/Florida etc. However, he should be expected to personally perfectly anticipate and implement policy in Libya/Afghanistan/Egypt etc.
I guess all we can hope is that at some point conservatives will tire of dancing on the graves of the four Americans who died in Libya.
Overall, we should remember that the basis of the Whitewater investigation–that Bill Clinton, while being ripped off by Jim McDougal in a real estate deal, committed a criminal act–was even more absurd. The GOP would love to drag another Kenneth Starr from right wing purgatory while Fox sits around and spews out theories.
Right but we should also remember that “consulates” and “embassies” are different. The Embassy in Tripoli apparently had higher security. It was the trip from embassy to consulate that changed the picture.
Daily Kos has perfectly captured why the Republicans persist with this:
“Effectively demoted” is that like a little bit pregnant? One is either demoted or not. This will go nowhere just like Fast and Furious, Solyndra and all the other “scandals” the GOP has been chasing.
@matt bernius: If you call 4 American’s dead from violence over ‘a repulsive video’ not a scandal then your the on needing your eyes opened.
If we accept this “logic”, 9.11 becomes one of the greatest scandals in history. Strange then, that conservatives were not marching on Washington demanding Bush’s resignation.
@stonetools: And yet Roosevelt didn’t blame Pearl Harbor on a “demonstration” due to an insulting “Japanese video”. He put the blame where it belonged and even fired a number of officers for incompetence.
@michael reynolds: Well then the Sandy Hook shooting should just be considered a pimple. No, that pushes your liberal agenda so we must beat teh bushes and get everyoen behind “common sense gun control” legislation.
@James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb): Just admit it…..you guys on the right don’t give a rip about who Sandy Hook
attacked what in Benghaziunless you can use it as a political weapon against ObamaRepublicans.
There, fixed it for you.
Are you really this stupid? The four Americans who died in Libya were adults, trained professionals who wanted to serve their country and were willing to go to dangerous places to do it.
The Sandy Hook victims were children.
I guess you don’t understand that is not the same thing.
Only because the MSM chooses to ignore the stories because it doesn’t make their Mesiah look good.
I know what a “messiah” is. What is a Mesiah?
Why don’t you just find a nice street corner and shout “I am an idiot” as everyone who passes by for a few hours?
I don’t recall the Bush administration blaming 9/11 on a “few errant aircraft that accidentally went of course” either.
Four state department officials were removed from their positions after the report was issued in December.
@anjin-san: People died. Anyone who calls death of an innocent a PIMPLE deserves to be chastized. Take off your rose colored lib glasses for a second and look at his stupid comment.
@anjin-san: Why, because I’m typing too fast. Asshat!
@TheColourfield: They were moved to other positions. They were not fired for poor leadership as they well should have been.
Remember the hearings on all these attacks below?
13 “Benghazis” that occurred on George W. Bush’s watch:
January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.
June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al-Qaida attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.
October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of “Bali Bombings.” No fatalities.
February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.
May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al-Qaida terrorists storm the diplomatic compound killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.
July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.
December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.
March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan again. Suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers. (I wonder if Lindsey Graham or Fox News would even recognize the name “David Foy.” This is the third Karachi terrorist attack in four years on what’s considered American soil.)
September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. Four armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.
January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.
March 18, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Members of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.
July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.
September 17, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.
Those are more than I remember. Good compilation.
Can’t really take credit for it,
Copied and pasted from the Daily Banter via Eschaton
@TheColourfield: They are not holding hearings because there were incidents. They are investigating because the administration pushed the “youtube video” excuse for days afterward and they knew they were lying. That tells me those who lied and those that help perpatrate the lie need to be removed from their positions.
And I don’t care who it is. Trot out IRAQ, Powell, UN, etc., and I will agree with you.
The Obama administration pushed this lie to divert attention in the run up to the 2012 election.
Obama called it an act o terror the next day. There was no cover up. Are you suggesting a review board that included Admiral Mcmullen would lie to cover up for the President ?
Slow down, engage your brain. You might say something that is not either laughable or pathetic.
Right. So just provide some links to the dozens of posts you made demanding resignations/firings after “we know they have them, and we know where they are”
I will stand by.
@TheColourfield: “The Obama administration pushed this lie to divert attention in the run up to the 2012 election”
To divert attention from WHAT? Why?
The only way this makes sense is if you make up a completely different campaign in which Obama ran on the achievement of having wiped every trace of Al Qaeda from the face of the earth. Which of course didn’t happen. And which Republicans are now claiming he did.
So you tell me, Field, what were they diverting attention from? Because if there’s one thing we learned from Bush, you don’t deny terrorism to divert the public’s attention from your crimes — you scream it as loud as you can and hope everyone is too scared to remember what they were thinking about.
@anjin-san: Stand by all you want. The mere fact I didn’t start posting here until 2011 means you won’t find any.
Um, I think you meant to reply to Jack
And you never posted anywhere else on the internet before then?
@TheColourfield: Um, yes. Yes, I did.
@Rafer Janders: Yes, all this man ever did is publicly fund, produce and make an anti-Muslim video and then put it up on YouTube for worldwide distribution! It’s not like he asked for the publicity! What kind of world do we live in when a man can’t put up a controversial video on the Internet and not expect to be left alone!
OK, so now we know some of the criteria for “people it is acceptable to scapegoat.” What else is there? And is there anything else we can blame him for?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Her’s a few things for a start:
In 2010, Nakoula pleaded no contest to federal charges of bank fraud in California. Nakoula had opened bank accounts using fake names and stolen Social Security numbers, including one belonging to a 6-year-old child, and deposited checks from those accounts to withdraw at ATMs.
The prosecutor described the scheme as check kiting: “You try to get the money out of the bank before the bank realizes they are drawn from a fraudulent account. There basically is no money.”
Nakoula’s June 2010 sentencing transcript shows that after being arrested, he testified against an alleged ring leader of the fraud scheme, in exchange for a lighter sentence
He was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison, followed by five years probation (supervised release), and ordered to pay $794,701 in restitution. He was sent to prison, then to a halfway house, and was released from custody in June 2011.
A few weeks later, he began working on Innocence of Muslims. Conditions of Nakoula’s probation include not using aliases and not using the Internet without prior approval from his probation officer.
In Jenos/Jay Tea’s world, anyone who hates Muslims should be free from prosecution of any criminal activity.
Here’s a nice collection of videos showing Obama’s press secretary spending months covering up for the assassins and continuing to scapegoat a guy who has never been accused of a single violent crime.
Which, of course, means nothing, because the scapegoat in question violated his parole (not like David Gregory, who willfully broke DC’s gun laws, of course), and the assassinations of Americans really doesn’t mean much, after all, right? What’s a few more dead Americans, anyway? And can’t we find some way of blaming Bush?
@TheColourfield: Granted, Nakoula’s a crook. But he didn’t get anyone killed in Benghazi, which is what he was blamed for repeatedly.
By very high-placed people who knew better. But that doesn’t mean a damned thing, of course.
And anyone should be able to insult Muslims whenever they want, just like they can insult Christians, Jews, and any other faith. But that often carries a de facto death penalty these days… and you sure as hell better not expect the Left to stand up for that kind of free speech.
Remember, calling Sandra Fluck a slut is a horrific hate crime. Killing someone who insults Islam — or even just threatening to do so — is just one of those things, no big deal, nobody talk about it.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
“OK, so now we know some of the criteria for “people it is acceptable to scapegoat.” What else is there? And is there anything else we can blame him for?”
“and continuing to scapegoat a guy who has never been accused of a single violent crime.”
The goalposts, they are a movin
It’s my fault for responding to a troll who would rather change the subject I guess.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Here’s a nice collection of videos showing Obama’s press secretary spending months covering up for the assassins and continuing to scapegoat a guy who has never been accused of a single violent crime.
You are a liar. The only videos from that link that even remotely resemble what you describe are from days after the attacks.
Granted, Nakoula’s a crook.
But he should be free from punishment for his crimes because he doesn’t like Muslims. We get it.
Remember, calling Sandra Fluck a slut is a horrific hate crime.
As evidenced by the fact that Rush Limbaugh was charged and convicted of the crime, right?
You are nothing but a shitheel liar, Jay. GFY.
@Jenos Idanian #13: “And is there anything else we can blame him for?”
Well, how about violating the terms of his parole, which is a release from jail conditional on meeting certain requirements, and which is immediately revocable once those requirements are violated.
You’re really having trouble with this concept, aren’t you, brain boy?
Wow. I don’t even remember hearing about these:
Also, too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorist_attacks_on_U.S._diplomatic_facilities
Huh. How about that.
Various liberal pundits have been saying for some time that the Right will spend its time trying to find a scandal so they can impeach. Just like Clinton.
And they have. Surprised? I’m not.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
That’s cute. He doesn’t know what the word “scapegoat” means.
By the way, I have to say that saying Sandra Fluck instead of Fluke is really cute, Jenos. Adorable, really.
Here’s your tip of the day: Sandra Fluke did not commit any crime, nor violate the terms of any agreement.
Whathisface (the video guy) did. Surprisingly enough, there were consequences to this.
What a world.
@Rob in CT:
That’s because the Democratic Party is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of a propaganda network which spent months trumpeting every one of those attacks with wall-to-wall coverage. Each one got a one, two day mention on the evening news, one or two write-ups in the papers, and then everyone moved on.
@Rob in CT:
Eh, trying to explain the concepts of “consequences” or “taking responsibility for one’s actions” to a Republican is like trying to explain quantum physics to a dog. It’s a waste of your time and theirs.
What I meant was that I was pretty fired up about US foreign policy during that period and I *still* have no memory of those events.
That’s partly the lack of coverage/manufactured outrage and partly my own lack of knowledge (or memory, which is a weak point at times), as I’m sure each was was, as you say, duly reported at the time.
Since Jay Tea/Jenos has a long record of writings over at Wizbang, I took a look through the archives to see how much outrage he managed to muster over these incidents:
– 2002 Attack on U.S. Consulate In Karachi, Pakistan
– 2004 bombing of U.S. Embassy In Uzbekistan
– 2004 attack on U.S. Consulate In Saudi Arabia
– 2006 attack on U.S. Embassy In Syria
– 2008 Bombings of U.S. Embassy In Yemen
How much outrage did Jay Tea/Jenos express about those incidents? Well, he wrote one post where he wonders whether the attack on the consulate in Saudi Arabia is technically an attack on US soil or not, because he had a stupid bet going.
That’s it. He didn’t care enough about the other attacks on us diplomatic posts enough to even mention them. Keep that in mind the next time he decides to lecture everyone about partisanship and how he really only cares about the folks killed in the attack.
Wow. Just… wow.
All these arguments boil down to two simple statements:
1) Obama should not be blamed for the attacks;
2) Nakoula’s a slimeball who should be locked up.
Which, no matter how many times it’s repeated and paraphrased, doesn’t actually address what I have been saying all along:
1) The Obama administration spent at least a full week stonewalling the true nature of the attacks, including scapegoating Nakoula;
2) Nakoula, for all his offenses, did not deserve to be the scapegoat for the terrorist attack.
For all your other flaws, I don’t think any of you (with the exception of wr) are really stupid enough to miss those two simple points. So I’m going to go with dishonesty. You can’t answer the actual points I’m raising, you you simply make shit up, pretend I said it, and egg each other on to see who can make the non-point most entertainingly.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Pretty funny. You have evidence Obama was behind the attacks now?
@Jenos Idanian #13: Hey Stupid,
No one here besides you is saying Nakoula deserved to be scapegoated for the attacks.
We’re saying that he deserved to go back to jail for violating the terms of his probation. Which, oddly enough, is not scapegoating at all.
Oh, and while I’m addressing what you’re saying: Obama didn’t spend a week stonewalling the true nature of the attacks. This is more crap you’ve made up.
So fundamentally here’s how I’m addressing your “simple points.” You are lying, as usual. You are deliberately misstating facts to put the worst possible spin on them. You are exploiting the deaths of four people while pretending to give a damn about them because you think it will mildly annoy posters on the internet, thus giving you a justification for existing one more day.
Have I addressed your points sufficiently, little boy?
This talking point of yours about a supposedly “known-to-be-incorrect talking point” is known to be incorrect. There’s plenty of evidence that the video was a factor in the attack. Link:
And Nordstrom is suddenly a heroic whistleblower, but no one is noticing what he said on 10/10/12 (video; scroll to 2:44:04):
Emphasis added. Nordstrom was talking about this (link, 6/18/12):
This group had a history of reacting violently when they thought Islam was insulted, and they said the day after Stevens died that this was a “response” to Islam being insulted. Of course you must ignore these inconvenient facts in order to pretend the video didn’t matter. And they are quite easy to ignore, because they are almost never mentioned in the press. That darn liberal media.
@jukeboxgrad: The issue in controversy here isn’t whether the terrorists used the video among its pretexts for violence. Rather, it’s the claim propounded by Rice that the attack was a spontaneous action of a mob that had gathered to protest the video. No such mob existed and it was known at that time that it was an organized terror attack.
No, that is the issue, because people like Jonah Goldberg are saying “the video had nothing to do with it” (link). You said this:
A statement like that helps people like Goldberg promote the lie that “the video had nothing to do with it.”
The underlying problem here is that people are adopting a binary view. Consider these two statements:
A) There was a protest sparked by a video.
B) There was a terrorist attack that had nothing to do with the video.
A lot of people are acting like those are the only two possibilities. Trouble is, this means ruling out what actually seems to have happened:
C) There was a terrorist attack that was a response, at least in part, to the video.
D) There was a terrorist attack that was planned in advance, and opportunistically adopted the video as a pretext.
I don’t see any material difference between that and C.
Also, based on ABC News reporting this morning, we know Jay Carney was wrong when he said this:
In fact, the talking points underwent at least 12 edits, with significant input from the State Department, which did not want to give Congress information that would allow it to (in the words of spokesperson Victoria Nuland) “beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings.”
All that being said, I don’t think this rises to the level of a huge scandal, but on the other hand it’s pretty disappointing because it’s just so petty.
It does provide a pretty clear insight into how the various agencies of government work to shape opinion, though.
@jukeboxgrad: C indicates the video was in some aspect a motivator for the attack–absent the video, the attack would have been less likely.
D indicates the attack would have happened anyway.
Personally, I don’t think the video had squat to do with the attack, and I haven’t since we learned mortars were used. Mortars take planning and coordination, and do not lend themselves to use with spontaneity.
Not really. It just indicates that the attack might have happened later, in response to something else.
There is no contradiction in believing that an attack was planned, and also believing that the video was a factor in causing the attack to actually happen, and to happen at this time.
Then you should explain what Nordstrom said on 10/10.
But that’s not what the White House said–they said the attack was BOTH spontaneous (i. e. non-planned) AND in response to the video.
And since this morning’s ABC News report, we know the White House was aware of the involvement of Ansar al-Sharia, an al-Qaeda-linked group, from the beginning, but allowed DoS to change the talking points to eliminate any mention of it.
The question isn’t whether Ansar al-Sharia reacts violently to perceived insults of Islam, but whether the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was a specific instance in response to a specific video. And I don’t think what we know at this point supports that.
Nordstrom’s testimony, which you are still ignoring, “supports that.”
@Mikey: “The question isn’t whether Ansar al-Sharia reacts violently to perceived insults of Islam, but whether the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was a specific instance in response to a specific video. And I don’t think what we know at this point supports that. ”
No, the question is why any of this matters.
Which you can’t answer, because it doesn’t.
If you want to try, give it a whack. You’d be the first person to actually make a case about how anything would have been the slightest bit different if the administration had used your preferred words to describe what happened.
Until then, it’s all nonsense. The fact that you are treating it as if it’s somehow important without any idea of why it should be important does not speak well of your faculties.
It’s important because it negatively impacts the administration’s credibility when it persists for several days in perpetuating a scenario that was clearly wrong from the beginning, and further compounds the problem by asserting an origin of that scenario that we now know was–if not entirely false–questionable.
Again, as I’ve said before, this isn’t a huge scandal–certainly not, as the ridiculous Lindsey Graham said, “bigger than Watergate.” But neither is it a nothingburger.
If this was “a scenario that was clearly wrong from the beginning” then explain Nordstrom’s testimony regarding the prior attack (“they stormed that facility and it was in protest to what they claimed was an anti-Islamic film”).
I realize you have already decided to ignore what he said. Thanks for making it more and more obvious.
@jukeboxgrad: Interpreting his testimony differently from you isn’t “ignoring” it. That Ansar al-Sharia responded to an art exhibition by setting something on fire in an entirely separate incident does not automatically prove they attacked the American consulate because of a video nobody knew about until the day of. He was speculating, not making an assertion of fact.
@jukeboxgrad: The scenario that was clearly wrong was that the attack was BOTH spontaneous and in response to the video. It was clear from the moment mortars were used that the attack was not spontaneous.
Nordstrom said “the first impression that I had was that it was going to be something similar” to the prior incident where “they stormed that facility and it was in protest to what they claimed was an anti-Islamic film.” Sounds like he thought “the attack was BOTH spontaneous and in response to the video.”
You haven’t told us how you interpret his testimony. That’s because there’s no interpretation of his statement that is consistent with your statements.
@jukeboxgrad: Nordstrom was SPECULATING (“The first impression I had”). You want to turn his speculation into an assertion of absolute fact, but it was not. It was speculation, which, seen in the light of all we’ve learned since, was not correct.
You think they might not have mentioned who they thought did it right away because they were investigating them and didn’t want to tip them off, maybe?
Or do you think the CIA should just do everything publicly and openly and always share all intelligence they get with the public about active terrorists groups the moment they get it?
@mantis: That would be a plausible rationale (and in fact it’s one I considered), except for two things:
1. The CIA’s original talking point stated a high level of confidence that it was a terrorist attack, and specifically named Ansar al-Sharia as the likely culprits.
2. That paragraph was eventually removed, but not at the request of the CIA or the FBI–it was removed at the request of the State Department.
So, since the agencies specifically charged with intel and investigation didn’t care if that info went public, I’ve discounted the “protecting the investigation” rationale.
The argument is about what was known or believed at the time, not “all we’ve learned since.” You said this:
I highlighted some important words that you are now trying to disown.
No, that’s not what “the CIA’s original talking point stated.” It did not use the word “terror” in any form. What it said about “Ansar al-Sharia” is this (link, pdf):
And what it said above that is this:
All the people getting hysterical about the revisions to the CIA talking points are conveniently glossing over the fact that the CIA said the key thing that Rice is being crucified for saying: that the attacks were “spontaneous.”
1. The CIA’s original talking point stated a high level of confidence that it was a terrorist attack, and specifically named Ansar al-Sharia as the likely culprits.
Not true, as JBG points out. Did you even bother to read it or are you just repeating garbage you read on wingnut websites?
ABC News. From yesterday:
Not only was the stuff I referenced in the original talking points, but DoS tried to use the “prejudicing the investigation” rationale and was toldt the FBI had no problem whatsoever including the language regarding a terrorist attack and Ansar al-Sharia. Again, from ABC News:
I don’t frequent “wingnut websites,” except to point and laugh.
This is what you said:
No, it didn’t state that. Stop lying.
The word “terror” was not used.
@jukeboxgrad: I’m not trying to disown anything. I knew the “spontaneous attack” line was nonsense from the beginning. It was a planned terrorist attack, the CIA knew it, they even had a pretty good idea which group participated, but their input was removed at the request of DoS.
You said that the CIA memo said something it didn’t say. One more time: stop lying.
Then explain why they said this:
OK, the word “terror” was never used, you’re right. Point to you. The involvement of Ansar al-Sharia, a known terrorist group, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda, a known terrorist group, doesn’t necessarily mean it was a terrorist attack. The use of mortars, which requires prior planning and training, doesn’t mean the attack was planned.
Correct, because members of “a known terrorist group” are perfectly capable of conducting a spontaneous attack. In fact, they are likely to do so.
Carrying a gun “requires prior planning and training.” If I shoot you today, does that mean you can be sure “the attack was planned” simply because I’m carrying a gun?
@jukeboxgrad: Stop accusing me of lying. There’s no need to be a jerk.
It’s true, the CIA memo does not agree with my opinion, and I was wrong to conflate the two.
But the presence of mortars still indicates, to me–as someone whose military experience included the integration of mortars with direct fire–that there was a significant level of prior planning.
@jukeboxgrad: Carrying a gun doesn’t require the same kind of planning and training that employing mortars does.
The analogy is still valid. Being prepared to use a mortar doesn’t mean that this mortar action was planned in advance.
@jukeboxgrad: In some instances, you”re correct–and in fact many military forces train to be able to set up and employ mortars with little notice. But in this specific instance, I don’t think that was the case, because employing indirect fire in an urban area is considerably more challenging and they would have had to determine their adjustment points ahead of time. If your guys are assaulting a building, you don’t want to drop rounds on them.
People inclined to suicide bombing are excessively concerned about hitting the wrong target? I don’t think so.
@jukeboxgrad: I don’t think you can assume any given member of Ansar al-Sharia wants to become a martyr via the mortars of his buddies.
I don’t think you can assume that members of Ansar al-Sharia are fussy about how they aim their mortars.
@jukeboxgrad: Really? I think we can quite safely assume they would want to hit what they’re targeting. Otherwise, why bother? They might not care about collateral damage, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need some planning and coordination to actually hit what they want to hit.
Anyway, some interesting hypothesizing from Glenn Kessler at the WaPo:
An alternative explanation for the Benghazi talking points: Bureaucratic knife fight
Exactly. Thanks for seeing my point.
Kessler is nicely dismantled here.
@jukeboxgrad: Do we have to now argue over how far Daily Howler “dismantled” Kessler? Because what I see there is agreement with his basic premise regarding the interagency conflict that led to so much being removed from the talking points.
The kind of silo-orientation and bureaucratic turf-defense to which Kessler attributes (at least potentially) the sanitized-to-mush talking points is a well-known and longstanding feature of Washington D. C. Do you not think it plausible that he’s right?
Do you see mine? Every round that hits the building next door doesn’t hit the people actually shooting at you.
You’re missing the main points that Somerby made about Kessler. Start at “Kessler keeps killing the pig.”
We’re talking about people who wouldn’t care too much, if they had plenty of ammo (and they probably do). That’s the point.
@jukeboxgrad: Don’t misunderstand me–I got the part about “Kessler keeps killing the pig” and “once a demon always a demon.” But there was also a recommendation to go read Kessler’s post. “His explanation is quite instructive.”
FWIW pretty much every non-right-leaning outlet I read that referenced Kessler agreed with him. The people at PJ Tatler, on the other hand, claim he’s just “shilling for the administration” because his hypothesis pretty much eliminates any possibility of White House malfeasance.
As far as dropping mortar rounds, all I can say is in my experience, volume is a poor substitute for accuracy…
OK, thanks for pointing that out. I thought you had overlooked it somehow.
Yes, Somerby said that there is both good and bad in the Kessler post, and I agree.
I probably agree myself with some or most of what he said, but work by him and his peers has to be taken with some large grains of salt, as Somerby intelligently explained.
He said the press does stuff “straight out of Wonderland,” and showed some proof. Here’s some additional proof that seems quite important to me. Recall Mitt’s famous words at the second debate:
So here’s a simple question. Is Mitt right or wrong? And if he’s wrong, exactly how wrong is he? During that period, how many times did Obama call the attack in Benghazi an act of terror? Is Mitt correct that the answer is zero? If not, what is the correct number? It should be easy to find out, right? And even though there might be some interpretation required, at the very least we should be able to see, collected in one place, every instance of Obama saying “Benghazi” and “terror” on the same occasion. Then every reader can decide for himself which instances qualify as relevant, with regard to evaluating the truth or falsity of Mitt’s claim.
So is this too much to ask for from the press? Yes, it is. Various outlets, including WP, prepared supposedly definitive ‘timelines’ purportedly showing us all the key statements relevant to this question. So were those timelines prepared carefully? Are they complete? No. They all suck.
Within a week of the attack Obama made at least four statements where he described the Libya attack as terrorism. Surely the major timelines present all those statements, right? No, they don’t. As far as I can tell, there is exactly one place on the internet where all those four instances are listed. Link. Do you think this is remarkable? I do. And not in a good way.
After noticing this, it’s hard for me to take Kessler et al seriously (and I have other stories like this). They do useful work, but also have a lot more credibility than they deserve.
I understand and agree with the general logic of this argument, but it doesn’t work the way you need it to, in this context. And this brings us to another major underlying issue in this matter, which has to do with the fallacy of bifurcation. Let’s recall something else Mitt said that night:
That’s a terribly stupid statement, and the stupidity is intentional, and most of the mainstream commentary on this matter reflects the same stupidity. The underlying ‘framing’ here, which the supposedly liberal media has adopted, is that the attack must have been either 100% spontaneous or 100% planned. How does that make sense? It doesn’t, because it was probably a combination of both.
Imagine that I’m a typical Islamic extremist in a place like Benghazi. Imagine that my pals and I have accumulated various cool toys like mortars. We have probably put some effort into thinking about where and how to use them. We probably have in mind a list of potential targets. We have probably even done some detailed planning, on paper, with regard to placement and aim. Does that mean we know exactly when and where we will conduct an attack? No, it doesn’t. We will probably be opportunistic. We will probably wake up one morning and decide this is the right day to attack a particular target.
So is an attack like this spontaneous or planned? Answer: yes. It’s both.
With something infinitely more elaborate like 9/11, the word ‘spontaneous’ just doesn’t apply at all. All sorts of details were fixed in stone long before that day. But something like the Benghazi attack is different, and the most likely scenario is a combination of spontaneous and planned.
Once you see this, the entire conservative narrative collapses, because this is the inner logic of that narrative: ‘it was either 100% spontaneous or 100% planned, and once there is any evidence of the latter it becomes a lie to treat the video as a factor.’ Or: ‘once we identify any elements of planning we must conclude that the video had nothing whatsoever to do with it.’
Quite fvcking stupid. And this stupidity is reflected not just in GOP rhetoric but also in the mainstream coverage of this matter. That darn liberal media.
@jukeboxgrad: @jukeboxgrad: Thanks, man. Good stuff.
And I think your thinking on this makes sense, too–they were “prepared” in the sense of being ready to seize an opportunity, and that opportunity arose on 9/11/2012, but they didn’t specifically plan to attack on that day. The facts as we know them certainly fit that scenario. They knew where to set their mortars and they knew their adjustment points because they’d been surveyed some time before.
Which means if that “safe house” was supposed to be in any way covert, it had been compromised.
Thanks for the compliment.
That’s a perfect summary of what I’m trying to say.
You’re welcome. I don’t generally come to OTB to argue a lot–I like to converse (however asynchronous it may be). It also helps me clarify my own thinking on the “issues of the day.” That certainly happened in this thread. So, again, thanks.