September 26, 2012

Admin Knew About Libya 9/11 Terror Attack, And What This Says About Obma's View of America (UPDATED w/ Correction)

I've been reluctant to talk about the Benghazi attack in which our ambassador, staffer, and three two former special operators were murdered. Mostly because I suspected from the git go that this wasn't a mob that went bad, that it was the work of al Qaeda. I also suspected from day one that the three "private contractors" weren't there on a security detail, that they in Benghazi doing intelligence work. [UPDATE: Only two of them were former special operators, one, Sean "Vile Rat" Smith, was former Air Force but was there working in IT support]

This was a hit job. An al Qaeda assassination. And it was done on the anniversary of 9/11.

The reason for the reluctance is because this changes the narrative about the wisdom of having no Marines and a reduced security footprint at our Benghazi consulate.

Hindsight is always 20/20. In hindsight, of course we needed a larger security footprint. However, the imperative of protecting our diplomats must be weighed against another imperative: the need to gather intelligence on al Qaeda's presence in Libya.

And that, it would have seemed to those making the pre-attack decisions, was best served by our intelligence assets keeping a very low profile.

Benghazi, as the world is now learning, is the headquarters of Libya's al Qaeda affiliate where the group operated openly until at least last week. We needed to know what the group was up to, especially given the large numbers of arms that have gone missing in the now defunct Libyan army.

Benghazi, in other words, is not a safe place. But it is a place we needed to be.

Had I been making the calls prior to the consular attack, I think I would have stuck with low profile as well.

In other words, I don't fault the administration for failing to secure the consulate properly. Sometimes there is just no good move to make.

The four men who were killed died in the line of duty. At least three of them will have their names added to the unsung and unheralded heroes who died in the line of duty while on covert operations.

I don't fault the administration for their deaths. I fault al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda and their ilk suspect all Americans of being secret covert agents for the CIA. Which is why they so wholeheartedly kill any and all Americans they can capture in Muslim countries. They are simply paranoid.

But even the paranoid sometimes get it right. In this case the people they suspected of working against them really were.

Al Qaeda is to blame for these four deaths, not Obama.

But what does bother me is the reflexive way in which Obama blamed a movie for their deaths and not terrorists. What kind of a sick mind goes there? What kind of sick mind has the gut reaction of blaming American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights for the deaths of their compatriots abroad, and not those committing the actual acts of murder?

Our gut instincts sometimes turn out to be wrong. We should always be willing and ready to change our view of events when new information comes to light.

But I do think our initial reaction often reveals who we are at our core. And Obama's reaction to the murders in Benghazi really are revealing. They tell us that, at his core, Obama blames the ills of the world on America.

I didn't like Dinesh D'Souza's movie all that much. In my mind it went too far in trying to explain Obama's policies on a single factor. I came out of it dissatisfied.

But the Benghazi episode does suggest that D'Souza had it fundamentally right. That at least when it comes to foreign policy, Obama sees the US as the bad guy and the developing world as a victim of American neo-colonialism.

Americans were killed, and who was to blame for their deaths? Americans.

That is where Obama's gut goes. When in doubt, go directly to the default position of blame America first.

The man sickens me in this regard.

I think more telling than our default position, though, is just how recalcitrant we are in keeping that position as new information comes to light.

The longer it takes us to change our position when the facts contradict it, the more attached we are to our default position.

So, what to do with the news that within 24 hours the administration was receiving news that the Benghazi attack was probably done by al Qaeda, but that they kept their initial position that the attack was American induced mob violence for almost a week?

One way of dealing with it is to say that Obama lied and caused others to lie, because a terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11 would be politically damning.

But isn't another way of explaining the disconnect between the facts as they began to unfold and the administration's position that Obama wanted to believe that the movie was to blame?

We all do this. We don't want to admit that we are wrong because admitting that we are wrong goes against our world view. So we reject the facts because they do not fit our preconceived notions of the world.

In this case, that America is to blame.

So maybe Obama's only lie here is the one he tells to himself. That when Americans are attacked, that it is only the chickens coming home to roost.

As George Costanza taught us: it's not a lie if you believe it.

UPDATE: I've updated the post to reflect the fact that Sean "Vile Rat" Smith was in Benghazi not in security but with State as their IT guy. My apologies for not having the facts straight.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:11 PM | Comments |