The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Truth on Their Side

The now infamous Benghazi "smoking gun" email has spurred the House to do what should have been done more than a year ago—create a Congressional Select Committee to investigate the core questions that continue to remain unanswered about the death of four Americans, inlcuding a U.S ambassador:
  • Who directed White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes to define a mendacious talking points strategy and Susan Rice to promulgate the story that a video caused the violence, when the preponderence of hard evidence from almost every person on the ground (CIA, State, the Libyan's themselves) indicated that a coordinated terrorist attach was on-going?
  • What was the president's role in decision making that night? Was he a direct participant in the Situation Room or was he less heavily involved?
  • What was then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's role in decision making that night? Was she a direct participant in the Situation Room or less heavily involved?
  • Why was the video false narrative continued long after clear evidence indicated that every participant knew it to be false?
  • Why has the White House refused to release photos that depict the participants in the situation room? [A standard practice in such situations]
  • Who made the assessment that the military was unable to intervene? How could that assessment be made when no one knew with any certainty (1) the duration of the attack as it was occurring, and (2) the status of the Americans under attack?
  • Was there any push-back from military in the region? That is, were commanders told to stand-down by their superiors?
  • Who in the administration communicated with the military that night? What did they tell the commanders in theater.
If the committee answers these questions, it will have done its job. The conclusions that the answers will elicit are for the American people to make.

Jay Sekulow summarizes the current email nicely when he writes:
The email dated September 14, 2012 – three days after the attack – was sent by then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes to top spokespeople in the White House and State Department. The title of the email says it all:
PREP CALL with Susan.

Instead of protecting our diplomats, the Obama administration was more concerned about protecting the perception of not having a foreign policy failure.

And among the key objectives to convey to Susan Rice hours before her media appearances:

“To convey that the United States is doing everything that we can to protect our people and facilities abroad;”
“To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy;”
“To show that we will be resolute in bringing people who harm Americans to justice, and standing steadfast through these protests;”
“To reinforce the President and the Administration's strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

Here's the problem -- ALL of those objectives were designed to hide the truth -- and score political points.

It is clear that these talking points were deeply flawed. The U.S. did not do everything in its power to protect our diplomats in Benghazi.

In an 85-page report, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded:

“The failures of Benghazi can be summed up this way: the Americans serving in Libya were vulnerable; the State Department knew they were vulnerable; and no one in the Administration really did anything about it.”

No one has been held accountable. The State Department initially put four employees on administrative leave but later said they would be reassigned to different positions at the State Department and would return to work. The bottom line: no one was fired.

And, instead of portraying the president's “strength and steadiness” – this strategy to deceive underscored the president’s weakness and inconsistency.
Even the trained hamsters of the main stream media have taken notice. albeit like an ADD child who really has no interest but is being forced to do his homework.

As a consequence, the administration's many protectors in the media and among most Democrats are using everything possible to delegitimize the Select Committee before it have even begun its work, denigrate those of us who would like answers to the questions listed above (e.g., "Benghazi truthers" or "Benghazi-ists"), and convince the American people that there is nothing new here, we should "move on." The viciousness of their attacks will escalate if the committee begins to cut the strands that make up the administration's web of lies.

If the Democrats and the media want this to be over, there's a really easy way to get that done. Answer the question I listed earlier completely, honestly, and without political spin. That won't happen, and that's why it's necessary to get the answers even if it upsets the delicate sensibilities of those who claim have the truth on their side.

The most important question I ask in the body of this post is: "What was the president's role in decision making that night? Was he a direct participant in the Situation Room or was he less heavily involved?"

Andrew McCarthy comments further:
Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the State Department’s Sean Smith were killed in the early stage of the jihadist attack. By then, the actions that would surely have saved their lives — e.g., an adult recognition that Benghazi was no place for an American diplomatic facility, or at least the responsible provision of adequate security — had already been callously forsaken. It seems unlikely AFRICOM could have gotten there in time for them on that fateful night, though that does not come close to excusing the failure to try.

Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty are a different story. They fought valiantly for many hours after our military learned, very early on, that the battle was raging. Unlike AFRICOM, the SEALs did not stand pat. They ran to the sound of the guns. After saving over 30 of their countrymen, they paid with their lives. The armed forces, General Lovell recalled, knew that terrorists were attacking them. Yet no one came to their aid.

Later, he gets to the true core of the question, the core that makes the president's media protectors squirm:
Outnumbered and fighting off wave after jihadist wave, Americans were left to die in Benghazi while administration officials huddled, not to devise a rescue strategy, but to spin the election-year politics. The most powerful and capable armed forces in the history of the world idled, looking not to their commander-in-chief but to a State Department that busied itself writing press releases about phantom Islamophobia. The president of the United States, the only constitutional official responsible for responding, was nowhere to be found.

We are left with four dead Americans and an emerging paper trail of dereliction stretching from Benghazi to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Benghazi is not about what Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta or Susan Rice or Ben Rhodes or Jay Carney or Robert Lovell did or didn’t do. The only question is: What was President Barack Obama doing, and not doing, during the critical hours when his sworn duty required decisive action? Mr. Obama owes Americans a detailed answer. Now.
 UPDATE (4/4/14):
After castigating the GOP for grandstanding and the Democrats for purposely stonewalling the investigation, John Kass comments on the overriding issues surrounding Benghazi:
Former CIA official Mike Morell, testifying recently before Congress, said the U.S. intelligence community knew it was a terror attack from the start.

"The analysts said from the get-go that al-Qaida was involved in this attack," Morell said.

And last week, Judicial Watch obtained key White House documents through the Freedom of Information Act. Earlier documents, released by the Obama White House to Congress, were redacted.

The new emails were written by, White House deputy strategic communications adviser Ben Rhodes, whose brother is president of CBS News.

One Rhodes email to Rice, dated Sept. 14 at shortly after 8 p.m., was intended to prepare Rice for her appearances on those Sunday shows.

Rhodes emphasized that one goal of Rice's appearances was to "underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy."

And even more cynically, Rhodes offered Rice the argument that she would use, that the video was "disgusting and reprehensible," that "there is absolutely no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence. And we are working to make sure that people around the globe hear that message."

For days afterward, the message from President Obama, Rice, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and others was: the video, the video, the video.

By not releasing the Rhodes emails fully to Congress, the Obama White House clearly showed its contempt for the House. And depending on your politics, you might agree with the strategy. It got Obama through his roughest debates and helped confuse the issue enough that he was re-elected.

But if we allow our nation's leaders to let politics obscure how our government works, we are making a fatal mistake. That's how fools lose the Republic.

And those four in Benghazi weren't fools. They died for our country, and years of political cover-up can't obscure that.

Again, their names were Stevens, Smith, Doherty and Woods.

They didn't die for politics.
But Barack Obama and virtually everyone in his administration rejected overwhelming real-time intelligence from the CIA, the State Department and observers on the ground. Driven by politics and politics alone, they crafted a lie (see: Rhodes email) and then repeated it for days (weeks) after the event. They did this to purposely mislead the public—all for political purposes. One can only wonder whether the decision not to attempt to rescue the two navy seals, who fought valiantly for 7 hours after the attack began, was also driven by politics. We do have an absolute right to know. We'll see whether the stonewallers prevail.