5 lessons from ‘Benghazi-gate’
By Isaac Yetiv , Ph.D.
LA JOLLA, California — In a previous commentary, I wondered if the incredible accumulation of blunders in the bloody assault on the US Consulate in Benghazi, that killed four Americans including a US ambassador, was due to ineptitude or lies.
The passage of time and the emerging evidence have revealed it was the latter, which calls for a full investigation by Congress of what is now called “Benghazi-gate.”
We now know that the authorities had been warned of the imminent dangers and did not strengthen the defenses in Benghazi, but even reduced them. Benghazi is the well-known fortress of jihad in the area ; it has sent more combatants to Iraq to kill Americans than any other place, except maybe Saudi Arabia. The powers-that-be assigned the protection of the Consulate …to the Muslim Brotherhood. The fear for the American lives was expressed in the ambassador’s diary and in the words of one of the four victims , “if we don’t die tonight…” There was a total breakdown in the communications between the Intelligence and the State department that needs to be elucidated. It is now clear that the besieged Americans asked for help from the State Department and didn’t get any.
There were many calls for the resignation of Susan Rice, and I think she should resign because she appeared on five Sunday shows, repeated the very damaging lies that “it was not premeditated, not preplanned…but a spontaneous reaction to that disgusting film insulting Islam…” Really? “spontaneous,” with RPG’s and mortars!
But Rice “obeyed orders.” Since the Nuremberg trials, that is no excuse. Her boss, Hillary Clinton, is the one responsible. She, too, should resign. Her lies are so thick they can be cut with a knife; first, she said, and repeated, that “the ”disgusting and reprehensible video” (same words, same talking points), was the cause of the riots in Egypt and Libya, but then , after nine days, she admitted that “it was certainly terrorism etc…”
As for the president, he, of course, bears the ultimate responsibility. President Nixon lost the presidency because of the coverup in a third-rate burglary, and nobody died. President Clinton was impeached because he lied under oath, not because of a sordid, childish sex escapade, and nobody died. With Benghazi-gate, preceded by Fast and Furious, and a multitude of monumental blunders, with dead Americans, President Obama would not have lasted one more day if he were a British prime minister.
What lessons can we learn from this disastrous situation?
1) The total collapse of the Obama doctrine vis-a-vis the Arab world and the Radical Islamists:
More nice words, more apologies, more money, placating and appeasing, even sacrificing friends and allies, will not extinguish the fundamentalist Islamists’ hatred of the United States, Israel, and the West.
The president of Egypt, of the Muslim Brotherhood, admonished the Americans–whose taxes feed and arm his country to the tune of 2 billions a year– ” to censor themselves [not allow films insulting Islam] or face more killings,” adding, mockingly, that [your] money buys hatred.”
A government minister in Pakistan– to whom US taxpayers have already given 24 billion dollars– offered $100,000 (of American money) to anyone who will kill the American filmmaker. And in Afghanistan, the Afghani trainees kill their American trainers, or desert, sell their uniforms which the Taliban buy in the open market and, so disguised, do the killing themselves. Which brings us to:
2) Why wait until 2014 to withdraw ALL our troops? I have been saying that for years. True, Obama inherited the wars, but why did he persist in widening the “good” war in Afghanistan before reducing it after he promised ,during the campaign, to end it. What is so magic about the year 2014? We haven’t heard him talk about “victory.” The military mission is no longer “to fight to win.” The president rejected the demand of the commanders to give them two fighting seasons to finish the job. So why not bring back the troops now?
On 60 Minutes, both the president of Afghanistan and the commander of the American troops contradicted the Obama administration by saying that the Taliban are returning. What are we achieving by sitting duck and waiting, and suffering more losses in blood and treasure?
3) “Weakness is provocation” and so is ‘triumphalism:” The Obama Cairo doctrine showed weakness and invited attacks. But the repeated narrative on the killing of Bin Laden, especially the politically motivated idea of making an official film about it is extremely dangerous. Some reports say that the Benghazi killing was provoked by the killing of a number 2 Al Qaeda leader. As we see today, Bin Laden is not all of Al Qaeda; he left Al Zawahiri and others in many continents. The prevailing narrative “We killed Osama, Al Qaeda is finished” has failed lamentably. A new thinking is urgently required.
4) A self-suppressed press is dereliction of duty: The “Fourth Estate,” a free press, has been the crown jewel of the American system of government, even superior to the other “Three powers,” because it watches over them, prevents, preempts, and castigates their faults excesses, and abuses, and is the real guarantor of democracy.
But what if the media themselves fail in their splendid role? What if they become the surrogates of
one person, group, or political party? What if they become selective in their reporting of the news?
What if they cover up, or spin, the bad news, falsifying the facts or telling half-truths? Then, my friend, we have a perversion of democracy.
This has been the case in this election , not only victimizing this or that candidate but jeopardizing
national security as in this Benghazi-gate. That is dereliction of duty, bordering on the criminal.
For many months, the media have painted Romney as a heartless greedy monster until the first presidential debate when 70 million people saw him directly on the screen, unfiltered by the 150 million dollars of Obama’s campaign attack ads and by the parroting servile media. And he beat Obama by 67% to 25%.
Maybe this is the best lesson of all; let us hope, for the sake of the Nation and the Democracy, that the media have learned it.
Yetiv is a freelance writer and lecturer based in La Jolla. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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