Top Ten Republican Myths on Benghazi that Justify Hillary Clinton’s Anger

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton let Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) have it in her testimony about Benghazi on Wednesday:

It was not the only emotional or pointed moment. I share her frustration at the bad faith and conspiracy theories that underlay a lot of the question. (Some of the below points are new, some are being revised from an earlier posting.)

1. Republican senators keep saying that it should have been “easy” to find out what happened on September 11, 2012, by simply debriefing US personnel who had been there. John McCain, Ron Johnson and the others who make this charge are the most cynical and manipulative people in the world. The Benghazi US mission was very clearly an operation of the Central Intelligence Agency, and that is the reason that the Obama administration officials have never been able to speak frankly and publicly about it. McCain and the others know this very well, and they know that their public carping cannot be “simply” answered because the answers would endanger sources and methods. The consulate was amazingly well-guarded by some 40 CIA operatives, many of them ex-special forces, in a nearby safe house. These were viewed by consular officials as “the cavalry.” It is still not clear what Ambassador Chris Stevens and the CIA were doing in Benghazi, and unless we know that we can’t know why they were attacked. (They were not overseeing the shipping of weapons to Syria; the Syrian revolutionaries complain bitterly that the US *prevents* them from getting medium and heavy weapons).

2. Republicans keep posturing that their questions about Benghazi are intended to bolster US security. In fact, they are harming it. Republican hearings in the House of Representative have disgracefully revealed the names of Libyans talking to the US consulate, thus endangering their lives and harming US efforts to understand the situation in the country, since who would risk talking to the embassy if they know about Darrell Issa’s big mouth?

3. The GOP figures keep saying that it was obvious that there was no demonstration at the Benghazi consulate against the so-called “film,” the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ that attacked the Prophet Muhammad. But in fact Libyan security officials repeatedly told wire services on September 12 that there was such a demonstration, and that the attack issued from those quarters. An American resident in Benghazi at that time confirms that there were such demonstrations that day. The secular-minded revolutionary militia that guarded the US consulate for the Libyan government kept the demonstrations far enough away from the consulate gates that they would not have shown up in security videos.

4. Benghazi, a city of over a million, is not dominated by “al-Qaeda,” contrary to what Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has repeatedly said or implied. The city had successful municipal elections in May, just before I got there. The number one vote-getter was a woman professor of statistics at the university. While political Islam is a force in Benghazi, only some relatively small groups are militant, and it has to compete with nationalist, tribal and regional ideological currents. In Libya’s parliamentary elections of July, 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood did very poorly and nationalists came to power. Women won 20% of the seats! The elected Speaker of Parliament, Muhammad Magarief, called for a secular constitution for Libya and a separation of religion and state.

5. Contrary to repeated assertions that it was obvious that terrorist groups were rampaging around in the city, members of the Benghazi municipal council told then US ambassador Chris Stevens that security in the city was improving in summer, 2012.

In fact, one Senator John McCain said during a visit to Libya last February, ““We are very happy to be back here in Libya and to note the enormous progress and changes made in the past few months… We know that many challenges lie ahead… but we are encouraged by what we have seen.” Doesn’t sound to me like McCain was running around like Chicken Little warning that the sky was about to fall on US diplomats there. Want to know who else came along on that trip? Lindsey Graham, who likewise didn’t issue any dire warnings in its aftermath.

6. Contrary to the “Libya-is-riddled-with-al-Qaeda” meme of the GOP politicians, there is a strong civil society and tribal opposition to fundamentalist militias in Benghazi, of which Amb. Chris Stevens was well aware. Tripoli-based journalist Abd-al-Sattar Hatitah explained in the pages of the pan-Arab London daily al-Sharq al-Awsat [Sept. 30, 2012, trans. USG Open Source Center]:

“It appears that the simple rule Benghazi’s people thought of applying was based on other experiences in which the radical Islamists or militants in general managed to grow, prosper, and expand by seeking protection from the tribes, as happened in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen. But the civil movements which became very active [in Benghazi] after the fall of Al-Qadhafi’s regime were the ones that formed alliances this time with the tribes, the notables, wise men councils, and civil society figures against the militants. This is akin to the “Sahwat” in Iraq. The alliance managed to expel the brigades from the town and encouraged the nascent Libyan authorities to tighten their restrictions on all armed manifestations…

He adds that [a meeting by secular notables with the tribes] was also attended by representatives from the army chiefs-of-staff and the Interior Ministry as well as a number of members from the National Congress (parliament). “All civil society organizations also took part with us. Everybody consented to issuing the statement against the presence of the [fundamentalist] brigades and we distributed 3,000 copies. “

This was around September 3. After the attack on the US consulate, tens of thousands of people in Benghazi demonstrated against the violence and in favor of the US and Stevens. Then they attempted to sweep the fundamentalist militias from the city.

7. Al-Qaeda is not for the most part even a “thing” in Libya. The only formal al-Qaeda affiliate in the region is al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is not a Libyan but an Algerian organization. Just calling all Salafi groups “al-Qaeda” is propaganda. They have to swear fealty to Ayman al-Zawahiri (or in the past, Usama Bin Laden) to be al-Qaeda. The main al-Qaeda connection in Benghazi is to Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was killed in northern Pakistan by a US drone strike in June. Some of his close relatives in Benghazi may have been angry about this (depending on how well they liked him), but they are not known to form a formal al-Qaeda cell. There are also young men from Dirna in the Benghazi area, some of whom fought against the US in Iraq. Their numbers are not large and, again, they don’t have al-Zawahiri’s phone number on auto-dial. Sen. McCain was a big supporter of the US intervention in Libya and seems to have been all right with Abdul Hakim Belhadj being his ally, even though in the zeroes Belhadj would have been labeled ‘al-Qaeda.’

8. Ansar al-Sharia (Helpers of Islamic Law) is just an informal grouping of a few hundred hard line fundamentalists in Benghazi, and may be a code word to refer to several small organizations. There are no known operational links between Ansar al-Sharia and al-Qaeda. It is a local thing in Benghazi.

9. Leaders of Ansar al-Sharia have denied that they directed their organization to attack the US consulate and have condemned the attack.

10. Lindsey Graham and others point to instances of political violence this past summer in Benghazi as obvious harbingers of the September 11 consulate attack. But it was a tiny fringe group, the Omar Abdel Rahman Brigades, that claimed responsibility for setting off a small pipe bomb in front of the gate of the US consulate last June. This is what the US statement said last June:

“There was an attack late last night on the United States office in Benghazi,” a US embassy official said, adding that only the gate was damaged and no one was hurt. The diplomat said a homemade bomb had been used in the attack on the office, set up after the 2011 uprising against Muammar Qadhafi and kept open to support the democratic transition “

You’d have to be a real scaredy cat to pack up and leave because of a thing like that, which is what Sen. Graham keeps saying should have been the response. Likewise the same small cell was responsible for attacks on the office of the Red Cross and on a convoy of the British consulate, which injured a consular employ. Security isn’t all that great in Benghazi, though actually I suspect the criminal murder rate is much lower than in any major American city. I walked around freely in Benghazi in early June, and couldn’t have disguised my being a Westerner if I had wanted to, and nobody looked at me sideways. A pipe bomb and a shooting, neither of them fatal, did not stand out as dire in a city full of armed militias, most of them grateful to the US and Britain for their help in the revolution. You can understand why the Red Cross packed it in after a couple of attacks, but the US government is not the Red Cross.

51 Responses

  1. Sen. Ron Johnson demonstrated why the United States Senate no longer deserves to be called “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” Republicans at both the Senate and House hearings had no more interest in actually discussing how and why the Benghazi tragedy occured than is my Golden Retriever. All they were interested in was mouthing talking points and trying to damage the reputation of an amazingly effective Secretary of State.

    Sen. Rand Paul was just as disgusting as Sen. Johnson, as were the parcel full of GOP know-nothings on the House side in the afternoon. How did these yokels manage to get themselves elected, let alone appointed to foreign relations committees?

    Listening to them, they sounded like high school drop-outs who would be more comfortable hanging out with Honey Boo Boo’s mother than on Capitol Hill.

  2. Hours before US Ambassador Christopher Stevens died in a terrorist attack in Libya, he sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a cable warning that local militias were threatening to take away security officers guarding the US diplomats.

    Why was Stevens in Benghazi?
    * he served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya.
    * a meeting with the Turkish ambassador
    * he “must get out and meet with a variety of individuals especially in countries that have multiple centers of energy or power.”
    * to arrange a shipment: “A Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria since the uprising began has docked in Turkey and most of its cargo is making its way to rebels on the front lines” — Sep 14
    or, from Obama-
    * to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital. haha

    • Your comment is largely preposterous on its face.

      What plausible and possible reason would the American ambassador have to “coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya”? It’s not only against American policy, it is against US law. Unlike George Bush and Dick Cheney, the Obama administration does not violate the law.

      Why would Amb. Stevens go to Benghazi to meet with the Turkish Ambassador? Or vice versa. It would have been easier, simpler and safer for them to meet in Tripoli.

      Assuming for a moment that the US is providing arms to Syrian rebels, moving the weapons is a clandestine operations the CIA and DoD know how to do very well. It is not something a career diplomat is trained to handle and, in any event, even if he knew about such shipments (which he might not have) there’s no way he would jeopardize his diplomatic standing in a still-volatile country by overseeing arms deals and shipments. The secret world does not work that way, and the State Dept. – which provides diplomatic cover to spies and operatives uneasily at best – would not allow its ambassador to be so closely involved.

      So, yes, it is plausible that he was out meeting various power holders and brokers; that’s Stevens’ job, as is checking in on how USAID money is being spent.

      Sheesh!

      • “Unlike George Bush and Dick Cheney, the Obama administration does not violate the law.”

        Would you like to a buy a bridge with beautiful views of Manhattan and Brooklyn?

      • Do some research into the revolution in Brazil in 1964. The US Ambassador was involved in that ant-democratic event.

        I suspect the US Ambassador in Thehran in 1952 was also the go-to guy for Kermit Roosevelt when they brought Democracy to the Middle East.

        This is what Ambassadors do and get involved with. Just like Military Attaches are spying for their country, overtly, but still conduits for information.

  3. Actually, Hillary Clinton’s “fiery” response to Senator Ron Johnson’s query was pretty lame.

    “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?

    That response is not worthy of a Secretary of State. To trivialize Benghazi by suggesting that one of the alternative scenarios was “guys out for a walk one night” who “decided to kill some Americans,” even if meant sarcastically, does nothing to advance the dialogue regarding necessary measures that should have been in place, and that should be in place in the future.

    The most ridiculous statement came from Senator Rand Paul, who suggested that Clinton was culpable for the deaths because she had not read Ambassador Stevens’ diplomatic cable registering security concerns. Anyone who has ever worked in the State Department knows that the Secretary does not read 90 percent of the cables that come in. That is what she has Assistant Secretaries, Office Directors, and Desk Officers for.

    • But Bill, how does Johnson’s blather about Susan Rice’s talking points “advance the dialogue regarding necessary measures that should have been in place, and that should be in place in the future?”

      You do know that that was what Hillary was chastising him about, right?

      • “But Bill, how does Johnson’s blather about Susan Rice’s talking points “advance the dialogue regarding necessary measures that should have been in place, and that should be in place in the future?”

        You do know that that was what Hillary was chastising him about, right?”

        Johnson’s blather does not advance the dialogue, but neither did Hillary’s coy remark.

        • Slapping down Johnson, making it less likely that he or people like him will stick their heads up, does indeed advance the dialogue.

          People like him need to be discredited so that the adults can talk about what’s really important.

    • “What difference does it make?”

      Yeah, the Sec’y just asserted that there is no accountability or review necessary at the State Dep’t. No matter what happens. Only an old stick-in-the-mud would care about what actually happened. Look forward, not back, my friend.

      Love this blog, but the host here (like Obama, Rice, Clinton and Powers) supported intervention in Libya and isn’t too concerned about the “stuff happens” aspect afterward. Either you support arming rebels (of unknown alliance and beliefs) or you support Gaddafi…

      • Yeah, the Sec’y just asserted that there is no accountability or review necessary at the State Dep’t. No matter what happens. Only an old stick-in-the-mud would care about what actually happened. Look forward, not back, my friend.

        Tinbox, Secretary of State Clinton was the one who ordered the State Department Inspector General to investigate the attack in Benghazi and issue a report – a report that resulted in several high-level State Department figures “spending more time with their families.”

        To accuse her of not wanting investigations or accountability is ludicrous. She wasn’t dismissing the necessity of investigating what happened; she was dismissing the necessity of investigating Susan Rice’s talking points.

      • “[T]he host here (like Obama, Rice, Clinton and Powers) supported intervention in Libya and isn’t too concerned about the “stuff happens” aspect afterward. Either you support arming rebels (of unknown alliance and beliefs) or you support Gaddafi…”

        Doesn’t that more or less describe America’s post-war foreign policy with virtually every administration since FDR? Consider Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia; Reagan in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. And what about direct funding to oppressive (and, yes, big) governments like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Shah-era Iran, Hussein’s early regime, and modern Indonesia (to name a handful)? Where’s the outrage about the moral/political fraudulence of instigating a Shia uprising in Iraq under Bush Sr. and then allowing that uprising to be crushed? How about the disastrous fishing expedition to Iraq? If you’re going to be angry about a lack of accountability, then be consistent.

    • Also Clinton contradicted herself.

      “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided they’d go kill some Americans?”

      Her fists shaking, she continued: “What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”

      First it was “What difference does it make [how it happened]” and immediately thereafter “It is our job to figure out what happened.”

  4. What’s interesting, if not new, is how reckless the Rs are in pushing an internal advantage.

    It’s hard to construct a rationale for their behavior: ‘rationale’ in the sense of the word that retains a connection to ‘rational’ and avoids reference to cynicism, stupidity, and mental illness.

    This is also one more confirmation of the under-noted fact that “all-lies-all-the-time” was not just a campaign strategy.

    • What’s interesting, if not new, is how reckless the Rs are in pushing an internal advantage.

      Their behavior on Benghazi reminds me of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

      The President really did cheat on his wife with a young woman in the Oval Office. The Republicans really did have an issue they could use to score some points and make him look bad – but that wasn’t enough for them. They had to blow it up into a literal impeachment, and the public ended up rallying around Clinton out of disgust with their overreach.

      There really were some problems in the State Department’s offices in Benghazi; a number of people in senior positions in the State Department had to leave after the Inspector General’s report came out. The Republicans really could have made some hay out of this, but instead, they’ve grossly overreached again.

      • This is way beyond the Lewinsky scandal, because it is the GOP and Tea Party desperately spinning out a darker narrative repeated on hundreds of issues by thousands of propagandists: that Democrats, in fact anyone to the left of them, are not real Americans, and even are supernaturally punished by God if they are elected into any office.

        This is something that leftists ought to easily recognize and unite against. But as we see in these comments, the Left always has too many internal grudges to recognize an existential threat.

        • Super390,

          The most important thing to Protest People is their self-image as Protest People.

          It reminds me of 2009, when at long last, the fight over torture broke out into open warfare between the Republicans (pro-torture) and the Democrats led by Obama (anti-torture), and Glenn Greenwald, who had spent years expounding on how much he wanted to end torture, decided that the most important thing for him to do was to repeat the Republicans’ false talking point that Nancy Pelosi had been briefed by the CIA, so therefore the Democrats lacked the moral standing to fight that fight.

  5. Their hysteria over Benghazi is a diversionary tactic by Republicans to deflect any investigation into who actually translated the offensive video into Arabic and uploaded it during a U.S. presidential election, I believe with the express intention of sparking riots in the Middle East. The posters were right-wing Coptic Christians with deep ties to the Republican party. And in the 47% tape, made four months before Benghazi, Mitt Romney says a curious thing — that he’s prepared to “take advantage of any mistakes” Obama makes in the Middle East — pretty prescient, unless you already know something is coming.

    I think Republicans wanted stir up trouble to give Romney a foreign policy advantage (remember, he held a press conference before the embassy attack was even over to condemn Obama) and it blew up in their faces when Americans were actually killed. By flogging baseless accusations (about a non-existent cover-up by Susan Rice) they cloud the issue and make any scrutiny of their involvement in the video appear to be political payback.

  6. The ‘September 11th’ date and the ‘Bull’ Casey/’Wrongie’ Reagan manipulation of the Iran Hostage Crisis come to mind. These point to being all-too-conveniently coincidental for the Republicans, who – might it be said? – were hoping for some knee-jerk reaction to the NYC WTC destruction recollection/anniversary and the adverse effect it could have had for Barry’s re-election, just as Jimmy Carter was defeated in 1980. Blaming the Administration for situations and events that might have been concocted for political gain should have an even greater boomerang effect. Theorising about ‘conspiracies’ might sound outlandish were it not for all of the other things learned in the process of critical thinking about anomalous occurrences.

    • The chron article linked to mentions warnings issued to Westerners in Benghazi. The article leaves out the response to those warnings. In fact, people did not panic, did not flee Benghazi. This was a volatile situation, a volatile region and everyone there made a conscious decision to be in the midst of that volatile situation. They had a job to do and that job could not be accomplished by fleeing. Apparently, beefing up security wasn’t an option and although in hindsight it may have saved lives, the likelihood is that it wouldn’t help engage the local populace to be further militarizing the operation. What puzzles me most is how this has blown up in the American political dialogue while the deaths of twenty schoolchildren is basically shrugged at.

      • The political dialog in the US is irrelevant here, it is made for tv drama between republican and democrats.

        I think the significane of the article is the realization of the prediction that when you pour in guns and radicals to “liberate” a country (as is happening again in Syria) then you have to wait for the blow backs from the empowered radicals before calling the original plan a success. Dr Cole can paint his rosy picture of liberated Libya but the reality is becoming more apparent. Libyans would be lucky if they can put the Genie back in the bottle, it would cost them a lot more than twenty school children. End of the day a new Ghadafi figure will emerge to trade security for any democratic gains they may achieve.

        • Dr Cole can paint his rosy picture of liberated Libya but the reality is becoming more apparent.

          Dr. Cole has traveled through Libya since the revolution. How about you?

          Libyans would be lucky if they can put the Genie back in the bottle

          If only Libyans were lucky enough to be under the thumb of their psychotic former dictator.

  7. From # 7. Just calling all Salafi groups “al-Qaeda” is propaganda.

    It’s interesting to me how this bit of propaganda, once the sole province of the right, became popular among some so-called-anti-imperialist leftists, the moment the U.S. declined to back up the cooperative oil dictator in Libya.

    Oddly enough, I see many people simultaneously insisting that al Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula isn’t al Qaeda, but every Islamist in Libya is.

  8. 9. Leaders of Ansar al-Sharia have denied that they directed their organization to attack the US consulate and have condemned the attack.

    You believe them?

    Now that IS a myth!

  9. While I do not share the agenda of the GOP, which is solely to embarass a Democratic admnistration, I believe that anyone representing the Department of State has to answer questions truthfully, as their work concerns what the US government is doing in foreign lands — all too often nefarious and disruptive. Clinton hid behind the fatalities to evade the question of why reps of State got it wrong on what had happened and for so long. If she were a Republican, we would insist that she tell the truth about what she knew and when she knew it. I’m not impressed with her performance before Congress, buffoonish and unpatriotic as the GOOP behaved.

  10. Hello all,

    While I’ve never been one to defend either of the Clintons (the Thenardier and Thenardiess of Empire politics), I have no doubt that the Secretarys’ efforts to avoid questioning on the debacle generally referred to as “Benghazi” were undertaken not to save her own skin, but rather to shield certain of her superiors (individual and organizational) from unsolicited scrutiny.

    It’s well to recall that in the year 2009 our Dear Leader, Barack Obama, issued an obiter dictum (aka “executive order”) that specifically forbade the Central Intelligence Agency from engaging in the practice of torture on behalf of its Pentagon masters.

    Of course, it goes without saying that this Presidential pronunciamento, wasn’t worth the foolscap that it was scribbled on, given that the government lacked both the means and — more importantly — the intent to enforce its stipulations. (Along similar lines, it is interesting to note that one of Mr. Obama’s predecessors — a Medieval Monarch whose name at present escapes me — once issued a court summons to a swarm of bees. It is unlikely that either magistrate dispensed their respective diktats with any expectation of compliance.) But were we to admit that which is obvious, we would find ourselves compelled to acknowledge that which is no less apparent, i.e., that the “civilian” institutions of government are papier mache illusions, a reality that is manifestly unpalatable to both the American mainstream media, and a substantial plurality of the public, including the soi-disant “alternative” media. Best that we not go there.

    In the interest of probity, it should be conceded that the dearly departed “Ambassador” a gentleman who just prior to his investiture had, in his capacity as arms merchant and CIA operative, glibly and gladly participated in the recent and violent overthrow of the government of the formerly sovereign Libyan nation. In fact the Ambassador’s uncurbed enthusiasms (which mirrored those of his employer — no more, no less) led him to oversee yet another American torture chamber — referred to in polite conversation as a “safe house” or “special mission.”

    To summarize then, one can hardly blame Mrs.Clinton’s reluctance to acknowledge that:

    A) her putative superior, Barack Obama, had forbidden the CIA from engaging in the practice of torture and that the Agency (Surprise, surprise!) had ignored the Presidential ruling, as this admission might imply that the President is a meaningless mannequin;

    B) the nominal “Ambassador,” Mr.Stevens was a secretive figure with a criminal past — why that might serve to cast aspersions upon the hiring practices of the Department of State;

    C) the State Department is now little more than an adjunct of the Department of Defense; and

    D) the actions of so-called “terrorists” were defensive in nature (they wanted us the Hell out of their country — and their continent) and, therefore, eminently justifiable — along the lines of sic semper tyrannus.

    Ah, the fricative sibilance of cognitive dissonance…

    Cheers,

    JQP

    • Would (D) include getting “us” out of their country so they could deliver it unto the control of their Wahhabist masters in Saudi Arabia?

      It’s very telling that you consider both Gaddafi and hardline Islamists – whose doctrines opposed each other in every way, and who did everything in their power to exterminate each other last year – to be better than any government that the Libyan people would elect. Do you reserve the right of sovereignity only to a tiny fringe of extremist lunatics who know better than the masses?

      It sort of parallels extreme haters of Obama from both the American Right and Left looking to destroy the current empire out of certainty that only their own kind will rule the rubble.

    • “In the interest of probity, it should be conceded that the dearly departed “Ambassador” a gentleman who just prior to his investiture had, in his capacity as arms merchant and CIA operative, glibly and gladly participated in the recent and violent overthrow of the government of the formerly sovereign Libyan nation. In fact the Ambassador’s uncurbed enthusiasms (which mirrored those of his employer — no more, no less) led him to oversee yet another American torture chamber — referred to in polite conversation as a “safe house” or “special mission.”

      Speaking of “cognitive dissonance,” I see that you haven’t produced a shred of evidence to substantiate your wildly inaccurate and uninformed comments regarding Ambassador Stevens. Your comment represents a delusional attempt to align your preferred narrative with reality. It has failed.

      • “Cognitive dissonance” has become one of those terms that people say to try to sound smart, like “leverage dynamism” and “change the paradigm.”

    • In the interest of probity, it should be conceded that the dearly departed “Ambassador” a gentleman who just prior to his investiture had, in his capacity as arms merchant and CIA operative, glibly and gladly participated in the recent and violent overthrow of the government of the formerly sovereign Libyan nation. In fact the Ambassador’s uncurbed enthusiasms (which mirrored those of his employer — no more, no less) led him to oversee yet another American torture chamber

      I fear there has been some oversight. You must have intended to provide some shred of evidence for these claims, but hit submit too early.

    • There is just so much wrong here that I can’t help but pile on:

      D) the actions of so-called “terrorists” were defensive in nature (they wanted us the Hell out of their country — and their continent) and, therefore, eminently justifiable — along the lines of sic semper tyrannus.

      Notice how the actual majority of Libyans who support the American presence, and who gave these religious extremists a whupping at the polls, and who gave them another whupping after the attacks by storming their parties’ offices and driving them from the city, and who stages massive rallies apologizing for Stevens’ death, get written out of the story entirely.

      No, only the people who murdered and ambassador and fired mortar and rocket rounds in a densely populated city count as “real Libyans.”

      This is a frequent error you see among the less thoughtful segment of the left. They look at a foreign country, find the most violent, anti-American faction therein, and proclaim that they – and only they – represent the values and aspirations of that society.

  11. First… Benghazi was not a formal Consulate. There were no consulate officials present nor was there an assigned Consul General. At best the compound had either Mission status or Special Mission status.
    Second, since when have we ever allowed CIA to use a DIP facility as a base of operations using green badgers?
    Third, and here is where I disagree with Professor Cole. Yes it has been reported that the agency was not shipping weapons directly to rebel forces inside Syria. Of course none of that as been independently confirmed and there is no mention of third party “Turkey” transmission of those weapons into Syria.
    Fourth, the question remains, was there even a presidential finding here or do we have another Iran/Contra developing?
    Fifth, our ME policy regarding the Arab Spring; which includes both republican and democratic support, is so screwed up that it would take a cement vault to reseal Pandora’s box that both parties have opened.
    Sixth, you can make bet that the Gang of 8 knew what was going on long before the attack.
    Seventh and lastly the attack… I do not care if an entire SST was available or not. The attack was focused at the Annex (CIA operation) and it got hit with a reinforced company size in strength with heavy weapons. To repel this size attack would have taken equal if not an overwhelming force.

    The real problem is here is…. We have met the enemy and he is us…….!!

    • To imply that somehow we could control the Arab Spring shows a vast misunderstanding of how the world works. Syrian rebels have complained that the US has not supplied them and news reports indicate that their arms are coming mostly from the military bases they have overrun. What gang of 8? Most of what you write is pure speculation on your part.

      • Pure speculation? How much money you got? Been there and done that. Try 28 years of playing the CT and Hill game and I don’t give a rats behind who is in the WH. In case your interested I voted for Obama. But I really do not care for his NSC picks, especially Sam Powers nor do I care for how the IC is managed. I am also disappointed with the Bush FP carry overs.
        Now I never said we should try and control anything such as the Arab Spring. Try that line with John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Matter of fact we suffer from an acute case of cranial rectal inversion for even getting involved without a good understanding of the local ground truth. By the way, I am also no fan of the Brotherhood and there are times where dictatorships are a necessary evil and easier to deal with.
        Now I also do not care what faction is complaining about what we do or do not supply them with. Only a tenderfoot would make the statement you made on supplying arms during a rebellion. Understand how things work…

  12. Thanks to Professor Cole for bringing up the CIA mission. This has been totally ignored by the press and I can’t help but wonder if this didn’t have a lot to do with what happened. For so many agents to have been there so close, many of them obviously ex-military, it indicates that a relatively major operation was in the works, probably with the approval of the Libyan government, such as it is.

    The criticism of the Republicans about the original reports is just politicking, plain and simple. It was years before it came out what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin and those at the scene didn’t really know what they were firing on.

    What’s is unusual about this attack is not that it happened. It’s that it doesn’t happen more often. Especially the mortar attack that is practically impossible to stop.

  13. Al Sharpton traced Rand Paul’s Libya-Turkey-Syria query back to a Glenn Beck chalk-board conspiracy “chart,” so exactly how much credibility can be attached to it with Beck as the “source”?

    Media Matters traced the right-wing talking point about “real-time video” supposedly being watched in Washington DC while the consulate was under attack to something Fox contributor Jennifer Rubin claimed a State Department official said the day before about their monitoring phone calls and other communications in Libya during that time.

    To put it simply, Republicans sound like a really, really bad movie, one we can call “Fast and Furious Liars, a Never-ending Sequel.”

    • Al Sharpton is just as big an idiot as Glen Beck. But if anyone thinks the Turks are not involved in supporting there interests in Syria then that person needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

  14. Republicans are unable to explain even what their argument is, they got nothing on Clinton at all, Republicans dont have any credibility on foreign policy issues – during a time of war you just cant let the non-credible party have any say.

  15. John Q. Parveny @ 5:49 PM
    By the 1st sentence, in the 1st paragraph it became abundantly clear to me where you get your information/news! I don’t know if you’re aware of it but Fox News especially news from “Steve Doocy “IS NOT’ I Repeat “IS NOT” a good scorce for reliable information!
    By relying on Steve Doocy and Hannity shows without a doubt what a complete unabridged, misinformed clown you are!

  16. To me, this all comes down to one thing. The Republicans have seen all their other complaints shot down. So they are holding on to this one remaining complaint, “You lied to George Stephanopoulos!” This is the worst kind of Monday morning quarterbacking. Ron Johnson noted that it would have been simple to contact the survivors of the attack and ask them. There are two problems here: first, they had more important things to do; second, they didn’t know that this one issue would be so important to the Republicans. Of course, if they had done that, the Republicans would be complaining about something else. It is all an embarrassing game.

  17. Blowback? You mean like Mali? Right now the entire MENA situation is so fluid that no one and that means even the IC can make any predictions what so ever. Yes analyze. Predict? Not at the moment with so many internal fraction at play along with the various outside influences pulling at their own special interest… Right now its a day by day crap shoot… No way to run anyone’s FP machine…

    • What about Mali? Besides the fact that we have provided training and equipment to an army that defected and now has a clue of US tactics?

      I wonder how many African-Americans were in the training mission, or was this like the intelligence outfit in Haiti that briefed Florida Governor Graham: all lilly white but they just knew what was what in Haiti.

      • @J7915….
        Well it depends on how you take advantage of possible door openers. Yes duringbthe late 90s DIA opened a good intel door under President Amadou Toumani Touré and 10th Special Forces did some MTT work in theater. Of course you understand that the country is basically split in two.
        Matter of fact the coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo knows the US very well. He took part in our IMET (International Military Education and Training) program here in the States.
        Now it is possible that the MNLA is positioning itself to take on Salafists of Ansar Dine and AQIM. That is an potential interesting door opener.
        Lets face facts we have vital interests in this region and while the coup was and is never a good thing it happened because the GOM besides not paying its soldiers was as corrupt as they get in Africa.
        Of course we and I mean we the US have got to get real and stop the new election nonsense before we do anything. If we wait that long who knows who will be controlling Bamako??

  18. For those interested… This is the Unclassed ARB on Benghazi…

    link to cfr.org

    Now read in between the lines… State thought that CIA would shoulder the burden for security at the mission…. That was the mistake State made… nothing more….

    • Good reference. It just stands to ‘reason’, at least as American foreign enterprises go. It defies reason to think that the state department was the lead in Benghazi. It’s a fact that place was over-running with CIA personal, of whom 13 mobilized – but it took them 25 minutes, so they were too late to save Stevens. Stevens was even permanently assigned to the ‘consulate’ in Benghazi. The CIA (Patreaus) should have been on the firing line from the get=go.

      It does STAND TO REASON that the US did not want to admit the CIA’s role. Therefore, State took the heat. So, some enterprising journalist will hunt for the facts in 10 years, write a book, and we may know what really happened.

  19. By the way Professor Cole….
    Most in the CT business understand that AQ as a organization is dead. But lets remember Professor groups like AQIM and MUJAO which are off shoots of AQ are not to be underestimated. While restoring democracy to Mali will not be easy either. We could be very well looking at a future new type of AQ formation underway. Now is the time to kill it… NATO with enough US pushing will be needed to support the French.

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