Monday, May 5, 2014

Ron Smith: 'Don't bother me, I've got an election to win'

On 28 October, 2012, I wrote a blog entitled ‘Questions from Benghazi’, in which I commented on the terrorist attack on the US consulate in that city nearly two weeks earlier, which killed four US public servants, including the Ambassador.  On that occasion, I noted the major questions that were being asked at that time, regarding the inadequate security provisions for the Ambassador and the consulate building in which he was staying, and the lack of any military response, during the more than seven hours of the assault. 

In the weeks and months that followed, few answers were supplied (there was a presidential election going on) and fresh questions arose.

These particularly concerned the character of the attack, as US administration spokespersons (President Obama, Hillary Clinton, White House Spokesman Jay Carney and the then-Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice) persisted from day one with an increasingly implausible and totally false narrative, that the cause of the tragedy was a protest concerning an anti-Muslim video that had got out of control.  In fact, notwithstanding what might have happened on that night in other places in the world, it was a well-planned and well-armed attack on the consulate and an annex.

There has now been a significant development after nearly eighteen months of persistent questioning by opposition (Republican) politicians, against a background of largely media indifference.  It is now clear that the ‘offensive-video’ story was concocted in the White House (with whatever help from the State Department) and did not come from any intelligence advice (as had been claimed).  Deputy CIA director, Michael Morrell made this plain in recent testimony to a House of Representatives standing committee.  The deputy head of mission in Libya at the relevant time has also testified that he was utterly astonished when the claim was made.  But the clinching piece of evidence came only a few days ago when an independent research organisation (Judicial Watch), on a freedom-of-information request, got sight of an email from White House Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes.   This concerned the ‘preparation’ of Susan Rice for her appearance on the Sunday talk-shows, with the instruction that she was to emphasise that the attack was “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy”!

The situation was further exacerbated by the fact that the document concerned (and others like it) had been the subject of a subpoena from the House of Representative Oversight Committee some 19 months before, and not supplied.  (Judicial Watch had got a Federal judge involved.)  Also last week, retired Brigadier General Robert Lovell, who had been in the regional operations control room in Germany, testified to the same House committee that the Obama Administration had not even asked for military intervention to attempt to save the Americans under attack in Benghazi.  He added that this was a source of great regret.  I discussed this particular issue at some length in the previous blog.  The upshot of these events is that House Speaker, John Boehner, has now announced that he will convene a select committee to investigate the attack on the US compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

It remains to be seen what this more potent process will bring.  There are still questions about what the President knew on the night of the attack and what instructions, if any, he gave.  Certainly, it seems that he was not in the White House Situation Room, where senior military and security officials were following events in Benghazi in real time.  We know this from someone on his political staff, who was there.  And we know that he went off to California to do some campaigning early on the following day.  On the other hand, we know where the President was on the night Osama bin Laden was assassinated.  He was right there in the Situation Room with Hilary Clinton (where was she on the night of the Benghazi attack?)  This may be the key.  President Obama was intent on fighting the 2012 presidential election on the basis of his heroic campaign against al Qaeda and to have them kill his ambassador and the other officials, simply undermined that.  Hence, the false narrative that it wasn’t terrorism but simply a mob protesting against an anti-Muslim video produced in America.  Incidentally, the wretched man who produced the (incomplete) video footage is still in jail, which cannot be said of any of the relevant protesters/terrorists!

So what will happen next?  Well, apart from producing a fuller and truer account of these sad events, it is at least possible that the Select Committee will recommend impeachment of the President for deliberate and persistent deception of the American people and dereliction of duty in regard to the safety of United States public servants.  This seems to me to be at least as serious as the charge against President Clinton for lying about his sexual relationship with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, or the earlier case of President Nixon, who was successfully impeached for a determined but ultimately unsuccessful cover-up after the Watergate break-in.  Of course, we shall see.  President Obama still has enormous sentimental support in the America media and his Party is still defending him.  That might change as the facts become better known.


Kiwiwit said...

Great post on an important subject that is also ignored by the news media here in New Zealand.

One correction to what you say - Richard Nixon was not impeached - he resigned before impeachment charges were brought. Only two US presidents have been impeached - Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

Brian said...

Dr. Smith in his “Questions from Benghazi” exposes the present administration in the U.S. which cannot, or rather will not, endanger US foreign policy towards Islam even if this comes at the cost of American lives (which it did).
That the United States has lost credence since President Obama came to power is obvious worldwide, furthermore Islam in general, regards political weakness in decision making as also weakness in the military sense. Consequently the United States is now seen together with the western Alliance as declining Western power, especially so, with the inevitable rise of China as a major military force.
The Benghazi affair prompts one to compare almost a similar situation when the British Liberal Government under Gladstone sent out General (Chinese) Gordon with instructions to evacuate all British citizens from Khartoum. Gordon a religious mystic, ignored his orders and assumed that his mere presence was enough to keep the Maadi (another religious mystic), from attacking Khartoum. Gladstone’s Government however paid the price of public opinion at the next election, and Gordon became a famous hero to all British boys!
The essential difference between Obama and Gladstone was that the Obama administration was in a position to fly in gunships and “Seals”, to defend and evacuate the Ambassador and staff. (Gladstone did however; admit to his mistake in sending out a Saint).
In other words the political expediency of the Obama Democratic administration overruled the military, resulting in unwarranted deaths. President Obama is lacking in honour, if he fails to resign over this blatant disregard for those who serve America, and Hilary Clinton should never be considered as a future President.