October 10 2012
Hearing on Benghazi Begins Today
What happens when Americans, including an ambassador, are killed in a terrorist attack in a foreign land?
An address from the Oval Office by a grim-faced president who grasps the gravity of the situation is one possibility. A trip to Las Vegas? Not so much.
The attack on our consulate in Libya was a political disaster for the administration. It was also a terrorist attack, and they apparently knew this fairly early.
There is no way to get around how bad this was for the administration’s image: it showed a foreign policy in collapse. But honorable leaders are still expected to act in ways that serve the nation. The sad irony is that, if the Obama administration had responded with honesty, it might have salvaged something from a very dire situation. As it is, the Obama administration must be reeling from a State Department briefing yesterday that exposed what appear to be lies.
The FBI is still unable to get into Benghazi to find out more about what happened. A normal administration would be chomping at the bit to get our guys in there. Alana Goodman suggests that, far from being angry about the delay, the craven Obama administration may not be that bothered:
This may actually be welcome news to the State Department, which didn’t seem particularly interested in helping the investigation along in the first place. But we’re now almost a month out from the attack, and the Obama administration still hasn’t said whether it will deal with the terrorists behind it. Will it treat it as a criminal act or a military incident? The ouster of the Libyan PM makes both options more difficult….
None of these options are without risk. But the riskiest one of all would be to do nothing. The Obama administration may want to wait until after the election to respond, but each day of inaction makes him look weaker to the American public and our allies and enemies abroad. Thursday, the day Vice President Biden debates Paul Ryan, will mark one month since the consulate attack. Obama won’t be able to put off a response — or at least an explanation for the delay — for much longer.
President Obama’s response from the beginning has been: nothing to see her, folks. Indeed, not only has he refused to address this national emergency, he has defiantly claimed, an astonishing amount of evidence to the contrary, that he put an end to al Qaeda. Daniel Halper notes:
Last night, President Obama defiantly declared that "al Qaeda is on its heels." The president made this claim at a fundraiser at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California.
"Now, four years ago, I made a few commitments to you. I told you I’d end the war in Iraq, and I did. I said I’d end the war in Afghanistan, and we are," said Obama. "I said we’d refocus on the people who actually attacked us on 9/11 -- and today, al Qaeda is on its heels and Osama bin Laden is no more."
The extraordinary thing about Obama's claim is that it was made less than a month after al Qaeda carried out a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed the American ambassador to that country, as well as three other Americans. That attack coincided with the same day--9/11--of al Qaeda's most successful attack again America, which happened 11 years earlier in New York City.
Moreover, in the same month, al Qaeda carried out at least 3 other successful attacks against American embassies abroad.
This is dishonorable. It is also dangerous. Fortunately, a congressional hearing on the attacks begins today. As bad as this had to be politically, the administration owes us the truth.