Warning: a long post. My personal concern about the behavior of US administration in the current wave of Islamist "outrage" against a stupid movie that doesn't have anything to do with that administration is growing into something else: a concern about the ability of that administration to cope with the challenges that it is facing on the much larger scale.
Let me state up front: I have always granted that being a successful liar is a necessary quality of a successful politician or diplomat. While most lies get eventually discovered for what they are, a good liar does it so smoothly that years may pass before the truth comes to light. Which is what counts in politics, after all.
I never liked Ms Clinton, the current Secretary of State, for several reasons I better don't mention. Her behavior at her current post seems to confirm what I always thought about her (between other things): whatever she is, a successful liar isn't one of her qualities. Looking at the camera glassy-eyed and telling the world something that is obviously untrue, when the said world already knows the facts, is not an example of a successful lie. Somebody should have explained it to Ms Clinton when she took over her office in the State Department.
They obviously didn't tell her anything at State Department, possibly because one cannot tell her much, but maybe for other reasons so far unknown.
This post is actually triggered by a tweet from Anderson Cooper of CNN:
The significance of the question is not in its substance. The question was asked by everyone with a dollop of common sense since the first appearance of the above mentioned lady after the tragedy of Benghazi. The question is significant because Anderson Cooper and his employer are among the last people that could be suspected to be disloyal to the current administration - to remind you the idiotic headline produced by CNN a day after the murder.
The real question is indeed not whether the murder in Benghazi was a terrorist attack but why does the US administration deny it. It was clear to anyone that a large group of heavily armed men doesn't normally appear spontaneously for whatever reason, including protest against a stupid quasi-cinematic concoction created by a group of shady characters. Common sense notwithstanding, both Ms Clinton, her chief and their minions continued to claim for several days, against all available evidence and against expert opinions, that the murder was a spontaneous act of popular rage. Of course, the minions have been the most fervent:
...it was Susan Rice who emerged as the administration's ubiquitous expert on the Sept. 11 terrorist assault in Benghazi. With dizzying omnipresence, she turned up on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN (maybe there were a few more that I've missed, but you get the idea).But this is what the minions are for, after all. It took more than a week for the administration to surrender (somewhat) to reality and to change its tune, although in a tortured way:
Not that Rice called it a terrorist assault. Her omnipresent talking point was that the assault in Benghazi was "spontaneous," that according to "our current best assessment" it materialized as an ad hoc copycat version of the embassy storming earlier that day in Cairo, all in reaction to the "hateful video."
The Obama administration had repeatedly declined over the last week to term the attack, which killed US ambassador Chris Stevens, as an act of terror, and officials said they believed it was spontaneous rather than pre-planned.Now it's become self-evident... Still, not without some verbal contortions:
But White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Air Force One Thursday that "it is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack."
"He also made clear... we have no information at this point to suggest that this is a significantly pre-planned attack.""significantly pre-planned"... as opposite to what? "Insignificantly pre-planned"? Oh well, my English doesn't expand easily and flexibly enough for such sophisticated verbal trickery.
Carney appeared to be making a semantic adjustment to terminology used by US officials to describe the Benghazi attack, rather than acting on any new information that has come to light.
And finally Ms Clinton decided to see the light too. A bit too late, a bit too clumsy - but I've already mentioned that she isn't a successful liar, didn't I?
It is quite easy to trace the reason for that debacle. The first thoughts that crossed the minds of the POTUS and his election campaign team were not about the victims of the tragedy, but rather about the political fallout it may cause. After all, they have declared Al Qaeda dead and half-buried already and the Arab Spring triumphantly shoveling freedom and enlightenment to the Middle East. And here the world is facing some stark and ugly truths that don't jibe very well with the politically correct view of the "new" Middle East.
So - deny and delay. First of all, the denial of the fact that it was an obvious terrorist attack. Then the clumsy attempt to delay the recognition of the obvious by creating an investigation team to look into the murder and its circumstances. And may the team continue its investigation well into November, and, fates willing, December...
It was too bad for all concerned that the denial stage has crumbled so soon, in fact taking the issue of terrorist attack vs "spontaneous" act of rage out of the scope of the investigators. They will have to confine themselves to the mundane task of catching the perpetrators - and they will need all the luck and the good will they can get.
And meanwhile, Ms Clinton have discovered another, but related, subject that will try her ability to lie for a few more days - till her version crumbles again. Several independent sources reported that Ambassador Stevens was worried about constant security threats in Benghazi and mentioned that his name was on an al Qaeda hit list. And even this concern from a dead man doesn't sit well with Ms Clinton for some reason:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday she has "absolutely no information or reason to believe there is any basis" to suggest that U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens believed he was on an Al Qaeda hit list.At least the man escaped a possible censure by his boss...
But that's not all, unfortunately. While the bodies of the murdered Americans are still warm, so to speak, another shameful chapter in American history is unfolding.
The US State Department says they have spent $70,000 on advertisements featuring US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims”.That was one serious jaw-dropper, I declare. While I haven't anything good to say about the wretched movie and its shady "creators", the mere fact that the leader of the free world (TM) and his foreign minister find it appropriate to apologize for that pitiful excuse for Islamist rioting, simply boggles my mind. When I compare this behavior with the unflinching and principled stand by the Danish government during the cartoons crisis, I feel a definite anxiety for that free world.
The advertisements, which were reportedly aired on seven stations in Pakistan, contain sound bites from speeches by the two leaders.
As a sign of the times, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mr. Morsi is spelling the requirements US of A needs to comply with for Egypt to allow the said US of A to continue with the aid to Egypt.
And to the consequences of that story for Israel. I have never been a fan of our PM and can't say I have enjoyed the last year of growing histrionics he displayed and the incessant babbling of his ministers, assistants and other talking heads on Iranian business. But now I have to say that, watching the inexplicably shameful behavior of the White House and the State Department in this and other similar incidents of recent times, I am starting to see where Bibi's concerns about US standing by Israel in the possibly fateful situation with Iranian nukes could be absolutely valid.
With friends like Ms Clinton, who is ready to sell any principle down the river for the sake of political expedience of the moment, one should be very, very concerned.
Update: The reason for Ms Clinton denial of Ambassador Stevens' concerns about security (thanks to Dick Stanley):
...two U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast that the intelligence community is currently analyzing an intercept between a Libyan politician whose sympathies are with al Qaeda and the Libyan militia known as the February 17 Brigade—which had been charged with providing local security to the consulate. In the intercept, the Libyan politician apparently asks an officer in the brigade to have his men stand down for a pending attack—another piece of evidence implying the violence was planned in advance.“I think this is a case of an administration saying what they wished to be true before waiting for all the facts to come in,” says one senior retired CIA official.Too ugly for comments.