Saturday, October 27, 2012

Obama Under Fire Over Benghazi

Douglas Brinkley should have his own special corner in the Hall of Shame.

Given the opportunity to question President Obama, Brinkley, a professor, a writer and a supposedly serious intellectual lobbed the softest of softball questions.

Unfortunately, American intellectuals are so corrupted that Brinkley’s reputation will not suffer from his dereliction.

Interviewing Obama for Rolling Stone, Brinkley asked:

1.   Let's start with how the campaign has been going. Ever since the first debate, Romney has abruptly shifted his position on a whole host of issues, from his tax plan to financial regulation.   
2.   Many observers have commented on how Romney has misrepresented or even changed his positions in this last leg of the campaign – that he's been like a chameleon on plaid. Do you feel that he has lied to the American people?  
3.   Where were you when you first saw Romney's speech in Boca Raton about the 47 percent? What was your first reaction?  
4.   What has surprised you the most about the Republican campaign this year?      

5.    Do you have any fear that Roe v. Wade could be overturned if the Republicans win the presidency and appoint another Supreme Court justice?

Compare those to the questions a local Colorado reporter, Kyle Clark asked:

1.   Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we'll all find out after the election?

2.   Were they denied requests for help during the attack?

3.   In a national address, you touted the stimulus money going to Abound Solar - a Colorado company connected to one of your billionaire fundraisers. Now, as you may know, Abound Solar is out of business and under criminal investigation. The jobs are gone and taxpayers are out about 60 million dollars. How do you answer critics who see Abound Solar as Colorado's Solyndra - a politically connected clean energy company that went under and took our money with it?

4.   Mr. President, you've called for more civility in our nation's political conversation - and much has obviously been made about the tone of this race. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, you called Governor Romney a "bullshitter." What did you mean and why did you choose that word?

Hat tip to Mollie Hemingway.

Of course, as Jake Tapper reported, Obama did not answer the questions. To use a basketball term, he is playing out the clock on Benghazi, hoping that nothing more damaging will be revealed before the election.

Other members of the administration are forming a firewall to protect the president.

Secretary of Defense Panetta, a life-long partisan Democrat denounced critics as Monday-morning quarterbacks and stated that the senior military commanders had recommended against an assault.

To my knowledge Panetta said nothing about the possibility of sending air support.

Obama himself has stated that he was not aware of what was going on while it was going on.

In the world of prevarication that one deserves a special reward.

Hundreds of members of the Obama administration were watching an attack on an American ambassador on American territory over a period of hours in real time and no one thought to inform POTUS.

Either the Obama administration is more incompetent that even I think they are or the president is lying to run out the clock.

Yesterday, Jennifer Griffin of Fox News revealed that CIA operatives had been crying out for help during the assault and had been told to stand down.

In her words:

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that three urgent requests from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack nearly seven hours later were denied by officials in the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were part of a small team who were at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. Consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When they heard the shots fired, they radioed to inform their higher-ups to tell them what they were hearing. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. An hour later, they called again to headquarters and were again told to “stand down.”

We do not know who told them to stand down? In fact, it doesn’t matter whether Obama did or did not give the order. He is the commander-in-chief and he is the officer ultimately responsible.

William Kristol states that the Secretary of Defense would not have made the decision on his own. I concur.

David Petraeus, however, is not going to do the president’s political bidding on this one.

His spokeswoman issued this statement yesterday:

We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.



Unknown said...

A minor point of fact: Leon Panetta is not a life-long Democratic partisan.

In fact he got his start in politics as a political aide to Republicans, and he even had an appointment in the Nixon administration. He only joined the Democratic party in 1971.

Dennis said...

The sad part here is that 2 SEALS, Doherty and Woods, killed over 60 terrorists. Just think what would have happened had they received just a small amount of help like taking out the mortars that ultimately killed them. They would have saved the lives, their ultimate responsibility, of those who were under attack. Had they survived they would have been court martialed by the Obama administration for not standing down. The SEALS met the highest responsibility of their profession and are heroes. The Obama administration, including DoD, did not meet their responsibility to protect American lives.
Panetta is just another beltway type who changes allegiances whenever it suits his quest for power. He should not be trusted no matter what label he uses to define himself yesterday, today or sometimes in the future.
One has to understand that there are combat oriented generals and then there are political generals. Powell is a political general. To become a general, et al, one has to be approved by the political class. I came to dislike the loss of the professional officer in exchange for that of the "entrepreneurial" officer.

Dennis said...

The idea that we don't send people into harm's way without knowing is utterly absurd and false. I suspect this new concept would be a surprised to anyone who ever served in the military. A military that is this risk averse is one destined to lose.
The military is tasked with developing all kinds of contingency plans to meet the exigencies of a modern fighting force. Given that there was increasing violence against American interests in Libya, the fact that the anniversary of 911 was nigh and the inability of the local government to have any real control on the ground it is inconceivable that we did not have plans to meet this kind of terrorism.
If we did not then either DoD was remiss in its responsibilities, military lawyers have finality gotten to much control over the decision making of the officers on the ground or political pressure from the Obama administration was put upon them to "stand down" to make it look like the terrorism was defeated by the death of ONE man.
It hurts to see general officers fall on their swords in such a manner. Do they want to leave the impression that the military is so incompetent that it did not plan ahead to meet the requisite responsibilities that are part of the ways wars are fought today?
Obama is known for tossing people "under the bus" when they get in the way of his quest for political power so it would not surprise me that he is tossing the men who lost their lives, the military and the American people there also.