Posted by Brad @ 8:38 pm on January 24th 2013

I Don’t Care About…Benghazi

I have been meaning to post this for ages, but the Republican “attacks” on Benghazi – specifically the question of whether the administration called them terrorism fast enough or what talking points Susan Rice was given for the Sunday talk shows – strikes me as one of the most idiotic attempts at creating a “scandal” mostly out of frustration for the lack of that kind of material that I’ve seen in a long time.

There is a totally legit if insider-basebally debate to be had about embassy security, although, as with most things precipitated on a horrible incident, also a tremendous potential for stupid and possibly counter-productive response measures – I am not certain that the way to go forward with international diplomacy is putting our liaisons in massively fortified Green Zone cement compounds with snipers on the roof and para-military guards waving assault rifles at any “natives” who come too close, but maybe that’s just me.

But either way, what the first-48-hour PR spin was about it – and namely was it belligerent enough or leaned far enough in the direction of “OMFG” strikes me as just pathetically and desperately idiotic.

I have to concur entirely with Andrew Sullivan on this one (and this also accounts for why I haven’t posted a word on it):

Just to remind readers who asked why we didn’t cover the hearings yesterday, even though they had some great TV moments: we don’t cover non-stories. We have covered the legitimate issue that there was not enough security in Benghazi, that there should have been, and that the State Department failed in its foresight and planning. But we are not going to cover a spectacle created entirely by a fake cable news network as a way to save a losing election campaign.


  1. If the Republicans had not raised a stink about this, we would be unaware of what Sullivan deems the “legitimate” security issues associated with the Benghazi failure. We would still believe the White House’s overt lie that the attack was inspired by a low-budget movie–rather than by a terror attack in a power vacuum created by the administration’s policy. We would also be more receptive to the subsequent arrest of the filmmaker in what amounts to a deliberate federal attempt to chill speech that it finds non-conducive to its foreign policy goals.

    I care about those things.

    Comment by Rojas — 1/25/2013 @ 12:51 am

  2. To the Rand Paul thread:

    Maybe I should have been more specific. I see the whole “was it a protest or was it a coordinated attack” thing to be the canard, particularly as it was dispatched, which was that the Obama administration tries to intentionally downplay the threat of terrorism because they’re Chamberlins or because they wanted to demonize free speech or because they don’t believe in terrorism or whatever.

    As I said upfront – and at the time – there are legit questions, albeit very, very far down the line in the State Department, about how embassy security is administered, maybe.

    The speculation about motives of the attacked in the first 48 hours – and what the says about the worldview of the participants – is an imminently idiotic issue. Some in the administration speculated it had something to do with the anti-American riots that were at the time happening at other embassies in the region. Others said it was of course Islamist terrorism coordinated by Al Queda, which is roughly their out-of-the-gate speculation about literally everything. And the spin of it as telling you everything you need to know about entire worldviews. Sorry, but even if the half sentence in the presidential statement six hours after the incident or the talking points that the CIA prepared for Susan Rice on Meet the Press the next day turned out to be less true than they though, I have a hard time figuring out why I should give a shit. I am not one that is going to crucify a politician for not charging out of the gate bellicosely foaming at the mouth enough.

    ALL THAT SAID, I do not, nor have I ever, have any problem with grilling public officials, even about issues with which I disagree. And, as to Rand Paul, you’ll note that in calling out the grilling of Clinton and Kerry I said nothing of the substance but the style and efficacy (seriously, read back)(and even on that, Clinton is the weaker example of the two).

    Finally, to Rojas above:

    “overt lie?”

    Power vacuum created by the administration’s policy (i.e. anti-Libya intervention)?

    Chilling of free speech when its not conducive to foreign policy goals?

    I’m sorry – you must have been listening to a different debate than me.

    Comment by Brad — 1/25/2013 @ 8:51 pm

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