Saturday, November 3, 2012

Benghazi - Defining Obama

On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States.  This is the only time in American history that has ever happened, and it was the result of a sitting president actively participating in a government cover-up.  An elected leader knowingly attempted to mislead the American people and was appropriately forced from office, forever tarnished with a legacy of shame.   Though our partisan media has made every effort to mute the tragedy that occurred in Benghazi, Libya and many have been reluctant to officially proclaim it, let us finally acknowledge this situation for what it is - a government cover-up.  This situation could not have come at a worse time for President Obama, politically inconvenient is an understatement.  Ironically though, Benghazi and the subsequent handling of it is a microcosm of the Obama administration’s almost four years in power.  Contradiction, arrogance, secrecy, and deflection of blame are staples of the Obama presidency, and have been quite prevalent in the handling of this incident. 

The weeks following the Benghazi bloodshed were filled with the Obama machine making every effort to blame the eruption of anti-American violence in the Middle East on a little known YouTube video.  The State Department apologized for the video, President Obama referenced it multiple times in his United Nation's address, and they ultimately drove the point home by having the video’s creator taken into custody on a parole violation.  When information slipped out revealing the Benghazi actions not as a spontaneous riot, but a well-planned and precisely executed attack by terrorist elements associated with Al Qaeda, the ardent certainty about the video motivation morphed into righteous indignation.  Even with a chorus of increasingly substantiated charges of incompetence and deception, the White House maintained an air of defiance.  Hypocrisy reached previously unknown heights when Obama actually tried to claim during the second presidential debate that he labeled the Benghazi incident a terrorist attack during his Rose Garden remarks on September 12th.  Obama is far from unintelligent, so he covered his bases by simply mentioning terrorist attacks in passing, knowing at some point he could reference it if the truth happened to rear its ugly head.  It would then be up to the spin doctors to work their magic and twist the dismissal of repeated attacks on western diplomatic assets, unheeded intelligence reports predicting an impending attack, and ignored pleas for additional security that ultimately resulted in the deaths of four Americans into a political witch hunt by Republicans.  While logic would predict this to be a ludicrous strategy based on the overwhelming amount of damning evidence, the lack of damage sustained by the Obama presidency and campaign seems to prove otherwise.  One president is forced from office for perpetrating a cover-up; another is very possibly going to be reelected.  My how times and our standards have changed.

Obama is a man convinced of his own greatness, and he becomes indignant with anyone that has the audacity to question him or challenge his ideology.  The facts do not apply to him, his superiority defies them.  While foreign policy was a weakness for him in 2008, he saw and was campaigning on it as his crown jewel this time around.  He was America’s great avenger for the elimination of Bin Laden and several of his lieutenants.  The Middle East was now fertile ground for blossoming democracy and the era of fanaticism was soon to be a thing of the past.  We were safer and more secure.  With drones and SEALs he had single-handedly dealt the death blow to jihad.  Suddenly an American ambassador is killed for the first time in over three decades, an organized attack is conducted on the anniversary of 9/11, and a group supposedly in its finally throes is now expanding in the power vacuum we helped to create through our “liberation” of Libya.  The carefully crafted image was proving to be a house of cards.  The supposed results of Obama’s supreme foreign policy were proving to be delusions of grandeur.  For an administration already thin on a record supporting their claims of transcendency this was simply not acceptable.  Being proved wrong or incompetent was not permissible, so even though all evidence to the contrary, it had to be the YouTube video.  If the message was uniform and relentlessly pitched, combined with a sympathetic media and a generally unaware electorate, the hope was to lay the blame on a violent reaction to a religiously insensitive video.  Perhaps disaster would not only be adverted, but transformed into a rallying point or at the very least quickly go away.  As long as the president’s reputation on foreign affairs remained intact, either would suffice.  This administration had learned from their experience with the Fast and Furious fiasco, when the truth is detrimental it becomes a matter of tweaking or concealing.  If that fails, make it a war of attrition.  People get bored very easily. 

As far as Obama was concerned, this was nothing more than a distraction to the more important task of getting reelected.  One must have their priorities.  As a man that had finely honed an ability to be impervious to accountability his entire life, he knew how to shift blame.  His time as president was an exercise in finger pointing.  Almost four years in office and yet the lack of positive results from his policies were still his predecessor’s fault.  When the initial recipient of blame for this situation was discredited, an alternate had to be found.  Since the video was out, the next option offered up, though tactfully discreet, was the inherent danger associated with diplomatic service.  Since the victims understood and accepted the hazards of their chosen profession, the fault lay not with an incompetent and misleading administration but with an unfortunate albeit unavoidable bit of bad luck.  They willing went into harm’s way, so their fate was of their choosing.

It is quite frustrating and completely unacceptable that the Benghazi tragedy has not and continues to not receive the attention and scrutiny it deserves.  This is a perpetuation of this administration’s belief it is above reproach, to question it is heresy.  President Obama is predicable because his primary concern is himself, so much so that even with four dead Americans the focus with the Benghazi attack has been to figure out how to minimize the damage it does to his reelection efforts.  Why it happened, what lessons should be learned from it, and relentlessly pursuing those that perpetrated this attack must be dismissed in an effort to try and make it all go away.  Pesky governing got in the way of this president’s true passion –campaigning.   President Obama did not have the experience or leadership to properly deal with this situation, just as he did not have the experience or leadership necessary to be President of the United States.  He was completely unprepared to deal with the realities that emerged when the fa├žades he had worked so hard to erect were exposed, and in both situations it was the American people that bore the brunt of his failure.

How fitting that the Obama campaign has recently released a commercial centered on the importance of character.  While this is a rare time when I actually agree with them, I find it absurd that this administration would have the gall to venture into this territory.  Character is a vital ingredient in an elected leader as democracy is the ultimate exercise in trust.  We place confidence in our elected leaders when we vote them into power.  When this trust is violated, and the bestowed power is corrupted in an effort to deprive us of the truth, our representative form of government is circumvented, replaced by tyrants elevating their own needs above those of the country.  Character is not an attribute that I would associate with this administration’s handling of the Benghazi incident, or their methods of governing over the last four years.  Contradiction, arrogance, secrecy, and deflection of blame are not admirable or noble qualities, but they are the epitome of this president and his four years in office.

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