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Rubin Reports

Why Benghazi Is Overwhelmingly Important

May 9th, 2013 - 9:18 am

There is something terribly and tragically and importantly symbolic about the Benghazi attack that may be lost in the tidal wave of details about what happened on September 11, 2012, in an incident where four American officials were murdered in a terrorist attack. This point stands at the heart of everything that has happened in American society and intellectual life during the last decade.

And that point is this:

America was attacked once again on September 11, attacked by al-Qaeda in an attempt to destroy the United States — as ridiculous as that goal might seem. Yet: the U.S. government blamed the attack on America itself.

Other reasons can be adduced for the official position that what happened that day was due to a video insulting Islam rather than a terrorist attack, but this is the factor of overwhelming importance. It transformed the situation in the following ways:

– Muslims were the victims of American misbehavior, a point emerging from the administration’s wider worldview of U.S. aggression and Third World suffering, as in the lectures of all those left-wing anti-American academics and the sermons of Jeremiah Wright.

– “Hate speech” and racism (as “Islamophobia” is often reconfigured) were the cause of troubles.

– While freedom of speech and such liberties should be defended, they must be limited in some ways to prevent further trouble.

– America’s proper posture should be one of apology, as in the advertisements that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made for the Pakistani and other media.

– The “misblaming,” to coin a word, of the video showed terrorist groups that not only can they attack Americans, but they can do so without fear of punishment … or even of blame! As the House of Representatives’ hearings show, the misattribution of responsibility also delayed the FBI’s investigation, perhaps conclusively so.

– The exercise of American power has been the cause of America’s problems, not an excess of appeasement. The chickens — in Wright’s phrase — are merely coming home to roost. Yet once the video was blamed — the video which few in the Middle East were aware of — there were in fact further anti-American riots in different countries, now over the video which Clinton and others made known, in which dozens of people died. This showed that appeasement and apology caused worse problems.

– The solution to these Middle East conflicts required a change in U.S. policies in order to avoid further offense. This meant distancing from Israel and even historic Arab allies, showing respect and encouragement even for “moderate” Islamist movements, and other measures.

In short, this is the stance of blaming America and exonerating its enemies that has seized hold of the national consciousness. Of course, parallel responses met the Boston bombing, as the mass media and academics scrambled to give alternative explanations to the terrorists’ motives.

The truth is, however, extremely simple: the United States faces a revolutionary Islamist movement that will neither go away nor moderate itself.

To understand this movement and its ideology, how it is and is not rooted in Islam, its weaknesses and divisions, the forces willing to help combat it, and the ways to devise strategies to battle it is the prime international need for the moment. It is as necessary to do these things for revolutionary Islamism today as it was to do the same things regarding Nazism in the 1930s and 1940s and for communism in the 1940s and 1950s.

Yet the U.S. armed forces and other institutions are forbidden from holding this inquiry.

There are, of course, additional issues raised; many of them also have far deeper significance:

– The failure of the Obama administration to defend and rescue Americans in Benghazi is equivalent to its failures to defend American interests around the world.

– The fear of using American power in Libya that day parallels the overall retreat from the traditional bipartisan policies of credibility, deterrence, and all the other things in a great power’s lexicon.

– The belief that a soft answer turns away wrath is so terribly unsuited to the conduct of international affairs.

– The standpoint that it is better to let Americans die than to risk offending certain groups might seem harsh, but when it was decided not to send a rescue mission, that was precisely what was happening.

– Benghazi revealed a lack of competence by a president who didn’t know his duty, and by high-ranking subordinates who would not remind him of  that duty.

– Benghazi is the perfect symbolism of the president of the United States going to sleep in the face of a crisis, the living embodiment of a 2008 election ad by his opponent about whether he would deal with a crisis that erupted at 3:00 a.m.

– Benghazi is the perfect symbolism of the secretary of state being the one who did that ad, and who said “What difference does it make?” regarding the attackers’ motives.

– The administration’s declaration of victory over al-Qaeda (the reason for the cover-up) is not only untrue, but the idea that if al-Qaeda is defeated there is no more threat from revolutionary Islamism is the central wrong theme of administration Middle East policy.

– Why was the ambassador in Benghazi on that day? Remember that President Obama stood before the United Nations General Assembly and said that Christopher Stevens was there to plan a new school and hospital wing. Was Obama telling an outright lie?

Instead, was the ambassador there for:

  1. An attempt to retrieve advanced weapons previously provided to Libyan Islamist groups in the war against the Gaddafi dictatorship because they could be turned against America? Well, such weapons were turned against America that day. If so, the situation showed the bankruptcy of the pro-Islamist policy.
  2. An effort to funnel weapons to the Syrian rebels in a policy likely to repeat the problems in Libya? If so, the situation showed the bankruptcy of the pro-Islamist policy.
  3. A policy of negotiating some kind of deals with extreme and anti-American Islamist terrorists? If so, the situation showed the bankruptcy of the pro-Islamist policy.

And finally, what could be more symbolic than the hiring of Islamist terrorists to guard the consulate, men who deserted or even turned their guns against the Americans there?

It is truly symbolic because the Obama administration has turned to Islamists — in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Syria, and elsewhere — in the belief that they are best suited to guard U.S. interests in the Middle East.

In discussing the Benghazi affair, none of these broader issues should be forgotten. It was not merely an order for the American rescue forces to “stand down” but for the United States to bow down.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
This has to be the best analyses of the Benghazi cover-up and its significance. Another outstanding performance by Professor Rubin.

If only the audience was in the ten of millions rather than thousands.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"[T]he Obama administration has turned to the belief that they are best suited to guard U.S. interests in the Middle East." Not exactly. The administration holds no such belief. It turns to Islamists because the administration is opposed to US interests, and who better to guard that henhouse than the foxes? The last thing this administration wants to do is guard US interests. Its every move reveals it to be virulently opposed to US interests. If you keep smacking your forehead and wondering how anything can be as stupid, irrational, damaging, and inimical as current US foreign policy (and domestic policy, for that matter), recall that mistakes of that size are not made innocently.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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"Maybe its time for people to wake up and put the blame where it belongs rather than on some sitting president."

Which is where?

It may be difficult for you to understand, but the "sitting President" chooses what policies to follow, and bears the responsibility for their consequences. The outrage isn't so much that Obama chose the wrong policies, as it is that he lied to avoid the consequences of those policies. Prior administrations may also have pursued flawed policies, but few have refused to send help when the people who execute those polices have needed it, and then lied and tried to cover up their part in the debacle.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
YES!no president of America has ever been perfect,thats because only Lord God&Savior is the creator.We weren't made to be perfect.
From all past administrations they did say when mistakes happened.
Obama&his czars won't say;We are wrong(ever).
Always got to blame others.Reagan was our greatest leader& as a nation it may take somebody as bold to improve&be patriotic 1 day again.Benghazi's far worse than what Watergate turned into.Even Woodward sees flaws.LIz
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The purpose of Newspeak: To make all other modes of thought impossible.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Europeans chose not to defend themselves against the Russians during the cold war, when 1/2 of their continent was basicly a slave camp. In fact they were hostile to us and saw the US and Russians as participating in a foolish game of spy vs. spy. It is perfectly normal for children to resent adults. I see them as an even less reliable ally regarding islam.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
People need to understand two simple points related to this article. First, since the inception of Islam, muslims have been on offense. With the exception of a short period during the Crusades and part of the 20th century, Islam has always been on the attack. They have always made their intentions clear that they want to take over the world, force everyone into Islam, and establish a Caliphate. With the existence of 17 centuries of data and experience, why is it we suddenly find ourselves thinking Islam is a peaceful religion and their current unhappiness is our doing? As an aside, one should also ask if Islam is the reason why the Middle East went from being the world leader in technology, science, humanities 2,000 years ago to a persistant backwater that would still be in the third century today if it wasn't for petrodollars. And why the Middle East is the mess that it is today.

The second point is that a while back a study was done to prove the obvious. The study showed that the more ignorant and/or incapable a person is, the more likely that person is to have an over abundance of confidence in their knowledge and ability. Evidently this stems from not having the ability to effectively evaluate their own skills and knowledge. Perhaps this would explain why our current administration is led by individuals who refuse to compromise or listen to other sides of arguments which, in turn, has led the Republicans to sink their heels intot he ground.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I quiver at my ignorance, but I know my duty; to feed the hungry, cloth the naked and house the homeless.

This is from me, not my government, my duty, freely chosen and not imposed but offered from love.

There might be a wee bit of difference from one religion and the next.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
John F Kennedy in 1963 said to the graduates of the military academy:

"This is another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origin--war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins, war by ambush instead of by combat; by infiltration, instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It is a form of warfare uniquely adapted to what has been strangely called "wars of liberation," to undermine the efforts of new and poor countries to maintain the freedom that they have finally achieved. It preys on economic unrest and ethnic conflicts. It requires in those situations where we must counter it, and these are the kinds of challenges that will be before us in the next decade if freedom is to be saved, a whole new kind of strategy, a wholly different kind of force, and therefore a new and wholly different kind of military training."

I do not thnk we have adapted yet to these challenges.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Is called asymmetrical and no one plays it any better than the dem/commie party.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The big question of course is where was ozero during the raging hellish 9 hours at Benghazi?
Was he with his body-man Reggie? Out playing night golf? Asleep? Reviewing the promoters latest load for the next days campaign appearance in Vegas or just watching sports as usual on tv? Inquiring minds.....
Actually the jeopardy for ozero is that if he was not engaged in managing one of the nations more recent tragedies he is incompetent and should be impeached. And, if he was engaged in managing the disaster that was and is Benghazi he should be impeached.
So either way the future is not bright for the boy wonder/community organizer who obviously can't organize.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
------– The “misblaming,” to coin a word, of the video showed terrorist groups that not only can they attack Americans, but they can do so without fear of punishment … or even of blame! As the House of Representatives’ hearings show, the misattribution of responsibility also delayed the FBI’s investigation, perhaps conclusively so.

Yes, this is an interestingly disgusting point. In immediate Susan-Rice-sacrificial aftermath, I recall the great SCORN that the video-maker was subjected to by our highest-level officials, right up to Obama himself. They castigated the poor schmuck and tossed him in the can, where he sits to this day, for producing a dumb-ass video that nobody's seen. My point is, couldn't some smidgeon of that disdain have been directed towards the individuals (be the mere "demonstrators" or WHATever) who raped, tortured, and murdered OUR ambassador? There was no disgust displayed towards the perps, just the scapegoat. The perps were dispassionately explained away. Like it is somehow *natural* to slaughter Americans on the basis of a YouTube video. Or is it only *natural* for Muslims to grotesquely over-react to such a trivial insult?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I hear that there were also many people wounded by the Benghazi attack, some grievously, but I've never heard/read the details. Hell of a way to go.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wonder why there was no response that night and the many months since. Is it because the Al-Queda associated terrorists they hired to guard the consulate passed a message to Obama saying if he does anything to retaliate, they will use the weapons the US gave them against US citizens all around the world?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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