October 31, 2012

STRATEGYPAGE: Austin Bay: More Benghazi Questions.

The Benghazi attack, if it proved to be a planned attack rather than a spontaneous response to a video created without Obama’s approval, would call into question at a politically inconvenient moment the fundamental assumptions that guide his administration’s Middle Eastern diplomacy — in particular, the history-changing impact of his own personality and his insistence that his diplomacy is smart. A planned attack would also demonstrate that the Terrorists War on America continues, no matter what George W. Bush and Barack Obama call the conflict, and that al-Qaida remains capable of orchestrating terror attacks that have strategically deleterious effects on U.S. policy.

The video-did-it narrative gave Obama a political shield to deflect criticism of personally dear policies and achievements. It also gave the old community organizer a rhetorical cudgel to wield against intolerant, Muslim-despising bigots in America. Partisan Democrats connect those code words to bitter clingers — Republican rubes who cling to their guns and religion while waging war on women. Obama went with, then stayed with, the video narrative because he and his campaign advisers believed it was a foreign policy shield and domestic political sword.

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