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Unexamined Premises

Monthly Archives: October 2012

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“A coward dies a thousand deaths,” to paraphrase Shakespeare in Julius Caesar, “but a hero dies just one.” As we hopefully approach the end of the Barack Hussein Obama II administration, cowardice is just one of the many possible explanations of its catastrophic failure at Benghazi last month, a failure that cost the lives of four Americans, the loss of valuable intelligence assets, the burning of countless Libyan collaborators, whose lives are now forfeit in that wretched land and elsewhere, and the needless handing to the ascendant jihadists of a propaganda victory that might have been avoided and has yet to be avenged.

But wait — it gets worse. According to this story, they knew an attack likely was coming — and still did nothing:

The U.S. Mission in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” less than a month before the assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, because Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi and the consulate could not defend against a “coordinated attack,” according to a classified cable reviewed by Fox News.

Summarizing an Aug. 15 emergency meeting convened by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Aug. 16 cable marked “SECRET” said that the State Department’s senior security officer, also known as the RSO, did not believe the consulate could be protected.

“RSO (Regional Security Officer) expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound,” the cable said.

It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of what Obama’s handling of what is sure to go down as one of the most disgraceful episodes in American political and military history tells us about him, his administration, the ethos of the modern Democratic Party, and the state of our nation. The short answer: nothing good.

Understanding the implications of the Benghazi story — which my colleague Roger Simon has outlined here and here and here — the MSM (except for Fox News) has done its best to ignore it. They know that, properly presented to the American people, the fiasco — in which our ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three others who died fighting like men instead of like politicians  – rightly should spell the end of the Obama administration. And regarding Roger’s suggestion of impeachment, it’s worth remembering that the Watergate burglary — the thing that ultimately ended Nixon’s presidency via resignation (under the threat of impeachment by the House) in 1974 — took place five months before his landslide victory in 1972. In other words, one doesn’t have to look very far for a precedent, should it come to that.

Because, let’s face it, the president of the United States — for no apparent legitimate reason of state or military doctrine — let those four men die on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, a clear and present dereliction of duty that, were he an officer in the services, would have gotten him court-martialed, stripped in rank, and sent to the brig. Instead, Obama’s decision (or, more likely, indecision) was a result of purely political calculations: the Slayer of Osama, having tamed the savage Islamic breast and declared the War on Terror over, chose to ignore any evidence to the contrary. And the media, ever eager to please, ignored the story because it didn’t fit the narrative.

We have now arrived at the purest distillation of the philosophy of the criminal organization masquerading as a political party that we call the Democrats: not only the personal is political, but everything — even the lives and deaths of our troops — is political.  But no surprise here.

Recently, one of the nastiest men of the 20th century — yes, I’m talking about you, Eric Hobsbawm — died at the age of 95.  (If you can stomach the face of pure moral-equivalence evil, click here.) Hobsbawm, an Egyptian-born Marxist, died honored in Britain, to which he emigrated from Germany after Hitler came to power. Before his death, as noted by Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal, Hobsbawm famously opined that:

None of this should have been surprising coming from a man who, over the years, gave his political assent to everything from the Nazi-Soviet Pact to the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Asked by the BBC whether the achievement of a communist utopia would have justified “the loss of fifteen, twenty million people,” he answered “Yes.”

Holodomor: the Ukraine, 1933

That “yes” is the authentic voice of the modern sociopathic Left of which Barack Obama is so unmistakably a part. Theory is everything to them; indeed, the villains of the Frankfurt School (to whom we provided safe haven from Hitler’s Germany) invented something called “critical theory,” a juvenile discipline predicated on the adolescent fixation with questioning strictures in the name of “human freedom,” but whose practical effect has been the demolition of moral and aesthetic standards and their replacement with nihilism. The deaths of millions of people in the name of their false god, communism, were — in words attributed to Stalin and endorsed by Hobsbawm — just a statistic.

From his boyhood in Honolulu to his young manhood at Occidental and Columbia, to the streets of Chicago and the halls of Harvard, Barack Obama has been passed along from one mentor to another, swimming in the seas of left-liberalism and internalizing its anti-American world view to such an extent that — as a candidate for president — he could stand in front of adoring throngs and proclaim that “we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Think about that extraordinary statement (alas, too few of our fellow citizens did): what did he mean? Why did the nation need to be “fundamentally transformed” in the first place? Into what was he proposing to transform it? The answers today are all too apparent.

In just four years under President Obama, the United States has seen its stature in the world sink, its economy crater, and its soldiers left to die, unaided, on a foreign battlefield. As a member of a military family, I concur with Roger that Obama’s inaction at Benghazi fully warrants the opening of an impeachment inquiry, so manifestly derelict in his duty does he appear to have been. But then, throughout his woebegone presidency, Obama has never been particularly interested in that aspect of the job, other than to play Drones of Death with his political advisors and crow about how “he” got bin Laden — behavior more suitable to a Chicago gangland chief dispensing with his enemies than a commander in chief defending his country.

In other words, Obama is crazy brave as long as there is no personal or political cost, a fearless killer of even American citizens: judge, jury, and executioner by remote control. But when it came time to act, in real time, to support a few brave men fighting not just for their lives but to save other Americans, he choked (which is why those stories that he had little or nothing to do with bin Laden raid are now being given wide currency in Washington). Given his pampered upbringing at Punahou and the Ivy League, his cowardice is unsurprising, and his sociopathy obviously comes naturally:

Clinton, being Clinton, had plenty of advice in mind and was desperate to impart it. But for the first two years of Obama’s term, the phone calls Clinton kept expecting rarely came. “People say the reason Obama wouldn’t call Clinton is because he doesn’t like him,” observes [former aide Neera] Tanden. “The truth is, Obama doesn’t call anyone, and he’s not close to almost anyone. It’s stunning that he’s in politics, because he really doesn’t like people. My analogy is that it’s like becoming Bill Gates without liking computers.”

Tanden was, of course, forced to apologize for her candor once the Obama drones got to her, but her Kinsley Gaffe (inadvertently telling the truth) simply reinforced what everybody had long since come to understand about Obama, that he is a cold and unfeeling man, who views the military as his personal Praetorian Guard, Congress as his courtiers, and the American people as his subjects. He openly boasts about going around Congress with his executive orders and via his control of the regulatory agencies. And a second term, in which he would be unaccountable to the electorate, would be far worse. Because that’s where the real “fundamental transformation” will occur; these past four years will be seen as mere prologue to the nightmare to come.’

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‘Mom and Dad, We’re Blaming You’

October 29th, 2012 - 2:26 pm

A new low from the Repressive Tolerance Party:

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I liked it better in the original Kander and Ebb:

Proving once more that socialists are socialists, whether of the communist, Marxist or National Socialist variety. And the time to stop them is on Nov. 6. As the video says: Vote.

UPDATE: The creepy Children of the Corn video has now been taken private, thanks to the oceans of ridicule heaped upon it. Who knew lefties could feel shame and embarrassment? Mock them, relentlessly; as St. Thomas More famously said: “The Devil, that proud spirit, cannot endure to be mocked.”

UPDATE 2: Like diamonds, the interwebs are forever: you can still find the video here and here.

The Shores of Tripoli

October 15th, 2012 - 3:16 pm

Well, Benghazi, anyway. My New York Post column today examines the unfolding mess that is the Libyan situation:

How is the Obama White House going to fit the entire State Department and the intelligence community under the bus?

Last month’s Benghazi fiasco saw four Americans — including our ambassador to Libya — murdered by elements of al Qaeda in a military-style assault timed to coincide with the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

The weeks afterward saw the administration blaming a video that, even the White House now admits, had nothing to do with it. And the months before the attack saw Washington adamantly reducing security in Benghazi — despite pleas for reinforcements from the folks on the ground.

Yet President Obama’s top spokesman — and Vice President Joe Biden, in last week’s debate — have been busy pointing fingers of blame at State and the IC.

It won’t work. Neither Foggy Bottom nor the intel community’s legion of spooks, analysts and secret-keepers is likely to go quietly.

And that’s an understatement. Behind the scenes — in Langley, Fort Meade, Anacostia, and elsewhere in the Intelligence Community — spooks and analysts are sharpening their knives for the Obama administration, which, having chosen to pick a fight both with the IC and the Clintons, apparently has some sort of death wish.

The national media’s still doing its level best to keep Benghazi off the front pages, but its effort is doomed to failure. It’s worth repeating: our ambassador to Libya was (it now seems) lured to Benghazi and assassinated; that night, Barack Hussein Obama, evincing not the slightest interest in or sympathy for Chris Stevens’ fate, flew off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser. Instead, his increasingly desperate administration issued a squid-ink fog of confusion, blaming an obscure YouTube video for what the IC knew almost immediately was a terrorist assault on American soil. And then, when that legend collapsed, blamed the State Department and the IC for letting it down.

They knew it because — and perhaps this is just the thriller writer in me — there may have been double agents within State or the IC itself who lured Stevens back to Benghazi with a false sense of security, and thus to his death.

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Vice President Tommy Udo

October 12th, 2012 - 1:13 pm

In the wake of last night’s bizarre vice-presidential debate, the takeaway notion is clear: an insane person is currently a heartbeat away from the White House. A giggling, mugging, eye-rolling, head-shaking lunatic, who was clearly under instruction from his political masters to go out there and show the country that the Left is not just a bunch of kumbaya kommie pansies but real red-blooded all-Americans, the kind of guys you’d want to be in a bar fight with.

Biden’s performance is being widely compared to the Joker in the Batman comics and movies, but say what you will about the Joker, he had least had a seriousness of purpose behind his grimacing mien. What’s Biden’s excuse? He doubled down on the suicidal stupidity of trying to blame the Intelligence Community for the political and moral evil that occurred last month in Benghazi — an unforced error necessitated by electoral desperation and President Obama’s overweening and arrogant sense of his own genius that will cost the administration dearly in the back alleys of foreign policy, where the IC can seriously affect the outcome of the game. He insulted Ryan (a man who’s never given Biden any personal affront) to his face, repeatedly — a blunder that won’t quickly be forgotten or forgiven when Ryan moves into the Naval Observatory. He embarrassed and shamed those good folks on the other side of the aisle who truly believe in the rightness of their cause.

And he seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself as he did so.

In short, Biden’s no Joker. He’s Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death. And the kiss of death is what he just gave to the Obama campaign:

The Democrats were right about that wheelchair thing; they just had the wrong guy pushing it.

Also read:

America Won’t Survive Another Four Years of Obama


Don’t Back Down

October 8th, 2012 - 2:41 pm

If there’s anything more tiresome than listening to conservative complaints that the media hates them and the polls are rigged — amazing how that meme turned around in a hurry after last week’s debate! — it’s listening to Hollywood conservatives complain that they’ve been blackballed by the Industry due to their political views. While this may be true in some cases, particularly in the “below the line” crafts, it’s difficult to reconcile with the larger picture — which is that “conservative” movies do get made. And “liberal” movies. And movies with no political point of view at all. Amazingly, even in Hollywood, not everything is about politics.

Because the movies that do get made are, by Industry standards, “good movies,” which is to say scripts that are well-crafted and well-executed on the page, that somehow will speak to the Zeitgeist two years from the minute the exec picks it up, can be made for a reasonable amount of money (always excepting superhero tentpole films), and won’t get the exec fired the next day.

In fact, based on my perhaps atypical experience, I would say very few things are politically tinged at the working level. ( I know that many of my screenwriter colleagues are going to disagree with me on this one.) I’ve worked with one of the great producers, the late Daniel Melnick — a good old-fashioned red-diaper baby and proud of it — and our relationship was warm both personally and professionally. I count among my friends some of the most famous, and famously liberal, names in the Industry. If a conservative can’t work with progressives in Hollywood, he or she is going to be very lonely and very unemployed. As I wrote in 2009 in Dan’s obituary:

One final point, and it’s important, especially these days: politics never entered into our relationship. It’s not that we didn’t discuss them, but it was after the fashion of Yankee fans versus Mets fans: it never affected our professional and personal love for one another. Dan was a classic NY/LA liberal. I was, well, the multilingual son of a Marine Corps officer who had spent much of my career in eastern Europe and the old Soviet Union, who was there at the Berlin Wall with a sledgehammer when the Wall came down 20 years ago next month. But – and this is a truth I keep pounding home on both sides of the contemporary political divide in our wonderful town – none of that mattered if the story was served. And that’s the way it should be. In the end, in our business, story – and execution – will out. The rest is, or should be, commentary.

Sure, as John Fund notes over at NRO, the critics are hating Won’t Back Down, while audiences are loving it. But so what? That says more about the skewed state of American journalism these days — even sportswriters and food critics now feel free to toss in a Bush or Romney drive-by when the spirit moves them — than it does about filmmaking. And I highly doubt whether Maggie Gyllenhaal or Viola Davis chose to attach to the project because of innate conservative sentiments.

The first lesson any fledgling screenwriter learns, or should learn, is to write a part an actor wants to play. Your script is not primarily about its music cues, its philosophy, its social consciousness, its crackling dialogue, or its politics. It’s about getting made, which means it’s about character.

Especially yours.

By the way: the most “conservative” movie ever made was written by a card-carrying Communist. Enjoy:

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(Thumbnail on PJM homepage based on a modified Shutterstock.com image.)


Dr. Helen responds at PJ Tatler.