The Real Lesson of Benghazi
The Obama administration is approaching full meltdown over the steady stream of revelations concerning its inaction and lies over the massacre of Ambassador Chris Stevens and other U.S. personnel in Libya. Obama and Biden are lining up against Hillary Clinton and the State Department, claiming that they weren’t told about Stevens’ requests for additional security. Meanwhile, administration officials are denying that they ever linked the attack on the consulate to the Muhammad video that has been blamed for worldwide Muslim riots, despite abundant evidence to the contrary. One fact, however, is as clear as it is little noted: the entire incident demonstrates the abject failure of the Obama administration’s Middle East policy, and its analysis of the jihad threat in general.
Speaking about the Libyan revolution in March 2011, Obama warmly praised the dawning in Libya of “the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny.” After providing military aid to the anti-Gaddafi rebels despite evidence of their al-Qaeda links, the administration--whether the call really came from the White House or the State Department or both--had every reason to ignore the request from Benghazi for more security, and to pretend that the whole thing was just a spontaneous uprising over a video, not the carefully planned September 11 jihad attack that it proved to be.
To have acknowledged what was really happening would have been to admit that the Allahu-akbaring mob besieging the Benghazi consulate was nothing remotely close to a responsible citizenry enjoying their rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and self-determination. It would have been to admit that the jihad against the United States would not be turned away from its goal by hearts-and-minds gestures, even if those gestures included the removal of a brutal dictator. The people of Benghazi were no more inclined to welcome the Americans as liberators--and Ambassador Stevens had attempted to play exactly that role, sneaking into Libya during the most difficult days of the uprising and doing everything he could to aid the rebels--than were the people of Iraq when Saddam Hussein was toppled.
The reason in both cases was the same: the rebels against both Saddam and Gaddafi were largely Islamic supremacists who wanted a Sharia state, disdained democracy, and considered the United States to be their enemy not primarily because of various aspects of its foreign policy, but because it is the world’s foremost infidel polity, against whom the mujahedin believe they have a sacred duty to wage war. The Qur’an and Islamic law direct Muslims to wage war against and subjugate the “People of the Book” (cf. Qur’an 9:29)--that is, primarily Jews and Christians--not if they behave badly by supporting Israel or Middle Eastern dictators, but simply because they are not Muslims.
But the White House and State Department not only do not acknowledge this fact--they have done all they can to deny and obfuscate it. The one cardinal proposition that accepted analysts must repeat is that the present conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims have absolutely nothing to do with Islam; indeed, Obama administration officials are expressly forbidden to link Islam with terrorism, as if Islamic terrorists weren’t busy linking the two on a daily basis. The errors of analysis and wrong decisions that cost lives all follow from this initial false premise.