Rightbloggers Cover Benghazi Hearings with Extreme Prejudice
House Republicans finally got their hearings on Benghazi, and we have learned that the Obama Administration, the CIA, and the FBI massaged their talking points before announcing the attack last September, and that at least a couple of people thought the U.S. military could have gotten to Benghazi quicker than they did.
At least, that's what we heard. Our friends the rightbloggers seem to have heard that Obama and Hillary Clinton murdered Ambassador Stevens in cold blood, for no better reason than that they hate America (or love Islam!), and that the President must be impeached for it at the very least.
The star witness in last week's hearing was veteran diplomat Greg Hicks, former Libya deputy chief of mission, who suggested that U.S. military backup could have been sent earlier to Benghazi than it was, possibly saving at least a few of the trapped Americans. (Spokesmen for the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have denied this.)
Hicks also asserted, and State Department emails read into the record suggest, that while demonstrations over an anti-Islam video clip were happening elsewhere in the Middle East, the Benghazi attack had nothing to do with that (though the Administration implied it had), and was instead a planned operation by an Al Qaeda subcontractor.
A normal person of whatever politics might look at this and conclude the Administration did some unseemly ass-covering before bringing the Benghazi news to the American people. Alex Koppelman at The New Yorker -- one of the Lame Stream Media outlets regularly castigated by conservatives as tools of the Administration -- wrote that, while "based on what we've seen from [the ABC News report], the process that went into creating and then changing the talking points seems to have been driven in large measure by two parts of the government -- C.I.A. and State --trying to make sure the blame for the attacks and the failure to protect American personnel in Benghazi fell on the other guy," nonetheless "the mere existence of the edits -- whatever the motivation for them -- seriously undermines the White House's credibility on this issue."
But enough about normal people. Let's get to the rightbloggers.
The brethren quickly let it be known that their only interest regarding Benghazi was in the truth -- which was that Obama and Clinton were traitors.
The real importance of the Benghazi revelations, wrote Barry Rubin of PJ Media, was that "America was attacked once again on September 11, attacked by al-Qaeda in an attempt to destroy the United States... Yet: the U.S. government blamed the attack on America itself."
How? In referring to the anti-Islam video in its talking points, Obama was really saying that "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."
Rubin also asserted this Obama anti-Americanism was a factor after "the Boston bombing, as the mass media and academics scrambled to give alternative explanations to the terrorists' motives," and asked himself a series of questions to which he also supplied answers ("was the ambassador there for... 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"), before concluding that the Pentagon's failure to retrieve the men "was not merely an order for the American rescue forces to 'stand down' but for the United States to bow down." To Allah! Obama secret mission accomplished!
Rubin's colleague Bryan Preston said Hicks' testimony raised not only "the question of Clinton's competence" but also of her "grasp on reality," and that "we still do not know who decided to change the original CIA talking points and blame the movie, but the finger is pointing directly at Hillary Clinton" -- and "the fact that Obama himself blamed the movie repeatedly, though, strongly suggests that he took part in the decision as well" -- might's well get him in there too.
Also among Preston's villains: the Republicans in the House, who "mishandled the Benghazi whistleblowers' hearing" because "what should have been stretched across several days to give the nation time to digest it all, was instead packed into a single day filled with an overwhelming amount of information... Even Fox [News] joined the drive-by media, taking Benghazi off the air in favor of the irrelevant Arias trial." When will these Republicans and Fox News be called to account? What are they trying to hide?
Also accusing folks you'd expect a rightblogger to go easy on: Andrew C. McCarthy, who referred to Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Michael Mullen, heads of the Accountability Review Board that had previously cleared Clinton of Benghazi culpability, as "Clinton's Republican Guard." "Even on Fox News," gasped McCarthy, "which has been admirably dogged covering a scandal the Obamedia has done its best to bury, the refrain is heard: How could the ARB report be a whitewash when its investigation was run by such Washington eminences as Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Michael Mullen?"
McCarthy answered that Pickering and Mullen were "a pair of Beltway careerists held in high esteem by the progressive-friendly Republican establishment." Also, they're in league with the enemy: Pickering, said McCarthy, is a "supporter of the Obama-Clinton policy of empowering Islamic supremacists," and McMullen's in the habit of "echoing Obama's Muslim Brotherhood consultants"; both have "drunk deep from Washington's See-No-Islam well."
McCarthy further asserted that Obama's and Clinton's entourages were riddled with "Islamic supremacist advisors" such as Huma Abedin (who was allowed to continue infiltrating the Administration by "[John] McCain & Co."), and that, under their counsel, at Benghazi time "there are grounds to believe the command chain may actually have prevented a forceful response, ordering special forces to stand down while the attack raged." Well, of course -- if they're working directly with the mullahs, what wouldn't they be capable of?
AJ Strata said the Pentagon didn't know what it was talking about -- "Immediate Action Could Have Saved American Lives In Benghazi," he flatly stated, defending his premise with boss-looking pictures of fighter jets. "How about if one or two of these showed up?" he argued. "This why whoever delayed taking action pretty much damned those Americans to death."
"The problem was that the question asked when deciding whether or not to rescue the doomed consulate personnel was not, 'How do we save these people?'" claimed Rusty Humphries of the Tea Party News Network. "The question was, 'Don't we need to protect the president?'" Humphries blamed the fact that "many that make important military decisions are not military members. More and more high-ranking government officials are political appointees and know little of the realities of fighting," unlike in the days of the George W. Bush and Reagan Administrations.
While carefully saying there's "no way to know" if a successful rescue mission could have been mounted earlier, Hot Air's Allahpundit still asked, "are we to understand that it's official Obama administration policy not to intervene in attacks on U.S. diplomats unless intelligence on the ground is perfect, or near perfect?" He mentioned that Leon Panetta had spoken favorably of the security of U.S. installations overseas -- which one would expect a Defense Secretary to do, as opposed to saying something like "Hell no, you could open them up with a church key" -- and offered this analysis: "the White House decided to leave whoever was left on the ground at the consulate to fend for themselves while waiting for 'help' from Libyan security so that it didn't have to take the political risk of another Mogadishu by sending American troops on a chaotic rescue mission." (If only security for those facilities had been better funded. Another Democratic fuckup!)
The very fact that Clinton and Obama were defending themselves was proof they were guilty of something horrible, argued Roger L. Simon. "It's all 'the ends justify the (lying) means' or, in Islamic terms, it's taqiyya," he wrote. Not only Islamofascist, but also Russkie: "Welcome to the Soviet Union, Mr. and Mrs. America." Also: "Playing Malvolio is a luxury we can no longer afford." Shakespeare too! Throw in some songs and we have a hit.
Of course the media was blamed, despite its wall-to-wall coverage of the hearings last week. At TownHall, Hugh Hewitt denounced "the disgraceful actions of the broadcast MSM today in not covering the riveting testimony of Greg Hicks Wednesday..." In the middle of this passage was a link, directing the reader to... the New York Times coverage of Hicks' testimony.
At Wizbang, Warner Todd Huston found a prime example of media malfeasance: "The Associated Press on Wednesday mischaracterized the Benghazi hearings as merely a Republican event," he reported, "even though it is an official House investigation." Take that MSM! Huston added: "To [AP writer Donna] Cassata, House Republicans and "conservatives" are not interested in getting to the truth; the hearing is only a ruse to increase turnout for the 2014 and 2016 elections." Where do they get this stuff?
The brethren didn't like their hearings being made fun of, either. When Saturday Night Live mocked the hearings, Francesca Chambers of Red Alert Politics felt called upon to rebut a comedy sketch: "Of course, the real Benghazi hearings last week went nothing like the fictional Saturday Night Live version," said Chambers, "and did bring forth new information about what happened on the night that the U.S. consulate in Libya was attacked last year." Well, we know who won that round.
When Jon Stewart did likewise, The American Spectator's Aaron Goldstein wrote an outraged column on "Jon Stewart's Stupidity on Benghazi." (Short version: The Bush Administration would have been completely upfront about their fuckups with Republican investigators, had there been any.) "Stewart is nothing more than an apologist for the Obama Administration," foamed Goldstein. "If Benghazi had happened under President Bush's watch, Stewart would be clamoring for hearings, the appointment of a special prosecutor and, very likely, his impeachment. I know I shouldn't take the rantings of a 'comedian' so seriously..." Gee, maybe not print the column then? Oh, right: SEO.
Several of the brethren compared the event to Watergate, and predicted Obama would soon be helicoptered from the White House lawn.
"It was the cover-up, as history records, that eventually brought about Nixon's resignation in disgrace," said WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh. "Now, Congress is investigating an alleged cover-up of the terrorist attack Sept. 11, 2012..." Unruh cited some prominent conservatives, including Mike Huckabee and Ted Nugent, who predicted Obama's impeachment. Plus in a separate column Unruh revealed WorldNetDaily's exclusive poll showed 44 percent of Americans wanted Obama impeached -- and that was back in March! The numbers must be off the chart by now.
"Ever since Watergate, the conventional wisdom has always said, 'Yeah, come forth and be honest. Because, when you try to cover it up, that's when you get into real trouble. The cover-up is often worse than the crime,'" said Rush Limbaugh. "Not in this case. They're equally as bad."
"The last time something of this magnitude happened, a U.S. president stepped down," said Susan Brown of Right Wing News." "Is Benghazi Becoming a Watergate, or Iran-Contra, or Both?" asked Victor Davis Hanson at National Review. "May be the biggest federal cover-up since Watergate," said his colleague Deroy Murdock. And in case the association didn't sufficiently excite, there was the all-purpose slogan: Nobody died in Watergate.
But with Watergate, we had not only a coverup, but a crime and a motive. Nixon's men burgled the national headquarters of Nixon's opposition, which fact Nixon sought to conceal. What was Obama covering up that would merit impeachment?
The answer from a depressing number of the brethren was that Obama let the men die on purpose because something something impeach.
Though the Joint Chiefs denied a military rescue was possible, Sec Def Robert Gates agreed, and even GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz couldn't say for sure, rightbloggers generally took it for granted that the U.S. could have easily scooped the men up, yet did nothing. Some just implied as much with headlines, e.g., "Witnesses: Obama administration blocked military protection for Benghazi mission" (Washington Examiner), "U.S. Military in Tripoli Ordered Not to Go to Benghazi" (Weekly Standard), etc. Others planted the insinuation deeper in their stories, e.g. Katie Pavlich at TownHall: "The men in Libya were left to die as military forces were told to stand down."
Others went further. Bryan Preston explained that because "he never served in the military," the night of the Benghazi attack "Obama had command authority and responsibility in his hands, and he froze... He chose to let four Americans die rather than risk sending in any rescue attempt, because the potential political optics were so dire. " Thus, willful murder!
"If someone in the State Dept had told these four people to drive a car know to have a safety issue, and they were killed because the car failed in the very way everyone knew the car was unsafe (pick bald tires as an example), that State Department person would be heading to court and likely jail," explicated AJ Strata. "Now mix in that State Department person trying to hide the reports on those bald tires, and claiming it was something else that caused the accident and killed those people. Then what do you think would happen?" Uh, Miramax declines to option the script?
Daniel Greenfield of FrontPageMag compared Clinton to Lady Macbeth. "It is doubtful that Hillary Rodham Clinton will start hallucinating bloody spots on her palms," he wrote. "...Real life villains are more likely to ask what difference it makes; the solipsistic query of the sociopath to whom the feelings of others are abstract things.... the traitors walk through the night with blood on their hands and do not even see." Also mentioned: Saul Alinsky, 1969, Cindy Sheehan, and It Takes a Village.
"The truth about Benghazi is shredding Obama's treasonous cover-up and lies," declared Laurie Roth of Renew America. "Will Congress and the Senate grow some private parts and make Obama and all involved pay with arrests, impeachment, or treason charges??? This is not about Democrat or Republican. It is about murders, lies, and betrayal that happened on Obama's watch by Obama's own hand." "OBAMA'S TREASON: OBAMA MURDERED OUR PEOPLE IN BENGHAZI, LIBYA BECAUSE OBAMA DIDN'T DEPLOY A CARRIER TO THE MED!" allcapped The Jag Hunter.
If you think this is a hard sell, you may be missing the point. The history of American involvement in Middle Eastern countries is full of unfortunate events, and we are to some extent accustomed to them. But with enough effort and some well-placed spotlights, you can get one of them to stand out; what history might not achieve, politics may. Aspersions of murder and treason help. Then, when the charges are inevitably downgraded to malfeasance or incompetence, your audience may find them easier to accept, if only because, after all that drama, they come as a relief.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.
- Sanitation Sergeant Frank Musella Dies on the Job on Staten Island
Sat., Aug. 1, 2:00pm
Sat., Aug. 1, 7:00pm
Sun., Aug. 2, 3:00pm
Sun., Aug. 2, 3:00pm
- New York's Medical Marijuana Licenses Expected to Be Awarded by Friday
- The Ray of Ray's Candy Store Back in the Shop Despite Heart Surgery