Back to That Video Again

From “Election-Year Stakes Overshadow Nuances of Libya Investigation,” David D. Kirkpatrick, NYT:

“To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred:  a well-known group of local Islamist militants mounted the attack without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the American-made video.  That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without ever mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist attacks of 11 years earlier.  And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence.

But so far the intelligence assessments appear to square largely with the local accounts.  Whether the attackers are labeled ‘Al Qaeda cells’ or ‘aligned with Al Qaeda,’ as Republicans have suggested, depends on whether that label can be used as a generic term for a broad spectrum of Islamist militants, encompassing groups like Ansar al-Shariah whose goals were primarily local, as well as those who aspire to join a broader jihad against the West.

In June the group staged a similar attack against the Tunisian consulate over a different film, according to the Congressional testimony of the American security chief at the time, Eric A. Nordstrom.

“At a news conference the day after the ambassador and three other Americans were killed, a spokesman for Ansar al-Shariah praised the attack as the proper response to such an insult to Islam. …  Other Benzaghi militia leaders who know the group say its leaders and ideology are all homegrown.  Their group provides social services and guards a hospital.  And they openly proselytize for their brand of puritanical Islam and political vision.

They profess no interest in global fights against the West or distant battles aimed at removing American troops from the Arabian Peninsula.”  Emphasis added.


A Golden Opportunity

What I see as a campaign-ending disaster — the Romney 47% video — Rush Limbaugh is calling a “golden opportunity” to explain conservatism!  I think you only see this as a golden opportunity if you’re someone used to eating off golden plates.

The GOP consistently tries to portray Obama as somehow unAmerican.

But really what could possibly be more unAmerican — and patently untrue — than someone who believes half his fellow citizens see themselves as victims and refuse to take personal responsibility for themselves?  That is the antithesis of who we have always been as a people and who we are today.

You could only think such a thing if you’re totally cut off from normal working people — as are both Mitt and Rush in where and how they live — and exist in a bubble of fellow extremely rich people.

This is indeed a golden opportunity, a golden opportunity to re-elect President Obama in a landslide.

We Need More Facts

The Obama administration is being criticized for not better protecting Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three Americans killed along with him.  Critics are saying that he shouldn’t been at the consulate in Benghazi, which was not as well protected as the embassy in Tripoli, on 9/11.  But I don’t believe we know all the facts.  What if he was told/advised/warned not to go, and he went anyway?  He believed, with some justification, that he was popular in Libya and especially well-liked in Benghazi because of his efforts supporting the rebels before Qaddafi was overthrown.  He also knew that the country is filled with terrorists, especially the eastern part where Benghazi is.

But if the Ambassador was not following instructions or advice, is the President or Hillary Clinton going to stand there at Andrews Air Force Base in front of his casket and say, “We told him to stay in Tripoli and hunker down?”  Of course not.

In general, we’re hearing stuff from all sides that doesn’t make sense.  At the White House, Jay Carney is arguing that the Benghazi murders were because of the inflammatory video “Innocence of Muslims.”  He is saying that while others in the administration and in Congress, who have access to classified materials, are saying that the Benghazi attack was separate from and unrelated to the video-related violence.   They believe that it was revenge for the killing of Al Qaeda’s #2 in Pakistan in June, who was a Libyan.  The fact that it occurred on 9/11 seems to bolster that theory.  Someone Stevens trusted, but who was really working for the terrorists, may have lured him to Benghazi so he’d be there on 9/11.

On the other end of our political spectrum, The Weekly Standard has an article up on their web site, “The Video Didn’t Do It,” by Lee Smith.  Smith argues that none of the violence we’ve been seeing in 20 different countries is because of the video, which I believe is equally wrong.  He says the attacks are about “American principles and power and policy.”  Well, yes, but anti-American sentiment is a big wood pile always sitting there waiting for a match.  The video was that match.

It seems as if two different things happened simultaneously.  As best I can tell right now, the Benghazi murders were Al Qaeda or Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists seeking revenge for a murder in June and seeking to show they can still hit us on a 9/11 anniversary.  People protesting a video don’t show up with rocket propelled grenades and mortars.  It was a sophisticated attack at two locations, the consulate itself and then the safe house.  The other attacks seem to be sparked by the video.