Monday, October 22, 2012

What Happened on the Ground in Benghazi

Time has the most thorough account I've read of what actually happened at the American consulate in Benghazi last September 11. It's an account gleaned from the Libyans who were guarding the compound and it's riveting.

Here's the preface to the article:
More than a month after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, U.S. officials have yet to talk to many of the Libyan guards on duty at the American mission on that fatal evening. Fearful of reprisal from the still unknown perpetrators of the attack, the guards have gone into hiding; and their vivid recollections are giving way to a sense of abandonment by the American government, which offered them no protection from the attackers the guards believe want them dead.

TIME’s Steven Sotloff has talked to the guards for their account of what happened on the night of Sept. 11, 2012 and the early hours of the day after. Five of the guards were employees of the British security company Blue Mountain, and three others were members of the Islamist-leaning February 17th militia who were tasked with providing diplomatic security for foreign missions.

To protect them from possible retribution, their names have been changed. What is clear is that, as others have reported, there was no protest, simply a sudden siege of the compound; U.S. security forces–including U.S. Marines who arrived at an American safe house outside the consulate grounds–were overwhelmed and stymied; and that the looters apparently came upon the body of a still-breathing Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Read the rest at the link.

Breathtaking Mendacity

An article by Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and accomplished writer and economist, sheds some light on the integrity and character of Barack Obama. In his column Sowell addresses the speech given by then Senator Obama to a mostly black audience at Hampton University on June 5, 2007.

Speaking in condescendingly affected black accents not natural to him Senator Obama pointed out that after 9/11 and after Hurricane Andrew the government waived the Stafford Act in New York and Florida. The act requires that communities contribute 10% of disaster relief received from the federal government. But, Obama told this audience of black ministers, the government did not waive it after Katrina hit New Orleans. The reason, he suggested, is because the government, i.e. the Bush administration, just didn't care about the black people of New Orleans.

Perhaps Mr. Obama really believed this, but it's false, and it's hard to give him the benefit of the doubt on it because, as Sowell points out, he must have known it was false.

Two weeks earlier, on May 24, 2007, the U.S. Senate voted 80-14 to waive the requirement of the Stafford Act for New Orleans and more federal money was subsequently pumped into New Orleans than was spent in New York and Florida combined.

Moreover, Senator Obama must have known of this vote even as he was denying it to his audience because, according to Sowell who cited the Senate record, Obama himself took part in it.

But here's the kicker. Not only was Mr. Obama indulging in racial demagoguery, not only was he falsely claiming that the government wouldn't do something for blacks that it, in fact, did do two weeks earlier, but when the bill came up for that vote two weeks before he gave that speech in Hampton, Barack Obama was one of the 14 who voted against waiving the ten percent requirement for New Orleans.

Keep this in mind as you watch recently discovered video of his speech. The relevant portion begins at about 2:42:
As we saw again in the wake of the Benghazi attack, after which the administration insisted for two weeks that the assault on the embassy was conducted by a motley mob outraged by an offensive video when in fact they knew almost from the first day that it was a pre-planned terrorist assault, truth is just not held in very high esteem by this president.

Maybe there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this. Maybe Sowell somehow got his facts confused. But if not, the hubris and mendacity Mr. Obama displayed in this speech is breathtaking.