Libya was and is a basket case. But all the way back in March the State Department had stated their intention to “normalize security.” What were they thinking? Even liberal Bob Woodward has had enough:
“If you look at the original request for more security, they say our policy, our goal here, is to shift from an emergency footing to normalize the security relationship… Anyone looking at that would say, ‘Wait a minute, read the document in which they say the situation is incredibly unstable. Well why are you trying to normalize your security in a situation that is visibly unstable? And you even acknowledge that.’ So you’ve got a bad policy. And anyone looking at that would have said, ‘Wait a minute! We are screwed up. We can’t normalize here.”
“Anyone” would say that, but it seems no one in the State Department said anything of the kind. They just denied requests for more security. And now an Ambassador and three other Americans have been murdered.
Barring some other weirder explanation, it looks as if the Obama Administration was so blinded by a need to believe that they had achieved a victory in Libya that it could not admit to the existence of a real threat. It refused to act on any other view of the reality, even when another possibility is spelled out in its own documents.
Woodward also addressed the political illusion that Obama is trying to use to charm the American voters. “Obama was out, saying, ‘Hey look we have got al-Qaeda back on its heels. Well anyone in the intelligence committee, uh community knows that, that is not true.’” This delusion seems related to the Benghazi disaster. Does Obama really believe he can go around promising that al-Qaeda is almost defeated when his own intelligence says otherwise? Or has he convinced himself that he is right?
Tragically, the media, rather than treating this like the security and foreign policy disaster story that it is, is framing the Benghazi attack as if it were simply a political problem in the election. As Woodward put it, the media’s coverage in the New York Times and the Washington Post, “was a misfocus, a substantial one, in addressing this specific question and all questions about campaign coverage.” The focus should have been on the actual events, not on the way the accusations affected that campaign. I suppose it is too much to expect Woodward to openly accuse the mainstream media of trying to cover for Obama, but “misfocus” sounds close.
Imagine if McCain had won the White House and this attack had happened on his watch. How would the media have reacted when it found out the Administration lied about a riot (that never happened) about a YouTube video (that no one had hear about before the President and the State Department began publicizing it with their denunciations)? What if McCain had, long after everyone knew it was a planned terrorist attack, spoken to the United Nations claiming it was all because of a video?
And if McCain had been the one to make decisions to “normalize security” in a war zone, the media would have made sure we all knew about it.