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Thursday, October 11, 2012

The real Benghazi scandal

WaPo's Marc Thiessen argues that the biggest scandal over the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi is the lack of response from the Obama administration.
This is not to suggest an invasion of Libya. But certainly by now we could have identified the groups responsible for the attack, targeted their compounds and retaliated in some fashion. Heck, the Libyan people have done more to retaliate than Obama has. The Associated Press reports that a few days after the attack, “Hundreds of protesters seized control of several militia headquarters … including the compound of one of Libya’s strongest armed Islamic extremist groups, evicting militiamen and setting fire to buildings as the attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans sparked a backlash against armed groups.”

What kind of signal does it send when a Libyan mob does more to avenge the killing of an American ambassador than the president of the United States?

Consider: Within two weeks of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the Clinton administration had launched Operation Infinite Reach — cruise missile strikes on targets in Sudan and Afghanistan. The strikes were more symbolic than impactful, but at least Clinton did something. Instead of Operation Infinite Reach, the Obama administration appears to have launched Operation Infinite Inaction — and the United States’ paralysis in the face of terror is sending a message of weakness to our enemies.

In a speech this week, CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan ripped the Obama administration for its feckless response to the Libya attack, declaring it was time for the U.S. to “exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil. That its ambassadors will not be murdered, and that the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.”

She is absolutely right. Perhaps President Obama has some decisive action planned. Perhaps when the White House is done trying to cover up this terrorist attack, it will pivot to responding to this terrorist attack. That would be a welcome “October surprise” indeed.

But as of now, all the world sees is a president who is afraid to call an act of terror what it is, much less do something about it. This country has not looked weaker in the decade since Sept. 11, 2001. And as we learned on 9/11, weakness is provocative.
But there's an election campaign going on. Can we really expect the incumbent to prioritize matters of state over his reelection campaign?



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