EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 14, 2012

Editorial:


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — We wish members of the Obama administration would take some time to get their story straight on the Libya consulate attack. As it is, the constantly shifting official company line makes about as much sense as Vice President Joe Biden’s inane cackling during Thursday night’s debate.

First, the story was that the attack on the Benghazi consulate that resulted in the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans was a disorganized protest by some devout Muslims over a crackpot’s film clip that insulted Islam. The administration stuck to this story, despite mounting evidence that the attack involved a large number of assailants, armed with heavy weapons including mortars and engaged in reasonably sophisticated tactics. Not until nearly a month after the attack, which came on the Sept. 11 anniversary, did the administration finally and conclusively acknowledge that this was a terrorist assault.

That the Obama administration tried to pass off a preplanned, coordinated terrorist attack on an American consulate that left four Americans dead as nothing more than an expected expression of Muslim street rage is despicable and insulting to the American people.

But the administration’s foreign policy fiasco in Benghazi does not end with mere matters of motive. The administration handed the terrorists the means to achieve their success as well.

The Obama administration and its State Department ignored repeated warnings from the ambassador and his staff that security there was inadequate.

Eric Nordstrom, the top U.S. regional security official in Libya, testified before the House Oversight Committee that requests for additional security were denied by the State Department to assuage Libyan political sensitivity.

“All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources,” Nordstrom testified, as reported in Foreign Policy magazine.

“For me, the Taliban is on the inside of the building,” he said.

At the same time, State Department officials insist security at the Benghazi consulate was adequate.

“We had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11,” said Charlene Lamb, deputy assistant secretary for diplomatic security.

Four dead Americans argue against that assessment. The reduction of the consulate to a smouldering ruin and the murder of our ambassador suggest that security was not adequate — by definition.

A debacle of this magnitude demands answers. Why were the requests of our diplomats in Libya for more security denied? Who placed more weight on Libyan sensibilities than our diplomats’ safety? Who failed to recognize that 9/11 is a likely time for terrorist strikes? When did the president know the truth about the attack and did he keep that information from the American people?

Yet according to Obama campaign officials and its Democratic supporters, these questions may not even be asked.

Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, insisted last week that the “entire reason” Benghazi attack is in the news is because the Romney-Ryan campaign keeps talking about it. Shut up, she explained.

“It’s a big part of their stump speech and it’s reckless and irresponsible,” Cutter said in a CNN interview.

Similarly, Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told CNN’s Piers Morgan it’s “un-American” for Republicans to be questioning the president on his Libyan disaster.

”It is irresponsible and un-American, quite frankly, for my Republican colleagues in Congress to be jumping on this immediately as a political opportunity,” she said.

Talking about a foreign policy disaster during a presidential campaign isn’t “reckless and irresponsible.” It’s how the American people sort out the adults from the little kids in the room.

You run along and play now, Stephanie and Debbie. Barack and Joe will be out shortly.