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While Benghazi burned … and an election approached.
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There were two other notable events that transpired on Sept. 11, 2012.
First was a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo (and hence from a unit of the State Department), which was made after thousands of Egyptian protesters earlier in the day had stormed the embassy and torn down the U.S. flag — replacing it with a black flag inscribed with the Muslim professions of faith: “There is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet.” The statement said:
The U.S. Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by a misguided individual to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.… Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions of those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others (emphasis added).
Among other people who took objection to that was Mitt Romney, who issued a statement of his own that went out on the evening of Sept. 11 (before anyone knew of the full extent of the calamity in Benghazi) saying:
I’m outraged by the attacks on diplomatic on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi.… It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attack.
Then came the next episode in the story — with the Obama administration’s whole-hearted embrace of the idea enunciated by the embassy in Cairo — that an obscure and indeed all-but- unknown film-maker in California had caused all the trouble by making a short and (to Muslims) blasphemous film about Mohammed — and that Romney should be attacked for “politicizing” the issue in the heat of a U.S. presidential election.
In the speech that Obama gave the next morning in the Rose Garden, with Hilary Clinton at his side, Obama denounced “acts of terror” only in general terms and alluded to the video, echoing the U.S. embassy in Cairo in saying: “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.”
Oh, yes — the video did it.
After the Rose Garden appearance, Obama jetted off to Las Vegas and points west for fund-raisers and to meet with Hollywood pals. On Sept. 18 he was all smiles in appearing for a cream-puff interview on the David Letterman show where the two of them pulled long faces for only moment or two in consideration of the dead Americans in Benghazi.
It was on Sept. 16 that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice made her now-notorious round of appearances on Sunday talk shows again blaming the deaths in Benghazi on the “Innocence of Mohammed” video. In reference to Benghazi, she told ABC”s Jake Tapper on “This Week”:
Our best current assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a pre-mediated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to a very offensive video that was disseminated.
We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to — or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons.… And it then evolved from there.
Obviously, the president and his top national security advisers did not want to deviate from his often stated boast that “Bin Laden was dead” and Al Qaeda was “on the run” following the killing of Osama bin Laden. Still less did they want to reveal that he and his team failed even to recognize what was going in the Middle East as a genuine crisis.
It was all a lie — or the grossest self-deception.
But they got away with it.
President Obama and his team fiddled… while Benghazi burned and they focused on winning the Nov. 6 election.
Illustration: Chip Bok for The American Spectator
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?