A Further Perspective

What Is It About Benghazi?

… that liberals can’t or won’t understand?

By 5.15.13

Send to Kindle

There are faint signs of cognition in Maureen Dowd’s latest column, which raises the remote possibility that the brain-dead left is not completely dead, but only mostly dead -- in terms of its ability to hold a critical thought about the disastrous Obama presidency for half a second or more.

She wrote in Sunday’s New York Times: “The administration’s behavior before and during the attack on Benghazi, in which four Americans died, was unworthy of the greatest power on earth.”

She used the word “unworthy.”

That is muted criticism, and if the New York Times is willing to go that far in criticizing the Obama administration, that in itself is one kind of a story -- not man-bites-dog, but the faithful lapdog -- ever so slightly -- raising a lip at its master.

Even this little performance won a few plaudits for Dowd and the New York Times. A reporter at Newsmax described the column as a “scathing” critique of the Obama administration. In fact, it was carefully protective of the president -- offering just enough criticism, mixed in with a lot of whitewash, to make his performance seem much less shameful than it actually was.

There are three things that stand out about President Obama’s handling of Benghazi -- which I will quickly mention before taking a closer look at Dowd’s column.

The first, of course, is that the president knew almost from the start that the consulate in Benghazi was under heavy attack and yet he and his administration did nada -- nothing -- to mount a rescue mission… or even to mobilize a show of force (scrambling fighter jets from Italy) that might have frightened off the attackers. The president did not call for a meeting in the Situation Room at the White House on the night of Sept. 11/12 to track what was going on Libya. It seems that he went to bed that night without even calling the Pentagon to check on the situation.

Next, having decided the night before to do nothing to try to save the Americans trapped in the consulate and later at a nearby annex in Benghazi, the president and his men, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, went to work the very next day in downplaying the idea that those who lost their lives were the victims of a deliberate terrorist attack. Obama, Clinton and spokesmen for them spent the next two weeks pointing the finger of blame at an all-but-unknown film-maker in California for supposedly whipping up the flames of righteous wrath in the Middle East in making a short and (to Muslims) blasphemous film on Mohammed that found its way onto YouTube. Thus, we as Americans were partly to blame for bringing trouble down on our own heads… because there are some amongst us who are not entirely free of the terrible sin of Islamophobia -- or so the president piously suggested. In speaking to the United Nations on Sept. 24, Obama declared, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

And third, the president succeeded to the extent that he was able to get through the next eight weeks of a presidential campaign and win re-election on Nov. 5, 2012. In this he had considerable help from the mainstream media (including the New York Times) -- which happily accepted the conceit that everything would be investigated in due time and did their best to pretend that there was nothing seriously amiss in the president’s behavior during and after the attack on the consulate.

Let us return then to Maureen Dowd’s column (“When Myths Collide in the Capital’) for what it has to tell about the liberal mind in the throes of trying to step outside the bounds of knee-jerk liberalism. In a key passage she writes: 

Truth is the first casualty when competing fiefs protect their mythologies. Some unhinged ideologues of the right cling to the mythology that Barry and Hillary are out to destroy America.

In the midst of a re-election campaign, Obama aides want to promote the mythology that the president who killed Osama was vanquishing terror. So they deemed it problematic to mention any possible Qaeda involvement in the Benghazi attack.

So it all comes down to dueling “mythologies” in Dowd’s telling of the story -- with no real truth… and with Obama himself disappearing from sight as “Obama aides” go about doing the hard work not just of wishing away a terrorist attack, but also of covering up for the fact that president and his administration refused to send soldiers to fight for the lives of their embattled countrymen.

“The hierarchies at State and Defense had a plodding response,” Dowd writes, “failing to make any superhuman effort as the siege waxed and waned over eight hours.”

Failed to make any superhuman effort??? The fact is that the same “hierarchies” decided to do nothing at all during those eight hours, while the president, the so-called Commander-in-Chief, might have slept through the whole thing. So far he hasn’t said what the hell he was doing -- even though he was fully informed of the attack during its first hours. He went AWOL soon after the first shots were fired.

If we ask ourselves -- what is it about Benghazi that someone like Maureen Dowd can’t or won’t understand -- several answers come to mind.

One is that the liberal/progressive mindset is characterized by an unquestioning belief in its own moral and intellectual superiority.

Another is that liberal/progressive mindset has always been characterized by willful ignorance -- or a steadfast refusal to admit it is ever wrong, regardless of the most terrible of outcomes -- including the millions who were starved or slaughtered by Mao and Stalin, to mention two left-wing heroes who continued to get favorable review in the textbooks that are read in American high schools today, thanks to deeply entrenched liberal/progressive thinking in American education.

And finally, the liberal/progressive mindset is all too often characterized by excessive vanity -- and a lack of courage or conviction.

It sees morality as a mere extension of politics (based on the prior assumption that it always holds the upper ground in good intentions), rather than a matter of having to choose between good and evil -- and being willing to fight against evil.

Those are a few reasons why many liberals are incapable of learning anything from Benghazi. If they are like some liberal pundits, their thinking is damaged beyond repair. Even Miracle Max couldn’t help them.

Photo: UPI

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author
Andrew B. Wilson, a frequent contributor to The American Spectator and a former foreign correspondent, writes from St. Louis.