Obama Finds His Benghazi Fall Guys
After an independent report found that mistakes were made in the Obama Administration’s handling of the Benghazi jihad massacre, Barack Obama immediately took action against those who apparently made them: Eric Boswell, the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security; Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security; and Raymond Maxwell, the deputy assistant secretary of state whose purview included Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, all resigned under pressure.
The report says that “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus” led to a security arrangement “that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.”
Are we really to believe that it was Eric Boswell, Charlene Lamb, and Raymond Maxwell who were really responsible for the refusal of repeated requests from the Benghazi consulate for more security personnel, and the complete disregarding of warnings from Ambassador Chris Stevens that al-Qaeda was operating in the area? There are numerous indications that all this came from higher up.
After all, the Obama Administration’s entire Middle East policy has since January 2011 been predicated on the unquestioned dogma that the “Arab Spring” uprisings were a glorious outpouring of democracy and pluralism. Speaking about the Libyan revolution in March 2011, Obama warmly praised the dawning in Libya of “the rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and the ability of the Libyan people to determine their own destiny.” Thus after providing military aid to the anti-Gaddafi rebels despite evidence of their al-Qaeda links, the administration – whether the call really came from the White House or the State Department or both – had every reason to ignore the request from Benghazi for more security, and to pretend that the whole thing was just a spontaneous uprising over a video about Muhammad, not the carefully planned September 11 jihad attack that it proved to be.
Speaking about Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the New York Times said that “the report affirmed there were no protests of an anti-Islamic video before the attack, contrary to what Ms. Rice had said on several Sunday talk shows days after the attack.”
But Susan Rice was in an extremely difficult position. To have acknowledged what was really happening in Benghazi would have been to admit that the Allahu-akbaring mob besieging the consulate was nothing remotely close to a responsible citizenry enjoying their rights of peaceful assembly, free speech, and self-determination. And that would have given the lie to Obama’s description of the uprising against Gaddafi. It would have been to admit that the jihad against the United States would not be turned away from its goal by hearts-and-minds gestures, even if those gestures included the removal of a brutal dictator. The people of Benghazi were no more inclined to welcome the Americans as liberators – and Ambassador Stevens had attempted to play exactly that role, sneaking into Libya during the most difficult days of the uprising and doing everything he could to aid the rebels – than were the people of Iraq when Saddam Hussein was toppled.
The reason in both cases was the same: the rebels against both Saddam and Gaddafi were largely Islamic supremacists who wanted a Sharia state, disdained democracy, and considered the United States to be their enemy not primarily because of various aspects of its foreign policy, but because it is the world’s foremost infidel polity, against whom the mujahedin believe they have a sacred duty to wage war. The Qur’an and Islamic law direct Muslims to wage war against and subjugate the “People of the Book” (cf. Qur’an 9:29) – that is, primarily Jews and Christians – not if they behave badly by supporting Israel or Middle Eastern dictators, but simply because they are not Muslims.
But the White House and State Department not only do not acknowledge this fact – they have done all they can to deny and obfuscate it. The one cardinal proposition that accepted analysts must repeat is that the present conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims have absolutely nothing to do with Islam; indeed, Obama Administration officials are expressly forbidden to link Islam with terrorism, as if Islamic terrorists weren’t busy linking the two on a daily basis. The errors of analysis and wrong decisions that cost lives all follow from this initial false premise.
That false premise is reminiscent of what is said about State during the Iranian Revolution: that while the Ayatollah Khomeini was bringing about the toppling of the shah and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, only one of his books could be found anywhere in the State Department, and no one had read it. No one thought the rantings of an obscure fanatic who for years had been exiled to far-off France were important.
This was the willful blindness that killed Chris Stevens, and is the real scandal of Benghazi. The politically correct fantasies that characterize the Washington establishment’s views on Islam and jihad not only make for bad policy; they also kill. Clearly what happened in Benghazi was part of a coordinated, carefully planned series of jihad attacks.
From the beginning of the “Arab Spring,” I said repeatedly that it was not a democracy movement as the Western press and the White House were claiming, but an Islamic supremacist takeover that would result in the creation of Sharia states far more hostile to the U.S. and Israel than the Arab nationalist regimes they were supplanting. This assessment was greeted with the usual scorn, but Benghazi shows who was right and who was wrong and how desperately the foreign policy establishment in Washington needs a very thorough housecleaning. The firing of Boswell, Lamb, and Maxwell are not that housecleaning; they are just fall guys. The only person responsible for the Benghazi massacre is sitting in the Oval Office.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad.