Friday, October 12, 2012

Biden on Benghazi: clueless or dishonest?

Who won the VP debate? Not that it matters, but if you check the punditry's opinions on they matter you'll find those on the Left trumpeting a Biden victory while those on the Right claim Ryan bested the current Vice President. A few pundits who are actually capable of being semi-objective allowed that the debate was exactly what it appeared to be: a draw with no clear winner. True enough, Biden came off a tad obnoxious, but doesn't he always? That's Joe Biden, nothing much has changed there.

But the real pull quote from the debate did come from Biden, and it wasn't good for him or Obama. The subject was foreign policy, specifically the attack on the Benghazi consulate. The moderator noted the request from Benghazi for more security. Biden's reply:
But we weren't told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security there.
As was revealed in hearings before Congress just the day before, requests for more security had been made by personnel in Libya. And denied by Charlene Lamb, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Programs. For what it's worth, Ms. Lamb's credentials and work history do not suggest incompetence on her part. Indeed, she was in Beirut in 1989, hardly a walk in the park, and has received a number of commendations including a Medal of Valor.

Which begs the question: why would someone with her experience and track record ignore such requests? Given other information that has been made public, it's not unreasonable to allow that security should have been increased, request or no request.

It seems likely that Ms. Lamb is going to be the scapegoat here, but I'm leery of dropping all of this on her lap. She looks to be playing the role of an Ollie North, as I think it quite likely that the denial of these requests came from above her, which means form outside the entrenched State Department bureaucracy. That bureaucracy is a problem in a number of ways, but it's not known for bailing on its own. Just the opposite, in fact.

So, who really made the call? Who really didn't want to step up security in U.S. missions in the Middle East and why? In light of the phony Benghazi story--wherein a YouTube video was blamed for a planned assassination--Occam's Razor leads us to one place and one place only: the Obama Administration. It didn't want to give credence to threats by upping security in places like Benghazi because it wanted to maintain the narrative of how Obama had helped nurture the so-called Arab Spring, how he had restored respect for the United States throughout the region, how former enemies were fast becoming friends (except for Egypt of course, which went from ally to not an ally). And why? To help with the reelection efforts.

Biden was either left out of the loop on all of this (a strong possibility, because I think he would have had a problem with the choices being made) or he was complicit and thus was lying in the debate. Right now, I'll stick with the former and assume Biden isn't the one telling lies. But I have to think that--at some point--the evidence will be such that Biden will realize he's been out of the loop and has been lied to and used. What will he do when this reality hits him? It's anyone's guess.

Cheers, all.

1 comment:

  1. I generally agree. There is another quote where he threw the intelligence community under the bus. I am rather sceptical that people would believe the intelligence community didn't tell them for five days that there was no protest in Benghazi, only a coordinated assault.
    GOP did a pretty good job putting out this video fast. I don't think it would play well with voters, but that's just me.