The Continuing Benghazi Story

It’s been an interesting week on Benghazi. You can read summaries over at Hot Air. I haven’t blogged much on it because actual fact — as opposed to innuendo or excuse-making — has been hard to come by. But a few things do seem clear:

The Benghazi consulate was unprepared for what happened, despite indications that the situation was inflammable. This territory was pawed over extensively by the Accountability Review Board and resulted in some firings. But I don’t think the territory has been pawed over nearly enough or that accountability has gone high enough.

There has also been some more talk about what wasn’t done on the night of the attack. Specifically, that F-16’s were not on standby and that a team of special ops people were not dispatched from Tripoli. Of course, it’s not clear what the F-16’s would have done — people keep forgetting that there was a many hours lull between the attack on the consulate that kiled Stephens and the pre-dawn attack on the safe house that killed the two formers SEALs. Nor is it clear that we had the ability to get them there in the six hours between the attack and the evacuation. And a rapid response team was dispatched from Tripoli and evacuated the survivors on the morning of 9/12. I take a lot of this military monday morning quarterbacking with a grain of salt. Much of what we’ve heard over the last seven months — such as the claim that Obama had real-time imaging of the area, that the rapid response team in Benghazi was told to stand down, that Stephens was raped and dragged through the streets — has turned out to be false. Other speculation on what might have been done has turned out to be impossible.

The other revelation this week, from Gregory Hicks, is that the Obama Administration was determined to get control of the message very quickly. The talking points given to Susan Rice were politically vetted and State Department employees were told to stay on message about what happened that night. Hicks has claimed — under oath, not through wild claims by partisan lawyers — that he was retaliated against for speaking to a Congressional delegation and contradicting the early pravda from the White House. Further testimony indicates that contradicting the Libyan president on the nature of the attack created some diplomatic friction.

(Later edit: Just to clarify something, Hicks testimony is that they knew this was a terrorist attack from the moment it happened.)

So that’s where we are: incompetent planning and a bumbling political aftermath. To be frank, I find myself agreeing with James Joyner and Doug Mataconis that is looking less like the thing Obama will be impeached for and more like the routine incompetence we’ve come to expect from this Administration. The partisan line from the Democrats — that is is a “nothingburger” — seems a little ridiculous in light of the deaths of four Americans and the bizarre focus on message control the following week. But at the same time, the cries of “scandal!” seem overblown too. Marc Ambinder:

One of the reasons why Americans aren’t outraged about Benghazi is that the event is a series of tragedies in search of a unifying explanation, and one that “Obama is evil” doesn’t cover. Because really, to suggest that the Pentagon or the White House would deliberately — and yes, this is EXACTLY what Republicans are suggesting — prevent special operations forces from rescuing American diplomats BECAUSE they worried about the potential political blowback because they KNEW exactly who was behind it (al Qaeda) is —well, it is to suggest that Barack Obama is simply and utterly evil.

Furthermore, the Republicans were briefed early on Benghazi and told quite specifically that it was a terrorist attack. Obama’s “cover-up”, such as it was, lasted about four days and consisted mostly of Susan Rice on talk shows. My five year old did a better job of covering up the Great Spilled Milk in the Bathroom Incident.

It seems to me that there are two real scandals here. The first and most important is the lack of preparation before the attack. It’s not like our embassies and consulates have never been targeted before. During the Bush Administration, they were hit over 50 times with over a dozen personel killed. Did it not occur to someone that a thinly-protected consulate in a volatile country might be worthy of a little more attention? Apparently not.

The second scandal is the retaliation against whisteblowers in the State Department. One of the under-appreciated aspects of Obama’s presidency is his war on whistleblowers, his insistence that everyone be on message. This is the latest iteration of something that has been going on since he took office.

Ultimately, however, I think the political upshot of this for the President will be minimal. People keep comparing this to Watergate, demonstrating quite effectively that they have no idea what Watergate was about. I realize that Republicans are clinging to the belief that Benghazi should have cost Obama the election. I know everyone’s been looking for the scandal that will bring down Obama. But this ain’t it.

What it is about — or at least should be about — is negligence, ass-covering and retaliation inside the State Department. This is something the former Secretary of State and presumptive 2016 presidential nominee has to answer for. And, ultimately, I think she will.

If something really damning comes out of this, I want to hear it. I’m very much in favor of more transparency. But the focus on Benghazi seems to have drifted from that and gone more toward getting Obama. It’s even gotten the point of making a martyr out a duplicitous felon. I don’t think that’s useful. What we already know happened was bad enough.

Comments are closed.

  1. Thrill

    I still keep coming back to the Question: Why was Amb Stevens in Benghazi? This exchange does not settle this for me. It doesn’t make sense and it leaves more questions:

    Hicks, who was the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli on Sept. 11, 2012 (and thus was second in command to Amb. Chris Stevens), told multiple members at the Wednesday hearing that Clinton’s desire to make Benghazi a permanent State Department facility was one of the motivations for Amb. Stevens’ trip there last September.

    “Did you tell the Accountability Review Board about Secretary Clinton’s interest in establishing a permanent presence in Benghazi?” Rep. Thomas Massie (R.-Ky.) asked Hicks. “Because, ostensibly, wasn’t that the reason that the ambassador was going to Benghazi?”

    “Yes, I did tell the Accountability Review Board that Secretary Clinton wanted the post made permanent,” said Hicks. “Ambassador Pickering looked surprised. He looked both ways on the–to the members of the board, saying, ‘Does the 7th floor know about this?’ (The secretary of state and other top State Department officials have their offices on the seventh floor of the department’s headquarters.)

    “And another factor,” Hicks continued in his sworn testimony, “was our understanding that Secretary Clinton intended to visit Tripoli in December.”

    “So Pickering was surprised that this was his [Amb. Stevens’] mission was to establish a permanent facility there?” asked Rep. Massie.

    “Yes,” testified Hicks.

    “That is your impression?” asked Rep. Massie.

    “Yes,” Hicks repeated.

    Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa followed up on this exchange to clarify the point.

    “I just want you to say it unambiguously–if that’s the correct way to say it–without a flaw, one more time,” said Issa. “The reason the ambassador was in Benghazi, at least one of the reasons was x?”

    “At least one of the reasons he was in Benghazi was to further the secretary’s wish that, that post become a permanent constituent post, and also there, because we understood that the secretary intended to visit Tripoli later in the year,” said Hicks. “We hoped that she would be able to announce to the Libyan people our establishment of a permanent constituent post in Benghazi at that time.”

    As I said elsewhere, I think that this will not reach the scandal level of Watergate ONLY because the American people are too jaded and disengaged to demand it be.

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  2. Hal_10000 *

    I don’t think it will reach Watergate levels because it’s not a Watergate level scandal. The President hasn’t gutted the Justice Department to stop an investigation. I do agree that, even if it were a Watergate level scandal, the American people wouldn’t demand justice. They’ve been conspicuously lax about their own civil liberties, for cripes sake.

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  3. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  4. CM

    But the idea that Clinton engineered a conspiracy to tamp down the Benghazi news actually lost some momentum at the hearing during an exchange between Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism at the State Department, and Washington, D.C.’s non-voting Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton. Thompson had said in his prepared testimony that Clinton had purposefully shut the counterterrorism bureau out of the decision-making process on the night of the attack for political reasons. Pressed by Norton, Thompson said that the quote wasn’t accurate.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/benghazi-investigation-creeps-closer-to-hillary-clinton

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  5. Thrill

    But equally you can bet the house that much of the GOP strategy is aimed at wounding Clinton for 2016. But will it simply rile up Hillary-haters in the base rather than moderates in the middle?

    She is already even more divisive than Obama, if that’s possible. I believe she will benefit more from name-association with her husband than she will be harmed by Benghazi. By 2016, it will be as memorable as Whitewater. This won’t hurt her prospects as long as she keeps her nerve and doesn’t resign.

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  6. Mississippi Yankee

    I don’t think it will reach Watergate levels because it’s not a Watergate level scandal. The President hasn’t gutted the Justice Department to stop an investigation. I do agree that, even if it were a Watergate level scandal, the American people wouldn’t demand justice.

    The last thing I want to do is get in the way of y’alls mutual masturbation meeting but one question springs to mind. How many people died at the Watergate hotel? And although hyperbole has it’s place in these discussions “gutted the Justice Department to stop an investigation” is a bit much considering how any and all investigation into Benghazi was put off until AFTER the election.
    People Died, the State Department Lied.

    people keep forgetting that there was a many hours lull between the attack on the consulate that kiled Stephens and the pre-dawn attack on the safe house that killed the two formers SEALs. Nor is it clear that we had the ability to get them there in the six hours between the attack and the evacuation. And a rapid response team was dispatched from Tripoli and evacuated the survivors on the morning of 9/12.

    A rapid response team responds RAPIDLY. Tripoli was right down the road in the very same small country. And as I stated back in January when Hal was spewing his equivocating apologist bullshit a Marine Corps rapid response team in Sigonella Sicily (one hour away by helo) had both jets and rotors spinning During the initial attack. I know folks that were there!

    Yes the republicans smell blood on the water, it’s because there is blood on the water. And your messiah and his Regime havebeen putting roadblock to this this investigation since 9-12-2012. Of course you and Hal can’t see it mostly due to the fact neither of you have seen above your “hero’s” belt buckle for like ever.

    I expect this behavior from CM… you two just disgust me.

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  7. Hal_10000 *

    And as I stated back in January when Hal was spewing his equivocating apologist bullshit a Marine Corps rapid response team in Sigonella Sicily (one hour away by helo) had both jets and rotors spinning During the initial attack. I know folks that were there!

    Sigonella is 480 miles away. That’s at least three hours for helicopter and would require refueling. If you read the article I linked they were in no way prepared for that kind of operation on such short notice, which is exactly what I criticized them for. Also keep in mind that by 11:30, the staff were in the safe house and thought the attack was over.

    I munged one point. The security team from Tripoli was actually there by 1:30, four hours before the second attack that kill Woods and Doherty. It was the C-17 that didn’t arrive until morning.

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  8. Xetrov

    Nor is it clear that we had the ability to get them there in the six hours between the attack and the evacuation.

    Not according to Hicks’ testimony

    The U.S. military could have responded to the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi as early as 1:45 a.m. on the day of the attack, according to a deputy of slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

    Gregory Hicks, the highest-ranking State Department official at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli on the night of the attack, told Congress that he was informed by the U.S. defense attaché at around 10:45 a.m. on the night of the attack that American forces could be on site in Benghazi within two to three hours.

    The defense attaché was also at the Tripoli embassy. Hicks said the attaché was in touch with U.S. African Command and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and informed him that there were assets in the region that could respond.

    Former Navy SEALS Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed at approximately 2 a.m. when the mission came under mortar fire.

    Obama’s “cover-up”, such as it was, lasted about four days and consisted mostly of Susan Rice on talk shows.

    Carney, Sept 18th –

    Our belief based on the information we have is it was the video that caused the unrest in Cairo, and the video and the unrest in Cairo that helped – that precipitated some of the unrest in Benghazi and elsewhere. What other factors were involved is a matter of investigation.

    There are numerous quotes from Carney blaming the video. Finally on the 20th, he called it a terrorist attack. On the 21st, Clinton finally called it a terrorist attack. But their boss still didn’t.

    Obama, Sept. 20th –

    “What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”

    Did you forget about his trip to the UN two weeks after where he cited the internet video repeatedly? Even though we now know without a doubt they knew it had nothing to do with that stupid video, or any sort of protest.

    Jay Carney’s the best comedian on television.

    Any White House edits made to talking points about the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya were merely “stylistic,” Obama spokesman Jay Carney insisted on Wednesday amid congressional hearings about the Sept. 11 strike that killed four Americans.

    “The fact that there are inputs is always the case in a process like this,” Carney said. “Edits made by anyone at the White House were stylistic and not substantive. They corrected the description of the building… from consulate to diplomatic facility. Ultimately, this all has been discussed and reviewed and provided in enormous levels of detail by the administration to congressional investigators. The attempt to politicize the talking points again is part of an effort to chase after what isn’t the substance here.”

    This won’t hurt her prospects as long as she keeps her nerve and doesn’t resign.

    She already resigned (though not over this, she’s setting up for 2016). John Kerry is Secretary of State.

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  9. Xetrov

    Bing!

    When it became clear last fall that the CIA’s now discredited Benghazi talking points were flawed, the White House said repeatedly the documents were put together almost entirely by the intelligence community, but White House documents reviewed by Congress suggest a different story.

    ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.

    One other point: The significant edits – deleting references to al Qaeda and the CIA’s warnings – came after a White House meeting on the Saturday before Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five Sunday shows.

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  10. Hal_10000 *

    Xetrov, the Beacon’s timeline is simply wrong. The six-man team from Tripoli arrived at 1:30 am. Woods and Doherty were killed at 5:15 am.

    The video blaming thing is bizarre. Hicks said this was terrorism while the attack was going on. And if you assume the mob that stormed the consulate was motivate by the video (which it wasn’t) the second attack on the safe house with RPG’s was definitely not a mob. Mobs, generally speaking, do not have RPG’s. That was organized attack. Furthermore, Republican leaders were briefed almost immediately and told this was a terrorist attack.

    So it’s simply stunning that the Obama people were talking about the video that weekend. Who did they think they were fooling?

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  11. Seattle Outcast

    I thought the message was 1) Obama is thoroughly out of his depth, 2) hold thoroughly muslim sympathies to a fault

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  12. Mook

    Sigonella is 480 miles away. That’s at least three hours for helicopter and would require refueling.

    Apache helos can go 1,200 miles without refueling and cover that distance in less than 3 hours. And why focus on helos (trying to divert attention Hal?) when Signollela had C-17s which could have made it there in less than an hour with C-130s shortly behind? This doesn’t count military resources in Tripoli. Don’t tell me that they weren’t on high alert on the anniversary of 9/11.

    You’re spinning to minimize this, pretending that this wasn’t 100x worse than Watergate and it’s sickening.. Dead bodies of American heros because somebody in the Obama admin told military resources to stand down for purely political reasons. Then followed by weeks of lies about a film maker. Watergate is a lemonade stand in comparison and it’s deeply dishonest to try and minimize this..

    As for the DOJ, with Holder at the helm they are part and parcel of the Obama political regime. Just look at what they got away with Fast & Furious sending guns to fucking Mexican drug lords for Chrissakes.. and DOJ attorneys resigned because the DOJ refused to enforce racial discrimination if the victims were white. This is the most corrupt Presidency in modern history, maybe all US history. It’s not “derangement” if the President really IS that corrupt and did knowingly lie his ass off over the resulting deaths.

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  13. Xetrov

    The video blaming thing is bizarre.

    Not if you look at it politically. If everyone had shut their mouth and towed the video line, we never would have known what a cluster the entire situation was. As it stands, Mission Accomplished – Obama got re-elected before the entire thing blows up in their faces, though the media is still trying to help them. At this point, I’m thinking they will try to throw Clinton under the bus. It’s going to be interesting to watch.

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  14. AlexInCT

    Apache helos can go 1,200 miles without refueling and cover that distance in less than 3 hours.

    Even if they needed refueling, contrary to the usual talk, with the SEALs stationed in Rota Spain, there will always be prepositioned aerial tankers able to get where they need to refuel aircraft fast.

    The “They could not make it there in time” argument is so full of shit that it is laughable. First off, anyone that accepts the narrative that they knew before hand how long this was going to take to play itself out is outright deluded. They had no clue how long this was going to take. From the few accounts we have it took over 7 hours to play out, and that is plenty of time to move resources from the close by bases into the area.

    The ONLY way they could not move assets into the area in time is if they had dickered, then chose to stand the assets down. And they did that because they either didn’t want anyone to find out what was going on at that site, or, and this is just as bad, they made the calculated decision that they would prefer 4 dead people rather than a higher count for PR reasons. Go ahead and accuse me of being a conspiracy cook, but remember that we are talking about the fucks that tried to pretend this wasn’t an orchestrated terrorist backed attack, but a protest by some people on the streets mad at a movie. If they could do something as skeevy as that to cover their asses, they are able to do anything.

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  15. Thrill

    She already resigned (though not over this, she’s setting up for 2016). John Kerry is Secretary of State.

    Ah, god damn it. And I was sober when I wrote that too…

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  16. Iconoclast

    As I said elsewhere, I think that this will not reach the scandal level of Watergate ONLY because the American people are too jaded and disengaged to demand it be.

    Well, let’s not minimize the role of the MSM in situations like these. Nixon had an R after his name, and the left-leaning MSM made it their mission to keep Watergate in the public’s face for months on end, culminating in Nixon’s resignation. Since Obama and Clinton have a D after their names, the opposite is happening.

    I obviously cannot prove it, but I do believe that if Nixon were a Democrat, Watergate simply would not have cost him his Presidency — the MSM would have been much more forgiving.

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  17. Mook

    Go ahead and accuse me of being a conspiracy cook, but remember that we are talking about the fucks that tried to pretend this wasn’t an orchestrated terrorist backed attack, but a protest by some people on the streets mad at a movie. If they could do something as skeevy as that to cover their asses, they are able to do anything.

    Any administration willing to covertly ship weapons to Mexican drug lords in an attempt to undermine gun rights is capable of anything too. And our MSM continues to avoid followup reporting on the film maker who is STILL in jail for exercising his 1st amendment rights with no bail. He is in fact a political prisoner at the behest of the Obama admin. Even the Boston bomber was given bail.

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  18. Dave D

    EVERY time I hear reverance for Walter Cronkite, for example, I recall the biased, bullshit way his ilk treated Republicans back in the day. Knocks them down a couple of pegs, IMO.

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  19. Hal_10000 *

    You’re spinning to minimize this, pretending that this wasn’t 100x worse than Watergate and it’s sickening.. Dead bodies of American heros because somebody in the Obama admin told military resources to stand down for purely political reasons.

    There is zero evidence that there was a stand-down order. This is another one of those talking points that people keep bringing up without any evidence. The Pentagon and Admiral Mullen have both concluded that there was no stand down order. The only thing that comes close is Hicks testimony that team a Special Forces team — who were on a training your and didn’t have all their gear — wanted to leave from Tripoli. But this was after a response team had already left. And that time, it was thought that the attack was over. The survivors were at the safe house and the second attack was still hours away.

    And, call me crazy, but when it comes to response times and practicality of them, I might believe the former marine and special ops guy writing for Foreign Policy over anonymous sources and spitballing by armchair generals.

    The only way you can call this worse than watergate and cite four dead as the reason is if you believe Obama deliberately got these people killed. (see the Obama is Evil thing above). Rewriting talking points for Susan Rice for political reasons is disgusting. But it’s nowhere near using government agents to break into and wiretap your political opponents office, trying to use the Justice Department to stop any investigation and then firing those who won’t do it.

    What we’re looking at is incompetence, mostly at the State Department, likely including the President himself.

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  20. Mook

    There is zero evidence that there was a stand-down order.

    Zero evidence? Except for the obvious fact that we had military assets ready, willing and able to deploy.. and they didn’t. Despite desperate calls for help coming from the Benghazi consulate.

    only thing that comes close is Hicks testimony that team a Special Forces team — who were on a training your and didn’t have all their gear

    More bullshit spin trying to downplay and minimize what happened. “Pentagon spokesman Maj. Rob Firman told Fox News: “They weren’t told to stand down. They were simply told not to go to Benghazi. They were told to go to the airport in Tripoli to provide security there.” Oh, well that explains it… they were told “not to go” rather than stand down, and no other nearby military resources were given the green light to deploy.. and that’s all you need to swallow that “no one gave the order to stand down” line of horseshit??

    Hicks also said:

    that around 10 p.m. on the night of the first attack, he was at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli talking to State Department officials in Washington, regional security officer John Martinec at the U.S. Embassy, defense attache Lt. Col. Keith Phillips and others.

    Phillips was reaching out to officials with the Libyan Ministry of Defense and to the chief of staff of the Libyan Armed Forces, as well as officials with the Joint Staff and the U.S. Africa Command.

    Hicks recalled asking Phillips, “Is there anything coming?”

    Begging for help. You parse words to claim that orders not to go, or authority that was not given to engage the terrorists and pretend that’s substantively different than orders to “stand down”, dismissing the evidence and common sense observations as “talking points”.

    Waving hands saying it’s merely “incompetence” when you know damn well that Obama knowingly lied his ass off and perpetuated the lie about the film maker as an excuse, including to the families of those killed.. that should tell anyone with an open mind that Obama is capable of ANYTHING in order to give himself political cover, and not to be given any benefit of any doubt given his level of dishonesty.

    The Benghazi attack, which occurred at a time when Obama was campaigning on the claim that Al Queda was “on it’s heels” and that terrorism was on the wane because he had almost personally killed a certain bearded camel humper. That an organized terrorist attack took place in Benghazi would shine a light on the lying narrative that Obama was running on at that time. And he couldn’t have that. So military assets were told to “not go” to help and 4 people died as a result.. No derangement or delusion necessary to see what and who Obama truly is.

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  21. Hal_10000 *

    And he couldn’t have that. So military assets were told to “not go” to help and 4 people died as a result.. No derangement or delusion necessary to see what and who Obama truly is.

    it is deranged to claim that the President of the United States deliberately allowed people to die for political reasons. It is delusional to claim this based on half-baked pseudo-analysis of what our assets in the region were and how the could have been deployed and testimony for State Department employees who were not overseeing military operations. It is crazy to say this when the Defense Department has been quite specific about what their options were. For God’s sake, you sound worse than the “Bush lied, people died!” liberals.

    You want to criticize Obama for inadequate security and not having a rapid response ready (something they just now put in place). I’m with you. You want to criticize him for blaming a video when it was obvious very quickly that this was an AQ attack? I’ve got my pitchfork. But when you claim that the President allowed four people to die for political reasons, I’m off. Sorry.

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  22. Mook

    it is deranged to claim that the President of the United States deliberately allowed people to die for political reasons.

    Is it? Yet he did EXACTLY that with Fast & Furious, didn’t he? Sending guns to Mexican drug lords to undermine gun rights knowing damn well that there would be plenty of dead bodies as a result.

    It is crazy to say this when the Defense Department has been quite specific about what their options were.

    Any claim that they didn’t have options to send military support to Benghazi are not credible or plausible in the least. Only the most deluded koolaid drinkers are willing to swallow that lie. Hicks has already testified that military support was told to stand down.

    According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”

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  23. Hal_10000 *

    Keep in mind, however, that when the Special Ops guys were asking for that, a team had *already* been dispatched to Benghazi. Also:

    The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the team was reviewing security at U.S. embassies throughout the Middle East and was not prepared for a combat assault mission, being armed with only 9mm sidearms.

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  24. Mook

    If you google your blocked quote, it’s cited pretty much exclusively in leftwing blogs (media matters, Daily Kos, etc.). Not a single MSM media article has this that I could find, even wading through several pages of search results.

    And seriously, how gullible do you have to be to believe that Lt. Col. Gibson, the Special Ops Africa commander, would only have access to 9mm sidearms for he and his men? I’m sorry, that doesn’t pass the smell test. I’m surprised you’re trying to recycle it here..

    The team that had been earlier dispatched was from the CIA. Obviously, they were overwhelmed and under-supported. Hicks testified that Lt. Col. Gibson was “furious” that he and his men were ordered by higher ups to stand down and not board the plane to Benghazi.

    Another point regarding Obama and Hillary’s bold faced lie that the violence was caused by an anti-muslim video – Obama paid money to run ads apologizing for the video in Pakistan knowing full well at the time that the video didn’t have a damn thing to do with the Libya attacks. In doing so, he gave worldwide attention to a video that previously no one had seen.. and that sparked violence in Egypt and Yemen. I think people were killed in those subsequent protests. Obama is truly the lowest form of scum.

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  25. mrblume

    Fact: No American administration has anything to lose domestically by special forces shelling some muslims. Once the ambassador died, selling this as non-terrorism was crucial; before that, the idea that someone would not intervene, in the hope it would be politically advantageous, is ludicrous.

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  26. Hal_10000 *

    If you google your blocked quote, it’s cited pretty much exclusively in leftwing blogs (media matters, Daily Kos, etc.). Not a single MSM media article has this that I could find, even wading through several pages of search results.

    NBC is an MSM site. Those partisan sites are QUOTING NBC, which you would have realized had you clicked through (r taken the FIRST LINK pm Google). Try again, Mook

    And yes, I do believe Gibson was only there with sidearms if they were not planning operations. The CIA team was *not* overwhelmed at that time. They were in a safe house before the second attack. And, after the attack, they managed to evacuate everyone. The biggest problem with the initial response, as the ARB said, was an overdependence on local support.

    What no one seems to be talking about is that we were there the first place because of an unconstitutional war.

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  27. Hal_10000 *

    More from Weigel. The decision not to send in more forces was General Dempsey’s because he didnt’ want to send people into an unknown situation.

    That’s why the “stand down” question burns. The people who ask it imagine what might have been had a seven-member team rushed to Benghazi and, maybe, some airpower had flown over the city. Panetta and his successors claim, without being too explicit, that none of this would have helped. The die was cast long before the attack, by the weak security at the consulate, and commanders may have decided to cut their losses rather than risking more casualties. And that isn’t a story anyone prefers to tell.

    I think Drum makes a good point to. There is no conceivable reason for the military not to respond forcefully if they thought it would help. That is, unless you buy the Obama is Evil narrative. This sounds to me more like they underestimate the enemy again even during the attack.

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  28. CM

    That an organized terrorist attack took place in Benghazi would shine a light on the lying narrative that Obama was running on at that time. And he couldn’t have that. So military assets were told to “not go” to help and 4 people died as a result.

    I don’t understand. If that was the case surely it would make sense to put extra effort into shutting anything down, least it turn into something really damaging to the narrative. Not doing anything would seem to the worst possible choice to make if something looked like it was going down. I.e. what happened.

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  29. Mississippi Yankee

    What no one seems to be talking about is that we were there the first place because of an unconstitutional war.

    A very good point. Especially if you want to divert attention from your continuing fellatio of Dear Leader.

    And who overrode the War Powers Act to put the US right in the middle of that manufactured “Blood for Oil” French and British cluster fuck? Wasn’t Mommar Quack-a-daffy our toothless little lap dog at that point?

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  30. Mississippi Yankee

    Not doing anything would seem to the worst possible choice to make if something looked like it was going down. I.e. what happened.

    Perhaps you forgot we had a presidential erection coming up in less than 60 days from the attack. So when you have the State Dept. the Justice Dept. and the MSM in your back pocket “doing nothing” except lying, asking others to lie (Susan Rice, Her Filthiness, ect.) and getting the media to wave other shiny things around is what has become American Kabuki theater.

    It’s been NINE GODDAMN months today since the Benghazi attacks and we are just now starting to get some of the answers many of us have been asking since 9-11-2012. Take a guess haw many requested documents the State Dept. and the White House Still haven’t released to the congressional committee.

    Thumb up 3

  31. Mook

    Try again, Mook

    That was not an NBC news article as you say, it was their “openchannel” blog site. The story was apparently not newsworthy enough to make their new site or any other MSM news article, hence the parroting of it on leftwing blog sites where it apparently caught your attention and you decided to recycle it here on this blog site.

    And yes, I do believe Gibson was only there with sidearms if they were not planning operations.

    Of course you do. Except you don’t have the first clue why or what he was doing in Tripoli, you’re relying on “unnamed” sources in a blog article who are saying things that aren’t plausible – asserting that the commander of Africa Special ops wouldn’t have access to more than 9mm guns for he and his men while in an unstable muslim country on the anniversary of 9/11 is not believable. It’s a poorly sourced blog article making unbelievable claims and you swallow it hook, line and sinker and pretend it’s established fact.

    The biggest problem with the initial response, as the ARB said, was an overdependence on local support.

    While it’s true in that there was an overdependence on local support, Hicks’ testimony has shredded ARB’s credibility.. and did you know that the ARB didn’t bother to interview Hillary or Obama before issuing their ‘conclusions’?

    We had military resources ready, willing and able to go into Benghazi and they were told to stand down by someone at a high level. You have claimed that there is “zero evidence” that is the case and I responded by a) quoting Hicks testimony in which he claims that the head of Africa Special Ops told him directly that he was ordered to stand down, and b) the laws of common sense say that, with multiple military resources nearby (Tripoli, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Navy ships nearby), it’s almost 100% CERTAIN that military resources could have been there in time to do more to save lives.

    Any reasonable look at flight times and distance says that Panetta was outright lying his ass off, or lying by sleight of words, when he said that the Pentagon could not have responded to Benghazi any sooner than 12 hours.

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  32. stogy

    I notice that Rush and Hannity and pretty much the whole lunatic right wing keep harping on the “humiliation” of the Libyan president because the Obama administration failed to mention terrorism in their response until days later. With the WH putting up the ridiculous story that it was somehow connected to that innocuous YouTube video, Innocence of the Muslims. I mean, really! You expect me to believe that?!? The LIbyan President thought different. And he said so. So there’s your proof!

    However, the Libyan PM (obviously not in touch with the Libyan President, otherwise he would never have humiliated him like that), 24 hours after the attack issued a statement saying:

    “While strongly condemning any attempt to abuse the person of Muhammad, or an insult to our holy places and prejudice against the faith, we reject and strongly condemn the use of force to terrorize innocent people and the killing of innocent people.” It also reaffirmed “the depth of relationship between the peoples of Libya and the U.S., which grew closer with the positions taken by the U.S. government in support of the revolution of February 17.”

    There were also multiple reports in the media citing locals saying as much at the time – the New York Times was running interviews with claims of responsibility like this:

    At a news conference the day after the ambassador and three other Americans were killed, a spokesman for Ansar al-Shariah praised the attack as the proper response to such an insult to Islam. “We are saluting our people for this zeal in protecting their religion, to grant victory to the prophet,” the spokesman said. “The response has to be firm.”

    The fact is, there were a whole bunch of different versions of the truth circulating at the time. It’s easy to pull up “it was clearly terrorism at the time” facts, if you ignore everything to the contrary. What we are left with is people cherry-picking the facts (aka ODS, and warming up for HDS) and a whole bunch of useful idiots making lots of noise in disseminating them – it’s clearly a conspiracy to… to…. um…. Anyway, it’s fact. Just like when Bush had hid explosives in them two towers. Yeah!

    One question I have about the lack of urgent deployment of military backup is the need to advise and co-ordinate (not to mention get the permission of) with local authorities of a sovereign nation. Has this come up at all?

    Another thing that almost never gets mentioned in all of this is the reaction to the events of the Benghazi community on the night and over the subsequent weeks. It was nothing less than heroic, considering they did everything they could to save the life of ambassador Stevens. If I was complaining about media bias, it would be the lack of mention of this in any media – liberal or otherwise. Actually, come to think of it, I am complaining about it. It’s disgraceful!

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  33. Mook

    The fact is, there were a whole bunch of different versions of the truth circulating at the time. It’s easy to pull up “it was clearly terrorism at the time” facts

    Even if you believe that this previously unheard of video that had been out months before had suddenly ignited a military-style attack on our consulate complete with RPGs, the President had immediate or near-immediate intel that said it was a terrorist attack, yet he and Hillary continued to lie that it was all the fault of the film maker, and Obama even went so far as to run ads in Pakistan apologizing for the video.

    You can claim that there some people may have been confused initially, but Obama knew from the get go that it was an organized terrorist attack and he lied his ass off because his campaign narrative was that he had put the terrorists “on their heels”. A terrorist attack on American soil (consulate) would have called his bullshit narrative into question.

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  34. AlexInCT

    Even if you believe that this previously unheard of video that had been out months before had suddenly ignited a military-style attack on our consulate complete with RPGs, the President had immediate or near-immediate intel that said it was a terrorist attack, yet he and Hillary continued to lie that it was all the fault of the film maker, and Obama even went so far as to run ads in Pakistan apologizing for the video.

    It goes beyond this Mook. We now have Petreaus coming out and admitting the WH changed the CIA after action report to SPECIFICALLY remove any and all mention of terrorist activity. Sure, some will say that was done for political reasons. After all, the donkeys had just spent the previous week at their convention dancing on bin Laden’s grave and telling the world al Qaeda, and thus by extension terrorism and thus the GWoT, were dead. But it goes beyond the political fall out: it was done because they had a cover up to protect. Nixon got shafted for less, and as someone already pointed out, nobody died because of Watergate.

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  35. Hal_10000 *

    Especially if you want to divert attention from your continuing fellatio of Dear Leader.

    These comments are starting to more amuse me than annoy me. One reason I wrote this post was because I was getting sick of LW blogs saying, “nothing to see here!” Every liberal blog is proclaiming that these hearing are pointless and that Obama did everything right and the Republicans just hate him. This morning, it was “Wow, he rewrote talking points.” as if they wouldn’t have gone apeshit had Bush done the same thing (or less).

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  36. Hal_10000 *

    Nixon got shafted for less, and as someone already pointed out, nobody died because of Watergate.

    No one died because of the coverup (unless you’re buying the Evil Obama let people die that night line). It was incompetence that led to deaths in this case. If you’re going to say Obama should be impeached over that, why shouldn’t Bush have been impeached over the numerous incompetencies that led to the death of American civilians, soldiers and diplomats under his watch? Or Clinton. Or Reagan. Or Carter?

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  37. Mook

    If you’re going to say Obama should be impeached over that, why shouldn’t Bush have been impeached over the numerous incompetencies that led to the death of American civilians, soldiers and diplomats under his watch?

    Military assets could have been sent to Benghazi in time to save American lives but they were told to stand down or not authorized to help. Best case, that’s criminal negligence. Worst case, if he left them to die for political reasons (and evidence points to this possibility no matter how much you deny it), then it’s pure evil. Then he knowingly lied about what happened, even to the faces of family members who lost sons there when he knew different..

    Please give me an equivalent example of similar criminal negligence or evil intent from Bush? When did Bush knowingly lie like Obama lied about Benghazi?.. since you raised the comparison, tell us the answers. Bush made mistakes, but unlike Obama, he was an honest, decent man. You pretend as if EVERY President has done something as fucked up as what happened in Benghazi and lied about it. And by doing so, you are attempting to downplay and minimize what happened.

    Just because the leftwing fools you listen to are so far left and so dishonest and corrupt that they’ll excuse ANYTHING Obama does, doesn’t mean that your slightly-to-their right stance downplaying what happened isn’t fucked up.

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  38. Mississippi Yankee

    Just because the leftwing fools you listen to are so far left and so dishonest and corrupt that they’ll excuse ANYTHING Obama does, doesn’t mean that your slightly-to-their right stance downplaying what happened isn’t fucked up.

    The true test of a RINO is as follows:

    “Believe none of what they say. Watch what they actually do. Know that what they do, they do for a purpose”

    The very same test can be applied to a LIBINO (libertarian) in name only) too.

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  39. Iconoclast

    The election: even more reason to “do something” in order to limit the potential blowback. Surely.

    They did “do something”. They crafted a narrative and lied their collective asses off.

    No one died because of the coverup

    You’re moving the goal posts. The purpose of the coverup was to cover up the real cause of the deaths in the first place. Again, nobody died as a result of Watergate — the subsequent coverup of Watergate is a separate issue, which likewise caused no deaths.

    It was incompetence that led to deaths in this case.

    That doesn’t explain the pack-of-lies narrative, however. Nor does it explain why the creator of the video is STILL IN JAIL.

    …why shouldn’t Bush have been impeached…? Or Clinton. Or Reagan. Or Carter?

    Did they lie their asses off about how people died in order to get re-elected?

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  40. stogy

    Alex, here’s what the article you linked to said:

    This candid, real-time assessment from then-CIA director Petraeus offers a glimpse of what many intelligence officials were saying privately as top Obama officials set aside the truth about Benghazi and spun a fanciful tale about a movie that never mattered and a demonstration that never happened.

    And here’s what the New York Times said in my link from a month after the attack:

    At a news conference the day after the ambassador and three other Americans were killed, a spokesman for Ansar al-Shariah praised the attack as the proper response to such an insult to Islam. “We are saluting our people for this zeal in protecting their religion, to grant victory to the prophet,” the spokesman said. “The response has to be firm.”

    and also:

    To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck the United States Mission without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as members of a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence.

    So even a month after the attack, locals were still saying it was the video. The group that attacked the embassy were saying it was the video. The Libyan PM was saying it was the video. And the WH were saying it was probably the video. Personally I believe that the group just used the video as a convenient cover to do what it had already planned to do, but the fact remains: there were plenty of people at the time saying that the video was the cause of the attack.

    Now as for altering CIA analysis. Sure, that’s to cover up the lack of competence in the lack of a response. Buy a little time. Hopefully limit the political fallout. But the fact is, just about every president has done this to CIA analysis. Certainly Bush did (e.g. removing equivocations about WMDs). But ultimately, there was almost no advantage gained by the WH in hiding the terrorist links (remember the GOP also voted in cuts to security as well). And unless you can show one, there is no conspiracy.

    It’s not a scandal. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s just plain old-fashioned incompetence and ass covering.

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  41. CM

    They did “do something”. They crafted a narrative and lied their collective asses off.

    Very obviously not what I’m talking about.

    Bush made mistakes, but unlike Obama, he was an honest, decent man.

    Did they lie their asses off about how people died in order to get re-elected?

    The Bush Administration (including Bush himself) told a significant number of lies which lead directly to a significant number of deaths.

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  42. hist_ed

    The Bush Administration (including Bush himself) told a significant number of lies which lead directly to a significant number of deaths.

    I will regret this, but please, list three.

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  43. Hal_10000 *

    Military assets could have been sent to Benghazi in time to save American lives but they were told to stand down or not authorized to help.

    I’m not circling around this any more. You are 1) positing “facts” that are pulled straight out of the asses of RW commentators; 2) buying into the evil Obama line that this was deliberate. Whether the inadequate response that night was deliberate or the result of confusion combined with incompetence is a big fucking deal and is the difference between a scandal and a fuckup (fuckups being fairly routine for these guys).

    The entire narrative that the attack itself and the response is a scandal is posited on the Evil Obama line. Because Presidents have fucked up all the time with deadly consequence. In 1983, our base marine base in Lebanon was attacked, resulting in nearly 250 dead Americans. There were fuckups left, right and center ranging from why they were in the country in the first place to massively inadequate security. Our mission in Somalia resulted in the Blackhawk down incident with 18 dead soldiers as a result of mission creep, inadequate support and overreliance on foreign assets. We’ve lost thousands of men in Iraq and Afghanistan due to inadequate planning, bad management, poor supplies, over-reliance on local support and bad intelligence. During the Bush years, over a dozen diplomatic personel were killed, occasionally because of poor security procedures. And on 9/11, 2800 of our citizens died because of massive intelligence failures.

    Presidents fuck up. This President has had bigger fuckups than this. We do NOT ignore these things. We hold people accountable. But when you start calling it a scandal, you’re talking about law-breaking and impeachable offenses. What laws have broken? Being a shitty President is not against the law.

    You also need to make up your mind. Did Obama delegate the response to the military and jet off to Vegas? Or did he personally order assets to stand down so that those people would die. Which is it?

    Just because the leftwing fools you listen to are so far left and so dishonest and corrupt that they’ll excuse ANYTHING Obama does, doesn’t mean that your slightly-to-their right stance downplaying what happened isn’t fucked up.

    The hilarious thing is that I’m being pilloried on LW blogs for trying to argue that there is something serious here and that isn’t a whole lot of nothing. But there appears to be no middle ground between “Obama did nothing wrong” and “Obama is an evil monster who let those people die”

    You’re moving the goal posts. The purpose of the coverup was to cover up the real cause of the deaths in the first place. Again, nobody died as a result of Watergate — the subsequent coverup of Watergate is a separate issue, which likewise caused no deaths.

    Moving the goal posts nothing. We don’t impeach Presidents for fucking up. We impeach them for crimes. Name for me the crimes that Obama has committed here. The actual legal laws he has broken. “not responding with enough force on the morning of 9/12″ isn’t a crime. It’s incompetence.

    So, to sum up:

    1) I agree with the ARB that the pre-attack security was terrible and I think that more people need to be held accountable.

    2) I agree that the response that night was inadequate but I don’t think it was deliberately so. People still need to be held accountable.

    3) I agree that cleansing the talking points of any terrorism references and blaming the video was disgusting. People still need to be held accountable.

    4) I’m still not seeing THE Obama scandal, least of all an impeachable offense.

    Hot! Thumb up 6

  44. Xetrov

    Nor does it explain why the creator of the video is STILL IN JAIL.

    He’s in jail because he broke parole. Never mind that they knew he broke parole more than a year before, it was just coincidence that the justice department had him arrested for it right after Benghazi in a publicized arrest while the entire administration was still blaming the video for the attack/mob that never was…Yeah, that’s it.

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  45. Mook

    I’m not circling around this any more. You are 1) positing “facts” that are pulled straight out of the asses of RW commentators

    Sure, if you want to characterize sworn testimony by the #2 in command at Benghazi consulate who was running things during the attack as “RW” talking points..

    Hicks testified that the head of Africa Special Ops was “furious” over being told to stand down. That’s what he testified. Was Hicks perjuring himself Hal, or do you choose to selectively process only the facts which fit your narrative? Because you keep parroting the LW talking point that there is “zero evidence” (your words) that military assets were told to stand down. We KNOW through Hicks’ testimony that at least some military assets were told to stand down. We don’t know how many others received similar orders because the WH and State Dept. are stonewalling on providing documents.

    Then you dishonestly compare Lebanon and Somalia to Benghazi.. Did Reagan blame the Marine barracks attacks on a filmmaker or anything else as Obama has done? And did Reagan refuse to deploy nearby military assets when Americans were being attacked? Did Reagan lie about and stonewall on the Lebanon attacks as the highest levels of the Obama admin and State Dept. are doing with Benghazi? You’re delusional beyond belief to make those comparisons as you’ve done. And you’re doing it to intentionally minimize and excuse the despicable conduct of the Obama admin, which goes far, far beyond mere “incompetence”.

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  46. Hal_10000 *

    He’s in jail because he broke parole

    Not quite. He violated a conditional release.

    Mook, Hicks is a State Department employee. He would have limited to no knowledge of the military situation. People who DID have knowledge have a different view. For example, here is Robert Gates, saying that the critics have a “cartoonish view” of our military capabilities and that sending in fighters for a flyover would have been a big mistake given the thousands of SAMs that went missing after Kaddafi’s fall. But I guess Gates is part of the conspiracy now.

    Also, for the Lebanon comparison: did you miss the part where I criticized Obama for blaming this on a filmmaker? We were talking about the initial attack and the incompetencies that led up to that.

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  47. CM

    I will regret this, but please, list three.

    ;-)

    Number of Misleading Statements. The Iraq on the Record database contains
    237 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq that were made by
    President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell,
    and National Security Advisor Rice. These statements were made in 125 separate
    appearances, consisting of 40 speeches, 26 press conferences and briefings, 53
    interviews, 4 written statements, and 2 congressional testimonies. Most of the
    statements in the database were misleading because they expressed certainty
    where none existed or failed to acknowledge the doubts of intelligence officials.
    Ten of the statements were simply false.

    The 237 misleading statements can be divided into
    four categories. The five officials made 11 statements that claimed that Iraq
    posed an urgent threat; 81 statements that exaggerated Iraq’s nuclear activities; 84
    statements that overstated Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons capabilities;
    and 61 statements that misrepresented Iraq’s ties to al Qaeda.

    http://downingstreetmemo.com/docs/iraq_on_the_record.pdf

    Thumb up 1

  48. AlexInCT

    CM, you also forgot to point out Boosh was accused of being an evil genius, hell bent on stealing the oil from Iraq, and at the same time a moron with daddy issues that wanted revenge for Saddam sending assassins after his father. The biggest lies about Iraq however were all told by the left. I remind you that if Boosh lied about Iraq then every fucking leftard that said the same things also did. And since the list is long and distinguished – both Clintons, Kerry, and many, many other of the big names in the America hating collectivist party – at best you can blame Boosh of plagiarizing them. Of course people like you want to pretend that Boosh was the only one to say these things and then when he knew what he said to be false. And at least you didn’t blame 9-11 on Boosh as well, so kudos there.

    Fucking morons on the left never fail to disappoint and always prove how fucking dumb they are.

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  49. CM

    CM, you also forgot to point out Boosh was accused of being an evil genius, hell bent on stealing the oil from Iraq, and at the same time a moron with daddy issues that wanted revenge for Saddam sending assassins after his father.

    I’ve never gone in for that nonsense.

    The biggest lies about Iraq however were all told by the left.

    Oh I see, it’s all about who told the biggest lies. I didn’t realise. I thought it was about the people in power not lying to get a war they very clearly wanted.

    I remind you that if Boosh lied about Iraq then every fucking leftard that said the same things also did. And since the list is long and distinguished – both Clintons, Kerry, and many, many other of the big names in the America hating collectivist party – at best you can blame Boosh of plagiarizing them.

    I don’t remember them being President and prosecuting an unlawful war of choice. But yeah, many Dems voted for it, which allowed it to happen. That is a cold hard fact.

    And at least you didn’t blame 9-11 on Boosh as well, so kudos there.

    My interest/fascination in conspiracy theories is mostly about the physcology of those who believe in them. People like you. Almost all conspiracy theories are completely ridiculous and irrational.

    Fucking morons on the left never fail to disappoint and always prove how fucking dumb they are.

    It’s always good to not be disappointed.

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  50. hist_ed

    Hicks testified that the head of Africa Special Ops was “furious” over being told to stand down. That’s what he testified. Was Hicks perjuring himself Hal, or do you choose to selectively process only the facts which fit your narrative?

    Hey Mook, ordering military assets to stand down is not a crime. In this case, it sucks, but commanders (including the commander in chief) get to decide how to fight wars and respond to attacks. Who told whom to stand down should come out. What assets really were in range and why they didn’t go should come out. Why it was decided to provide less security to our people in Libya than we have in, say, Sweden, should also come out. But even if the worst comes out, even if Obama himself, before going to sleep that night, said “Don’t send anyone in to help, I think its over.” then no crime has been committed. That’s his job and he gets to make those decisions. Lying to the American people for political reasons is also not a crime. He and his party need to pay a steep political price for this and, if the worst is true, probably will. This also shows to how castrated the press is when their is a democrat in the White House (and maybe one or two of them will be embarrassed enough to cover the next scandal a little better). But nothing, even if the worst is true, rises to the level of impeachable offense.

    How it will be very interesting to see what comes of H Clinton’s testimony to Congress about this. Lying to Congress is a crime (not that the Obama AG’s office is going to prosecute Hillary). Torpedoing Clinton’s presidential hopes would be an appropriate political price to pay for this (not that I think it likely).

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  51. salinger

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  52. hist_ed

    So CM, here’s the thing. Do you think that Bush, Cheney and Powell actually believed that Iraq had no WMDs? Bush’s mot infamous lie was “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” The British government did tell us this. At the time, the best intelligence confirmed the Bush administration’s claims. The fact that it was wrong does not mean that Bush lied, only that he was mistaken. Obama, on the other had, has himself said that he knew from day one that Benghazi was a terrorist attack and yet he, his secstate and his UN ambassador repeatedly claimed that it was all about that video. Knowingly saying something false is a lie. Stating something false that you believe to be true isn’t.

    I know that evil Bush the lying scum is set in the minds of his critics, but really, it should be evil Bush the mistaken scum, right?

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  53. Mook

    Hey Mook, ordering military assets to stand down is not a crime.

    Did I say different? I was responding to Hal, who is on record here as saying there is “zero evidence” as to ANY order to stand down during the Benghazi attack and you’re a crazed wingnut if you disagree. Hicks’ testimony shot a big hole through that LW talking point when he testified that the head of Special Ops for Africa was incensed that he was ordered to stand down when Hicks was pleading for help during the attack.

    Hal now trots out Gate’s armchair quarterbacking comments, which is lame given that Gates said that he was NEVER briefed on the Benghazi attack, and said that he only knows what has been reported in the media. And we know the media’s reporting on the issue.

    Contrast Gate’s speculative commentary with the opinion of the head of Africa Special Ops who was on the ground in the area at the time of the attack, and tell me which of them is most likely to know best.

    What assets really were in range and why they didn’t go should come out.

    We know that some military assets were told to stand down. We also know that it’s damn likely (although admittedly not 100% certain), the multiple other assets in the area could have been deployed from Italy, Turkey, Spain or other areas within a couple of hours distance, but not given the green light for political reasons. I agree that it “should” come out, but right now Obama and the State Dept. are stonewalling on that very information, just as they stonewalled on Operation F&F. I think the coverup in that respect is criminal.

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  54. Hal_10000 *

    Thanks, hist_ed, for being the voice of sanity as always!

    I had intended to talk about the WMDs but didn’t for the reasons you site. I dont’ think Bush and Cheney rubbed their hands together and cackled manically as they led us to a war they knew was BS. I do think, however, that they — and almost everyone else including the Clinton Administration — saw the evidence they way they wanted to. That things that should have seemed ambiguous or even bullshitty, like Curveball, seemed rock solid to them. That warning flags seemed trivial.

    One of my fundamental beliefs is that human beings are OK at reasoning, but dead awesome at rationalizing. That is, we’re better at fitting the facts into our point of view than revising our point of view to fit the facts. This isn’t done maliciously or with evil intent; it’s just the way we’re wired. So with Iraq, the Bush people convinced themselves that the evidence was a slam dunk, to borrow their phrasing.

    Probably a lot of that went on with Benghazi too.

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  55. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  56. Mook

    The press pretty much caters to whomever is in power. It’s practically necessary if they want to have any access at all.

    “Catering to” is very different for R Presidents and politicians as compared to D Presidents and politicians to an extreme degree.

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  57. CM

    “Catering to” is very different for R Presidents and politicians as compared to D Presidents and politicians to an extreme degree.

    IMO the Iraq War dispelled any such myth. That any President was able to proscute that war still astounds me. If it had been a D President in charge it might have been the ultimate proof.

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  58. Mook

    IMO the Iraq War dispelled any such myth.

    Perhaps you are unaware that a majority of Dems voted with Rs to topple Saddam including Hillary and Kerry and many others in the Iraq war resolution after a year of open debate. As Alex pointed out, every warning of WMDs was first echoed by Dems. Be honest. Iraq admitted to having chem and bio weapons as late ass 1998 to UNSCOM.. they had used chem weapons and had been proven to have had bio weapon development as well. What’s the surprise.

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  59. hist_ed

    The press pretty much caters to whomever is in power. It’s practically necessary if they want to have any access at all.

    Do you really think so? I’ll admit, Bush got things easy for a bit after 9/11 (does anyone remember Dan Rather on Letterman right after the attack?). But that faded about a week into the Iraqi invasion (We were bogged down, remember, over and over again). It really doesn’t compare to to five year hand job the press has given Obama.

    And no wonder the biggies in the press go easy on Obama. Their fucking families work for him: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/05/11/fox-abc-and-cbs-news-presidents-have-siblings-working-white-house-tie#ixzz2T1LlkPbG

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  60. hist_ed

    So just to be clear, CM, You think that Bush and members of his administration knew that Saddam Hussein did not posses bio or chem WMDs and that they knew that his nuke program was on hiatus and then said otherwise.

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  61. hist_ed

    Thanks, hist_ed, for being the voice of sanity as always!

    Oh shit, there’s a standard I’m not sure can uphold. It’s funny, I think Bush was a shitty president, but not because of the war and foreign stuff. I think he did ok there (not great, me, I would have invaded Iraq, knocked down every building above two stories, killed Saddam and everyone in his government, built a gleaming 200 foot high monument through downtown Bagdad that said “Don’t fuck with us” in 7 languages and them left-probably via Teheran) . I think he was a shitty president because of steel tariffs and the medicade expansion and his gross expansion of domestic spending during war time.

    Oh and he wasn’t a liar. He believed what he said. He may have been capable of self delusion, but I think he is basically an honest person. Obama? I think he would lie through his teeth for anyone or anything he wants.

    Biden, I think, believes what he says when he says it. That’s what makes him the scariest of all.

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  62. AlexInCT

    I think Bush was a shitty president, but not because of the war and foreign stuff

    Ditto, and nothing pisses me off more than having to defend a guy I am at best ambivalent about because the other side is full of deranged morons hell bent on rewriting history to suit their narrative. Criticize Boosh for the out of control spending, the massive growth of government under his watch, the stupid compassionate conservatism idea, the freedom robbing shit like the Patriot act, and even if you want to, the half-assed approach to Islamic radicalism, but let’s not pretend that the tax breaks the left despises and the war the left kept telling us was necessary to get rid of Saddam and his WMDs when they had power, are why he is bad. The fact is that if Boosh was a bad president Obama is a fucking disaster compared to him. But again, they find solace and cover in blaming Boosh for Obama’s incompetence. Reality never bothers people that want to ush the agenda and narrative.

    BTW hist_ed, do not expect Cm to answer your question about if he really believes Boosh knew he was lying. The fact is that ideological goons like CM have convinced themselves that’s true and no facts or logic will disuade them of that belief.

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  63. Iconoclast

    We don’t impeach Presidents for fucking up. We impeach them for crimes.

    And sometimes we don’t impeach them even when they commit crimes…

    Name for me the crimes that Obama has committed here.

    When Watergate was the never-ending news story back in the early 1970’s, I was just a punk kid, but I do remember a saying that we kids said to each other at that time, “The only real difference between Nixon and any other President is Nixon Got Caught”…

    Going back to my earlier point, if the MSM treated Nixon and Obama the same way, I believe one of two things would be true. Either Benghazi would have been in the public’s face every damned day sine the incident, and any actual wrongdoing by the current Administration would have come to light, or Nixon’s wrongdoings would have never come to light, and he may very well have not resigned.

    That it was a terrorist attack was known immediately. The video was a non-event according to one whistle-blower. Yet this narrative was crafted and the Administration bitterly clung to it day after day, week after week. Why lie incessantly if not to cover something up? If there was no crime, no wrongdoing, why cynically lie through your teeth to the American public and to the relatives of those slain?

    Well, one explanation is that there was an election coming up, and the “al Qaeda is on the run” narrative had to be maintained. However, at some level, someone should take responsibility for the mess at some point. Four Americans were killed, after all.

    And for all of you left-wingers who get a hard on over blathering some variant of the “Bush Lied Kids Died” narrative, I have read the Duelfer Report, the Hutton inquiries, the Downing Street Memo, and on and on, and the simple fact is that Bush didn’t lie. He made decisions based on the intel that was available, and based on the fact that the USA did receive an attack on her soil, and believed other attacks were immanent.

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  64. Hal_10000 *

    ugh. That article seems, like many commentators, unaware that a rapid response team was sent from Tripoli. And I agree with salinger. “Stand down. Let them die.” is bullshit.

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  65. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  66. CM

    As this piece explains Reid, Biden, Clinton, and Kerry share a significant part of the blame. And what happened? No accountability whatsoever, in fact they gained MORE powerful. Disgraceful.

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  67. Xetrov

    My wife is going to have a baby. The ultrasound shows it’s going to be a boy! Yay!

    It was a girl? I’m such a liar.

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  68. Mook

    The surprise? I guess that the Bush administration could get away with invading on such weak pretexts; after failing so badly to demonstrate why invasion was justified.
    Last time I looked having chem and bio weapons in 1998 didn’t ‘require’ an invasion, nor did the use of them.

    The Iraq 1991 terms of surrender forbid them to have WMDs of any type and obligated them to have regular weapons inspections. That they kicked out weapons inspectors in 1998 made them even more suspicious and potentially dangerous as violaters of their terms of surrender. Violation of terms of surrender = full justification for resumption of hostilities in ANY book throughout history. After 9/11, and given their defiance and ejection of weapons inspectors and their support of foreign terrorists, and shooting at our planes in violation of their terms of surrender, is it really that “unbelievable” that the US decided to topple Saddam Hussain? who was a child-killing fucking madman by any honest measure. I think it’s seriously fucked up how huge percentages of countries like New Zealand and other countries opposed taking out a mass murdering madman like we did in Iraq.

    You’re a piss ant country who couldn’t survive a Somalia pirate invasion without the umbrella of US support. Just like the shit talkers in Canada who have an “airforce” of one or two planes. You live under the umbrella of our security and pretend that it’s a “given”

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  69. CM

    My wife is going to have a baby. The ultrasound shows it’s going to be a boy! Yay!

    It was a girl? I’m such a liar.

    Hmmm, maybe instead of placing all your bets on the guess of a single ultrasound technician (who also openly hates men, and ultimately knows that it doesn’t matter if they get it wrong) you should have taken a little more notice (i.e. more than ZERO) of all the the contrary advice from all those other experienced and qualified people.

    The Iraq 1991 terms of surrender forbid them to have WMDs of any type and obligated them to have regular weapons inspections.

    True. Not in dispute.

    That they kicked out weapons inspectors in 1998 made them even more suspicious and potentially dangerous as violaters of their terms of surrender.

    That’s always a far too simplistic description of what actually happened. They were removed because the West were wanting to bomb.

    Apparently you’ve decided to ignore all the “pesky” aspects:
    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1750

    A far cry from what you portray as a steady inspections process and 95% of all his weapons being found or destroyed.

    When I left Iraq in 1998… the infrastructure and facilities had been 100% eliminated. There’s no doubt about that. All of their instruments and facilities had been destroyed. The weapons design facility had been destroyed. The production equipment had been hunted down and destroyed. And we had in place means to monitor – both from vehicles and from the air – the gamma rays that accompany attempts to enrich uranium or plutonium. We never found anything.”

    (p.26)

    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=2552

    But on the other hand, since 1998 Iraq has been fundamentally disarmed: 90-95% of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capability has been verifiably eliminated. This includes all of the factories used to produce chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and long-range ballistic missiles; the associated equipment of these factories; and the vast majority of the products coming out of these factories.

    Iraq was supposed to turn everything over to the UN, which would supervise its destruction and removal. Iraq instead chose to destroy – unilaterally, without UN supervision – a great deal of this equipment. We were later able to verify this. But the problem is that this destruction took place without documentation, which means the question of verification gets messy very quickly.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,794771,00.html

    There are also the issues over the illegal spying in Iraq under the guise of inspections, and the refusal of the US and UK to agree that if inspections were successfully completed, the sanctions could be lifted.

    Violation of terms of surrender = full justification for resumption of hostilities in ANY book throughout history.

    Not at all. We were well past those resolutions. UN authorisation was required for an invasion. That’s the ONLY way Resoution 1441 was able to pass (it required an additional authorisation). You can’t then fail to get the additional authorisation and invade anyway on the basis of an early Resolution. That’s just blatantly cheating the system.

    After 9/11, and given their defiance and ejection of weapons inspectors and their support of foreign terrorists, and shooting at our planes in violation of their terms of surrender, is it really that “unbelievable” that the US decided to topple Saddam Hussain? who was a child-killing fucking madman by any honest measure. I think it’s seriously fucked up how huge percentages of countries like New Zealand and other countries opposed taking out a mass murdering madman like we did in Iraq.

    No UN resolution mandates approved of the NFZs. They were imposed solely by the participants and maintained by them only. Even a generous (mis)reading of UNSCR 688 would still require a formal resolution to okay the NFZs. No such resolution exists. Further, Security Council resolutions 686 (setting out the preliminary terms of the ceasefire), 687 (the formal ceasefire declaration), and 688 all include “Affirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Kuwait and Iraq,” things clearly violated by the NFZs.

    I think it’s seriously fucked up that people try to make out that people against the war were defending a “mass murdering madman” (which he was, no question). I think it’s excellent that such a overwhelming percentage of the world was so strongly against such cynically manipulative politics and pre-emptive war. I think it said good things about people in general, and terrible things about that administration. Saddam wasn’t any kind of threat, other than to some of his own people.

    You’re a piss ant country who couldn’t survive a Somalia pirate invasion without the umbrella of US support. Just like the shit talkers in Canada who have an “airforce” of one or two planes. You live under the umbrella of our security and pretend that it’s a “given”.

    We are and we do live under that umbrella, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to sign-off on every stupid foreign adventure that your Government wants. But it’s little alarming that you think we should (do you see it as some sort of protection racket?).

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  70. CM

    Xetrov, here’s us having the same discussion back in October 2005:

    You:

    Do you deny there was a commonly held view of WMD’s in Iraq by virtually everyone on this planet (outside of Iraq)?

    Me:

    I accept:
    1) That various politicians, presumably relying on the same lack of, unreliable, patchy, and made-up evidence, are on record as saying ‘i think we got problems with Iraq’. Some of them might not have actually known the quality of what they were relying on, getting a third or fourth hand version of an assessment. They also must have ignored UN reports, either mistakenly or intentionally.
    2) That many of these politicians already supported an invasion when they made comments on record, but knew there wasn’t even a flimsy legal argument or sufficient justification (not that it would matter to them but unfortunately they gotta play it the way their public/supporters will accept).
    2) That many non-politicians had no reason to doubt them at the time, not having access to check whether they were presenting an accurate assessment of the evidence and non-evidence available.
    3) That a considerable amount of the non-politicians (ie average joes) couldn’t get their questions answered when they saw inconsistencies between accounts, did not see that an invasion was justified, and saw the US/UK process (of going to the UN) as simply an attempt to get at least some justification (as explicitly set out in leaked documents) for their supporters, but which failed when the UNSC refused to authorise the invasion.
    4) WMD was the least-worst part of the case from the pro-war point of view, but even then it wasn’t very good.

    http://moorewatch.right-thinking.com/index.php/forums/viewthread/792/P25/#15870

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  71. CM

    People always like to run the argument that Dems said Iraq was a problem and Saddam needs to go, but the same people never provide quotes from Republicans (some in power under Bush) where they said that Iraq wasn’t a threat. For some reason the acceptable ‘full’ story is to just put up the Dem comments saying the opposite, and leave those out of it. Like amazingly those Dems are conveniently believable for 2 minutes when it supports the argument.

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  72. Mississippi Yankee

    Hal_10000 says:
    May 9, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm (UTC -4)
    I don’t think it will reach Watergate levels because it’s not a Watergate level scandal. The President hasn’t gutted the Justice Department to stop an investigation. I do agree that, even if it were a Watergate level scandal, the American people wouldn’t demand justice. They’ve been conspicuously lax about their own civil liberties, for cripes sake.

    Will you be re-adjusting your assessment of the situation now that the misadventures of both Obama’s Justice Dept. and his people at the IRS have come to light? I believe the American people are in fact demanding justice. Yet your fool still doesn’t know when to “fold em”.

    We all understand how your forehead must be getting sore from polishing Dear Leader’s belt buckle. Maybe if you lead by example Obungler will spit and walk away too.

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  73. hist_ed

    There are also the issues over the illegal spying in Iraq under the guise of inspections,

    Just curious, but you are talking about against Iraqi law, right? Or do you somehow think it was against US law.

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  74. hist_ed

    And CM, if the Bush administration was so evil they they would go to war over intel they knew was wrong, don’t you think they would have planted some evidence after the fact? That’s the problem I have with your scenario. They acted like the believed it. And it looks like Hussein was deliberately faking WMD programs to spook Iran.

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  75. CM

    Just curious, but you are talking about against Iraqi law, right? Or do you somehow think it was against US law.

    Unauthorised would probably be more accurate. This is what I’m referring to.

    And CM, if the Bush administration was so evil they they would go to war over intel they knew was wrong,

    I don’t think that necessarily makes them ‘evil’. Deeply cynical and calculating sure. And they did go to war using cherry-picked intelligence and sources.

    don’t you think they would have planted some evidence after the fact? That’s the problem I have with your scenario. They acted like the believed it.

    Planting evidence later wouldn’t have helped because it was obvious that it was happening at the time. They made claims about what they knew and the inspectors etc asked for the evidence and nothing was provided.
    What do you mean “my scenario”? I mean I realise you guys over there were living in some sort of post-911 shell-shock patriotic bubble, but this was all argued by the rest of the world at the time. There were loads of people asking all these questions before the invasion.

    And it looks like Hussein was deliberately faking WMD programs to spook Iran.

    Very likely, and that was certainly reflected by some of the intelligence at the time, including from defectors – Hussein Kamel al-Majid (Iraq’s highest ranking defector) had been saying so for years. But they ignored it because it didn’t help the case they were making (Bush instead went with statements from Khidir Hamza, who had nothing to do with the weapons programme but was a fraud and they knew full well he was a fraud at the time). This wasn’t a situation where the best plan would be carried out after carefully assessing and weighing up all the intelligence. It was about cherry-picking and distorting the intelligence to get the desired outcome. To not realise this at the time is really quite mind-boggling (unless one really was caught in an information bubble).

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  76. CM

    Phase II of the (bipartisan) Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq

    ….concludes that the US Administration “repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.” These included President Bush’s statements of a partnership between Iraq and Al Qa’ida, that Saddam Hussein was preparing to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups, and Iraq’s capability to produce chemical weapons.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senate_Report_on_Pre-war_Intelligence_on_Iraq

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  77. Iconoclast

    The Skimmer: Senate Report on Prewar Intelligence (Emphasis added):

    Missouri Senator Kit Bond, the ranking Republican on the committee, furiously wrote in his minority opinion, that the report was a blatant attempt by Democrats to politicize what turned out to be nothing more than bad intelligence on the part of the C.I.A. “We have been forced to waste countless man-hours to show what we and the American people already knew four years ago, that policymakers’ statements turned out to be wrong after the war because the statements were based on flawed intelligence. The Committee’s Phase I report, which investigated that intelligence failure and explained how it happened, was a judicious and valuable act of intelligence oversight. Distorting intelligence and misleading the public, as the current report does, is not.

    Bond is so angry that he throws in some choice prewar statements that demonstrate that those in the Bush Administration weren’t the only ones fooled by faulty intelligence. “I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the threat posed to America by Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction is so serious that despite the risks, we should authorize the President to take the necessary steps to deal with that threat.” — Sen. John D. Rockefeller, Congressional Record, 10/10/02.

    Basically, CM, what you quoted amounts to Chairman Rockefeller’s personal opinion, or the opinions of the Democrats on the committee. As Bond pointed out, Rockefeller himself was convinced that Saddam was a real threat back in 2002, so Rockefeller is being one hell of a hypocrite.

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  78. Iconoclast

    Bond: Phase II Report is Political Theatre

    WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kit Bond, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today admonished Democrats for playing politics with the final reports on prewar Iraq intelligence to score election-year points.

    “It is ironic that the Democrats would knowingly distort and misrepresent the Committee’s findings and the intelligence in an effort to prove that the Administration distorted and mischaracterized the intelligence,” said Bond.

    Today, the final sections of the Phase II report on prewar intelligence were released by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Bond pointed out that the partisan report not only violates the Committee’s nonpartisan principles but also rejects the conclusions unanimously reached in previous reports.

    Bond also called attention to the Democrats’ hypocrisy in excluding any of their own statements in this final report. Democrats in the Senate examined the same intelligence as the Bush Administration, and they too characterized Iraq as a growing and dangerous threat to the United States. Bond pointed to the public record, which is replete with examples of statements by Democrat Senators making the same characterizations regarding Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction and links to terrorism.

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  79. Iconoclast

    Key problems with the report include:

    •The minority was entirely cut out of the process and that the report was written solely by Democratic staffers – For example, Republican amendments, including those of the Vice Chairman, were not even given a vote;

    •The Democratic staff who authored the report twisted policy makers’ statements and cherry picked intelligence in order to reach their misleading conclusions, often leaving out pertinent intelligence;

    •The report does not review any statements of Democrats, only Republican administration officials;

    •The Democratic staff did not seek to interview those whom they accuse;

    •The Rome report violates the Democrats’ own criteria for the Phase II report and should have been excluded.

    •Bond stressed that this type of partisan gamesmanship is beneath the Senate Intelligence Committee and takes away from the important national security issues the Committee should be focused on. Congress has failed to pass a terrorist surveillance bill, or intelligence authorization act, both of which are critical to improving the intelligence community. These failures are a result of injecting partisan politics into the Committee’s oversight responsibilities, emphasized Bond. With this final Phase II report now complete, Bond concluded that it is critical the Senate Intelligence attempts to move forward in a nonpartisan manner.

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  80. Iconoclast

    How very very typical of you.

    (Shrug) I am who I am and you’re powerless to change that.

    You’re reminding me more and more of BluesStringer/Czar Chasm the way you do that.

    Am I supposed to care? Am I supposed to pretend that means something?

    Utter nonsense.

    On your part, perhaps.

    I’ve read them all too and that’s simply not true.

    Knee-jerk denial noted and dismissed.

    I’ve already linked to one report which outlines in detail 237 “misleading statements”…

    …which were based on faulty intel.

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  81. Iconoclast

    Might as well include the lone left-out paragraph (emphasis added):

    In July 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Iraq report, adopted by a unanimous vote, makes clear that flawed intelligence – not Administration deception – was the basis for policy maker’s statements and decisions. The report released today completely ignores this key finding.

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  82. Xetrov

    Xetrov, here’s us having the same discussion back in October 2005

    It’s also a discussion that I have zero interest in revisiting or putting any thought into. Attempting to re-write history through the lens of hindsight is pointless, and I don’t care anymore. You might as well start talking about Global Warming.

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  83. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  84. CM

    Phase II didn’t come out until May 2007.

    My bad – it was made public on June 5, 2008 (the same day Bond released his statements). The release in May 2007 was only one volume of the Phase II report.

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  85. Iconoclast

    Sheesh, one day you should put aside some time to figure out what ‘knee-jerk’ and ‘denial’ actually mean.

    I know what they mean, whether you care to realize that or not.

    Until then you’ll continue to make no sense [to me].

    Fixed it for you. Whether I “make sense” to you in any given moment is immaterial, given your penchant for being obtuse when it suits.

    No, and this is the whole point. These were statements made which did not reflect the intel.

    Not according to Phase I, which was unanimously agreed upon. Your claims come from Phase II, which, according to Senator Bond, was nothing more than “political theater”. Phase II ignores a key finding in Phase I, namely, that “flawed intelligence – not Administration deception – was the basis for policy maker’s statements“.

    You are free to keep spinning and rehashing the chronology all you want, but Senator Bond’s statements are pretty clear, and he clearly outlines several problems with the Phase II report, indicating just how utterly partisan it was.

    So you’ll dismiss everything Rockefeller says (and try to suggest I was quoting him) because he’s partisan, but you’ll then just quote directly from an equally partisan person and somehow that’s meant to be different?

    I’m not pretending to be bipartisan You, otoh, made it a point to claim that the Phase II report was bipartisan. Senator Bond’s statements pretty much indicate otherwise. I’ll let Bond’s statements stand on their own. You can spin them any way you want, but your spin is meaningless. If you can actually refute Bond’s statements, have at it.

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  86. Iconoclast

    Ah no, what I have quoted from is the bi-partisan majority report (10-5)…

    Right, ten Democrats and five Republicans, making the Repuplicans the minority. But, according to Co-Chairman Senator Bond, “The [Republican] minority was entirely cut out of the process and that the report was written solely by Democratic staffers” (emphasis added). I suggest you re-read that five or six times until it sinks in. What that means is that I was completelky correct when I said, “what you quoted amounts to Chairman Rockefeller’s personal opinion, or the opinions of the Democrats on the committee”. Perhaps you need to figure out what the phrase “amounts to” means.

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  87. AlexInCT

    Iconoclast, you are a masochist aren’t you? You really think any facts or logic will ever be enough to convince CM to reassess what he wants to believe, with a fanatical fervor, really happened, and give up on the false narrative? It’s the whole AGW argument all over. These people go by faith, not fact or logic, and trying to use logic or facts to try to dissuade them is like trying to break a terrorist’s will by telling him it will go on his premanent record and he won’t be able to fly on airplanes anymore.

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  88. CM

    I know what they mean, whether you care to realize that or not.

    Maybe use them when they’re relevant then. Throwing them out randomly is meaningless.

    Fixed it for you. Whether I “make sense” to you in any given moment is immaterial, given your penchant for being obtuse when it suits.

    That’s just a knee-jerk denial.

    Your claims come from Phase II, which, according to Senator Bond, was nothing more than “political theater”.

    Oh well if that’s what Senator Bond thinks, I guess it must be true.

    Not according to Phase I, which was unanimously agreed upon.

    There were significant areas of disagreement.

    Senators John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) (the Committee’s vice-chairman), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Richard Durbin (D-IL), used their additional view to say that the report painted an incomplete picture, because the Committee had put off until phase two of the investigation the key question of “how intelligence on Iraq was used or misused by Administration officials in public statements and reports.” Because of this, they said, “the Committee’s phase one report fails to fully explain the environment of intense pressure in which Intelligence Community officials were asked to render judgments on matters relating to Iraq when policy officials had already forcefully stated their own conclusions in public.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senate_Report_on_Pre-war_Intelligence_on_Iraq#Senators_Rockefeller.2C_Levin.2C_and_Durbin

    Phase II ignores a key finding in Phase I, namely, that “flawed intelligence – not Administration deception – was the basis for policy maker’s statements“.

    No, that was put off until Phase II. Which is why there was disagreement about Phase I. See above.

    You are free to keep spinning and rehashing the chronology all you want,

    Ah, no, as I’ve just shown, that’s what YOU’VE done.

    but Senator Bond’s statements are pretty clear, and he clearly outlines several problems with the Phase II report, indicating just how utterly partisan it was.

    Facts and facts. Here is a detailed account of hundreds of statements made that did not match what was known at the time.
    http://downingstreetmemo.com/docs/iraq_on_the_record.pdf

    I’m not pretending to be bipartisan. You, otoh, made it a point to claim that the Phase II report was bipartisan. Senator Bond’s statements pretty much indicate otherwise. I’ll let Bond’s statements stand on their own.

    Ok let’s put aside Phase II then. I’ll let the 237 specific and referenced inaccurate statements I linked to stand on their own.

    If you can actually refute Bond’s statements, have at it.

    They’re his opinion. I can’t ‘refute’ opinion. As opposed to specific misleading statements, which could potentially be refuted.

    And here is the national intelligence officer responsible for the Middle East from 2000 to 2005:

    In the wake of the Iraq war, it has become clear that official intelligence analysis was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community’s own work was politicized. As the national intelligence officer responsible for the Middle East from 2000 to 2005, I witnessed all of these disturbing developments.

    The Bush administration’s use of intelligence on Iraq did not just blur this distinction; it turned the entire model upside down. The administration used intelligence not to inform decision-making, but to justify a decision already made. It went to war without requesting — and evidently without being influenced by — any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq. (The military made extensive use of intelligence in its war planning, although much of it was of a more tactical nature.) Congress, not the administration, asked for the now-infamous October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq’s unconventional weapons programs, although few members of Congress actually read it. (According to several congressional aides responsible for safeguarding the classified material, no more than six senators and only a handful of House members got beyond the five-page executive summary.) As the national intelligence officer for the Middle East, I was in charge of coordinating all of the intelligence community’s assessments regarding Iraq; the first request I received from any administration policymaker for any such assessment was not until a year into the war.

    The Bush administration deviated from the professional standard not only in using policy to drive intelligence, but also in aggressively using intelligence to win public support for its decision to go to war. This meant selectively adducing data — “cherry-picking” — rather than using the intelligence community’s own analytic judgments. In fact, key portions of the administration’s case explicitly rejected those judgments.

    In the upside-down relationship between intelligence and policy that prevailed in the case of Iraq, the administration selected pieces of raw intelligence to use in its public case for war, leaving the intelligence community to register varying degrees of private protest when such use started to go beyond what analysts deemed credible or reasonable. The best-known example was the assertion by President George W. Bush in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq was purchasing uranium ore in Africa. U.S. intelligence analysts had questioned the credibility of the report making this claim, had kept it out of their own unclassified products, and had advised the White House not to use it publicly. But the administration put the claim into the speech anyway, referring to it as information from British sources in order to make the point without explicitly vouching for the intelligence.

    The reexamination of prewar public statements is a necessary part of understanding the process that led to the Iraq war. But a narrow focus on rhetorical details tends to overlook more fundamental problems in the intelligence-policy relationship. Any time policymakers, rather than intelligence agencies, take the lead in selecting which bits of raw intelligence to present, there is — regardless of the issue — a bias. The resulting public statements ostensibly reflect intelligence, but they do not reflect intelligence analysis, which is an essential part of determining what the pieces of raw reporting mean. The policymaker acts with an eye not to what is indicative of a larger pattern or underlying truth, but to what supports his case.

    https://webspace.utexas.edu/hcleaver/www/357L/200603FAPillarVsBushAdmin.htm

    You really think any facts or logic will ever be enough to convince CM to reassess what he wants to believe, with a fanatical fervor, really happened, and give up on the false narrative?

    It was laughable AT THE TIME. What was demonstrated afterwards is just confirmation.

    It’s the whole AGW argument all over.

    So why, when AGW comes up, do you run away as fast as possible, lobbing nothing faith-based comments over your shoulder? Huh? Why are you NEVER able to go beyond your superficial ideological slogans?

    Thing is EVEN IF it could be demonstrated that it was ONLY an intelligence failure, it still wouldn’t have justfied the invasion of a soverign nation. The intelligence didn’t conclude: “War is required”. It still wasn’t nearly sufficient to meet any required standard. And the US could only secure 4 votes out of a 19 at the UNSC for their proposed Resolution. They needed a minimum of 9.
    But no, it was very clearly not ONLY an intelligence failure. It was a clear case of an Administration that had a plan, and did what was necessay to carry it out. It was VERY clear at the time, no matter how deeply you kept your heads bured in the sand. Blair did exactly the same thing with his ‘dodgy dossier’.

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  89. CM

    Specifically, I was a CIA analyst working in the Counterterrorism Center in the overburdened days after 9/11. As analysts, we spend most of our time identifying burgeoning issues based on communications intercepts, reports from CIA case officers, imagery from satellites, accounts from other governments, and piecing together a story.

    What we don’t do routinely is tie one catastrophe to another. But that was exactly what I was asked to do in November 2002, shortly after Congress voted to authorize war with Iraq. That war was predicated on Saddam Hussein’s (ultimately nonexistent) stockpiles of deadly weapons, but lurking in the background was the assertion that he’d pass them on to al-Qaida. At the CIA’s Iraq Branch in the Counterterrorism Center, we didn’t think Saddam had any substantial ties to al-Qaida. But soon we found ourselves fielding questions from determined Bush administration officials about whether Saddam was tied to 9/11.

    After leaving the CIA, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on this sorry absurd role in intelligence history, and my bit role in it. No intelligence analyst should have to deal with policymakers delving into intelligence work. It sounds bureaucratic and boring, but the distinction matters: CIA doesn’t have a policy agenda, it seeks to inform those agendas. Politicians and appointees have ideas for shaping the world. Mingling the two is a recipe for self-delusion and, as we saw in Iraq, failure.

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/iraq-intelligence/

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  90. Iconoclast

    Oh well if that’s what Senator Bond thinks, I guess it must be true.

    They’re his opinion. I can’t ‘refute’ opinion.

    I dismiss your blowhard nonsense on the same grounds.

    Thanks! That was easy!

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