It took nearly two weeks following the murder of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi for the Obama administration to concede the obvious: the attack on our embassy in Libya was indeed an act of terrorism.
The White House initially sought to evade this reality. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice insisted to television viewers that the incident “was not a preplanned, premeditated attack,” but rather a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim Web video.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has since admitted it was the work of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in conjunction with “other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions under way in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi.”
“As we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place, it became clear that there were terrorists who planned that attack,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday.
National security journalist Eli Lake reported that “early intelligence pointed to Al Qaeda, including strong leads on four of the attackers, and the location of one of those attackers.”
CNN reported that Christopher Stevens, the slain ambassador, had security concerns about the consulate and feared he was on an Al Qaeda hit list. Clinton denied this, but the network had access to Stevens’ personal journal, corroborating this account.
The fog of war, or Foggy Bottom-covering?
Michael Hastings reported of the State Department, “Foggy Bottom is now in full-on damage control mode, with the primary goal of keeping Hillary Clinton’s legacy in Libya — and in Washington — intact.”
Hastings’ questions for State were answered with four-letter words, prompting a profanity-laced tirade from Clinton’s personal spokesman.
But don’t let Clinton’s boss off the hook. President Obama did not merely lie us into war with Libya — he lied about whether the “kinetic military action” even was a war in the first place.
Obama pursued regime change in Libya without congressional authorization — and without much protest from those who take to the streets only during Republican wars. Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos cheered Obama on. The liberal Center for American Progress taunted congressional Republicans who charged that Libya was an illegal war.
In removing the evil Moammar Gadhafi, what evils have we unleashed?
If Libyan rebels received U.S. weapons, where are those guns now?
Are we at risk of a Fast and Furious effect in Benghazi?
Perhaps the media should devote as much attention to these questions — and the record of the administration currently wielding power in Washington — as it does to parsing Mitt Romney’s latest statement on the matter.
Vice President Joe Biden proclaims, “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”
Yet we read headlines of Al Qaeda in North Africa, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.
The climate of violence in the region has causes that transcend any policies of the Obama administration.
But Obama’s approach of endless speeches reinforced by the occasional aerial strike or drone hasn’t succeeded any more than the promises of lower unemployment, faster economic growth or falling health insurance premiums.
Jimmy Carter meets Richard Nixon, with a cameo appearance by George W. Bush.
Where is the accountability?
Libya probably won’t figure prominently in the November election, though it undoubtedly should.
It will, however, be a major part of President Obama’s legacy.
It’s not a pretty one.
W. James Antle III is the editor of The Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow him on Twitter.