The Right Opinion

Shouting Louder

By Thomas Sowell · Jan. 29, 2013

An old-time trial lawyer once said, “When your case is weak, shout louder!”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shouted louder when asked about the Obama administration's story last fall that the September 11th attack on the U.S. ambassador's quarters in Benghazi was due to an anti-Islamic video that someone in the United States had put on the Internet, and thereby provoked a protest that escalated into violence.

She shouted: “We had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Students of propaganda may admire the skill with which she misdirected people's attention. But those of us who are still old-fashioned enough to think that the truth matters cannot applaud her success.

Let's go back to square one.

After the attack on the American ambassador's quarters in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, the Obama administration immediately blamed it on the anti-Islamic video.

Moreover, this version of what happened was not just a passing remark. It was a story that the administration kept repeating insistently. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice repeated that story on five different television talk shows on the same Sunday. President Obama himself repeated the same story at the United Nations. The man who put the anti-Islamic video on the Internet was arrested for a parole violation, creating more media coverage to keep attention on this theme.

“What difference, at this point, does it make?” Secretary Clinton now asks. What difference did it make at the time?

Obviously the Obama administration thought it made a difference, with an election coming up. Prior to the attack, the administration's political theme was that Barack Obama had killed Osama bin Laden (with an assist from the Navy SEALs), vanquished Al Qaeda and was now in the process of putting the terrorist threat behind us.

To have the attack in Benghazi be seen as a terrorist attack – and a devastating one – would have ruined this picture, with an election coming up.

The key question that remains unanswered to this day is: What speck of evidence is there that the attack in Benghazi was due to the much-discussed video or that there was ever any protest demonstration outside the ambassador's quarters?

If there is no evidence whatever, then the whole attempt to say that a protest over a video escalated into an attack was a deliberate hoax by people who knew better.

There is no point in the administration saying that they did not have all the facts about the attack immediately. All the facts may never be known. But the real question is: Did you have even a single fact that would substantiate your repeated claims that some video led to a protest in Benghazi that got out of hand and led to the attack?

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton herself was not featured in this campaign, even though as Secretary of State she was a key figure. Hillary was not about to create video footage that could come back to haunt her if she runs for President of the United States in 2016.

In a larger context, the Benghazi attack showed that you cannot unilaterally end the “war on terror” or the terrorists' war on us, by declaring victory.

For years, the Bush administration's phrase “war on terror” was avoided like the plague by the Obama administration, even if that required the Fort Hood massacre to be classified as “workplace violence.” But, no matter how clever the rhetoric, reality nevertheless rears its ugly head.

Once the September 11th attack in Benghazi is seen for what it was – a highly coordinated and highly successful operation by terrorists who were said to have been vanquished – that calls into question the Obama administration's Middle East foreign policy.

That is why it still matters.



Jay in FL said:

It just seems that Ambassador Stevens and the three others were, basically, aborted. Their greatest usefulness to the campaign, at that time, was to die. What difference does it make? All the difference.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:51 AM

CGreen in Texas said:

A famous philosopher once said "A government that lies to the people and gets away with it will lie again and again."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 9:37 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

that calls into question the Obama administration's Middle East foreign policy.

There is no question in my mind, his foreign policy for the Middle East is an ilsamist caliphate and the destruction of Israel, and every policy decision has furthered this goal.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Old Desert Rat in Las Vegas, NV said:

While surfing TV, I saw the most pornographic scene ever shown on CBS. It was two lefties, slobbering all over each other while a "journalist" gave them soft questions to allow them to promote an un-American creed and way of life. Why do we allow such filth on our airways?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 11:15 AM

fred in brothers oregon said:

tar and feathers should become common again. it matters because obama wants to be KING of america. he is prepping for the part.
many people bled and died to get away from a king, looks like it may happen again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Dioneikes in Colorado said:

Lies, more lies, obfuscate, smoke and mirrors, a song and dance ... anything but the truth from Shrillary! You is a Class A liar and should be brought up on charges of accessory to murder.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 5:14 PM

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

Interesting that Hilary gave two options " a video, or some folks out for a walk who decide to kill some Americans"...but left out the one real reason.

A well plan attack that was signaled for months and ignored by State and the White House for two reasons -- Al Quida was supposed to be 'dead', and they they did not want to expose Obama's illegal Gun running to Syrian Rebels ( many who happen to be Al-Quida guys ) thru Libya and Turkey.

There may also have been an agreed upon "kidnap plan" with possible prisoner swap with the Blind Sheik to follow, but the two Navy Seals screwed up that secret back door plan of Obama's,,,, and THAT is why they were told top stand down, and why all other response assets were told to stand down.

This was an impeachable offense on many levels. Unfortunately, the media covered it up. I asked a room full of ten educated people to "tell me about Benghazi" and no one had even heard about it. What a shame.

We also heard little of the attack on Camp Bastion that same week, in which 14 Taliban in US uniforms penetrated the air base and destroyed SEVEN Harrier Jets on the ground, killing two brave Marines. Look it up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Alex in NJ replied:

That is it, and the attack took seven hours because they were thinking they could find and release the Iranian spies possibly held there.
A second wave of attackers were waiting to ambush the rescue team when they moved in, but that would have been too news worthy for even team Obama to hide, so they left them hanging out to fend for themselves, and die alone. Just as Reagan didn't understand how the Russians could kill their own people for political reasons, Romney didn't comprehend the lengths Obama and Clinton would go to save their own political agendas.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 5:53 AM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Back in Spring, of 2011, the US NAVY was ordered to fire missiles into Benghazi-to hit Ghadafi's men. The USS Barry (Appropriate name) fired Tomahawks at 20 different targets, w/o Congressional approval. THIS WAS A TREASONOUS ACT BY Barry-O'Zilla!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 6:38 AM