Suddenly, the president’s new clothes seem embarrassingly transparent. The contention relentlessly promoted by Team Obama, to the effect that the commander in chief’s performance with respect to foreign policy and national security was simply unassailable, is being seen for what it is: an utter fraud.
The deal-breaker has been the accumulating evidence that President Obama and his subordinates disinformed the American people —to put it charitably — about a present danger: the outbreak of violence against our diplomatic personnel and facilities and other interests in more than 30 countries around the world. Specifically, they denied that a carefully planned and executed jihadist attack against our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was responsible for the murder of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three of his colleagues on Sept. 11.
The party line assiduously pushed for days thereafter by administration spokesmen including, most risibly, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, was that the attack spontaneously ensued from a demonstration outside the U.S. compound prompted by an American video, “Innocence of Muslims,” which reviles the founder of Islam. The demonstrators got carried away, so the story went, and wound up sacking the consulate and a nearby safe house, in the course of which the four victims were killed.
It turns out that Team Obama knew early on that such representations were untrue. In a blog post headlined “Some administration officials were concerned about initial White House push blaming Benghazi attack on mob, video,” ABC News’ Jake Tapper recounted on Sept. 27 that, “The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake on Wednesday reported that intelligence officials said ‘the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya. There was very good information on this in the first 24 hours,’ one of the officials told Lake.”
For one thing, on Sept. 10, al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahri had issued a public call for retribution against the United States for a recent assassination by drone strike of one of his senior commanders. The consulate in Benghazi was low-hanging fruit — a vulnerable facility in a jihadist-infested city with a high-value target, a U.S. ambassador, who was vulnerable.
Insult was added to injury as our commander in chief, who has not been able to find time for most of his daily intelligence briefings, reportedly went to bed after being advised that the consulate was under attack. When he awoke, Mr. Obama made a Rose Garden statement expressing regret at the loss of the four Americans’ lives and rejecting “all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” Astonishingly, he neglected to mention anything about the roughly concurrent attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
Then, on Sept. 18, Mr. Obama insisted during an appearance on David Letterman’s show that the attacks on a number of diplomatic missions “including the one in Libya” were conducted by “extremists and terrorists” who “used as an excuse” popular anger at the release of the video by a “shadowy character who lives here.” The president could not at that point have been under any illusion about the veracity of that statement concerning the Benghazi bloodletting. It was, in short, untrue. Worse yet, it was, as we shall see, an untruth that served the interests of America’s enemies.
Incredibly, even after his own press spokesman acknowledged on Sept. 20 that the murderous assault in Libya was not the spontaneous work of a mob, Mr. Obama used his speech before the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25 to perpetuate the meme that those offended by our freedom of expression are responsible for such attacks — not jihadists doctrinally obliged to seek our destruction.
While the president used much of the speech to profess his opposition to such behavior, he declared, “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” That is a call for non-Muslims to abide by Shariah blasphemy laws that could have been uttered by any Islamic supremacist, including al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief jurist Yusef al-Qaradawi or Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
After all, it has been a top priority of these and our other Islamist foes — notably, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — to begin establishing their dominion over the rest of us by restricting what we can say, know and do about Islam and its totalitarian doctrine known as Shariah. Mr. Obama and his subordinates (notably, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton with her “Istanbul Process”) have been playing directly into such adversaries’ efforts to prohibit and criminalize Shariah blasphemy with their serial complaints and apologies about the video. By so doing, the Obama administration is effectively inviting more violence against Americans deemed “offensive” to the Islamists, making the world a more dangerous place for all of us.
Critics of George W. Bush harshly chastised him for allegedly misleading the American people about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in order to take us into a needless and unjustified war. They insisted that “Bush lied, people died.” Never mind that it wasn’t true. Mr. Bush acted on the basis of what was known at the time: Saddam had used such weapons previously and had not verifiably eliminated either his remaining stocks or the capacity to make more.
Will those once so vociferous about presidential truth-telling be equally seized with the fact that “Obama lied after people died”?
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of Secure Freedom Radio on WRC-AM (1260).