The Obama White House suffers from "the '60s disease." The affliction seems to be terminal. The president's men — and women — are mostly boomers, spoiled, greedy and self-centered, nurtured and indulged in the decade of the 1960s, when the culture first began to rot.
The boomers taught each other many things, how to turn up the volume on their "music," where to find the best pot and where to crash to smoke themselves into mellow stupefaction, how to avoid taking responsibility for their blunders, and above all contempt for the nation's institutions and in particular for the men and women who wear the uniform.
The Clintons made no bones about their contempt for that uniform, even after Bubba took Hillary to the White House, where she treated her bodyguards like servants and the assorted White House military aides no better. Bubba had spent his youth dodging the draft and wore his contempt for the suckers who went to Vietnam as if it were the Medal of Honor, which he didn't know much about except that it comes with a colorful ribbon. Bubba as the commander in chief finally learned to return a military salute without sticking his thumb in his eye, but it took awhile. Khaki still makes Hillary's nose wrinkle, as if she smells something on the bottom of her shoe.
Barack Obama mostly grew up abroad and never learned much about America, and it shows. As an impressionable young man, he hung out with the likes of Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist bomber, and was mentored by scruffy Marxists who drifted in and out of the house, teaching him that his country — America, not Indonesia — wasn't worth much, but with a lot of work it might be transformed into something as noble as the People's Republics of Lower Volta or Upper Slobbovia. But the military must always be kept on a short leash.
Considering this past is the only way to understand how a president could have betrayed the trust of his own ambassador and the others whom he left twisting slowly, slowly in the stench of Benghazi. The president and his top aides, including the secretary of state, peddled elaborate lies, evasions, prevarication, hoax, disinformation, fakery, flimflam and assorted honeyfuggle for months. Well they might, desperate as they were to cover up the size, height and depth of the betrayal. Nevertheless, the squalid details, taking a circuitous route to exposure, are beginning to emerge from the muck on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The ultimate dispenser of the lies about Benghazi secretly awarded two medals for bravery for sacrifice in Benghazi, perhaps as salve for conscience, and that as this newspaper reported this week, "further undercuts the Obama administration's original story about the Benghazi tragedy."
Rowan Scarborough, this newspaper's relentless defense correspondent, disclosed how the president had rescue teams readily available in Tripoli, after all, including eight members of the elite Delta Force and Green Berets, but would not listen to them begging to go for a rescue in Benghazi. Finally, two of the eight were allowed to fly the 400 miles to Benghazi and arrived in time to join the final minutes of the ferocious firefight between the terrorists and Americans barricaded inside a CIA "annex" near the U.S. mission. The six others were told to stay in Tripoli.
Every changing version of the night of terror in Benghazi put out by the White House in the days afterward is full of holes, plugged with bigger lies. Only now does the administration admit that parts of their stories are "misleading." Misleading is not the word for the lies, beginning with the tale told by Hillary Clinton, then the secretary of state, that an unflattering video about the Prophet Muhammad was what set off the Muslim riots.
President Obama and his handlers carefully crafted the fakery and prevarication in the weeks following, leading to the 2012 presidential election. The White House men figured that, with media collusion and indifference, they could keep the hoax afloat until after the election.
The hoax, with its vivid implications of the lack of presidential resolve and his hesitation and timidity under fire, will continue to unravel. Hillary Clinton must answer for her sins of cold indifference to the plight of those fighting for their lives in Benghazi. No one in the administration appears to understand the compelling appeal of sacrifice, of a cheerful willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty. Hillary turned aside questions about official fear and funk with a chilling nonchalance: "What difference, at this point, does it make?" Spoken like an faithful child of the '60s.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
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