‘The honor given behind closed doors to “Bob,” the officer who was in charge of the Benghazi intelligence annex and CIA base that was attacked in the early morning of September 12, 2012 and then abandoned for nearly three weeks, illustrates the murky lines of command that preceded the attack, and helped make it a politically volatile issue. While the State Department was responsible for elements of the security for the diplomatic mission at Benghazi, the mission itself was used primarily for intelligence activities and most the U.S. officials there and at the nearby annex were CIA officers who used State Department cover.’
The State Department and the CIA are going at one another under such political pressure. I can remember thinking that we seemed to be embarking on a rather different course for Middle East policy under Obama, and I’ve yet to be persuaded his worldview is accurate enough (I tend to disagree with his ideals), and his leadership deep and competent enough to deliver.
Walter Russell Mead’s take on Benghazi:
‘A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that more than half of Americans believe the Obama administration is covering up over Benghazi, and that a narrow plurality also thinks the congressional GOP is in on the whole fiasco for political gain. That seems about right to us.’
I still think the primary motivating factor for getting to the bottom of Benghazi is why we didn’t at least make all attempts possible to help, as nothing is worse for troop morale. The administration particularly needs to be seen as succeeding in Libya, and is particularly sensitive to any criticism that it isn’t.
The liberal internationalist, former human rights campaign folks guided by realpolitik, and yes, Bernhard Henri-Levy’s input in the face of Gadhafi’s tyranny were motivating factors in our involvement.
Here’s a quote from Anne-Marie Slaughter, on liberal internationalism:
‘The central liberal internationalist premise is the value of a rules-based international order that restrains powerful states and thereby reassures their enemies and allies alike and allows weaker states to have sufficient voice in the system that they will not choose to exit’
We also formed an alliance with Anglo-French interests. Our Middle-East policy is hinged upon a worldview that doesn’t seem to be lining up that well with events on the ground in the Muslim world, and I fear sacrifices too many of our strengths for too few gains, exposing too many of our weaknesses.
In addition, our military is stretched pretty thinly right now and the Republican establishment isn’t showing deep understanding of the issues either. The Muslim world is not about to live up to our ideals, and this is as much about living up to our own. To me, this generally means our sovereignty and interests first, solid alliances and international institutions next, and we’ll take it from there.
As always, it’s up for debate.
Related On This Site. Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’
Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’…From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”…From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And Pakistan…From The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’…
Just how far Left is this administration anyways? Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’…Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’…Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others…