Freedom Of Expression: Two Friday Benghazi Links-Eli Lake & David Harsanyi

Eli Lake at The Daily Beast: ‘Obama Administration Accused Of Slow Walking On Benghazi:’

‘Those emails suggested a haphazard process for arriving at the final talking points on Benghazi in the days and weeks after the attack. It also showed that ultimately the CIA’s then deputy director, Michael Morell removed lines in the drafts of those talking points saying it was an act of terrorism and linked to Islamic extremists.’

There was a tremendous amount of unrest throughout the Muslim world in the wake of the ‘Arab Spring.’ Long-standing governments of generations had fallen, while violent and potentially violent protests engulfed the region. One of the main thrusts of this administration’s foreign policy has been to appeal to those who would determine their own fates through democratic uprisings and ‘free and fair’ elections. This administration has placed a lot of faith, as well as arguably four American lives in this case, into a vision of the ‘moderate Muslim’ being able to lead to elective democracy in the wake of those changes.

Whether or not it would have saved lives is unclear, but I think it’s fair to speculate that a military response to the seven-hour firefight that went on in Benghazi would have inflamed, or been seen to inflame, these tensions, and certainly would jeopardize parts of this foreign policy vision.

I’m guessing this had a lot to do with the decision to send-out Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. at the time, to push this narrative and focus so heavily on a video made by an American citizen. Re-watching the video, and assuming no ulterior motives, Rice seems almost a little desperate, even, to cling to an explanation favorable to her interests:


This part of David Harsanyi’s piece I definitely agree with:

‘First of all, the United States government should be actively defending the right of Americans to make stupid videos if they want. Not only does it have no right to make excuses for its citizens’ freedom of expression, it sets a dangerous precedent by doing so.’

Those are troubling instincts.

***In Egypt, a returned, al-Sisi led military autocracy executing Muslim Brotherhood members after the Brotherhood’s dramatic failure to govern is not exactly reassuring. In Syria, a full-on, protracted Civil War scenario attracting Islamists from all over is not exactly reassuring either. There’s been no real advancement on the presumed two-state solution for Israel/Palestine, while Libya remains a basket-case and funnel for Islamists around North Africa and also to Syria.

And from a reader.  Dexter Filkins at the New Yorker. Letter From Iraq-‘What We Left Behind.’

Not exactly a democracy, it seems:

‘When the last American soldiers left Iraq, at the end of 2011, the bloody civil war between the country’s Sunni and Shiite sects had been stifled but not resolved. Now the sectarian violence had returned, with terrifying intensity. For more than a year, thousands of Iraqis, nearly all of them members of the Sunni Arab minority, had been gathering to rail against Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government’

Addition:  How much of this is because of the withdrawal?

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