Embassy Attacks

From Waiting for the Investigation on Benghazi to Finish to Planning on Capturing or Killing Someone for It, Officials Not Interested in Asking How We Got There

Military plans to "capture or kill" suspected Benghazi attackers being reported

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no one listened
Tiago Petinga/EPA

Yesterday, President Obama began his press conference with Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan with a comment about the 9/11 attack on Benghazi, framing the issue as one of funding and extra security to "prevent another tragedy like this from happening." But officials from his own administration have acknowledged funding was not an issue with security in Benghazi.

Meanwhile, while testifying on the attack earlier this year, then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton said it was more important to bring the perpetrators to justice then to focus on the competing narratives in the immediate aftermath (" maybe we'll figure out what was going on in the meantime").

Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler noted earlier this week that the claim that the president called the Benghazi assault a terrorist attack (as opposed to a generic "act of terror") is not true, pointing to the president's comments that referred to the ongoing investigation that would reveal what exactly happened.

An end to that investigation has not been announced, yet pressure over Benghazi has apparently led the military to update its plans on capturing or killing somebody over the Benghazi attack. These plans have been developing since the immediate aftermath of Benghazi, with CNN reporting that the military "has a list of several targets" including "specific individuals named who are believed associated with the Benghazi attack as well other militants the United States wants to get." It's a far cry from the investigation the Obama Administration told the country to wait for before jumping to conclusions.

The transition from "wait for the investigation to finish" to "the military will mete out retribution" skips any step involving any kind of introspection or reflection about the role of U.S. foreign policy in getting to a situation like Benghazi. As I wrote back in November:

[T]he investigation has stalled, and Libyan officials are worried about what the eventual American response might be. "They had surveillance drones monitoring that night. They will have identified some people and traced where they are now," [the Daily Beast's Jamie] Dettmer quotes an advisor to Libya's Congress. "They worry," Dettmer reports, "about a drone strike on targets in eastern Libya—that would be a gift to jihadists, they say."  

… the response to the murder of an American ambassador and three others may well be the sort of action that will "be a gift to jihadists." What won't be questioned is the sort of intervention—unilaterally decided by the president and then passively accepted by a pliant Congress—that dropped American diplomats into an unstable situation that no one had a handle on.

Finding out whether (or when) Obama and his spokespeople started dissembling about the Benghazi attack is important, but it's ultimately less important than confronting the mind-set that will lead to more half-baked interventions that then lead to more death and destruction of American lives.

Instead, Obama and Democrats would like to talk about the non-issue of security funding while some Republicans would like to imagine there was a military resolution to the Benghazi assault that the Obama Administration failed to pursue. As for the role of interventionism, both sides would prefer to talk about how interventionism might work in Syria, as opposed to what it might have wrought upon the U.S. in Libya.

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  1. What difference, at this point, does any of that make Ed?

  2. You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
    You may find yourself in another part of the world
    You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
    You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
    You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?

  3. Ah Ed. It was a diplomatic compound. Unless you think we should stop having diplomats, I don’t think this really has much to do interventionism. Even if we hadn’t intervened in Libya, we still would have had an ambassador there. And there is no evidence I have seen that shows this attack was in revenge or the result of that. The people who attacked us were the people we helped.

    So Ed, no one is talking about inventionism just like they are not talking about the relationship of the drug war to this. Not every subject involves your sacred cows.

    1. The people who attacked us were the people we helped.

      That might, perhaps, be a reason to not have intervened on their side.

      1. Maybe. But that is a different debate than this one. This is about proper security, lying and proper response to the attack. None of that has anything to do with interventionism.

    2. Remind me, John, the last time a Chinese diplomat was killed? The only time I can think of was when we bombed the Chinese Consulate in Bosnia and killed a few.

      1. Sure, Spain, India, Norway, Canada and other countries have all been victims of such attacks. But hey man, don’t let reality get in the way. Peace man

        1. Thanks for proving my point, John. Spain, Norway, and Canada are all members of NATO in good standing.

          1. Spain would likely be a target of Islamist violence even if it weren’t a member of NATO as the ‘slamist fuckwits have been bitching about “retaking” al-Andalus for quite some time, even bin Laden mentioned it as far back as the ’90s.

            I do believe you’ve mentioned this fact before….

            1. That’s true. But my point is, that’s a problem for the Spaniards and not the Americans.

        1. The Kyrgyzstan attack was motivated by Chinese treatment of its Uyghur minority, whose historic homeland borders Kyrgyzstan. While it does answer my question, I don’t think it qualifies as blowback from interventionism.

          The second example is comparing apples to oranges, or “eggs, rocks, and tomatoes” to bullets and RPGs.

    3. The people who attacked us did so in response to a drone strike. So yes, this is about interventionism.

      1. Oh really? I have never seen that.

    4. Uh, why do we need to have ambassadors in an age where any teenager with a smartphone can have video chats with people across the globe?

      Seriously, the foreign service is just welfare for polished graduates of good schools who come from good liberal families at this point.

      If we need to talk with the Libyan government, we can Skype them.

      1. An embassy provides services to its citizens who live in that foreign country. So there is some need in having a presence there.

      2. Oh, and the foreign service is chock full of conservative Mormons, who’s experience in foreign missionary work make them attractive to the government.

        1. *whose

        2. I’ve had interactions with StateDep types in numerous countries and not once have I encountered a conservative Mormon. The “missionary” types I usually run into are of the Peace Corps variety.

          1. I’ve had interactions with StateDep types in numerous countries and not once have I encountered a conservative Mormon.

            *shrugs*

            What can I say? “Your mileage might vary.”

            1. Heh, my Dad had a good friend who worked for the “State Dept” for many years. Spoke perfect Basque, Spanish, dialects. He finally admitted a few years back, long after he retired that he was a spook, but mostly in an administrative capacity, nothing James Bondy.

        3. Yes, an embassy provides services to it’s citizens so it has a nominal reason for existing but the fact of the matter it’s mostly a cushy sinecure.

          Were it only about providing services, a small office could be rented. Instead, embassies tend to be large and lavish. Where I live in Prague there are tons of embassies, all lavish villas. I walk by five or six just picking up my kid from school. There are also residencies, like the American residence which is a large compound in Prague 6 separate from the American embassy in Mala Strana, both have diplomatic immunity and 24 hour Czech police protection, as does the Syrian embassy which I walk by daily.

          BTW, do you have something to back up your claim to foriegn service being full of conservative Mormons? That’s not my experience, but I’ve not met that many Americans in foreign service.

          1. That’s not my experience, but I’ve not met that many Americans in foreign service.

            It’s not been the experience of anybody I know who has ever dealt with the Foreign Service.

            I suppose the character of the State Dept. has changed in the 4 years since I last had substantial contact with it, but I sincerely doubt it. The Foreign Service in particular is famous (infamous?) for being radically leftist to the bureaucratic core.

            1. I’ve met plenty of European diplomats and they were extremely left wing, but of course this is not surprise at all. This was mostly back when Bush was prez and they HATED HATED HATED Americans, thought we were all ignorant slobs. I doubt things have changed much since America elected the chocolate messiah.

          2. BTW, do you have something to back up your claim to foriegn service being full of conservative Mormons?

            Only my anecdotal experience. Perhaps it’s purely a S.E. Asian phenomenon? Easier to save souls in Thailand than in the Czech Republic?

            1. Oh I’ve seen plenty of Mormon missionaries her.

              1. I’ve seen her missionary “oh” plenty of Mormons.

  4. framing the issue as one of funding and extra security to “prevent another tragedy like this from happening.” But officials from his own administration have acknowledged funding was not an issue with security in Benghazi.

    You know, all Presidents and politicians lie, but with this guy it’s like he inhabits an alternate universe.

    1. It’s easier to count the times he’s told the truth.

    2. They didn’t bother repeating the lie on the e-version, but the paper version of the SF Chron this morning headlined that Obozo was going to ask the GOP for enough money to defend the compounds.
      I’m sure in SF quite a few people believe it.

  5. Was Benghazi a terrorist attack? I thought terrorist attacks were, by definition, against innocent civilians. Can’t Benghazi be more precisely described as an Act of War as it was directed against U.S. government personnel or agents? By this definition, the Fort Hood shootings weren’t an act of terror either nor was D-Day Day, even if French civilians got killed, but Hiroshima was.

    1. …”Hiroshima was.”

      “After the fall of Okinawa, the command of the Second General Army was relocated to Hiroshima.”
      Wiki (damned squirrels)
      “Hiroshima was a city of considerable military importance. It contained the 2nd Army Headquarters, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan. The city was a communications center, a storage point, and an assembly area for troops.”
      http://www.atomicarchive.com/D…..chp6.shtml
      You could look it up.

      1. So what was the proportion of 2nd Army casualties to civilian? I’ve heard that a strong case can be made that the invasion of Japan was un-necessary; that 90% of its shipping had been sunk by our subs already, and the U.S. and its allies could have blockaded Japan until its economy collapsed.

        1. A strong case for a blockade that would have to last for years….

          Yeah, whatever. Based on what happened on Okinawa I feel pretty secure in saying that what you perceive to be a “strong case” is due primarily to you knowing jack shit.

          The bulk of German industry and much of its transportation was destroyed, but it kept fighting (and murdering untermensch) to the bitter end.

          1. Redmanfms| 5.17.13 @ 2:24PM |#
            “A strong case for a blockade that would have to last for years….”

            Which brings up another issue Creech ignores.
            The Japanese occupation of China and SE Asia was, by the best estimates, causing the deaths of some 100,000 people per month.
            Creech, care to tell us how many of those folks should die to avoid bombing Hiroshima?

        2. Nevermind the fact that such a slow strangling of Japan would necessarily involve the mass starvation of its people.

          But yeah dude, I can totally see how starving a few million people is the morally superior option to ending the war quickly by nuking a couple hundred thousand.

          Yeesh, it’s like you types don’t even grant a minutes contemplation to the consequences of your moronic ideas.

        3. creech| 5.17.13 @ 12:28PM |#
          “I’ve heard that a strong case can be made that the invasion of Japan was un-necessary; that 90% of its shipping had been sunk by our subs already, and the U.S. and its allies could have blockaded Japan until its economy collapsed.”

          So starving a a huge proportion of a population to death is an act of war, not terrorism? That it is more merciful than bombing a particular city?
          Did you just recently start considering reality?

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