Jonah Goldberg
We're now entering the fourth week of the "CSI: Benghazi" hostage crisis. That's how long an FBI forensic team has been trying to gain access in Libya to what the State Department still calls a crime scene -- the Obama administration's preferred term for the location of the first assassination of a U.S. ambassador since 1979 and the first successful al-Qaeda-backed attack on U.S. soil since the 9/11 strikes. (Our embassies and consulates are sovereign U.S. territory.)

It is perhaps not accidental that the State Department cites the need to complete the investigation as an excuse to stay silent on the whole matter. "You're not going to hear anything from here unless my guidance changes," explained Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman. "When we open a criminal investigation in the United States, generally, we don't brief out in pieces until the investigation is complete so we don't prejudice the outcome. I have to respect their process, obviously."

Obviously.

There's more helpful news for an administration that doesn't want to say anything about terrorism or the Middle East other than "Osama bin Laden's dead" and "the Iraq war is over."

"There's a chance we never make it in there," a source described as "a senior law enforcement official" told The New York Times.

"Never" may be unacceptable even to this White House, but anything past Nov. 6 will do just fine.

Unfortunately, the rest of the administration's PR operation isn't going nearly as well. It's not clear whether U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice lied or made a fool of herself -- and the administration -- when she unequivocally blamed a YouTube video for the Sept. 11 Libya attack and denied that the administration's security precautions were scandalously insufficient.

On a slew of Sunday shows on Sept. 16, Rice said the two former Navy Seals who were also killed were providing security for Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Former Navy SEAL bodyguards do not die in safe houses far from the person they're protecting, just as spontaneous mobs do not orchestrate a sophisticated ground assault complete with rocket-propelled grenades. Stevens was not, in the words of columnist Mark Steyn, "asphyxiated by a spontaneous class-action movie review."

The Libya follies are merely the most visible flashpoint of the larger unraveling of the Obama administration's foreign policy. The U.S.-Israel relationship has become a bad soap opera. Afghanistan is slipping away, as our troops are being killed by the men they're supposed to be training for the handover. Egypt is now run by the Muslim Brotherhood. Russia casually mocks and defies us. China is rapidly replacing us as an Asian hegemon and rattling sabers at our ally Japan.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Jonah Goldberg's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.