Nevertheless, five days after the attacks, and long after it was clear that the consulate (along with a safe house half a mile away) had been targeted by terrorists, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice toured five Sunday morning TV shows to deliver the administration's line that the murder of our diplomats was a case of mob violence that had been "hijacked by extremists." Appearing on ABC's This Week, Rice said, "Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous -- not a premeditated -- response to what had transpired in Cairo." Jay Carney repeated that spin at White House briefings.
Except that, as CBS reported, there was never any protest at all in Benghazi about the Internet movie. It was a straight-up terror attack. Only on September 20 did Carney finally acknowledge the obvious -- "It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials."
Why would the administration attempt to deceive the world about a terror attack?
Two possibilities suggest themselves. The Obama administration has substituted a bumper sticker, "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," for a foreign policy. They've been hoping that the death of bin Laden would be seen as total victory over Al-Qaeda and jihadism. A brazen and successful attack against Americans in Libya, including the first assassination of an ambassador in more than three decades, undercuts that self-satisfied narrative, suggesting that, while bin Laden is dead, bin Ladenism is very much alive.
The second explanation is that this administration has relied on the supposed appeal of Barack Obama's persona in place of American military and diplomatic strength. That appeal is proving chimerical, and the administration will go to great lengths to disguise that reality.
But whatever the rationale, the facts are clear: The administration purposely misled the country, and has so far not been held accountable.
To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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