Paul Greenberg

Our president was expressing his oh-so-sincere desire to get to the bottom of all the contradictory versions of Benghazi (Cont'd) that he, his secretary of state, his ambassador to the United Nations, his director of national "intelligence" operations and maybe everybody else who's touched this tar baby of a subject has retailed. Now he was saying he wants the truth revealed.

Oh, the truth will out. Someday. That may be more an article of faith than a prediction on my part, but I have to believe it. And one offhand remark of the president's confirms that belief. Which is the usual way the curtain of cover stories parts, and the great and mighty Wizard of Oz is revealed as just a man out to impress the Dorothys of the world, but who's always being tripped up by some pesky little Toto. Or in this case by a casual comment of his own.

For there was the great and mighty Barack Obama saying, almost en passant, in the course of this otherwise long, tedious and opaque news conference: "And we're after an election now. I think it is important for us to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi, and I'm happy to cooperate in any way that Congress wants."

And we're after an election now. That's it. That's it! That's the key phrase, the Freudian slip, the dog that didn't bark, the monkey wrench in the library near the secret passage in this Great Game of Clue. And for a brief moment, the light came on. The fog lifted.

And we're after an election now. For it wouldn't have done to let the American people know exactly what happened before that election, would it? Not when Barack Obama was still basking in the glow of having been president and commander-in-chief when those Navy SEALs tracked Osama bin Laden down to where he was hiding in plain sight, and took care of that long pending matter in their own direct fashion, bless each and every one.

What a satisfactory and satisfying ending that was. All hailed the president. The refrain was led by Joe Biden with his talk of this president's backbone of steel and/or nerves of same. That image had to hold till Election Day, and somehow it did despite the country's increasing questions as the debacle at Benghazi unfolded. But we're after an election now. And the president can afford to sound all innocent and cooperative. At least for a moment.

Then the moment passed, the curtain closed, and the usual Sturm und Drang of American politics began to obscure all. But for just a moment, I had a new appreciation for Dr. Freud, and maybe even a simple explanation for the hopeless jumble of all those non-explanations that had poured forth from this administration about Benghazi (ever Cont'd).

Something tells me this White House has only begun to explain. And will need to.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.