Friday, November 2, 2012
By Thomas Sowell
It was a little much when President Barack Obama said that he was “offended” by the suggestion that his administration would try to deceive the public about what happened in Benghazi. What has this man not deceived the public about?
Remember his pledge to cut the deficit in half in his first term in office? This was followed by the first trillion dollar deficit ever, under any President of the United States — followed by trillion dollar deficits in every year of the Obama administration.
Remember his pledge to have a “transparent” government that would post its legislative proposals on the Internet several days before Congress was to vote on them, so that everybody would know what was happening? This was followed by an ObamaCare bill so huge and passed so fast that even members of Congress did not have time to read it.
Remember his claims that previous administrations had arrogantly interfered in the internal affairs of other nations — and then his demands that Israel stop building settlements and give away land outside its 1967 borders, as a precondition to peace talks with the Palestinians, on whom there were no preconditions?
As for what happened in Libya, the Obama administration says that there is an “investigation” under way. An “on-going investigation” sounds so much better than “stonewalling” to get past election day. But you can bet the rent money that this “investigation” will not be completed before election day. And whatever the investigation says after the election will be irrelevant.
The events unfolding in Benghazi on the tragic night of September 11th were being relayed to the State Department as the attacks were going on, “in real time,” as they say. So the idea that the Obama administration now has to carry out a time-consuming “investigation” to find out what those events were, when the information was immediately available at the time, is a little much.
The full story of what happened in Libya, down to the last detail, may never be known. But, as someone once said, you don’t need to eat a whole egg to know that it is rotten. And you don’t need to know every detail of the events before, during and after the attacks to know that the story put out by the Obama administration was a fraud.
The administration’s initial story that what happened in Benghazi began as a protest against an anti-Islamic video in America was a very convenient theory. The most obvious alternative explanation would have been devastating to Barack Obama’s much heralded attempts to mollify and pacify Islamic nations in the Middle East.
To have helped overthrow pro-Western governments in Egypt and Libya, only to bring anti-Western Islamic extremists to power would have been revealed as a foreign policy disaster of the first magnitude. To have been celebrating President Obama’s supposedly heroic role in the killing of Osama bin Laden, with the implication that Al Qaeda was crippled, would have been revealed as a farce.
Osama bin Laden was by no means the first man to plan a surprise attack on America and later be killed. Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto planned the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, and he was later tracked down and shot down in a plane that was carrying him.
Nobody tried to depict President Franklin D. Roosevelt as some kind of hero for having simply authorized the killing of Yamamoto. In that case, the only hero who was publicized was the man who shot down the plane that Yamamoto was in.
Yet the killing of Osama bin Laden has been depicted as some kind of act of courage by President Obama. After bin Laden was located, why would any President not give the go-ahead to get him?
That took no courage at all. It would have been far more dangerous politically for Obama not to have given the go-ahead. Moreover, Obama hedged his bets by authorizing the admiral in charge of the operation to proceed only under various conditions.
This meant that success would be credited to Obama and failure could be blamed on the admiral — who would join George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and other scapegoats for Obama’s failures.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.