In the debate’s most (in)famous moment Tuesday night, Obama asserted that on September 12 he called the violence in Libya that occurred on September 11 an act of terror. But his claim is belied by this report, published in the Washington Post September 13. At the time, it represented the best of what was being spun about the causes.
The report centers on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton but clearly suggests that the administration blamed the riots in 20 Muslim countries on the film itself. As reported, the administration considered the Benghazi attack to be spontaneous and therefore indistinguishable from what was going on in the other 19 countries. Benghazi, like Cairo, was a reaction, not an affirmative act.
“Acts of terror” is the generic term Obama invoked in his Rose Garden speech September 12. So if his debate assertion was true—that those words referred to the Benghazi attack—then why was his secretary of state still blaming the film two and three days afterward? Why wasn’t he correcting her either publicly or privately? And why did he then go to the United Nations and cite the film as a catalyst for the violence?
What follows are some block quotes from the Post story that appear to underline Obama’s disingenuousness (nicest word I could think of) on Tuesday night:
Protests inspired by an anti-Islam film targeted more U.S. facilities in the Muslim world Thursday, testing the will and capacity of foreign governments to protect Americans and the ability of the Obama administration to cool the growing anger….
Two days after the deaths of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans in an outbreak of violence in the Libyan city of Benghazi, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took the lead in trying to distance the U.S. government from the movie, calling the film “disgusting and reprehensible” and condemning the violent response to it.
“The U.S. government had absolutely nothing to do with this video,” Clinton said at a meeting in Washington with a delegation from Morocco. “We absolutely reject its content and messages. But there is no justification — none at all — for responding to this video with violence.” …
At the State Department, Nuland said Clinton “wanted to speak so strongly and so directly” because the government was concerned “that people in the region don’t understand our culture and society, that [the video] was, in fact, a private effort, that it has nothing to do with the U.S. government, that we don’t do these kinds of videos, and that, in fact, as a government, we found it disgusting and reprehensible.” …
In a State Department reception Thursday night to celebrate the Eid holiday marking the end of Ramadan, Clinton told gathered Muslim diplomats and others, “When all of us who are people of faith — and I am one — feel the pain of insults, of misunderstanding, of denigration to what we cherish, we must expect ourselves and others not to resort to violence.”
Google, which owns YouTube, said it had acted on its own to stop access to the video in Egypt and Libya….
Obama (whose administration tried to get Google to pull the video) and Clinton are cynical politicians. I’m not shocked–shocked!–by their lying. But I do object to having my intelligence insulted so baldly.
Of course, with the mainstream press volunteering duty as their pulling guards (see: Candy Crowley), they can be excused for expecting to get away with it.