For liars like Obama and Clin­ton, ends jus­tify means on Beng­hazi

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

In the world of phi­los­o­phy, there are two prime schools of thought about ac­tion and con­se­quence. One, laid out in de­tail by Immanuel Kant, is de­on­tol­ogy, a the­ory in which the good­ness of an act is judged solely by ad­her­ence to a rule or set of rules. There are uni­ver­sal du­ties and obli­ga­tions, and it is the mo­tive of the ac­tor that mat­ters.

In the sec­ond, tele­ol­ogy, de­ter­min­ing whether an act is morally right or wrong de­pends solely on the re­sults of said act (good re­sults, good act; bad re­sults, bad act). In this sort of prag­matic ethics, the ends jus­tify the means — al­ways.

But un­like util­i­tar­i­an­ism — in which all ac­tions are deemed morally ac­cept­able if they are di­rected to­ward achiev­ing the greater good for the largest num­ber of peo­ple — tele­o­log­i­cal ethics, with its pure moral ob­jec­tivism, has a sim­ple tenet: If it’s good for you, then it’s good.

Which brings us to Hil­lary Clin­ton and Pres­i­dent Obama. And Beng­hazi.

Some­thing bad hap­pened that night, Sept. 11, 2012. Some­thing ter­ri­ble. A U.S. am­bas­sador and three other Amer­i­cans were mur­dered af­ter a group of up to 150 ter­ror­ists de­scended on the diplo­matic com­pound there, and later a nearby CIA an­nex. They came to kill, armed with rocket-pro­pelled grenades, hand grenades, as­sault ri­fles, ma­chine guns and heavy ar­tillery mounted on trucks. It was a bloodbath.

The White House re­fused for weeks to call the as­sault a “ter­ror­ist at­tack.” In­stead, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion dis­patched the U.S. Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Su­san Rice (for some rea­son), to de­tail what the White House “knew.” She said on Sept. 16 that the at­tack­ers gath­ered “spon­ta­neously” at the Beng­hazi con­sulate and were “spon­ta­neously in­spired” by a “hate­ful video.”

Af­ter dodg­ing for days, the pres­i­dent said on Sept. 20 that the at­tack was the cul­mi­na­tion of “nat­u­ral protests that arose be­cause of the out­rage over the video” (a 14-minute film posted on YouTube — in July 2012). At the United Na­tions on Sept. 25, he blamed “a crude and dis­gust­ing video sparked out­rage through­out the Mus­lim world,” say­ing, “There’s no video that jus­ti­fies an at­tack on an em­bassy.”

Mean­while, on Sept. 12, Mrs. Clin­ton said the at­tack was “a re­sponse to in­flam­ma­tory ma­te­rial posted on the In­ter­net.” The next day, “… the video cir­cu­lat­ing on the In­ter­net that has led to th­ese protests in a num­ber of coun­tries.” And the next day, at the “Trans­fer of Re­mains” cer­e­mony at An­drews Air Force Base, “… an aw­ful In­ter­net video that we had noth­ing to do with.”

But that wasn’t true — not even close. They were all lies. And the pres­i­dent and sec­re­tary of State knew it.

“Min­utes af­ter the Amer­i­can con­sulate in Beng­hazi came un­der as­sault on Sept. 11, 2012, the na­tion’s top civil­ian and uni­formed de­fense of­fi­cials — headed for a pre­vi­ously sched­uled Oval Of­fice ses­sion with Pres­i­dent Obama — were in­formed that the event was a ‘ter­ror­ist at­tack,’ de­clas­si­fied doc­u­ments show,” Fox News re­ported Mon­day.

“The new ev­i­dence raises the ques­tion of why the top mil­i­tary men, one of whom was a mem­ber of the pres­i­dent’s Cab­i­net, al­lowed him and other se­nior Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials to press a false nar­ra­tive of the Beng­hazi at­tacks for two weeks af­ter­ward,” reporter James Rosen wrote.

In­deed. The de­clas­si­fied doc­u­ments show that Gen. Carter Ham, who at the time was head of the De­fense Depart­ment com­bat­ant com­mand with ju­ris­dic­tion over Libya, knew al­most im­me­di­ately that the at­tack was not spon­ta­neous and did not stem from the video. “There was some pre­lim­i­nary dis­cus­sion about, you know, maybe there was a demon­stra­tion. But I think at the com­mand, I per­son­ally and I think the com­mand very quickly got to the point that this was not a demon­stra­tion, this was a ter­ror­ist at­tack,” the gen­eral said.

And on Wed­nes­day a new re­port by a bi­par­ti­san Se­nate panel said not only did the ad­min­is­tra­tion fail in ini­tially blam­ing an anti-Is­lam video, it found the at­tack could have been averted. The com­mit­tee said the State Depart­ment failed to take ac­tion or work with the Pen­tagon af­ter diplo­mats in Libya re­peat­edly warned their su­pe­ri­ors about the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing se­cu­rity around Beng­hazi.

They knew. The pres­i­dent and the sec­re­tary of State knew all along. But for Mr. Obama, the rev­e­la­tion would have been dis­as­trous to his re-elec­tion cam­paign — Elec­tion Day was less than two months away. And for Mrs. Clin­ton, her hopes to win the White House would have been greatly com­pro­mised if it turned out she had stood idly by while ter­ror­ists killed a U.S. am­bas­sador — on Sept. 11, no less.

So they lied. For weeks, the White House re­fused to call it “ter­ror” — then, in a re­mark­able turn­about, claimed they had said all along that the at­tack was ter­ror­ism. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion into what hap­pened, com­mis­sioned by the White House, bot­tled up facts for months. In the mean­time, Mrs. Clin­ton ran out the clock, re­fus­ing to tes­tify to Congress un­til days be­fore she left her post.

When she fi­nally ap­peared, she came out with this spec­tac­u­larly brazen line, one only a true “ends jus­tify the means” devo­tee could es­pouse: “What dif­fer­ence at this point does it make?”

Now, more than a year later, with still so many unan­swered ques­tions, find­ing the truth seems lost to the wind. So lit­tle first­hand knowl­edge ex­ists: Only a hand­ful of eye­wit­nesses has tes­ti­fied (al­though there were dozens at the diplo­matic com­pound), and footage from a U.S. drone that flew over the site that night has never been shown. For the record, the CIA de­manded agents who were in Beng­hazi sign a sec­ond nondis­clo­sure agree­ment, and video sur­veil­lance from on-site se­cu­rity cam­eras re­port­edly shows no protest be­fore the at­tack.

As a Christ­mas present, The New York Times, bent on elect­ing another lib­eral in 2016, is seek­ing to re­write the en­tire nar­ra­tive. The pa­per wrote Dec. 28 that “con­trary to claims by some mem­bers of Congress, [the at­tack] was fu­eled in large part by anger at an Amer­i­can-made video den­i­grat­ing Is­lam.” And there weren’t any “ter­ror­ists,” The Times says, just some lo­cal “fight­ers who had ben­e­fited di­rectly from NATO’s ex­ten­sive air power and lo­gis­tics sup­port dur­ing the up­ris­ing against Colonel Qaddafi” — what­ever that means.

So, dis­ci­ples of the-ends-jus­tify-the­means phi­los­o­phy are win­ning, at least for now. But per­haps some­one — any­one — in Congress with a de­sire to get to the truth for truth’s sake, to ad­here to the rules that gov­ern not just elected of­fi­cials but all of hu­man­ity, will make a stand. It’s not too late — at least not yet.

Joseph Curl cov­ered the White House and pol­i­tics for a decade for The Wash­ing­ton Times and is now ed­i­tor of the Drudge Re­port. He can be reached at josephcurl@ gmail.com and on Twit­ter @josephcurl.

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