Could You Lie to a Be­reaved Fa­ther?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mona Charen

The Ben Rhodes memo re­veal­ing the du­plic­ity of this ad­min­is­tra­tion on the sub­ject of Beng­hazi re­minds us about the char­ac­ter of those in­volved. That Pres­i­dent Barack Obama could lie so evenly and so pas­sion­ately (re­mem­ber the sec­ond pres­i­den­tial de­bate?) is not per­haps sur­pris­ing at this stage. But let’s not for­get what it took for Hil­lary Clin­ton to lie to the griev­ing fa­ther of an Amer­i­can hero.

First, a re­fresher on the facts (as they were cer­tainly known to the prin­ci­pals):

A con­voy of well-armed ter­ror­ists rolled into the com­plex hous­ing the Amer­i­can con­sulate in Beng­hazi on Sept. 11, 2012. The at­tack­ers sealed off streets leading to the con­sulate with trucks and then com­menced the at­tack on the build­ing us­ing rocket-pro­pelled grenades, AK-47s, mor­tars and ar­tillery mounted on trucks. Am­bas­sador Chris Stevens called Deputy Chief of Mis­sion Gre­gory Hicks for help, say­ing, “Greg, we’re un­der at­tack.” Mr. Hicks, who was in Tripoli, con­veyed this up the line, but no help ar­rived.

The ter­ror­ists Mr. killed Stevens and an­other Amer­i­can and set the build­ing ablaze. (Two more Amer­i­cans would die later at­tempt­ing to pro­tect the an­nex.) As soon as the next morn­ing, Con­gress­man Mike Rogers, chair­man of the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, de­scribed the at­tack as a “com­mando-style event” with “co­or­di­nated fire, di­rect fire, (and) in­di­rect fire.” A few days later the Libyan pres­i­dent said that it was a planned ter­ror­ist at­tack. He also said that the idea it was a “spon­ta­neous protest that just spun out of con­trol is com­pletely un­founded and pre­pos­ter­ous.” Yet a well-or­ches­trated dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion man­aged to put the press off the story and mis­lead the Amer­i­can people.

The brazen­ness and scope of the dis­in­for­ma­tion would make any KGB colonel sigh with ad­mi­ra­tion. At 10:32 on the night of the at­tack, Mrs. Clin­ton is­sued a state­ment de­plor­ing vi­o­lence in re­sponse to “in­flam­ma­tory ma­te­rial posted on the In­ter­net.” In the days that fol­lowed, the pres­i­dent and his spokesman re­peat­edly in­voked the sup­pos­edly of­fen­sive video as the cause of the at­tack. The pres­i­dent and sec­re­tary of state even filmed com­mer­cials to play in Mus­lim coun­tries de­nounc­ing the video while also up­hold­ing Amer­ica’s tra­di­tion of re­li­gious and po­lit­i­cal free­dom. “We re­ject all ef­forts to den­i­grate the re­li­gious be­liefs of oth­ers,” said the pres­i­dent. “But there is ab­so­lutely no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to this type of sense­less vi­o­lence.”

But as the State Depart­ment fi­nally dis­closed a month af­ter the at­tack (and as had been widely re­ported be­fore then), there was no protest out­side the Amer­i­can con­sulate in Beng­hazi. Noth­ing. Not a peep.

As the Mr. Rhodes memo makes clear, the pres­i­dent sent his U.N. am­bas­sador to the Sun­day shows to lie. Su­san Rice was “to un­der­score that these protests are rooted in an In­ter­net video, and not a broader fail­ure of pol­icy.” Ms. Rice did as she was told. The elec­tion was less than two months away. A for­eign pol­icy fail­ure would not be po­lit­i­cally con­ve­nient, so it would be made to go away. It’s one of the mi­nor in­jus­tices of this sorry story that Ms. Rice has re­ceived more con­dem­na­tions than the pres­i­dent or sec­re­tary of state, who pulled the strings.

Mrs. Clin­ton be­gan to ped­dle the “In­ter­net video” story from the first mo­ments af­ter the guns went silent in Beng­hazi. When the Libyan am­bas­sador to the U.S. apol­o­gized to her on Sept. 13, 2012, for the “ter­ror at­tack,” she ig­nored this and bur­bled on about “the in­no­cence of Mus­lims.”

The pres­i­dent, vice pres­i­dent and Mrs. Clin­ton wel­comed the bod­ies of Mr. Stevens, Ty­rone Woods, Sean Smith and Glen Do­herty to An­drews Air Force Base in Mary­land on Sept. 14. Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Woods’ fa­ther, the vice pres­i­dent used re­mark­ably of­fen­sive locker room talk about the de­ceased Navy SEAL, but Mrs. Clin­ton stayed on mes­sage. She greeted the man whose son had bravely at­tempted to fight off far more nu­mer­ous and bet­ter-armed ter­ror­ists on the roof of the CIA an­nex and who gave his life. Did she praise the courage and self-sac­ri­fice of the dec­o­rated Navy SEAL? Did she ex­press re­gret that he had been left nearly alone to fight off the Is­lamist ter­ror­ists? No. Not even the flag-draped coffins spread be­fore Mrs. Clin­ton could shake her iron de­ter­mi­na­tion to stick with the script. She told Mr. Woods they would catch the guy who made the In­ter­net film and make sure he was pun­ished.

Most politi­cians are ca­pa­ble of stretch­ing the truth on oc­ca­sion. But this ques­tion, this set­ting and this egre­gious a lie sug­gest that Mrs. Clin­ton’s con­science — if she ever had one — is grow­ing flac­cid from dis­use.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.