American Elephants

It Is An Ugly Scandal, And It Just Keeps Getting Uglier. by The Elephant's Child

The Benghazi Scandal just keeps getting uglier and uglier. The security situation in Libya was clearly deteriorating, the naive dreams of an “Arab Spring” and a new burst of democracy and freedom were proving just to be the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood, and a more radicalized Middle East, but President Barack Obama and his campaign had adopted a theme on which they pinned the president’s re-election hopes. Obama’s great accomplishment was the “gutsy call” that ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and now the terrorist group al Qaeda was “on the run.”

Al Qaeda had chosen a new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood alum, and moved to play a larger role in the Middle East. It was moving to gain power in Tunisia. In Egypt, the most populous of the Arab nations, the Muslim Brotherhood had won elections and begun to dominate that country’s political life. The Muslim Brotherhood established the Islamic supremacist ideology that gave rise to al Qaeda.

Then came the riots and attack on the embassy in Cairo, and the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. That spoiled the narrative. But the riots in Cairo presented an out. The Benghazi attack could be blamed on the clumsy YouTube video that had been out for months and which nobody had seen.

Four Americans died in the attack. It was the first time an American ambassador had been killed in over 30 years. It took American investigators three weeks even to reach the burned consulate compound. The American government paid a reported $70,000 to air TV ads in Pakistan blaming the movie and apologizing for it, as if we should apologize for our Constitutional rights of free speech. Secretary Clinton spoke of the “despicable video”. Five days after the attack the administration dispatched UN ambassador Susan Rice to five Sunday talk shows to blame the video. The man who made the video was identified by the government, picked up and imprisoned on a “parole violation” and sentenced to solitary confinement until after the election.

But the administration story kept falling apart. It was not a riot or spontaneous attack, but an organized military assault. We had a drone overhead that recorded much of the attack. Although there were military bases in Sicily that could have reached Benghazi, nothing was dispatched.

Now we learn that there were two AC-130 gunships overhead,that had been stationed in Libya since March, ready to fire on the attackers, but they were not allowed to fire. A spokesman at the CIA, presumably at the direction of General Petraeus, said “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need, claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.” The Secretary of Defense could not have made such a decision on his own. It would have been a presidential decision. Although Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta called criticism of the administration’s handling of the terror attack “Monday Morning Quarterbacking.” Secretary Clinton’s legal counsel said that Clinton has asked for more security, but President Obama denied the request. Circling the wagons.

In an interview with 9News in Denver today, reporter Kyle Clark committed some actual journalism and asked the President some simple direct questions— Were the Americans under attack in Benghazi denied requests for help?

Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.

Apparently we will just keep investigating exactly what happened until well after the election, and a month and a half after the attack, it’s still all just a mystery. But we will identify those who carried out those terrible attacks one of these days, and send a drone after them.

The President of the United States has some clear Constitutional duties, none of which involve deciding which kind of fuel is the energy of the future, nor health care overhauls, nor reforming the schools, nor picking winners and losers from America’s businesses. The Constitution stipulates that the president will defend and uphold the Constitution and its guarantees of American freedoms. So this is not just about refusing to defend our ambassador, but goes to the oath of office, and a simple matter of ethics and character.

Fox News is continuing to follow-up on this story, and they are adding to and expanding on their earlier and excellent video timeline tomorrow at 1 pm Eastern, and again on Sunday. Look for it.

Paul Ryan’s Speech At Cleveland State University. by The Elephant's Child

On Wednesday, Paul Ryan delivered an entire speech at Cleveland State University on income mobility and poverty. Poverty rates are rising, food stamp use is way up. A Romney Ryan administration would offer real reform. Not by increasing the amounts that government spends on poverty programs, but by creating good jobs and a growing economy. Getting the nation’s spending and debt under control to avoid a financial crisis are vital because the poor and the vulnerable are always the hardest hit.

It was an impressive speech, advancing a positive social vision. I am unable to embed the videos here, There are two, that can be found here. Very worth every minute of your time. Paul Ryan is a very impressive young man, and he’s talking about solid ideas for returning America to the income mobility we have always known. “One is six Americans are in poverty today — the highest rate in a generation. In this war on poverty, poverty is winning. We need a better approach.”


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