Why There Is No Cure for the GOP’s Benghazi Fever
A-ha! cried the Benghazi truthers. Here’s proof that the White House schemed to convince the public that the tragic attack—which claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans—was merely the result of protests spurred by an anti-Islam video made by some American wacko, not the doing of Al Qaeda or its allies. President Obama and his comrades, the Benghazi truthers insist, wanted to cover up the politically inconvenient fact that Al Qaeda-ish terrorism was responsible for the killing of four Americans, since acknowledgment of this would have tainted the counter-terrorism credentials of Obama, the Bin Laden slayer, and decreased his chances of reelection.
But as we know now, the CIA and the State Department took the lead in fashioning the talking points. A year ago, the release of internal White House emails about the drafting of the talking points clearly showed there had been no White House effort to shape the narrative in a devious manner. (It appeared the CIA and the State Department were more concerned about their own bureaucratic imperatives.) And the new email from Rhodes is pretty standard stuff, indicating a White House desire to justify its policy on the Arab Spring in the face of troubling events. Rhodes was encouraging Rice to present the case that the anti-video protests that had occurred in various places in the Muslim world were sort of a one-off event, not an indication that the overall Obama approach toward the region was misguided. Note that Rhodes referred to “protests,” plural, when making this point. That week there had been violent anti-video uprisings in Egypt, Yemen, and Sudan, not just Libya. So all the fuss about the Rhodes email—which quickly passed through membrane between Fox News and the rest of the media, receiving airtime on CNN, ABC News, and elsewhere—is smoke, not fire.