Benghazi

Even the liberal New York Times thinks that the Obama Administration might have hurt itself by delaying calling the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens “terrorism”. Grandpa John McCain thinks it’s “disgraceful”.

From what I can tell, it’s clear that, for some reason, the Obama Administration wanted to soft-pedal the terrorism angle, and Obama himself was quite reluctant to admit that the attack was terrorism rather than part of a protest over a YouTube video. Does anyone really believe that there’s some kind of election-altering political issue here surrounding some garden-variety White House dissembling?

Obviously, this raises a whole bunch of legitimate foreign policy issues, but the politics of it seem pretty straightforward. Barring some kind of smoking gun, I don’t see much political danger to Obama, especially since Romney is hiding in the corner after he fucked up his initial response.






138 replies
  1. 1
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    In the grand scheme of things, “what the administration called it in the first few days” will only matter to conspiracy theorists and loons on both sides of the R/L divide, but I repeat myself.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    I think this is a faux scandal, but it’s something for the media to latch onto and hype because they haven’t been able to criticize Obama for much recently.

  3. 3
    Chris says:

    Politically it’s better for him if it was terrorism (nothing but the usual going on here) than mob violence (“proof” that he shouldn’t have helped those Lousy Stinking Hajjis and fucked up on foreign policy). Whatever the reason for his reluctance, election year politics wasn’t it.

  4. 4
    aimai says:

    There’s a not insignificant difference between the statements “White House May Have Hurt Obama’s Electoral Chances…” and “White House Did the Wrong Thing.” The Diplomatic and military response to the murder of the Ambassador and true public statements about the murder of the Ambassador are two completely different things. That’s why we have a fucking diplomatic corps in the first place: so our leadership doesn’t just say the first fucking thing that comes to mind when there is a brewing international incident. Proper responses from a proper leadership:

    We are monitoring a complex situation closely and working with our allies…

    Improper response:

    What the fucking fuck? TErrorism again??? Holy shit what do we do now???? What does Ewick Ewickson and Jennifer Rubin tell us to do????

    –aimai

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    Well, politics aside– unlikely, I know– It’s a good thing to be cautious about attributing events to ‘terrorism’ before you’ve identified any actual terrorist involvement. I don’t see how Obama is weakened by being cautious in foreign policy– but I’m a partisan, so my opinion doesn’t count.

  6. 6
    jp7505a says:

    Given that many of the critics are the same ones who said Obama should have kept quiet for few weeks over the killing of Osama in order to get maximum advantage over the intell, I think we’re back in the double standard world.

    It would have been impossible to keep Osama’s death quiet but I wonder if the White House was playing this one low keyed for the intelligence value. Why would we rush out to provide the name/address/phone number and favorite sports team of this particular group of terrorists, if by keeping quiet we improved our chances of catching them?

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    OMG! OBAMA SHOULD HAVE RAISED THE TERROR ALERT TO RED!…

    OMG! OBAMA GOT RID OF THE TERROR ALERT SYSTEM.

    OMG!

  8. 8
    Keith says:

    I think Republicans tend to think that them leading is some kind of manifest destiny, so they expect some election-altering surprise that totally changes the election so they win. As a result, they tend to jump both feet in on any potential scandal (when demands resignations come from people other than Newt, for example), regardless of its scope. This is just another Fast & Furious, with McCain playing the role of Issa.

  9. 9
    Svensker says:

    Now I understand what my wingnut bro was posting about on FB last night. Obama didn’t call it a terrorist attack because he is too lazy (and near) to go to intelligence briefings and he’s also busy apologizing for savage Mooslems who hate us for our freedumbs.

  10. 10
    boss bitch says:

    NYT buying into GOP meme. I recall the time Pres.Obama wasn’t seen as reacting/commenting on another issue quick enough for the media and he told them, ‘I like to know what I’m talking about’.

  11. 11
    boss bitch says:

    And watch this bullshit come up in the debates – by one of the moderators and that dick Mitt Romney.

  12. 12
    tamied says:

    @jp7505a:

    Why would we rush out to provide the name/address/phone number and favorite sports team of this particular group of terrorists, if by keeping quiet we improved our chances of catching them?

    This. My guess is they were actually waiting until they had the facts before they could make a distinction whether it may have been terrorism. I trust him more than I would anyone else.

  13. 13
    SatanicPanic says:

    I’m just waiting for the right to start getting angry about drones

  14. 14
    mak says:

    Regardless of the motivations behind the WH reluctance to call it “terrizm! – run fer yer livez!”, the president always has the old “I like to know what the hell I’m talking about before I shoot my mouth off” rejoinder available to him, which I believe he has used to good effect before.

  15. 15
    Mino says:

    Uh, first day of reporting was suggesting an opportunity retaliation for drone killing of the Lybian. What’s changed. It’s not like they couldn’t have learned about the protest and piggybacked on it.

  16. 16
    beltane says:

    The NYT was much happier in the Bush days when the anthrax attacks were immediately labeled as Saddam Hussein-sponsored terrorism. Good times.

  17. 17
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Let’s see. We could use useless words to describe a situation, or we could do what is necessary to aid in catching the perpetrators. It’s nice to know the Republicans are all about useless gestures while our president is about getting the job done.

    I mean, imagine if, after every shooting, the police chief got up in front of a camera and stated another case of domestic terrorism has occurred. It would add how much value to the search?

  18. 18
    Mino says:

    Or is the right suggesting that AQ found the you-tube, discovered tha Ambassador would be out of the embassy, played up the you-tube and arranged a street mob, and then carried out their plan?

  19. 19
    Steve says:

    This is more of the same bullshit that is like, Obama loves Muslims, so he is reluctant to brand them terrorists, even though everyone knows that all terrorists are Muslims. The swing voters will give it a big yawn.

  20. 20
    Violet says:

    @boss bitch:

    And watch this bullshit come up in the debates – by one of the moderators and that dick Mitt Romney.

    Well, of course it will. Bob Scheiffer is the moderator for the foreign policy debate and he’ll do what he can to fluff Romney. But it’s the last debate. Who knows what will happen by then.

  21. 21
    cervantes says:

    This is the most nothing nothingburger I have ever heard of. Immediately after the incident, they didn’t know what had happened. They were cautious about labeling it. After a few days, when it was more clear what had happened, they took a bit more time to figure out how they wanted to communicate about it publicly, then they did. In the meantime, so what? Who or what was harmed by waiting a few days until they really knew what had happened before they started shooting off their mouths about it? (Unlike Mitt, obviously.)

  22. 22
    Glidwrith says:

    This is also a way to hide how badly Romney f’ed up in the foreign policy field so that the first thing mentioned is Obama’s supposed screw-up rather than Romney’s, since this is a fresher story.

  23. 23
    Baud says:

    @Violet:

    Well, of course it will. Bob Scheiffer is the moderator for the foreign policy debate and he’ll do what he can to fluff Romney.

    I think this hurts Romney, because it’s a another shiny new object for him to chase. His whole campaign has been characterized by an astounding lack of focus.

  24. 24
    wrb says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    I’m just waiting for the right to start getting angry about drones

    They’ve started.

  25. 25
    monkeyfister says:

    Seems to me the first need was to douse the fires of anger that were hot-flashing in the region. Screaming “TERRORISM!” though perhaps true and known, would have added fuel to those fires. So they soft-peddled a bit.

    Denouncing the video was a good Diplomatic tool, that had real effect inasmuch as POTUS could relate “Official Concern,” and buy some time to craft a very thorough response at the proper time.

    I would imagine that as the INTEL came in, strategies and tactics were developed to better get to the truth, and to the perps. At least I’d like to think so.

  26. 26
    Viva Brisvegas says:

    Shouldn’t that NYT headline be “Obama fails to shoot mouth off”?

    Obviously he should have immediately bombed Tunisia and then tried to find out exactly what happened.

    Libya is a place where the US might find just some friends in a region where they are thin on the ground. Going off half cocked, aka doing a W, might just be the worst thing to do right now.

  27. 27
    beltane says:

    @Glidwrith: It’s not really a good way to hide Romney’s foreign policy weaknesses. On the one hand you have a circumspect Obama while on the other hand you have Mitt Romney who either cowers in fear or shoots his mouth off saying profoundly inappropriate things.

    This is all about a corrupt media trying to salvage the flailing Romney campaign. Fuck them.

  28. 28
    SatanicPanic says:

    @wrb: I smell a chance for a Jane Hamsher/Rand Paul alliance. We must impeach!

  29. 29
    Anton Sirius says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    We could use useless words to describe a situation, or we could do what is necessary to aid in catching the perpetrators.

    That’s kind of a problem. We can’t do anything to help catch the perpetrators because Libya is such a mess. AC360 did, for once, a solid segment earlier in the week on this: the FBI investigative teams sent to Libya haven’t even been given access to the crime scene or the suspects yet, essentially because there’s nobody really in charge that the State Department can get permission from.

  30. 30
    Anya says:

    New York Times is full of shit. They’re just looking for a controversy. Shouldn’t the administration gather all the facts before they label the attack? Also, to my knowledge most people believed this was a terrorist attack. The RMS and other shows that I watched after the attack reported it that way, so, what is the issue?

  31. 31
    monkeyfister says:

    @Violet:

    And watch this bullshit come up in the debates – by one of the moderators and that dick Mitt Romney.

    Well, of course it will. Bob Scheiffer is the moderator for the foreign policy debate and he’ll do what he can to fluff Romney. But it’s the last debate. Who knows what will happen by then.

    ….

    I suspect the real response from the CinC via DoD, and perhaps other Agencies will be decisive, and well-timed for that particular debate.

    In the meantime, Hillary and the State Department are working the situation pretty well.

  32. 32
    Jay C says:

    The thing is, I think that there IS plenty of valid criticism which can (and should) be leveled at the Administration over the Benghazi murders: poor intel work in Libya and sloppy security procedures, etc. But as usual, the Obama-bashers have concentrated on a peripheral (and mainly bullshit, IMO) issue – not helped by Mitt Romney’s idiot gaffes – and ended up focusing media attention on a trivial point which can be easily refuted.

    I think the NYT is just indulging in a mild bout of O-bashing here themselves, probably to keep the “in the tank for Obama” criticism to a minimum. Not that it will help with the wingers, but it makes good copy.

  33. 33
    jeremy says:

    Romney will get destroyed in a foreign policy debate. The guy has zero and I mean zero experience, and lacks any knowledge based on his flip flops, trusting former Bush advisers,and making a fool of himself around the world. Even the president had some foreign policy experience when he served on the committee when he was Senator. And with the President’s record and high approval numbers in this field I would just forfeit if I were Romney.

    When it comes to Libya the only one buying into this garbage are the right wing nuts and the media. The majority of Americans don’t see it their way.

  34. 34
    Anton Sirius says:

    I do think this issue – moreso the slow-starting investigation than the lack of an immediate cry of “TURRURIZM!” – is something a competent political team could get some traction with.

    Obama’s got 99 problems, but an opponent with a competent political team behind him ain’t one.

  35. 35
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Anton Sirius: Thanks for the info. It probably would be nice if they would have let us help, but it still doesn’t change that yelling “terrorism” would have done nothing.

  36. 36
    Glidwrith says:

    @beltane: Agreed in all points-especially the fuck. This looks like classic Fauxism where you know the truth, I know the truth and the media knows the truth, but they have to throw chaff into the air to keep Robme afloat a little longer.

  37. 37
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Chris: #3

    Good point.

    It would have been much worse on Obama, both politically and personally, if the killing had been perpetrated by Libyans turning against him and his country. It would have been politically advantageous for him to declare terrorism right away and use that for cover.

    But he didn’t. He waited until they had some facts and then made his statements.

    The real question is whether US actions during the fact-finding interim were hampered by Obama’s reluctance to perform the required incantation.

  38. 38
    different-church-lady says:

    Maybe it’s just the administration being cautious and thorough. You know, like it always is.

  39. 39
    monkeyfister says:

    @Anton Sirius: @Anton Sirius:

    That’s kind of a problem. We can’t do anything to help catch the perpetrators because Libya is such a mess. AC360 did, for once, a solid segment earlier in the week on this: the FBI investigative teams sent to Libya haven’t even been given access to the crime scene or the suspects yet, essentially because there’s nobody really in charge that the State Department can get permission from.

    Well, we do seem to have some allies there. That group that stormed the Militia compound, for example. There was something not-quite spontaneous about that. State and the INTEL Community are working their assets off right now.

  40. 40
    Chris says:

    @Anton Sirius:

    Well that, and it’s not the FBI’s country, therefore not their job.

    (Sorry, I tend to want to beat the FBI’s head into a wall whenever they get involved outside of their jurisdiction. They already turned Central America into a total mess with their role as “advisers” on the gang problem: maybe we shouldn’t be using them in situations they’re not supposed to be in in the first place).

  41. 41
    MikeJ says:

    @Chris: Part of the investigation will surely be in the embassy, which is in the US and therefore the job of the FBI.

  42. 42
    Dennis SGMM says:

    It could be something as simple as the administration wanting to buy time to try and collar those responsible without tipping them off in advance.

    We don’t know what’s going on in the background between the administration and Libya. I’d guess that it’s complicated and not altogether palatable.

  43. 43
    quannlace says:

    Whatever happens, for the next five days on whatever media outlet, it’s going to be Debates,Debates, Debates!

  44. 44
    Chris says:

    @MikeJ:

    A true point. Objection… partly withdrawn.

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Fuck the liberal NYT. This is more moronic MSM false equivalency, desperately trying to give Rmoney some solace after HE totally screwed the pooch by jumping the gun and making the story about his mind blowing stupidity, not about anything Obama did.

    Cripes. This nonsense that Obama took too long to call it “terrorism” (the fucking NAZIS called Allied bombing of Germany “terrorism”, for the love of Godwin) somehow politically hurts him is a pathetic attempt at ignoring the giant elephant in fishnet stockings and garters in the room.

  46. 46
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    Holy fuck this is stupid. An attack happened, confusion over what the attack was was unclear. Does it matter what the POTUS Calls it? For Fuck’s sake I’m glad that we no longer yell terrorism at every chance we get!!

    Why the Fuck is this an issue that ETL-NYT is writing about? How the fuck does Right wing radio and conspiracy theory sites keep leaching into the rational conversation. Fuck I hate journalists.

  47. 47
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    It’s a good thing to be cautious about attributing events to ‘terrorism’ before you’ve identified any actual terrorist involvement.

    This. Ignignokt is still laughing at Boston.

  48. 48
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Wow. Waiting till you have the facts and evidence before you discuss sensitive and potentially dangerous situations? Obama really should be impeached.

    On whichever Sunday shows John McCain is on this week, it would be just fucking splendid if someone asked him how we would pay for any of the three additional wars he’s calling for, and who exactly he wants to fight them.

  49. 49
    hoodie says:

    NYT just trying to create a new storyline, but it’s like trying to make a big deal of SW Lousiana getting a first down when they’re down 63-3 to Alabama’s third string. It will go nowhere, likely ending with a 4 and out or another Romney fumble trying to execute a flea flicker using the left tackle. They’ll then cut away to a human interest story about suffering bond traders.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    There are real discussions/arguments to be had about our role in Libya, the advisability of our military intervention, and the way forward from here. This Times article is not a useful part of that.

  51. 51
    taylormattd says:

    I don’t get it.

  52. 52
    Maude says:

    The day after the attack, Obama announced that he had ordered a review of the security at all US embassies. In the NYT, it was stated that Hillary Clinton ordered the review and Thomas Pickering was doing it.
    The State Department has to do an investigation by law. There is a group to do this and Hillary Clinton picked Thomas Pickering.
    The Intelligence coordinator took the blame today for the confusion about the attack.
    Hillary Clinton was like a jack in the box, popping out with little statements about the attack. That didn’t help.
    Obama has been giving information. He could have said nothing and then the whine would be that he was hiding information.

  53. 53
    Zattarra says:

    For years now the concept of the publics right to know has struck me as bullshit. Who cares what they call it to the public as long as they do their job. John Q Idiot hearing something in Libya is called terrorism doesn’t really mean anything.

  54. 54
    Linda Featheringill says:

    It just occurred to me that McCain and NYT are quite effectively reminding the country that Mitt shoots first and aims second. How nice of them!

    We should send out thank you notes.

  55. 55
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @boss bitch:

    I recall the time Pres.Obama wasn’t seen as reacting/commenting on another issue quick enough for the media and he told them, ‘I like to know what I’m talking about’.

    I would like to see Team O put out an ad that just plays the following two sound bites on a 30-second loop:
    Obama: “I like to know what I’m talking about.”
    Romney: “I like to fire people.”

  56. 56

    Not sure how I missed this but the Associated Press instituted a “fact-checking quota” on Michele Bachmann’s bs during the GOP debates. I guess they didn’t want to embarrass her. So nice of them.

  57. 57
    JPL says:

    Mitt either received intelligence briefings and decided to shut his mouth or is waiting until the last debate.
    Intelligence evolves, always has and always will. Did it take the President to long to share what he heard, I don’t know.

  58. 58
    jwb says:

    This whole thing strikes me as beyond stupid, even for wingnuts. I have no idea what the NYT believes it is doing. Within hours and just from the media reports, it was clear this was a planned, well-coordinated attack that had used the protests as cover. The only real question was who was responsible for it. If the administration didn’t come out and say this, a competent media would ask what was to be gained by the administration, which has shown itself to be very competent in such matters, to dissemble in the fashion it chose to.

    ETA: Given that the NYT is not usually quite this clueless in covering international situations, I have to wonder if this was planted to mislead the attackers as to where the US investigation actually is.

  59. 59
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    McCain says the opposite of what Obama is doing is right. That’s not even news.

  60. 60
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Bob Scheiffer is the moderator for the foreign policy debate

    Did not know this, and if I’d been Team Obama I wouldn’t have agreed to it. He absolutely hates Obama.

  61. 61
    MazeDancer says:

    The press will pursue the story because they want an “October Surprise”. The GOP will pursue the softy, asleep, didn’t protect us Obama angle because they got nothing. (tho does that make him another asleep kind of guy like W?) Romney camp need something to discuss besides how they’re losing today more than yesterday.

    The President can use his “we will bring the perps to Justice” angle. He said that right after the attack, and loudly ever since.

    He never ruled out terrorism. Justice implies that possibility. But President’s don’t go mouthing off half-informed like Romney did. They find out what really happened, so that they don’t create more problems by speaking too soon,

  62. 62
    MazeDancer says:

    The press will pursue the story because they want an “October Surprise”. The GOP will pursue the softy, asleep, didn’t protect us Obama angle because they got nothing. (tho does that make him another asleep kind of guy like W?) Romney camp need something to discuss besides how they’re losing today more than yesterday.

    The President can use his “we will bring the perps to Justice” angle. He said that right after the attack, and loudly ever since.

    He never ruled out terrorism. Justice implies that possibility. But President’s don’t go mouthing off half-informed like Romney did. They find out what really happened, so that they don’t create more problems by speaking too soon,

  63. 63
    quannlace says:

    How soon before Fox News resurrects the Reverend Wright story?

    Oh, wait.

  64. 64
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    the giant elephant in fishnet stockings and garters

    This seduction will not work.

  65. 65
    Dennis SGMM says:

    If Obama had responded with sending in a Marine expeditionary force backed by a Carrier Battle Group then the Republicans would have howled that he should have sent those assets to attack Iran. Why? Because, you know, if we just subdue those pesky Iranians then everything will suddenly be cool in the ME.

    When you consider that the Republicans don’t actually have a domestic policy, the notion of them giving foreign policy advice is both ludicrous and frightening.

  66. 66
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @cervantes:

    Immediately after the incident, they didn’t know what had happened. They were cautious about labeling it. After a few days, when it was more clear what had happened, they took a bit more time to figure out how they wanted to communicate about it publicly, then they did. In the meantime, so what? Who or what was harmed by waiting a few days until they really knew what had happened before they started shooting off their mouths about it?

    Anyone else remember how when the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City was bombed how the immediate speculation was that it was dirty Muslim terrorists that did it?

    Once it turned out it was a conservative white guy, everyone shut up right quick. In Romneyland, the bombers would be heading to Tehran.

  67. 67
    max says:

    Does anyone really believe that there’s some kind of election-altering political issue here surrounding some garden-variety White House dissembling?

    There were 18,000 stories coming out of Libya, and the US was thin on the ground in Libya so it was hard to push a bunch of investigators into the mix. Meantime, they were trying to avoid adding fuel to the fire over the stupid fucking Youtube flick.

    If there’s a failure down here, it’s that the CIA types tasked with this sort of thing failed to pick up a newspaper.

    Meantime, on the big scoreboard:

    Iraq coalition forces: 24,219 killed, 117,961 wounded. Total costs: 1.9 trillion

    Libya UN forces: 4 killed, 7 wounded. Total costs: ~3 billion

    max
    [‘Not really seeing the problem here.’]

  68. 68
    MazeDancer says:

    Apologies for double posting. Unintentional double tapping results. Got to learn – no iPad posting. Also, trying to edit afterwards on iPad = 4 minutes of FYWP. Sorry.

  69. 69
    jeremy says:

    I think that the media just loves to attack Obama. It’s the same thing like the notion that Obama is not a good debater (even though he is), and that he is distant and introverted.

    The reason they continue this attack is because he is a democrat and the media loves republicans and because Obama clearly doesn’t like or respect the Main stream media.

  70. 70
    Violet says:

    @monkeyfister: True enough. There is a distinct advantage in being the incumbent, where you can make sure certain information is released at a convenient time.

  71. 71
    gogol's wife says:

    @jeremy:

    We were in a health-care facility yesterday on a six-hour quest to help our aged aunt, and CNN was blaring about this in the waiting room, as if Romney were now about to be elected because the Obama administration didn’t immediately announce that it was terrorism. I thought it must be Fox News, but it was CNN. I started to yell at the screen but realized it wasn’t the time or place. I still don’t have time to go into this story to figure out why this should be so damaging to Obama, so I’m hoping to get the Balloon Juice take on it later.

  72. 72
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @jeremy:

    Obama clearly doesn’t like or respect the Main stream media.

    Another reason to like the guy. Schiefer is a GOP assclown, that vile Crowley sow a Rethug whore. The debate moderators are stacked for Shittin’ Mittens, and that won’t help his sorry robot ass.

  73. 73
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I still don’t have time to go into this story to figure out why this should be so damaging to Obama, so I’m hoping to get the Balloon Juice take on it later.

    Because horse race, even if one of the entrants is a horse’s ass.

  74. 74
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    He absolutely hates Obama.

    I didn’t know that. I haven’t watched that show in years, but in the clips he does seem to have ratcheted up the crotchety old man. I did see a clip last week, and his round table included not just David Gergen, but Peggy Noonan, and some other white guy of similar vintage. It was like a blogger-parody. Then again, apparently Ann Coulter is a regular on the ABC show, which must have Brinkley spinning in his grave.

  75. 75
    raven says:

    So, since WVU plays at noon do we get a football thread?

  76. 76
    MikeJ says:

    @raven: Football is on now. Fulham is holding Manchester City to a 1-1 tie in the 78th minute.

  77. 77
    Baud says:

    @MikeJ:

    to a 1-1 tie in the 78th minute

    You’ve just described every soccer game every played.

  78. 78
    Chris says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    What I’m hearing from Facebook Republicans is that Obama tried to say this was a reaction to the video, but now we know it wasn’t, it’s premeditated terrorism. No idea if it’s true or not.

  79. 79
    jeremy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yep. All of them are GOP shills. It won’t matter because Obama is going to destroy Romney in those debates. The media continues to put down Obama’s debating skills.

    I’ve seen Romney debate before and he sucks. He got schooled by Ted Kennedy in his Mass. Senate run, in 2007-2008 McCain, Old man Fred Thompson, and Mike Huckabee made Romney look like a bumbling fool. And even idiots like Rick Perry got under his skin and he made a number of gaffes.

  80. 80
    MikeJ says:

    @Baud: MC are last season’s champs. Holding them to a tie would be an accomplishment.

    ETA: And the substitute nails it in, MC 2 – 1 Fulham

  81. 81
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chris:

    Well, that’s looking at it in retrospect. The day after the attack, it became evident that someone used the protest as cover.

    The thing that is being ignored is the reaction in Benghazi was sorrow and anger at the attackers, not at the US.

  82. 82
    Ben Franklin says:

    This fabric from whole cloth is just window dressing. I’m still waiting to know whether Nakoula is gonna be dinged for parole violation. He was banned from the internet, and clearly is a violator. What’s the hold-up? If he walks I’m smelling something rotten in Denmark.

  83. 83
    Baud says:

    @MikeJ:

    Too bad about 2-1. Unless one of my teams is involved, I always root for the underdog.

  84. 84
    jeremy says:

    Also does anyone remember when Obama debated the Republicans at their retreat and made them look like fools. Ever since then they never invited the president to debate them again.

  85. 85
    General Stuck says:

    The NYT’s remain cowards, kowtowing to the wingnut mob. I have never thought that terrorist attacks overseas, even on our citizens, creates a negative response on a president. Especially an embassy in a war zone. Green Zone, hello wingnut.

    Did that moron even check the polls since the attack? Before writing this story.

  86. 86
    hueyplong says:

    FoxNews and Romney put up code red so quickly after the event that it’s difficult for them to turn the volume up any higher now. Plus, they can’t decide whether this is worse than disrepecting Bibi Netanyahu.

    As for disengaged American public, no NYC skyscrapers came down and we didn’t lose any more people than we do on a Wednesday in Afghanistan, so this looks like the same confusing North African/Middle Eastern clusterfk they normally see on their TV screens. All of them seem unrelated to Medicare, so it’s (as noted above) a nothingburger if you’re not a right winger, and simply reason number 398,765 to impeach Obama and deport him to Kenya if you are a right winger.

    Neither the right wingers nor the disengaged Amercian public reads the NYT.

  87. 87
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @jeremy: Im not so sure. “Mr. President. Which of your obvious failures disappoints you the most?” “mr. Romney. Which of the presidents obvious failures bothers you the most?”

  88. 88
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    I read that he was sent back to prison for parole violation.

  89. 89
    hueyplong says:

    Unless Schieffer brings bin Laden back to life, I think I know the diversionary tack Obama will take to run out the clock on response times related to difficult foreign policy questions.

  90. 90
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @hueyplong: #86

    Low-information voter things “this looks like the same confusing North African/Middle Eastern clusterfk they normally see on their TV screens.”

    Actually, it sort of does look that way.

    And the talking heads on TV look they way they do every week.

  91. 91
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @hueyplong: What happened in Afghanistan that same day seems to have gone into a black hole.

  92. 92
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Again, McCain just always takes the position that the opposite of what the president is doing in the middle east is the right thing, and that what Obama is doing is wrong no matter what. Even if Obama changes course and does what McCain had recommended 15 minutes before, McCain will say it is wrong.

  93. 93
    jeremy says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace: I disagree. Obama is very adept at turning even hostile questions like that around. The guy just comes off as cool and collected. Romney is the opposite.

    I’m sorry but I’ve seen Romney debate and the guy is not that good. At best he will be average. But Obama will hit him over the head with Taxes, the Auto bailout, the fact he didn’t want to go after Bin Laden, and Medicare privatization that he and Ryan support.

  94. 94
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Fed Judge said he is flight risk and ordered him held. Officials say he violated, but that finality is what i’m waiting for. It’s strange he was a third-striker in 2010, and received parole, at all.

  95. 95
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    the only thing I’m worried about with the debates, and I’m not so much “worried” as pre-emptively annoyed, is that WIllard will tell some bald-faced lie, and as with this case, the SCLM will run with it as their new Concern.

  96. 96
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    Nakoula was arrested for parole violations the other day, from what I read in the fishwrap.

  97. 97
    Rita R. says:

    The point of all this is the Republicans are trying to turn this into an attempted White House coverup. They’ve already been saying it, including Romney yesterday, who moderated it a bit, stating that we have to find out if the discrepancy in the stories was because of initial confusion or an attempt by the White House to “paper over” what really happened.

    The reason it’s important to the GOPers that it be terrorism is their contention that the White House ignored warnings about potential attacks in Libya. If it was terrorism, the White House, according to them, was fatally negligent. If it was spontaneous, unforeseen violence that resulted from the film protest, then it’s harder for them to make that charge against Obama.

  98. 98
    nellcote says:

    Interesting that they’re trying to tie this into the pathetic “he doesn’t get his daily intel report in person” they’ve been trying to push. But trying to flip the script on the “Bush didn’t heed early warnings on 9/11” to PBO didn’t heed suposed early warnings on Libya seems like SOP for the Rovians.

  99. 99
    jshooper says:

    this is fuckin pathetic…it reminds me of when the “media” was screaming about obama not showing the proper emotion during the BP oil spill

  100. 100

    “Even the liberal New York Times…”

    Not from over here.

  101. 101
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I’m watching some pretzel-bending in some — not many, but some — corners of the left caused by calling for impeaching Obama over the US invasion of Libya this winter, and having to defend him against Huckabee’s calls for impeachment for bungling Benghazi now.

  102. 102
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The thing that is being ignored is the reaction in Benghazi was sorrow and anger at the attackers, not at the US.

    Yeah, I know. I’ve put that up a couple places on facebook, that’s about all I can do to get the word out… wish some news agencies would get into it, but I know, that doesn’t get as many eyeballs as the “ZOMG Lousy Stinking Hajjis are Lousy Stinking Hajjis!” narrative.

  103. 103
    Chris says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Ah, Huckabee. Say, were you calling for impeachment when the previous government lied to the entire world and then used the lie to kill thousands of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians? No? Good sense of priorities there.

  104. 104
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Along with the Dems who used all the legislative oxygen for Clinton’s 2nd term.

    I am optimistic about Obama’s 2nd, but I fear he will be fending off blows. This is the plan.

  105. 105
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Chris: Preacher Huckabee is just following the example of Rabbi Hillel: “The whole of the Law and the Prophets is this: ‘Just win, baby!’ The rest is commentary.

    (Nowadays, the rest really is Commentary, come to think of it.)

  106. 106
    ellennelle says:

    hm. well, i suppose it might be worth considering that the reasons behind this whole obama response scenario might well have been diplomatic instead of political.

    or at least, in addition to political.

    i mean, think for a moment just how the world at large might have responded had the terrorism assessment been released right away. i don’t know, i’m no diplomat, but it’s easy for me to sort of map this out across various mid-east countries and over time to consider how an immediate announcement that this was the act of a qaeda splinter group might have been taken as (a) a deliberate distraction intended for the protesters, and (b) therefore not taken as seriously. given how much we knew at that point, one agenda had to have been to make sure this was not twisted into some kind of snarky ‘cry wolf’ oblivion. moreover, though they may well have been pretty certain about this assessment right away, it would seem – for the reasons stated above – that taking some time to be absolutely certain would be at the very least prudent.

    finally, i am not at all sure what nay-sayers feel there would be gained by jumping on the qaeda angle right away. stevens himself had warned about this growing group as far back as last summer, and he knew well what to expect. it’s not like this was a total surprise, but not at all one that required calling press conferences to bray to the world.

    these matters must be handled delicately. this is a point that seems to be totally lost on most of those reacting to international situations from the right. and evidently, some from the left, as well. as far as i can tell, the big complaint (prompting huckabee and hannity and others to call for impeachment; but not bush, really??) is that obama supposedly lied about this for political/campaign reasons. to that i say, total BS. watch the joint press conference he did with hillary right after the incident; you will note that they both stepped very carefully around huge potential international landmines in order to avoid making knee-jerk accusations in such an inflammatory international situation. they did not lie; in fact, they planted the seeds for the possibility that it was more than a protest out of control. in fact, it was that press conference that made me aware that they suspected more than they could let on at that time. if memory serves, they both also noted that it was libyans who tried to save stevens and took him to the hospital.

    and as it happens, the rightwing complaints of ‘ignoring warnings’ fall flat because stevens was there in benghazi (and not in tripoli at the embassy) for the express purpose of getting our folks safe – and out of there, if necessary – precisely because he knew of the dangers, especially in light of the growing protests; circumstances were too perfect for qaeda types to exploit.

    and, of course, 9/11.

    sorry for this longwinded response, but it was cathartic, as i get so incensed at the blatant ineptitude shown by the supposedly sophisticated and savvy rightwing media on all matters international and diplomatic. to them, all the world’s a nail just begging for our military might to hammer into submission.

  107. 107
    Ben Franklin says:

    @ellennelle:

    stevens was there in benghazi (and not in tripoli at the embassy) for the express purpose of getting our folks safe – and out of there, if necessary – precisely because he knew of the dangers, especially in light of the growing protests; circumstances were too perfect for qaeda types to exploit.

    Yes, but it does seem strange,knowing the dangers, that the compound where Stevens lived was open and accessible, with just two (albeit, former SEALS) security members, in attendance. There was something I read indicating the concerted attack was sudden, and not brewing over time.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    It’s strange he was a third-striker in 2010, and received parole, at all.

    In California, “three strikes” only applies to violent crime, which is generally interpreted to be crime that’s committed in person. So stealing a pack of batteries from a drugstore makes you eligible for life without parole, but using the internet to bilk people out of their money does not.

  109. 109
    Ben Franklin says:

    I saw the movie End of Watch, wherein two eager LAPD patrolmen got to the Sinaloa Cartel, were warned twice, yet did not take the threat seriously.

    Apropos of nothing. Just saying sometimes people get overconfident.

  110. 110
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Over 4,000 inmates in California are serving life sentences under the Three Strikes law for non-violent crimes.

    http://www.law.stanford.edu/node/149642

  111. 111
    xian says:

    @Glidwrith: the great irony is that if Romney had simply shown some decency and class (as Bush I and Reagan did in ’80), by now his surrogates could be crucifying Obama after this, but in his eagerness to exploit just the sort of incident he was shown hoping for in the 47% tape, he stepped on his own dick and inoculated Obama, possibly blowing his one chance to “change the game” this year.

  112. 112
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Btw; Proposition 36 will address this in November. A similar bill failed in 2004.

    I have been voir dire’d for a jury wherein a defendant was being set-up for this. I protested and was dismissed because I have a problem with legislation which pre-empts a judge’s oversight.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    “Non-violent” =/= financial fraud. If you read what I wrote, you might have noticed that the law considers any in-person crime — including, as I said, stealing a $10 pack of batteries from a drugstore — to be a “violent crime” by definition. That Stanford link lists a few other things their clients have been convicted of that count as “violent crimes” under the law:

    Past and current project clients have been given life sentences for minor offenses including stealing one dollar in loose change from a parked car, possessing less than a gram of narcotics, and attempting to break into a soup kitchen.

    Bilking people out of their money over the internet does not count as a “violent crime” under the law because a “violent crime” has to be committed in person. So, no, there is no “three strikes” for embezzelment or financial fraud.

  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    I’m not arguing that it’s a good law — clearly, anything that sends people to prison for life for stealing $10 worth of goods is a very bad law. But you seem to not realize that the dollar amount stolen is not what makes something a “violent crime” under the law as it currently stands. It becomes a “violent crime” if you commit the crime in person.

  115. 115
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    What should be, and what is, are two separate issues.

    I’ll watch with great interest as this case unfolds. You?

  116. 116
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I follow what you’re saying, but, for argument’s sake (Christ, I’ve been reading this goddammed blog for too long) isn’t every crime that’s committed done so in person?

  117. 117

    So, what, an attack that might *just possibly* have been random should be called “terrorism” immediately?

    Someone picked my pocket on a New York subway! I’VE BEEN HIT BY TERRORISTS! Someone spit on my sidewalk! OMG BIOLOGICAL WARFARE! BY TERRORISTS! A bird pooped on my windshield… TERRORISTS ARE CONTROLLING THE ANIMALS NOW!

  118. 118
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    If you steal millions via computer, it’s not “in person.” If you take $10 from a cash register, it’s “in person”.

    It’s utterly ridiculous, but the intent is to lock up the poor, not the rich, who are allowed to steal almost at will as long as they don’t get their hands dirty doing it.

    The penalties for the privileged SHOULD be much more severe. They need to set an example for others…even if it’s a bad example.

  119. 119
    Ben Franklin says:

    I’m certainly not arguing Nakoula should be a 3rd striker. But I am curious why, when so many non-violent offenders have been so convicted, was Nakoula exempted?

    Further, if he is deemed NOT in violation of probation, something really stinks, because he clearly violated his terms.

  120. 120
    Right/Left = Impulse/Thoughtfulness says:

    Am I catching this correctly:

    Obama didn’t want to prematurely yell ‘terrorism’!

    NYT ‘journalist’ Mark Landler now claims that cautious approach to a chaotic situation will be used by Obama’s opponents and then Landler’s report is in turn used by right-wingers to push their inevitable narrative?

    Anyone have the time to see if Landler’s manipulative writing has helped push the right-wing’s narrative before?

    * Put an asterisk by Mark Landler’s name, he appears to have just pushed a manipulative right-wing attack on Obama.

  121. 121
    Maude says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Pack up a little bag. We’re going to Paris and we are bringing the Republican Party along. We go on top of Notre Dame and call down, Hey, guys, come on over here. The oil should be hot enough by then.

  122. 122
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yeah….It seems to me that the person given a life sentence for three (petty) crimes- while someone committing three major financial felonies is free- might have a legitimate equal protection beef.

  123. 123
    Chris says:

    @ellennelle:

    these matters must be handled delicately. this is a point that seems to be totally lost on most of those reacting to international situations from the right.

    When I heard the term “neocon” described in one of my undergrad classes, the shorthand was basically that they were intellectuals (many of them originally Democrats) who saw every foreign policy crisis through the prism of World War Two – every new opponent is the new Hitler, and we should always react exactly as we did after Pearl Harbor.

    Which to some extent is a thought process that’s infected a large part of the public for the last seventy years. Having seen us conduct a total war leading to total victory in World War Two, lots of people simply don’t understand why we can’t or shouldn’t react to every problem in exactly the same way. Explains the proliferation of conspiracy theorists arguing that if we didn’t defeat the enemy, conquer his capital and install a successful democracy within a few years of the original crisis (Berlin crisis, Chinese revolution, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iran, you name it) it can only be because some shadowy cabals in Washington are plotting to stab us in the back.

    If those people had been in charge after Benghazi, we already would’ve indiscriminately bombed a bunch of Libyan targets already, and one of our newest alliances would be down the drain.

  124. 124
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Ben Franklin: Were these federal crimes or state crimes he committed. I don’t think the Feds have a three strikes policy.

  125. 125
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Federal has 3-strikes, but has violent crime, or drugs, as the linchpin.

    http://www.justice.gov/usao/eo.....m01032.htm

  126. 126
    JoyfulA says:

    @monkeyfister: Stormed the militia compound they figured were the guilty parties and chased the militia out of Benghazi, then stormed another militia compound, unarmed, and suffered 3 dead and numerous wounded. Others went to the consulate and found bodies and the consul still living, although dying. The locals provided many quotes about how he loved the Libyans and they loved him.

    There are apparently many former militia groups not disbanded in the region, and many ordinary citizens are sick of them.

  127. 127
    Chris says:

    @JoyfulA:

    It’s the number one source of complaints in Libya, understandably so. The government came out this week and said that the militias had to either disband or integrate into the government. The paradox is that they need at least some of them on their side or they’ll never be able to bring things under control (and of course, the fact that militia thugs have started wearing a uniform and getting a government paycheck doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to stop acting like thugs. Hell, witness the NYPD).

    In short, they’re building a nation. No easy task, especially when the last person who succeeded in building a strong central government used it the way he did.

  128. 128
    Donut says:

    @boss bitch:

    Somehow I have the feeling that the President will have an erudite and succinct answer that will put all this bullshit to rest. I hope so, anyway.

    This non-scandal only excites wingnuts and their representatives in Congress. The Admin bungled the messaging and consistency of same from the start, but they haven’t been hiding or covering up anything major, IMO.

    None of that will stop the media from fapping and making it as much of a “thing” as they can. That’s where the danger lies, that the narrative gets out of control for the Admin.

    Also, too, I wanted to say “I told you so” that things like our deep involvement in Libya would come back home to roost in ways we don’t expect or have the ability to foresee. This is exactly the kind of thing I kept yammering about. I know no one gives a shit, but whatever. This shit is dangerous in all kinds of ways.

    Have a nice day.

  129. 129
    JoyfulA says:

    @Chris: I agree, and I wish the Libyans well. From what I’ve read, Benghazi and eastern Libya in general are religiously conservative, and the Libyans who wound up in Afghanistan were from there; Gaddafi made changes in official Islamic practice that did not sit well with many.

    Which is why I was so heartened to read (AP via Comcast, I think) of the people there saying such lovely comments about the consul and the US.

  130. 130
    ken says:

    At least it is being discussed here and not swept under the rug. Now it is off the front of the NYTimes website, mainly because Punch died.

  131. 131
    Maude says:

    @JoyfulA:
    Thank FSM that McCain isn’t president. Romney really blew it with his smarmy remark the night the Stevens was killed.

  132. 132
    Chris says:

    @JoyfulA:

    Here’s another hopeful bit out of Libya: “Hundreds of Libyans voluntarily turn over their weapons after rallies calling for the disbanding of militias.”

    (I like Al Jazeera. Op-eds may frequently not agree with me, but where else do you find news like this?)

  133. 133
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @ken:

    Punch died? Well, frankly, no great loss. Like the death of Broder, the potential is there for the MSM to improve itself through subtraction.

    There are no great media figures. 95% of the well known ones are outright whores for the 1$.

  134. 134
    Maude says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I read the headline and thought, another one down.

  135. 135
    Ken_L says:

    @Rita R.: There’s also another theme: Obama wanted to blame the video so he can justify more thuggish domestic totalitarian suppression of freedom of speech.

  136. 136
    ellennelle says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    if i’m not mistaken, ben, the compound of which you speak was not where stevens lived. as i pointed out, he lived in tripoli in the US embassy; the attack took place in the consulate in benghazi, near the village he had earlier noted was harboring this burgeoning qaeda group.

    in short, the attack did not take place where he lived; he did not live in benghazi.

    also, i’m not sure how to address your descriptions of a “sudden” attack and “brewing over time”; they are not necessarily orthogonal. stevens himself (again, as i noted) had written an email to document this growing group of qaeda sympathizers getting trained in a nearby village (exposed in last year’s wikileaks diplomatic dump). CNN (apparently against all sense of journalistic decency) noted he expressed concerns he was on their hit list in his personal journal. so this was most definitely “brewing.”

    however, tho those sentiments might have been brewing, a “sudden” attack may have seemed imminent or at least likely due to (a) the cairo uprising, (b) some immediate intelligence to which stevens was made privy, hence his decision to personally leave tripoli to help with protecting/evacuating the benghazi consulate, (c) a benghazi protest to the film earlier that evening, and (d) 9/11.

    forgive me if i’m missing your point; it’s late here and i still have work to do. thx for your comment, tho.

  137. 137
    ellennelle says:

    @ellennelle:
    meant to say for point (b) above that stevens MAY have been made privy to some intelligence, etc. i have no idea if he was.

    sorry ’bout that.

  138. 138
    ellennelle says:

    @Chris:

    If those people had been in charge after Benghazi, we already would’ve indiscriminately bombed a bunch of Libyan targets already, and one of our newest alliances would be down the drain.

    could not agree more. and the fact that these folks are the very ones who drove us in precisely this insane way into an invasion of iraq, and are now advising rmoney, just blows my mind.

    hope obama’s edge continues to hold. and grow. his steady hand, along with hillary’s remarkable strengths, have been pitch-perfect. imho.

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