Who Is Responsible for the Mess in Libya?
Andrew P. Napolitano
by Andrew P. Napolitano: Let
Gary Johnson Debate
How many times
have you heard the truism that in modern-day America the cover-up
is often as troubling as the crime? That is becoming quite apparent
in the case of the death of Chris Stevens, the former U.S. ambassador
three State Department employees were murdered in the U.S. consulate
in Benghazi, Libya, last month, on September 11th. About an hour
before the murders, the ambassador, who usually resides in the U.S.
embassy in Tripoli but was visiting local officials and staying
at the consulate in Benghazi, had just completed dinner there with
a colleague, whom he personally walked to the front gate of the
compound. In the next three hours, hundreds of persons assaulted
the virtually defenseless compound and set it afire.
same time that these crimes took place in Benghazi, a poorly produced,
low-grade 15-minute YouTube clip was going viral on the Internet.
The clip shows actors in dubbed voices portraying the prophet Mohammed
and others in an unflattering light. The Obama administration seized
upon the temporary prevalence of this clip to explain the assault
on the consulate. Indeed, the administration sent U.N. Ambassador
Susan Rice to represent it on five Sunday morning TV talk shows
on September 16th, to make the claim that the attack on the consulate
was a spontaneous reaction to the YouTube clip, that it could not
have been anticipated, and that the perpetrators were ordinary Libyans
angry at the freedom moviemakers in America enjoy.
intelligence reports were leaked that revealed that the intelligence
community knew the attack was not as described by Rice. The intelligence
folks on the ground in Libya reported before September 16th that
the attack was well organized, utilized military equipment and tactics,
and was carried out by local militias with ties to al-Qaida. In
response to these leaks, the State Department, for which Rice works,
acknowledged that the assault was an organized terrorist attack.
The Obama administration
has publicly rejected the intelligence leaks and insisted as recently
as last week during the vice presidential debate that "we" did not
know the assault was an act of terrorism against American personnel
and property. The word "we" was uttered by Vice President Biden,
whose credibility hit a new low when he insisted that the government
did not know what we now know it knew. A day after the debate, the
White House claimed that the "we" uttered by Biden referred to the
president and the vice president, and not to the federal government
or the State Department. This is semantics akin to Bill Clinton's
"it depends what the meaning of 'is' is."
week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in one of her rare forays
into domestic politics, backed up the White House. She actually
claimed that the White House was kept in the dark by the State Department.
on here is the unraveling of a value-free foreign policy and its
unintended consequences. The whole reason that the streets in Libya
are not safe and the country is ruled by roving gangs of militias
is because the U.S. bombed the country last year. In an unconstitutional
act of war, the president alone ordered the bombing. It destroyed
the Libyan military, national and local police, roads, bridges,
and private homes. It facilitated the murder of our former ally
Col. Gadhafi and ensured the replacement of him by a government
that cannot govern.
attack defies the claims of the president, articulated loud and
long during this presidential campaign, that because he killed Osama
bin Laden, al-Qaida is dead or dying, and the terrorists are at
bay. Thus, in order to be faithful to his campaign rhetoric, the
president has been unfaithful to the truth. I personally have seen
excerpts from intelligence cables sent by American agents in Libya
to Washington on September 12th, the day after the attack and four
days before Rice's TV appearances, acknowledging the dominant role
played by al-Qaida in the attack.
So, who is
to blame here? The president. He is responsible for destroying the
government in Libya, and he is responsible for the security of U.S.
personnel and property there. He is accountable to the American
people, and he is expected to tell the truth. Instead, he has leaked
the possibility of more bombings in Libya. These bombings would
be more than a month after the Benghazi consulate attack and would
attack the very government that Obama's 2011 bombs helped to install.
Is it any wonder
that Bill Clinton, in an unguarded private moment, referred to Obama
as "the amateur"?
with the author's permission.
October 18, 2012
him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey,
is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano
has written six books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent
Is Dangerous To Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case
for Personal Freedom. To find out more about Judge Napolitano
and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists,
© 2012 Andrew P. Napolitano
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