An Alternate History of the Benghazi Consulate Attack
by Joel Poindexter: Libertarians
Should Vote for… No One
As might be
expected, the Right wing is in a frenzy of self-righteous indignation
over the latest details to come out of the September 11, 2012 attack
on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. For weeks the Obama administration
has been under increased pressure to explain exactly what was known
prior to, during, and immediately after the assault that left the
U.S. ambassador and three other American agents dead. Initial reports
were that protests over a film defaming the Muslim prophet Mohammed
had gotten out of hand, and the consulate was overrun.
plausible, this narrative quickly crumbled when it became clear
that even if there were protestors that night, another group had
planned an attack on the consulate. Questions were raised and it
soon became apparent that many of the important details were being
left out, and that perhaps a cover-up was underway. Within a month,
details emerged – and U.S. officials began to acknowledge them –
that indicated the attack had nothing to do with the poorly-produced
video, and that a pre-meditated assault had taken place.
second presidential debate, which took place on October 16th, there
was a heated exchange between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, in which
the former lambasted the latter over his refusal to declare the
incident a terrorist attack. The moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley,
to the defense of the president, fact-checking Mitt Romney's
statement. She did however acknowledge later that there were some
inconsistencies in the official story. Despite such tensions, and
the fact that more questions were being raised on the subject, it
was ignored entirely during the final debate. The fact that this
last debate focused on foreign policy made this all the more curious.
week, a series
of e-mails was released, which shed more light on the attack.
The Obama administration, say Republicans, made a series of terrible
mistakes, leaving the Ambassador and his staff vulnerable in such
a dangerous situation. Ambassador Stevens had requested
additional security in the weeks prior, perhaps sensing that
increasing tensions in the region could put him and his team at
greater risk. The administration denied Stevens’ request.
Once the attack
was underway, CIA operatives who were staying in a nearby safe house
permission to assist the Ambassador, knowing how exposed he
and his staff were; they were told to stay put. It is also reported
that two reconnaissance drones were circling overhead, broadcasting
a live feed of the events back to Washington, and that an AC-130
Spectre gunship was nearby to provide close air support, if needed.
these decisions not to increase security border on negligent, but,
saying, it’s the cover-up that’s worse than the crime. Had the
Obama administration been upfront about what they knew and the choices
they made, this would be tragic, but perhaps not so egregious for
many on the Right, or so they say.
Let’s not forget
however, that we aren’t dealing with two unbiased factions here.
These are two groups engaged in a perpetual PR battle to stay in
the favor of American voters, and there’s a big election in less
than two weeks, to boot. Regardless of how president Obama and the
bureaucrats in Washington handled this, the GOP was going to be
extremely critical. They almost always are.
There is perhaps
one case in which the Right wouldn’t be so outraged. It’s possible
to imagine events unfolding in a manner far different, though no
less tragic, and the American Right being fully supportive, if not
right congratulatory of the president.
it was announced that Osama bin Laden had been found and killed
inside of Pakistan, hardly anyone seemed to mind one bit that the
U.S. had violated the territory of another sovereign nation, and
murdered a woman in the process. The thought of how we might respond
if the reverse happened was never considered by a significant majority
of the public. Instead, people took to the streets and chanted USA!
USA! USA! When Ron Paul addressed
the issue, suggesting there may have been other ways to handle
the situation, he was ridiculed.
So let’s consider
a similar scenario, one in which Ambassador Stevens and his staff
come under attack and the president reacts with unrestrained military
It’s the evening
of September 11, 2012 and a band of well-armed fighters begins an
assault against the U.S. consulate in Libya. The ambassador evacuates
his office, makes his way to the safe house a short distance away,
and holes up. The group is followed by the militia and fighting
continues into the night. The CIA agents request permission to intervene
and are given the green light.
Operations Task Force that has been moved
into southern Italy for just this contingency is scrambled and
boards aircraft from Naval Air Station Sigonella. The AC-130 Spectre
gunship is launched and begins orbiting above the city. As the operators
from the CIA approach the scene of the attack they begin coordinating
fire with the Air Force, painting targets with an infrared laser.
The crew of the gunship zeros in on the fighters below and immediately
begins pouring death from their 105mm howitzer and 40mm cannon.
rain down on the city, tearing apart those laying siege to the consulate
and innocent bystanders without regard. Militant fighters are gunned
down along with women, children, the elderly and anyone else not
quick enough to make their way out of the fire zone. The drones
circling above record and broadcast the carnage back to Washington,
as the president and his national security team eagerly watch with
grave concern over the lives of half a dozen Americans.
As the dust
and smoke clears from the demolished buildings nearby, the dying
and wounded attempt to crawl to safety. And, just
as with the attacks in Pakistan, each time survivors attempt
to make a rescue, the drones catch their movement, prompting another
volley of cannon fire. Again, high explosives tear through the neighborhood,
taking more life, disfiguring more innocent human beings. Families
are decimated, livelihoods are crushed, and the loss to private
property is staggering.
the attack has subsided, the gunship’s weapons systems are silenced,
but the aircraft remains in its methodic orbit. Living up to its
name, the Spectre haunts the city’s residents, who are paralyzed
with fear. Afraid to leave their homes for fear of being mistaken
for an enemy fighter, and knowing their simple dwellings afford
them virtually no protection from state-of-the-art weaponry, they
huddle in groups, praying to God they’ll survive the night.
dawn breaks, the Special Operations Task Force arrives in Benghazi.
Heavily armed men swarm what’s left of the compound and surrounding
blocks, extracting the Ambassador and rendering first aid to the
wounded American embassy staff. One of the CIA operators was killed
while directing fire and his body is recovered. A small child is
found nearby, though critically wounded she somehow survived the
onslaught and is taken up by the Special Forces unit to receive
top-notch medical care in a U.S. hospital.
shaves, puts on a fresh suit, and walks out to brief the news media
and the American people. He describes the thwarted embassy attack
and the heroic rescue mission, albeit he gives a sterilized version,
so as not to reveal too much about U.S. tactics, or the extensive
loss of life. The agent of the CIA is lionized as the one American
to heroically give his life in defense of his fellow Americans,
their mission, and his nation. The president concludes by explaining
that despite the wounds – both physical and symbolic – good triumphed
over evil, and that U.S. resolve is unbroken.
In the immediate
aftermath, the news media rush to be the first to interview top
officials in the administration. Major networks and cable channels
quickly produce documentaries and detailed computer animations of
the ordeal. Regular programming is pushed back to accommodate hours
and hours of news specials and exclusive stories. There's the usual
talk of a film based on the events and the public eagerly awaits
the many books that will be written on the subject. Hollywood film
studios and publishing houses salivate in anticipation.
politicians and pundits once
again praise the president’s decisive action, each trying to
outdo one another in their approval of the way in which the situation
was handled. Though a few in the media raise questions about the
number of Libyans killed, and what exactly motivated the assault
in the first place, they’re either shouted down as traitors to the
American cause by the neoconservatives, or drowned out by the sycophantic
press corps. The wounded girl we soon learn has become an orphan
and is thrust into the spotlight, becoming a celebrity in her own
right. Western news media follow her recovery in detail, and provide
the public with frequent updates.
None of this
is difficult to imagine. The American people are treated to such
narratives all the time. The U.S. government intervenes in some
remote country (often on behalf of large
veiled as strategic interests) and innocent lives are lost. Many
of the locals understandably resent this, and some respond violently.
The U.S. government reacts with overwhelming military force, many
more innocents are killed, and the U.S. corporate state emerges
victorious. The Left and Right pretend to unite – if not temporarily
– and the American media reports everything from the perspective
of the Pentagon and the White House.
there is more resentment, more outrage over the deaths. Not only
were so many lost, but their deaths go completely unreported, or
brushed off as collateral damage. Hatred builds, and years, maybe
decades later, there is finally retribution. The cycle
repeats, over and over and over.
As for what
exactly happened in Libya, we don’t really know, yet. There has
been speculation over the role of Ambassador Stevens and whether
he may have been trafficking
weapons to rebels in the region. The question has also been
raised as to whether Stevens was acting
as an intelligence agent, which wouldn’t be much of a surprise
either. Both are plausible, and indeed likely. It may be many years
before the truth comes out, but eventually it will. And when it
does, it’s crucial that the American people understand cause and
effect, and demand an end to this disastrous and reprehensible foreign
him mail] is a student of economics and part-time writer;
he is a columnist for the Tenth
Amendment Center and a contributing author to Voices
Of Revolution: Americans Speak Out For Ron Paul. See his
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
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