By Kevin Gabriel
In the on-going analysis of the Benghazi fiasco, not enough has been made of the cold-blooded way the administration chose to deal with Americans who were under a terrorist attack. Despite the opinions of the leaders of the "Foreign Emergency Support Team" (FEST) that this was "precisely the sort of crisis to which the team was trained to respond," we now know that such intervention was ruled out from the start.
The question is why? The administration's lame after-the-fact excuse that the FEST team would not have arrived in time is absurd on its face, since no one knew how long the attack would last. Besides, why wouldn't they have taken any reasonable chance to save the Ambassador and his cohorts?
We can only surmise that the administration had no interest in complicating matters by interjecting the American military. They had been spinning a tale not only about the vanquishing of al-Qaida, but also about the ascending status of America in the Middle East. With the President at the helm, we were a kinder, gentler country that had owned up to the "cowboy" behavior of the Bush administration. It is inevitable, they argued, that Islam will love us, once its people understand the enlightened perspective of our leadership, a leadership that understands that "Islam has always been part of the American story."
Which brings us back to Benghazi. What would have happened if we had sent in troops?
Having helicopter gunships come in with weapons blazing would have made the whole episode pretty darn conspicuous. What if this had resulted in the deaths of a multitude of attackers and local civilians? What if American soldiers had been killed? There could have been dozens of deaths. Maybe hundreds. That was a prospect that surely frightened the administration. Either they would be stuck explaining why American soldiers died or (surely worse) explaining to Islam why we had chosen to flaunt American military might.
Certainly the narrative of the Obama Campaign, that al-Qaida was toast, would have been belied by such action. If we have to send in the marines, so to speak, our enemy is not vanquished. And the Islamic world would likely have been incensed. How could the President position himself as a friend of Islam after such an attack? Surely Islamists would have argued the reaction was totally out of proportion – that it was exactly the sort of bellicose behavior George W. Bush exhibited.
The people at the Embassy were left to go it alone. After all, the administration did not know what would happen. Maybe the whole thing would fizzle or they would elude the attackers. But if they couldn't, they would have to die. The President's campaign was more important. So these four people (and it could have been many more without great heroics) were sacrificed on the altar of the President's re-election.
No other explanation for the administration's stubborn refusal to intercede when American lives were at stake makes any sense. This is the real outrage of the way the episode was handled. It was not simply that these people died, it was that they were allowed to die.
When one understands this, the behavior of the administration after the incident becomes less mysterious. The use of a puerile film as an excuse for a spontaneous uprising had the virtue of solving multiple problems for it. First, it excused its failure adequately to protect the consulate before the attack. After all, if there had been no film, there would have been no uprising.
Second, it created the impression that the attack had been unexpected and sudden, and so, that no military response was possible.
Lastly, and most importantly, it attempted to exonerate the Islamic world and the terrorists who are such an integral part of it from responsibility. In effect, the administration was telling us that the real problem was US. Irresponsible Americans who "slander the profit of Islam" (to use the President's words at the UN) were responsible for the attack. Thus, the administration's fundamental view of the Middle East and its blindness to the threat of Islamic terrorism were excused. If only we weren't so insensitive, there would have been no attack. But don't blame the President.
In the final analysis, what we have here is another instance of the cognitive dissonance that plagues the left-wing mind. To the left's thinking, Islam is not threat and there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism. These are realities it cannot acknowledge. When reality rears its head and intercedes, it tries to sweep the resulting mess under the carpet. In this case, the "mess" was four human beings.
Kevin Gabriel is a freelance writer and consultant.