Friday, October 19, 2012

The Brow-Beatin' Heavy Leather Libya Shuffle...

Sometimes rubble is just...rubble
Wow.  The conservative echo chamber, Fox News, the Romney campaign and the Republican Party is ALL up in arms in outrage over...something.  There was an attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, four American diplomats were killed and the consulate building was destroyed.  I'm going to be honest here - I tend to think of myself as an astute observer of the American political scene, but I can't for the life of me figure out what they're wailing, tearing their hair and rending their garments over. There seems to be some dispute over whether it was an attack by Salafi Jihadists on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks or was an attack that grew out of a protest against a ridiculous movie trailer, but it's completely unclear which narrative they prefer.  For the most part, they seem to once again prefer whatever is the opposite of the White House position, and they abandoned any pretense of logical consistency long ago.

I've mostly avoided even thinking about this idiocy, because it's stupid, and because it's purely politically motivated.  The very vacuousness of the "allegations" tend to indicate that there's really nothing behind them.  The fact that nobody is suggesting that there might have been a different outcome, or that if something had been handled differently the situation would be markedly different, tells me that nothing egregious happened, and nothing significant was neglected.  And on a larger scale, if this represents the best line of attack the opposition party can mount against an incumbent President, well that sounds to me more like a tacit endorsement of his performance more than anything else.

They seem to think it somehow matters whether and when the President called it a terror attack.  Now, I don't have any idea what that changes or how it changes anything, but in a hilarious example of right-wing epistemological closure manged to convince themselves that Obama didn't use the magic word "terrorism" for two weeks, to the point where Willard Romney used this argument in a climactic attack on Obama in the debates, only to be shocked to discover that he could have saved himself all manner of embarrassment with one simple Google search.

Now that they're stuck with the truth of Obama and the "T-Word", the next line of attack is that it took him four minutes in his speech before he said it.  I wonder how things might have been different if he had said that word three minutes earlier.  I'm having trouble seeing it.

So an attack happened in a post-revolutionary Arab country five thousand miles from Washington and the White House worked through the chaos and confusion, eventually determined what happened, and set out to react to it.  None of this is shocking, or even unusual, and the only real important question is how the State Department resolves, mitigates and prevents further attacks.  Diplomats are always at risk in unstable places, and it's important that the Department leadership react rationally.  They should not over-react - diplomats cannot operate from hermetically sealed fortresses, and wouldn't be significantly safer if they tried to.  They should work with the host nation to determine if it was an organized attack, and if it was they should try to prosecute the organizers.  Some review of policies and procedures in revolutionary and post-revolutionary locations would not be a bad thing.  But beyond that, it just seems like another day in a world that tries to solve too many problems by killing them.


  1. well, they miss the days when politicians would take the podium, light their hair on fire, scream TERRA TERRA TERRA TERRA TERRA! AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!; piddle on the reporters, and scuttle backwards from the room.

  2. Oddly, it even seems as if the reporters miss the piddling...

  3. It's pretty obvious that this is all Candy Crowley's fault. If she had not contradicted the daddyman Romulan none of this would be happening.

  4. Did somebody say Candy Crowley?

    I think FAUX Nooze has been visiting the House of Substance.

  5. only to be shocked to discover that he could have saved himself all manner of embarrassment with one simple Google search.

    Clearly Mitt should fire the people he hired to do the Googling. That's what real leadership is.