A Democratic president once said “the buck stops here.” A Democratic presidential candidate once said “a fish rots from the head.” Barack Obama seems hell-bent on denying the first adage and personifying the second.
When he was asked-finally!-whether those under siege in the consular annex in Benghazi were denied armed support (e.g., AC-130s, drones, special forces), Obama resorted to the oldest and most disgusting dodge in the book: we need to wait on an investigation.
President Obama told KUSA-TV’s Kyle Clarke large that “we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.”
Clark pressed again.
“Were they denied requests for help during the attack?” he asked.
“Well, we are finding out exactly what happened,” the president again said. “I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.”
Earlier today, Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin reported that CIA agents in the second U.S. compound in Benghazi were denied requests for help.
What makes that dodge even more egregious is the hiding behind the families of those killed. Some of whom, by the way, have been outspoken in demanding answers NOW, and who have been extremely critical of the way that Obama-personally-treated them.
But it gets worse. Obama actually did an OJ imitation:
“Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do.”
This is quite simple.
- Did Obama make the decision not to dispatch military relief to the beleaguered in Benghazi? (I note that CIA head David Patraeus denies that the CIA made any such decision. Clearly putting the ball in Obama’s court.)
- If yes, no investigation is necessary. Just tell us what the decision was, and the rationale. Or does it take him 45 days to investigate himself?
- If no, who did?
- If no, why did Obama delegate the decision to someone else?
- What did the designee report to Obama? Again: does it take him 45 days do establish who in the chain of command made the decision and why?
Again: why doesn’t he know already? If he doesn’t know, he’s totally out of the loop. If he does know, and isn’t saying, he’s covering up something.
Hard to decide which is worse.
To reprise some famous questions: what did he know and when did he know it? To which I add: and what did he do about it? What was he doing during the 7 hours of the assault? Was he in the White House situation room? If not, why not? If not, who was? Was he in communication? What decisions did he make? What was his reasoning?
The answers to these obvious questions don’t require him to await the completion of an investigation. They require him to open his mouth and tell the country what he knew; what he did; and why he did it. President, investigate thyself.
The guy who is in love with first person pronouns (have any doubts about that, check out the transcript of the last debate) loves to talk about himself and his wonderfulness. Why so shy now?
I think I know exactly why. He is running as Mr. Gutsy Call, the guy who made the daring decision to take out Osama. If it turns out that he made a not so gutsy call here, or didn’t make any call at all, that whole meme is shot to hell. And other than that, WTF does he have to run on?
There’s a big difference between approving execution of a plan that has been meticulously crafted, critiqued, and practiced over a period of months on the one hand, and making a split second call in a fast-developing situation with less than perfect information on the other. The real gutsy calls-gutsy in terms of courage, and in terms of having to rely on gut instinct rather than analysis and debate-are the split second kind.
It is an awesome responsibility to have to make either kind of decision, but especially the latter. I think that people would be understanding if he could provide a reasonably defensible rationale of his decision. There is usually a tendency to rally around the president, and to give him the benefit of the doubt about hard decisions, especially those involving combat: Jimmy Carter actually got a positive bump after the Desert One disaster. If he truly thinks it was the right call, he should be able to defend it, and should have a receptive audience.
Which leads me to the following observation: his refusal to answer any questions about Benghazi means that he can’t defend his decision.