November 26 2012

What Does the Movie Argo Say About Benghazi?

Charlotte Hays

A friend of mine emailed me with an interesting observation after seeing Argo, the marvelous Ben Affleck movie based on the true story of a CIA agent who rescues six Americans stranded in the Canadian embassy in Tehran in 1979:

We really enjoyed Argo.  Even knowing the ending it was still exciting.  What made me sad was seeing the extraordinary lengths the USA went to in saving 6 Americans then and what we did not do in Benghazi.

It has been two months since the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that left four Americans, including an ambassador, dead, and astonishingly the Obama administration still isn’t forthcoming. Michael Walsh writes in the New York Post:  

[W]e still don’t know what really happened that night—and thanks to a secretive White House and an incurious Washington press corps, we probably never will. Officially that is.

Walsh points out that unofficially we knew what happened almost immediately, despite the fairy tale being peddled by the Obama administration. But we don’t know who made the decision not to attempt to rescue the embattled Americans in Benghazi.

Benghazi was a first-class military and moral disgrace, and one that the Democrats paid absolutely no price for in the recent election.

But the questions won’t go away. Who gave the order to stand down as the consulate was under fire? Who came up with the cockamamie story — so eagerly peddled by UN Ambassador Susan Rice and other administration spokespersons right after the event — that the sacking and looting were in response to an obscure video that lampooned the origins of Islam and had been posted on You Tube for months?

And why did President Obama cling to such a risible explanation, and then (with a timely assist from Candy Crowley in the second presidential debate) turn on a dime and claim he knew the assault was terrorism all along?

To turn tragedy into French bedroom farce, the truth was further obscured by CIA Director David Petraeus’ unaccountable public silence — until his affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell (which the administration surely had known about for months and was holding over his head for just such an occasion) caused him to resign in disgrace a few days after the election. …

And here’s where the fog of war collides with the blinding clarity of politics. Obama had already determined to run as the Slayer of Osama bin Laden, and a horde of howling Arabs shouting, “Obama, Obama, there are still a billion Osamas” as they pulled down the American flag in Cairo and attacked us elsewhere was an inconvenient truth that had to be obscured by any means necessary.

We need to see the pictures of what the president was doing that night. If he wasn’t right there in the situation room all night, treating the life and death struggle of four Americans as a matter of as much concern as killing Bin Laden, we deserve to know. To borrow a line from the musical Camelot: What was the president thinking--and doing--that night?

The Carter administration made a mess in the Middle East, but at least Jimmy Carter’s CIA against all odds rescued six stranded Americans. Carter may be one of the most annoying men to sit in the Oval Office, but I can’t imagine his administration behaving the way the current administration has with regard to Benghazi. This is a matter of character.

But go see Argo--it's a film about courage, something we need to see more of today in Washington. 

 

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