Sometimes it is embarrassing to be an American. The way Republicans reacted, and continue to react, to the deaths of 4 Americans in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 is one of those times.
Yesterday, the embarrassment reached new, but not lofty, heights. Judicial Watch, a right wing outfit which specializes in conspiracy theories, mostly about our unAmerican president.....released an e-mail they obtained from a FOIA request.
The e-mail is from the White House's Ben Rhodes and was sent to Susan Rice during the week leading up to her Sunday Show appearances following the Benghazi violence. In the e-mail, conservative media and Republican officials think they have found their "smoking gun" implicating Obama and our next president, Hillary Clinton, in some huge cover-up or crime.
However, what Judicial Watch has discovered......sigh.....is not a smoking gun....but a kid's pop gun.
On April 17, Judicial Watch released a series of documents including a September 14, 2012 email from Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes to then-United Nations ambassador Susan Rice outlining goals and advice for Rice's upcoming interviews on the Sunday talk shows. Media outlets concentrated on Rhode's instructions to "To underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video and not a broader failure of policy."
As Joe Scarborough melted down in real time on yesterday's Morning Blow over this new found pop gun....Chuck Todd, the consummate Villager, distilled the entire Benghazi "story" down to one "belief."
Todd said that you either believe there were multiple protests in multiple Muslim countries going on at the time of the Benghazi attack....or you don't. Todd is surely not my go-to guy in the Village, but on yesterday's pop gun revelation, he had it right.
On the Sunday Susan Rice appeared on morning "news" shows, the weekend following the Benghazi violence, network anchors acknowledged the anti-Muslim video and the numerous protests it encouraged....
Fox's Chris Wallace....."This week, there have been anti-American protests in two dozen countries across the Islamic world. The White House says it has nothing to do with the president's policies."
ABC's Jake Tapper...."Look at this map, if you would. There have been protests around the world over the last several days. And President Obama pledged to repair America's relationships with the Muslim world."
CBS's Bob Schieffer....."There seems to be demonstrations in more than twenty cities as far as we know yesterday. Is there any sense that this is leveling off?"
Even though it was apparent from the start that there had been multiple Muslim protests in numerous countries before and after the Benghazi violence.....all instigated by the anti-Muslim video "Innocence of Muslims".....anti-Obama forces, as they launched their conspiracy.....mocked and ridiculed the truth that the video had played a role in Muslim unrest.
In the e-mail instructions to Rice from Rhodes.....the White House Deputy Security Adviser wrote....."To underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video.." He referred to "protests"....plural....protests that were "rooted in an internet video." All of that is factually true.
Even Libyans who were there the night of the attack told New York Times reporters the video was the reason for the attack.....
To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence.
From the beginning of the right's Benghazi conspiracy-in-a-box approach to this tragedy, anti-Obama personnel have accused Obama of orchestrating a coverup of a lie about the cause of the Benghazi violence. Allegedly, Obama and his minions made up an excuse-story about some anti-Muslim video catalyzing middle eastern protests and unrest to avoid political damage over his "al-Qaeda leaders have been decimated" credentials before a hotly contested election.
The problem with the right's conspiracy-in-a-box theory is that there was an anti-Muslim video which actually was the catalyst for all the protesting. And al-Qaeda, despite every conservative effort to mislead otherwise, had nothing to do with the violence in Benghazi.....
The fighters said at the time that they were moved to act because of the video, which had first gained attention across the region after a protest in Egypt that day.
At a news conference the day after the ambassador and three other Americans were killed, a spokesman for Ansar al-Shariah praised the attack as the proper response to such an insult to Islam. "We are saluting our people for this zeal in protecting their religion, to grant victory to the Prophet," the spokesman said. "The response has to be firm." Other Benghazi militia leaders who know the group say its leaders and ideology are all homegrown.
The real WTF here.....is that all of this was evident starting immediately after the Benghazi violence. Republicans, the desperate, flailing, we'll-do-or-say-anything bunch that they are, have denied that the video ever existed or played a role and that, by god, al-Qaeda was involved, even though they were not.
The only goal of Republicans vis-a-vis Benghazi is to open a Select Committee on the incident which will drag future president Hillary Clinton through the right-wing conspiracy mud in the hopes her presidential prospects will be dinged. That has been the goal from the beginning.
It's just so embarrassing to see so many conservative celebrities pointing to the kid's toy pop-gun they are holding in their hands while shouting "hey, all you kids, look at my big person smoking gun." So embarrassing.
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