First Romney, then the You Tube clip, now the Marines are to blame?The Obama administration’s shifting claims on what took place inBenghazi, Libya on 9/11 became more defiant yesterday when unnamedofficials suggested that no amount of security would have mattered inLibya, not even a detachment of US Marines. This came on the same daythe administration also admitted the assault was a terror attack not aprotest gone wrong.
The claim came as part of an investigative report by CNN. Unnamed officials described a pattern of previous attacks in Benghazi as “Stand-off attacks with no follow up.” By contrast, the 9/11 attack was “a whole paradigm shift for whichthere was no prior intelligence and there was no context to put inrelated to what was going on.” In other words, we weren’t ready for an attack this big.
Perhaps to emphasize the scale of the attack, an official claimed that even if Marines had been on hand it might not have mattered “More guards, or even a Marine detachment, the officials maintained, could not have curbed the lethal attack.” Note that this is a quote from CNN, not a direct quote of the source, though they are clearly relating his words.
It’s insulting and dismissive to suggest US Marines couldn’t have made a difference. Reports suggest that as few as 20 and no more than 50 peoplewere involved in the consulate attack. The problem was that we had 4-8 Libyanguards and just 5 US security people in a compound with no interior gate and no guard towers. And when we did send in a security detachment from Tripoli by helicopter that night reports suggest that they were able to fight off the attack and rescue remaining staff. It would not have taken manyMarines to balance the scales and perhaps result in a very different outcome.
Yesterday, Jay Carney announced “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”This is just the latest shift in a series that seem designed atdeflecting blame. What is truly self-evident is that the administrationhas been trying very hard to avoid taking responsibility for thesecurity failure that led to the first killing of a US Ambassador in 30years. The administration was happy to let the press obsess overRomney’s comments for the first couple days. Then they claimed it was aprotest gone wrong and blamed a You Tube clip. Now they’re claiming noamount of security, not even the Marines, couldn’t have stopped whathappened. You may notice the pattern here: It’s always about whatsomebody else did or couldn’t have done.