As Americans pause today to remember the trauma–and heroism–of September 11, 2001, we have a new reason to commemorate the day: the embassy attacks of September 11, 2012. A year later, there have been no arrests and no responses. Those responsible for neglecting embassy security have been restored, while those who raised concerns are still suffering. And the leaders most responsible pretend nothing happened.
The story of how President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have escaped accountability for what happened in Benghazi, Libya and in Cairo, Egypt a year ago today is one of the great political escapes, and one of the great media scandals, of our history. “What difference does it make?” Clinton railed in January. The difference is profound indeed, both for the dead and the nation as a whole.
The political consequences were decisive. What should have happened is that the media should have asked what President Obama was doing that evening, why he was not in touch with his top national security advisers throughout the evening, why he flew to Las Vegas for a fundraiser the next day, why the Secretary denied security to Benghazi, and why her officials were apologetic as crowds stormed the Cairo embassy.
Instead, the media pounced on Mitt Romney’s response late that night, which addressed the Cairo debacle and was issued before the nation knew about the Benghazi deaths. This was to be the latest of Romney’s alleged “gaffes”–none of which were incorrect, and all of which pale in comparison to the incompetence on display a year later in Obama’s response to Syria’s crossing of the chemical weapons “red line.”
Obama and Clinton concocted one of the most audacious lies ever told by an American leader–that the attacks were a reaction to an obscure anti-Islamic video made by a Christian in the U.S. Essentially, he offered fellow Americans to the enemy as scapegoats. When the story unraveled, Obama pretended to have said all along that Benghazi had been a terror attack–another lie, eagerly defended by the media.
Meanwhile, the filmmaker responsible for the video was jailed on an unrelated parole violation–a craven concession to the Muslim Brotherhood–while the terrorists themselves lounged in Libya, secure in the knowledge that Obama was in no rush to pursue them or to deal with the mess that U.S. intervention had left behind.
The collapse of the U.S. deterrent in Syria today began with Egypt and Libya a year ago.
That, ultimately, is the most important difference that Benghazi made. It showed that America is willing to abandon its own citizens to the barbaric, unabashed violence of our enemies. The culpability goes beyond Obama and extends to the Beltway media and political classes–including those Republicans who resist a full inquiry into the events of September 11, 2012, which ignored the warnings and lessons of the first 9/11.
The consequence is that Americans are less safe–as are people around the world who face the violence of tyrants and terrorists alike. Those who, like President Obama, exhort Americans not to turn away from the children of Syria (despite ignoring children killed there by conventional weapons for over two years) should consider what their own indifference to American lives has contributed to our nation’s new impotence.