September 16, 2012

Benghazi - spontaneous demonstration or planned attack

The Administration's definition of a spontaneous demonstration

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, there are two versions of what happened at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last week. The Obama Administration, which apparently failed to provide adequate security for its diplomatic personnel, would have us believe that the attack that resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff and wounded many others, was the result of a spontaneous demonstration over a movie trailer posted on the internet.

I have already asked about the obviously flawed decision for the U.S. ambassador to be in an unprotected facility far from the embassy in Tripoli on the 11th anniversary of arguably the most devastating attack on the United States since World War II. See my earlier article for my comments on that mistake, US Ambassador to Libya killed - the response?

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Sunday that "preliminary information indicated that the consulate attack was not planned." She invoked past violence in the Middle East associated with cartoons about Muhammad, and Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses, concluding with the rather definitive statement that "this has been the proximate cause of what we've seen."

I understand that the Administration is trying to excuse its bad decisions as regards the safety of American diplomatic personnel in Libya on the anniversary of September 11, 2001, but their explanation - echoed by all the Administration mouthpieces - in the face of what happened is ludicrous. First of all, there are relatively few actual spontaneous demonstrations in the Middle East - most of the governments in the region tightly control these types of gatherings. This isn't a flash mob in Los Angeles.

Secondly, who brings AK-47 assault rifles and RPG grenade launchers to a "spontaneous demonstration?" Actually, I know the answer. No one. Who brings AK-47 assault rifles and RPG grenade launchers to a planned operation? Al-Qa'idah.

Let's also consider the remarks by Libyan President Muhammad Magareif (al-Maqariyaf) - and remember he is on-scene with the benefit of the interrogations of 50 individuals arrested by the Libyan security and intelligence services. Magarief claims that the attack was planned and executed by foreigners linked to al-Qa'idah. I would point out that the eastern provinces of Libya have been a fertile recruiting ground for al-Qa'idah for years, so some of the perpetrators may have fact been Libyan.

The Libyan president allowed that there may have been local sympathizers and affiliates - Libyan nationals. In any case, those locals were part of a planned attack and not a ""spontaneous" demonstration in reaction to an internet post. How many of those people seen in the videos of the attack routines do you think routinely surf the internet?

President Magareif's version of reality makes more sense to me. Spontaneous demonstrators do not engage in a four-hour firefight to make their point. This was a calculated, planned attack on an unprotected U.S. diplomatic facility that was hosting the U.S. ambassador on the anniversary virtually sacred to al-Qa'idah.

The timing was not a coincidence. The terrorist group meant to mount an attack on September 11. They obviously had good intelligence - they knew the ambassador was visiting the consulate - an unprotected building in a residential compound in Benghazi - rather than remaining at the better-protected embassy in Tripoli. Personnel at the consulate had warned of surveillance of the facility in the weeks prior to the attack. Al-Qa'idah saw an opportunity to exploit an error in judgement and took it. The result: four dead American diplomats.

Ambassador Rice's comments: “What happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video. People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent. And those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons, which unfortunately are quite common in post-revolutionary Libya, and that then spun out of control.”

The Administration needs to stop insulting the intelligence of virtually everyone but those in it. It was a planned attack. Even if you choose to believe Ambassador Rice's non-nonsensical version of what happened, it still indicates an attack by extremists that must be dealt with.

I am afraid "outreach" isn't going to cut it. As I have said before, these are committed Islamist jihadists. You cannot reason with them, you cannot negotiate with them, you cannot talk to them - you have to hunt them down and kill them.