Bill Kristol and Peter Wehner indict President Obama for his inattention and passivity on September 11, 2012, the night that our embassy was attacked in Benghazi, Libya.
Thanks to the congressional testimony of outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey late last week, we know they met with President Obama on Sept. 11 at 5 p.m. in a pre-scheduled meeting, when they informed the president about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The meeting lasted about a half-hour. Mr. Panetta said they spent roughly 20 minutes of the session briefing the president on the chaos at the American Embassy in Cairo and the attack in Benghazi, which eventually cost the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, security personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and information officer Sean Smith.
Secretary Panetta said the president left operational details, including determination of what resources were available to help the Americans under siege, "up to us." We also learned that President Obama did not communicate in any way with Mr. Panetta or Gen. Dempsey the rest of that evening or that night. Indeed, Mr. Panetta and Gen. Dempsey testified they had no further contact at all with anyone in the White House that evening--or, for that matter, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
That's not all we discovered. We now know that despite Gen. Dempsey having been informed of Ambassador Stevens's repeated warnings about the rise of terrorist elements in Benghazi, no forces were put in place or made ready nearby to respond to possible trouble. It also seems that during the actual attacks in Benghazi, which the administration followed in real time and which lasted for some eight hours, not a single major military asset was deployed to help rescue Americans under assault.
So what happened? Ann Althouse speculates about the timeline and it's easy to imagine that she's right.
I think he is ashamed. Here's what I've been assuming happened: It looked like our people were overwhelmed and doomed, so there was shock, sadness, and acceptance. But then the fight went on for 7 or 8 hours. The White House folk decided there was nothing to do but accept the inevitable, and then they witnessed a valiant fight which they had done nothing to support. It was always too late to help. It was too late after one hour, then too late after 2 hours, then too late after 3 hours.... When were these people going to die already? After that was all over, how do you explain what you did?
President Obama should be ashamed. I'd be pleased if he resigned, for this and for a host of other reasons. The national media should also be ashamed for letting this story slide through the election -- this is much more significant than Watergate, folks. (And should we bring up Fast and Furious some more?) I think that President Obama is trying to do his best. The media, on the other hand, is more intent on covering for the President's failures than on performing its duty to the American public.
Key job for the media: interview some of the other Americans who were in Benghazi that night. Not everyone was killed. There were numerous other Americans at the embassy and the CIA safehouse who were rescued. Find them. Interview them.