One of the biggest talking points that Republicans have been using against the Obama administration and the State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton is that they over emphasized the role an anti-Muslim video played in the attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens on September 11, 2012.
So much has been written and distorted about this issue that I would like to re-explore it to get some clarification. Many seem to have forgotten the volatile time we faced as a nation leading up to the strike on the consulate in Libya.
"Innocence of Muslims" was an Internet video crudely made by American Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (with the pseudonym Sam Bacile). A trailer of the film in Arabic was released in early September of 2012 depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a buffoon, womanizer, homosexual, and child molester.
The reaction of the Arab world was predictably harsh. On September 11, demonstrators stormed over the fortified walls of the United States' Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Later that day is when the attack in Libya occurred and many news sources blamed it on the release of the video.
And even though presidential nominee Mitt Romney accused President Obama of sympathizing with the attackers in Cairo, I believe if not for the quick action of condemning the video by the president and Secretary Clinton many more American lives could have been lost that fateful day.
From the time period of September 11 to September 29 of 2012, the video trailer sparked protests in 33 countries leading to 50 deaths and at least 695 injuries. Needless to say, President Obama and Secretary Clinton were in a "put out the fire" mode and their cool reactions helped defuse a very dangerous situation.
It is not much of a leap to assume this video played a factor in the Benghazi attack. In fact, some Libyans stated that the video pushed the terrorist group to strike. The timing is certainly suspicious. If the attack was pre-planned they may have used the emphasis on the video as a good excuse to take action.
Susan Rice, then Ambassador to the UN, was given the task of facing the media the weekend after the tragedy. I assume she was only reporting what the administration believed at the time which is that the video played a part in motivating the attackers.
As we know from the tapes, President Obama on September 12, 2012 did call the attacks "an act of terror" and one could still argue that it was spurned on by outrage from the release of the "Innocence of Muslims" trailer whether it was planned or spontaneous. The reason for the strike does not take away the fact that it was a terrorist act.
One could argue that there should have been more security on the anniversary of 9/11 and it has been said that Ambassador Stevens was warned to leave and he did not.
But I do not understand this continual misleading battle about the video playing a factor. I believe the administration was presenting their speculations about what happened and they, through Susan Rice as their spokesperson, gave their best estimate of why it occurred. I think for the GOP to keep making this a political issue with endless costly investigations is a sham and misuse of taxpayer dollars.
I remember an event in 1983 called the Beirut Barracks Bombing in Lebanon. 299 American and French servicemen were killed including 220 U.S. Marines by an Islamic Jihadist terrorist group. President Ronald Reagan said he was accountable stating that there were security lapses.
As I recall, both parties jumped to the president's defense calling him a leader for taking responsibility for these actions. What? No endless investigations? No cries of incompetence? No accusations of lies and political motivations? No assertions of sympathizing with the enemy?
Those were different times when Americans from both sides of the aisle came together in times of crises. I can't believe all of the lies that have been told about President Obama and his administration concerning this attack. They have said he and Secretary Clinton watched it happen in real time and did nothing. They have said Secretary Clinton told Defense Secretary Panetta to stand down. They insinuate there was a plot involving sending arms to Turkey. All falsehoods.
The president and former secretary of state have said that they are responsible and security steps have been taken to insure that this will never happen again.
My belief is that they should be praised for their quick and cool reactions in the aftermath of dozens of anti-American protests because of one moronic video maker. Do some Muslims overreact to insults to their Prophet? Yes, but is that a reason to yell fire in a crowded theater? Nakoula apparently dubbed the tape in a way that the actors did not realize the inflammatory nature of the movie they were making. He was later jailed for one year but I think his irresponsible actions merited a stiffer sentence.
There were many factors that led to the attack in Benghazi and we are still waiting on answers about the individuals that carried off this horrific act. I know the FBI and CIA are still investigating and who knows how much cooperation they are getting from the Libyan government. And we may never know if the video was influential or not. But to me, it is understandable how the administration and the press could make that assumption. So now the Republicans are the ones exploiting a tragedy for political purposes. They want to use it against Hillary Clinton if she decides to run for president. Hopefully, the American public will see through this ruse.