The details of what happened in Benghazi, Libya, and in Washington, D.C., on September 11 keep changing, depending on who’s telling the story.
Last week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a Senate hearing that he and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey recommended arming the Syrian “rebels” but that President Obama rejected the idea.
This apparently thrilled the hawkish Sen. John McCain, who has been a public supporter of arming Syria’s rebels for some time. “What this means is that the president overruled the senior leaders of his national security team, who were in unanimous agreement that America needs to take greater action to change the military balance of power in Syria,” McCain said.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former CIA Director David Petraeus have also said they wanted to arm the Syrian “rebels.”
After the hearing, McCain issued a statement that said, “The crisis in Syria represents a graphic failure of American leadership. I urge the president to heed the advice of his former and current national security leaders.”
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell in Washington where politics end and farce begins. This is one of those times.
The reason this talk of Obama rejecting arming of the Syrian “rebels” is so mystifying is that the United States has been doing just that since the Syrian war began.
It’s one of the worst-kept secrets around the globe and has been the subject of numerous articles in the foreign press, and the topic of speeches by Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials.
That the mission in Benghazi was not a consulate is also widely known. It was, in fact, a CIA mission whose primary purpose according to several sources was the funneling of U.S. arms and U.S.-hired mercenaries to Turkey, where they would be smuggled across the border into Syria for the rebellion, which is being led by many of the same al-Qaida-linked Islamists our military has been fighting in places like Afghanistan for the past decade.
In July of last year, CNN even reported on a group of Libyan fighters who had gone to Syria to join the fight against government forces.
It’s also known that the attack on Benghazi was led by a group called Ansar al-Shariah, which has ties to the dictatorship in Iran. Iran is an ally of Syria.
So there’s a strong implication that the attack in Benghazi was in retaliation for U.S. actions in destabilizing the Syrian government, as it did in Libya, Egypt and other “Arab Spring” countries.
So there are a few obvious questions raised by Panetta’s statement to the Senate panel and McCain’s reaction to it.
First, is it really possible that the U.S. media’s blackout of news about Benghazi and the Administration’s Mideast policies has fooled even someone like Sen. John McCain?
Is it likely that President Obama, the most public cheerleader of the “Arab Spring” rejected the idea of arming Syrian “rebels” to overthrow the Assad government, leading underlings to go behind his back to funnel arms to Syria, then lie about it?
Or is the Administration, possibly with the assistance of complicit dupes in the Senate, yet again covering up how deeply Obama is involved in the Middle East shakeup and how close he has brought us to open war?