The 6 biggest points of bullshit being peddled about Benghazi

6a00e551f08003883401bb088585a1970dThe headline is what Foreign Policy magazine (that paragon of potty mouth journalism) used in its analysis of the Benghazi circus, the latest main event being Hillary Clinton’s 11-hour testimony before another incoherent Republican led committee “investigating” the attack in Libya.

The six points come from:

Malcolm Nance: a former Naval Intelligence officer with 34 years of experience in the Middle East and North Africa. He speaks five dialects of Arabic. In 2011, he was a strategy advisor to the Libyan Transitional National Council in Benghazi and at the Ajdabiyah battle front.

Nada Bakos: a former CIA analyst and targeting officer who served on the team charged with analyzing the relationship between Iraq, al Qaeda, and the 9/11 attacks. During the Iraq War, she was the chief targeting officer following Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. She is currently working on a book scheduled to be published by Little, Brown and Company in 2016.

And the six points are:

  • Benghazi was the greatest cover-up in history. Sen. James Inhofe claims that this relatively small terrorist attack in eastern Libya is one of the greatest cover-ups in U.S. history. Really? Worse than hiding the sale of 120 Hawk surface-to-air missiles and 1,000 TOW anti-tank missiles to the ayatollahs in Iran in exchange for hostages held by the terrorist group Hezbollah, then funneling the profits from that sale illegally to Nicaraguan contra guerrillas behind Congress’s back? Some people need to read a book.

  • Benghazi was one of the worst incidents of terrorism. Former Vice President Dick Cheney overstated the significance of the attack as “one of worst incidents I can recall in my career.” I guess he forgot about 9/11 (2,977 dead), the Iraq War (4,886 dead), the war in Afghanistan (2,326 dead and counting), the Oklahoma City (168 dead) and Beirut barracks (241 dead) bombings, and the Pan Am flight 103 bombing (178 Americans dead). That’s almost 11,000 Americans killed… plus the four in Benghazi.

  • Americans were deliberately left to die. This conspiracy theory is so absolutely reprehensible that it does not bear dignifying with a response. Speaking the words dishonors the memory of the dead. That’s how it is in a Tom Clancy war novel, but not in the real world where adults can differentiate the two concepts.

  • The anti-Islam video had something to do with the attack. On the day of the attack, one of us (Malcolm Nance) was leaving Abu Dhabi for Benghazi and Tripoli to conduct a security assessment that was canceled as news of massive protests in Cairo culminated with the U.S. Embassy compound being stormed. News networks Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya showed the Muslim world aflame with disgust over the insulting video Innocence of Muslims. From within the punchbowl, everything around us looked like punch. It was not until much later that we learned the terrorist group used the outrage of the video as a mask to conduct a preplanned attack. That’s the nature of terrorism. We could go into the squabble over the talking points, but you can read more about that here.

  • The CIA’s Quick Reaction Force was ordered to “stand down.” This has been proved false by no less than the House Intelligence Committee and six other congressional investigations. No such order was given. The local CIA commander told his security contractors to not rush into the consulate site until local militia support and heavy weapons could be found. Even with that reasonable caution, the QRF was on-site 24 minutes after the first radio call for help. That is a near-miraculous and instantaneous response.

  • The Department of Defense could have changed the laws of space and time. Air Force bombers and National Missions Force personnel deployed to Sicily arrived well after the attack ended and after survivors had left Benghazi and were out of danger. Many pundits believe that if the president had snapped his fingers, fighter jets would have miraculously appeared over Benghazi, with adequate fuel, bombs, intelligence, and targets to stop.

Not to overstate the point but the GOP obsession with Benghazi is that it’s simply away to attack Hillary Clinton, who, the way things are going now, is going to be the next president of the United States. And if there’s nothing on Benghazi, they’re going to harp on her e-mail server, because special investigations of Clintons are what Republicans live for. Remember Whitewater? Let’s see how long it is before they resurrect that.

Michelle Bachman supports the Iran nuclear deal …

… But of course it’s for a batshit crazy reason (Via Right Wing Watch):

In an interview with Religious Right radio host Jan Markell this weekend, former Rep. Michele Bachmann once again claimed that President Obama is ushering in the End Times, this time citing the nuclear agreement with Iran as proof of the arrival of the Last Days.

Bachmann claimed that the unanimous UN Security Council vote to approve the agreement was “the most important national security event of my lifetime” because it fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 12:3 that all the nations of the world will unite against Israel, “with the United States leading that charge.” She added that God and “heaven’s armies” will use groups like AIPAC to defeat the deal in Congress and in doing so “prove to the world His power and His strength.” …

… Bachmann told listeners that they should feel “encouraged” by the fact that they are living in the End Times, explaining that these dark times are actually the best time to be alive since that means the world will soon come to an end.

In case you forgot, this was a U.S. congresswoman who at one time was a frontrunner for the 2012 GOP nomination for president. Put that in context, and Donald Trump doesn’t look so bad.

The bad intelligence


2015 Pulitzer Prize Nominated Finalist

Dan Perkins, drawing as Tom Tomorrow, of Daily Kos for cartoons that create an alternate universe — an America frozen in time whose chorus of conventional wisdom is at odds with current reality.


Tom Tomorrow is so much better than 99.9 percent of the editorial cartoonists out there today, and he really deserves to win the Pulitzer. But someone has to write him a better cover letter.
Here’s the letter he sent to the board for this year’s entry
To whom it may concern,
Enclosed please find my entry for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize under the cartoon category. I have tried to include a representative sampling of the diverse approaches I use in my weekly efforts to inform and provoke readers through humor and satire.
I am submitting this entry in my capacity as a cartoonist for Daily Kos, but please note that my work is syndicated to approximately 80 print newspapers across the country as well.
For 25 years, I have tried to push the limits of what an editorial cartoon can be — in approach, in subject matter, in appearance. These efforts have  earned professional recognition including the 2013 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning and the RFK Journalism Award (on two occasions), and praise from sources ranging from the New York Review of Books to Entertainment Weekly to authors such as Dave Eggers and the late Kurt Vonnegut.
I thank you in advance for your time.
Go to the Pulitzer site to check out the cover letters for the other entrants in the editorial cartoon category. You’ll see that their bosses really pushed their guy, and that seems to matter in the real world. The folks at Daily Kos need to up their game and make an effort to promote their guy for a prize he definitely deserves.

The Iraq quote hall of fame

iraqwhoppers720 One New York Times columnist is especially delusional when it comes to Iraq:

It’s really hard to give simple sound-bite answers about past mistakes. The question, would you go back and undo your errors is unanswerable. It’s only useful to ask, what wisdom have you learned from your misjudgments that will help you going forward?

Which brings us to Iraq. From the current vantage point, the decision to go to war was a clear misjudgment, made by President George W. Bush and supported by 72 percent of the American public who were polled at the time. I supported it, too.

While another has a complete grasp on reality:

Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and it’s about time that everyone admits it. Now let’s move on.

Well, let’s not — because that’s a false narrative, and everyone who was involved in the debate over the war knows that it’s false. The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.

Let the Clinton derangement syndrome begin!

cjones03042015So, Hillary Clinton had her own e-mail account and the frenzy begins:

Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.

It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.

Let’s point out something here. The lead says that this may have violated federal requirements. But when did those requirements go into effect?

The Federal Records Act requires government agencies to preserve records documenting the “organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures and essential transactions” of an agency’s business. But it was only last year that Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed, a law with a series of modern-day changes to improve recordkeeping and preservation. …

The National Archives and Records Administration in September 2013 issued guidance to federal agencies that said federal employees generally shouldn’t use personal email accounts to conduct official business, except in limited situations, such as during emergencies when an official may not be able to access an official account.

That little bit of information comes from the Wall Street Journal, definitely not a Clinton loving news organization. So why is this relevant?

Because Hillary left the State Department in February 2013. The rules that are now twisting everybody’s panties in a bunch DIDN’T EXIST WHEN SHE RAN THE STATE DEPARTMENT!!!

I guess everybody must be upset then because by not having her e-mail handled by the State Department, hackers might have accessed her account and embarrassed the U.S., right?

In November 2010, WikiLeaks collaborated with major global media organisations to release U.S. State department diplomatic “cables” in redacted format. On 1 September 2011, it became public that an encrypted version of WikiLeaks’ huge archive of unredacted U.S. State Department cables had been available via BitTorrent for months and that the decryption key (similar to a password) was available to those who knew where to find it. WikiLeaks blamed the breach on its former publication partner, the UK newspaper The Guardian, and that newspaper’s journalist David Leigh, who revealed the key in a book published in February 2011;[22] The Guardian argued that WikiLeaks was to blame since they gave the impression that the decryption key was temporary (something not possible for a file decryption key).[23] The German periodical Der Spiegel reported a more complex story[24] involving errors on both sides. The incident resulted in widely expressed fears that the information released could endanger innocent lives.[25][26]

Oh, that’s right. Tons of State Department information was hacked. And guess what. None of it was Hillary’s e-mail.

Do we really have to go through GOP congressional hearings on Hillary’s hidden e-mail, which will morph into the next season of “Benghazi’s greatest hits?”


And are we going to get a wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth from the pundit class who’ll say that this is just a sign that Hillary shouldn’t be president because she won’t be able to work with the Republican Party and we’ll have four to eight years of conflict if she’s elected?


But remember. We heard that in 2008, when everyone said we should pick Barack Obama because it was obvious that he was willing to work with all sides to do what’s best for America, regardless of party affiliation. I mean, we didn’t want to lead to an election result that would produce rancor in out political environment.

And how did that work out for us?

Well, the moral equivalent of Ozzie and Harriet are now in the White House, and Mr. and Mrs. Nelson are accused of being Muslim, Kenyan, socialist, communist, fascist usurpers. I mean, who could have seen that coming? (Other than anyone who was sentient during the Clinton administration?)

The Republican Party will never consider a Democrat as a legitimate resident of the White House. I doesn’t do it with Barack Obama. It didn’t do it with Bill Clinton and it sure as hell isn’t going to do it with the Democrat who inevitably wins the next presidential election, considering the clown show the GOP is preparing to give us when the primaries start.

Fox News in France

OK, so you don’t speak French, but if you stick with this, you’ll understand the reaction the people in Europe have to Fox News’s reports that there are places in Europe that are “no-go zones” because they’ve been taken over by Islamists.

The Parisians have come to the same realization that many of us in America have had for years.

Fox News makes you stupid.