1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Reflecting on Reflections

Reader comment on item: Reflections on the Second Presidential Candidates' Debate

Submitted by Anatoly Tsaliovich (United States), Oct 18, 2012 at 02:19

Reflecting on Reflections

I. The Case

By now, it is an open secret: the heinous murder of American citizens in Libya, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, is an act of terrorism. The problem is that it took our Government more than two weeks to recognize this all but obvious fact, and even today, a month later, not all the circumstances are reported to us, the public. Moreover, when looking at the corresponding activities of the government officials, including the State Department, the UN Ambassador, and the POTUS himself, it is difficult not to get an impression that all of them try not so much to clarify the situation, but rather to obfuscate it!

The most "popular theory" was to attribute the murder of our citizens to a certain obscure movie clip on the You Tube network that allegedly caused spontaneous demonstrations of Libyans and eventually led to the murder of the Americans. The USA UN representative Susan Rice, the foreign secretary Hillary Clinton, the President – all of them kept repeating the "you tube canard", disseminating this harmful fib. While that didn't explain anything it only exacerbated the anti-American tensions and demonstrations in the Muslim countries throughout the world, thus endangering the safety, security, and life of many people.

Yet as truth about the real cause of the Libyan tragedy kept trickling out, all those involved officials went into the damage control mode attempting to rewind backwards the tape with their previous statements, and insisting that they were either misled by somebody else, or even that they always expressed that this was a terrorist act.

In this respect, one of the most expository incidents happens to none other as President Obama. In the Presidential debates on October 16, 2012, President Obama himself jumped off the "You Tube bandwagon" and maintained that literally from his very first reaction – a statement in the Rose Garden on September 12, 2012, – he called the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi an "act of terror". And when Gov. Romney objected the accuracy of such assertion, the President immediately accused him in falsehood. At that time, the debate moderator, Candy Crowley, vehemently confirmed the President's claim referring to the transcript of the President's statement in the Rose Garden that she "happened" to bring to the debate. As easy to deduce, this incident enhanced the position of the President, and cost Gov. Romney some valuable points.

II. Who Is Right: The Facts

Now that we have established the case, it is time to move to the facts. In today's age of Internet, it is not a complex problem to find the transcript of the President Obama's statement in the Rose Garden on September 12, or even hear the President himself on "You Tube" (I beg your pardon for bringing up this so badly misused term in the particular context of the US Ambassador team murder by terrorists). This time, even a simple search yielded more than we bargained for: actually, there are available an audio file and two transcripts (e.g., see http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2012/09/12/president-obama-speaks-attack-benghazi#transcript )

The first transcript accompanied the President's oral Remarks on the video September 12, 2012. There the murder of the Ambassador and other Americans was attributed to the "outrageous attack" (sic), and not a single time the word "terror" or "terrorists" was mentioned.

The second, extended, version of the transcript, closer to the actual statement (that you can hear in the clip), was later distributed by the White House. This one did mention the word terror, but here this word was used only once and in the generic sense when discussing just general policy.

Just think of it: the word attack (and its derivatives) was mentioned in this short statement 8 times, and the word kill was mentioned 5 times – but never, not a single time, in the context of terrorism!

The fact: legal term of "act of terrorism" was never used.

On the other hand, the President's statement prominently displays the disclaimer: "the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others". Here, the President obviously implies that the attack was a result of the reaction to an anti-Muslim film – a direct reference to the failed "You Tube" cover up.

But there is more to it. At the title picture of the President's statement on September 12, 2012 (see the quoted site address above) there is a picture of Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton. Shouldn't we wonder why Secretary Clinton didn't tell the President that the murder in Benghazi was a terrorist act? Indeed, the secretary claims that she knew it right away, but then she (and others, including the President) kept telling us fairy fables about the obscure You Tube clip inciting the whole Muslim world! While on the subject, she could have also told the president, who and why pulled away the Ambassador's protection force in Benghazi!

III. A Moderator Mole

It doesn't take a rocket science to figure out the harm that was inflicted upon our Presidential election process by the moderator supporting and promulgating a lie at the Presidential debate and supporting one of the debating parties. With a generous discount for human weakness, we might try to somehow understand (but not justify!) when Ms. Crowley excuses herself for being "not attentive enough when first time listening to or reading" the President's Remarks in the Rose Garden on 2012/09/12 (e.g., see "Candy Crowley: Romney was actually "right in the main" on Libya" http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/10/16/cnns_candy_crowley_romney_was_actually_right_on_libya.html ).

Just a trifle! When you listen to her own explanation of her "journalistic innocence", you may even forget that in fact she acted with regard to Gov. Romney as a hostile mole in the enemy camp. Not that she deserves to be sent to Guantanamo (on the other hand, who knows), but isn't extracting words from the context and using them to create your own "understandings" instead of the author's ideas, a violation of ethical norm in journalism? Especially if the journalist is a moderator at the Presidential debates? This said, let's leave the judgment and punishment of Ms. Crowley to her bosses and to the public opinion of 67 million spectators who watched how a wishful belief in the righteousness of the "hero of her political love" led her to immorality (or worse?).

But if Ms. Crowley's demeanor just "smells" bad, the President's "forgetfulness" in this case presents a much more malignant case, and (excuse me) truly "stinks". Indeed, even if we accept that Ms. Crowley's memory was impaired with age (so that she couldn't remember the contents of the President's remarks), the President himself is much younger and it is hardly possible that he could forget the words that he himself said just a month ago (even if he might not have written them himself)! Then, the only plausible explanation of his "forgetfulness" is.....

No, I am not going to insult a sitting President, but I hope you get the idea.... I can only add to this that it takes a lot of chutzpah to tell a lie to millions of people when looking them straight in the eyes (let through the TV camera). While chutzpah, per se, may be a commendable quality, I dare to say that the quality that we'll be looking foremost in a President is HONESTY!


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Reflecting on Reflections by Anatoly Tsaliovich

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2022 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)