As the RNC pointed out earlier today, we’ve had eight mentions of Big Bird and five of Elmo from Barack Obama and his team since the presidential debate last Wednesday, but we’ve heard nothing about Benghazi or Libya. However, Obama did finally talk about terrorism last night at a fundraiser in San Francisco. Included in his by-now familiar chest thumping over the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, the President made a curious claim about the status of al-Qaeda in light of the events last month:
“Now, four years ago, I made a few commitments to you. I told you I’d end the war in Iraq, and I did. I said I’d end the war in Afghanistan, and we are,” said Obama. “I said we’d refocus on the people who actually attacked us on 9/11 — and today, al Qaeda is on its heels and Osama bin Laden is no more.”
The extraordinary thing about Obama’s claim is that it was made less than a month after al Qaeda carried out a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed the American ambassador to that country, as well as three other Americans. That attack coincided with the same day–9/11–of al Qaeda’s most successful attack again America, which happened 11 years earlier in New York City.
More over, in the same month, al Qaeda carried out at least 3 other successful attacks against American embassies abroad.
“[T]he U.S. consulate in Libya was not the only diplomatic facility assaulted by al Qaeda-affiliated groups in September,” Thomas Joscelyn reported. “Terrorists with ties to al Qaeda’s senior leaders, including al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, were involved in at least three other U.S. embassy sieges in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and possibly elsewhere.”
Clearly, AQ isnot “on its heels,” as Obama claims. In fact, AQ and other radical Islamist terror networks now have a lot more room to operate in eastern Libya, thanks to the NATO effort led by Obama to decapitate the Qaddafi regime without controlling events on the ground. That led directly to the attacks on Western consulates in Benghazi over the last several months, culminating in AQ’s first successful mission against a US diplomatic mission in 14 years, as well as the three lesser-known involvement in embassy sieges noted by Joscelyn.
Nor is the Weekly Standard the only media outlet reporting on this. CBS’ Lara Logan, a 60 Minutes correspondent who was sexually assaulted while reporting on the protests in Tahrir Square in February 2011, told a Chicago audience over the weekend that not only is AQ not “on its heels,” it’s making a comeback, along with the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan — and that those saying otherwise are propagating a “major lie” (via Katie Pavlich):
Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.
“I chose this subject because, one, I can’t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated . . .” Logan declared in her native South African accent.
The lie is that America’s military might has tamed the Taliban. …
“There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years,” Logan said. It is driven in part by “Taliban apologists,” who claim “they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban,” she added sarcastically. “It’s such nonsense!”
Logan stepped way out of the “objective,” journalistic role. The audience was riveted as she told of plowing through reams of documents, and interviewing John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan; Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and a Taliban commander trained by al-Qaida. The Taliban and al-Qaida are teaming up and recruiting new terrorists to do us deadly harm, she reports.
She made a passionate case that our government is downplaying the strength of our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a rationale of getting us out of the longest war. We have been lulled into believing that the perils are in the past: “You’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script.”
Logan has a prescription for that:
Logan even called for retribution for the recent terrorist killings of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other officials. The event is a harbinger of our vulnerability, she said. Logan hopes that America will “exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil. That its ambassadors will not be murdered, and that the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.”
It’s been four weeks since that attack. We’ve spent a grand total of twelve hours on the ground in Benghazi since in an attempt to track down the terrorists who conducted the attack. So far, at least, it doesn’t appear that Logan’s advice carries the day at the Obama White House, where instead they spin fantasies of terrorist networks vanishing while the ruins of our Benghazi consulate still smolder.