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Embassy Lockdown And The Al-Qaida Threat

With John Harwood in for Tom Ashbrook.

Embassies on lockdown across the globe, personnel pulled from Yemen. We look at the nature and scope of the al-Qaida threat now.

Police in an armored vehicle secure a road leading to the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. The State Department on Tuesday ordered non-essential personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to leave the country. The department said in a travel warning that it had ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen "due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks" and said U.S. citizens in Yemen should leave immediately because of an "extremely high" security threat level. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Police in an armored vehicle secure a road leading to the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. The State Department on Tuesday ordered non-essential personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to leave the country. The department said in a travel warning that it had ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen “due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks” and said U.S. citizens in Yemen should leave immediately because of an “extremely high” security threat level. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Americans this week have faced something many of us have forgotten: the threat of a major terrorist attack. The Obama administration closed embassies around the world, and instructed Americans to get out of Yemen – all because of an intercepted phone call. Wasn’t al-Qaida decimated? Did the White House exaggerate the importance of killing Osama bin Laden? Or is it overreacting now? We’ll talk with a former counterterrorism official, and analyst of threat.

This hour, On Point: Assessing the danger that we’ll get hit hard — again.


Elise Labott, Foreign Affairs reporter for CNN. (@eliselabottcnn)

Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, Director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College. He served as  Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department from 2009 to 2012.

Brian Michael Jenkins, longtime terrorism expert and senior adviser to the President of the Rand Corporation. Author of the Rand Corporation’s report, “Al Qaeda in Its Third Decade: Irreversible Decline or Imminent Victory,” published last year. (@BrianMJenkins)

Gregory Johnsen, Yemen expert at Princeton University. Author of, “The Last Refuge: Yemin, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia.” (@gregorydjohnsen)


From the Reading List:

The New York Times: Qaeda Leader’s Edict to Yemen Affiliate Is Said to Prompt Alert – “The intercepted conversations last week between Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the head of the global terrorist group, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, revealed what American intelligence officials and lawmakers have described as one of the most serious plots against American and Western interests since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.”

Reuters: Al Qaeda intercept is just one piece of threat intelligence: U.S. sources – “The threat picture is based on a broad range of reporting, there is no smoking gun in this threat picture,” a U.S. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. U.S. officials said there was still no information about a specific target or location of a potential attack, but the threat to Western interests had not diminished.”

Foreign Policy: How We Lost Yemen — “Why, if the U.S. counterterrorism approach is working in Yemen, as Barack Obama’s administration claims, is AQAP still growing? Why, after nearly four years of bombing raids, is the group capable of putting together the type of plot that leads to the United States shuttering embassies and missions from North Africa to the Persian Gulf? The answer is simple, if rather disheartening: Faulty assumptions and a mistaken focus paired with a resilient, adaptive enemy have created a serious problem for the United States.”


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  • alsordi

    I prefer to hear all my Al CIAda reports from NPR’s Shirley-Temple Rastin. She always sounds so convincing.

  • HonestDebate1

    Don’t worry, Obama has it handled.


    • Ray in VT

      I would have thought that all of the liberation that Bush spread would have taken care of this problem. Drop a little democracy, sprinkle a little liberty and voila. All good.

      • HonestDebate1

        That’s a strange juxtaposition off of Obama and onto Bush.

        I have been consistent since long before this current heightened alert that Obama has not been leveling with America about the threat. I think he knew full well that Al Qaeda was not decimated and therefore was lying. What do you think? Was
        the meme a lie? Or just an honest mistake? Or do you believe honest mistakes are lies? Maybe you should consult a dictionary.

        • Ray in VT

          Well, considering your long history of lauding praise upon the actions of the previous administration regarding its reshaping of the Middle East, one would think that these problems would have been fixed.

          I think that the President has been pretty straight with us concerning the nature of the threat. The central organization of Al-Qaeda has been hit pretty hard for a number of years, but that doesn’t mean that they are not dangerous, as the administration has acknowledged. A great deal of the threats have moved out to satellite organizations it seems, such as the Yemen branch, so the threat has seemingly become much more decentralized, with more local initiative getting into the act. Again, I think that the administration has been honest about that. Of course, if one wants paint the administration’s words in a certain manner in order to achieve a certain end point from which to attack the President, then that is pretty much what I expect you, among a few others here, to do. My dictionary skills are fine, thanks. It’s not like I inject my own words into the definitions in order to present myself as being honest, when I am clearly not.

          • HonestDebate1

            Please Ray, I never said the Bush fixed the Middle East. I never implied it, I never hinted at it. He did liberate 50 million and set the Arab Spring into motion. I also think his actions were unavoidable. I’ve said before I 100% believe Algore would have gone to Iraq had he been elected given his dire warnings about WMD. But what you are suggesting is just silly. I understand you are not serious.

            “Of course, if one wants paint the administration’s words in a certain manner in order to achieve a certain end point from which to attack the President…”

            Perfect! You do a fine job of painting when it comes to attacking Bush. I suspect that’s why you also didn’t answer my questions. To do so honestly you’d have to be consistent and your ideology won’t allow it. Was he lying or not? Al Qaeda is clearly NOT decimated.



          • jefe68

            Yeah you did. But like you always say, as you dishonestly do, it’s not about you.
            When it really is.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not about me.

            What do you think, was Obama lying in the above video or just horribly wrong? Is there another option? If so, do tell.

          • 1Brett1

            As you said yesterday when I asked you some questions about your opinion, you aren’t interested in jefe’s answers, “why the ruse”? Another example of your double standards?

          • HonestDebate1

            I am interested in his answers. I’ve never told him otherwise as you have repeatedly told me. I’m a racist, bigot, punk, self-absorbed, idiot according to you. My comments are worthless and you don’t care a bit about them, according to you. Make up your mind.

          • 1Brett1

            What in my comments has ever led you to believe I need to make up my mind about your comments? …No, I’m not the least bit interested in the opinions expressed in your comments. I do find their constant state of hypocrisy, their cheap attempts to proclaim them fair and honest, and their crudely disguised ideological bent, etc., exceedingly amusing, mostly. They are sometimes annoying, but mostly amusing.

          • HonestDebate1

            “What in my comments has ever led you to believe I need to make up my mind about your comments?”

            What are you even talking about? Do you just want to argue. All I said was basically what you just repeated:

            “I’m not the least bit interested in the opinions expressed in your comments.”

            You’ve also said much more and that my comment were drivel and such. you even chase me around and tell others replying to me the same thing.

            Get me out of your head dude, you look silly.

          • 1Brett1

            I’ve said a lot of things in my five years coming here…I suppose you have a laundry list going and a need to express that today? And I am the one who needs to get you out of my head? Project much?

            But, to answer your question (If I could call it that), when you said, “make up your mind” regarding my opinion of your comments, that implies that I have been conflicted about them, and I was just clarifying that I haven’t; I’ve been pretty consistent about their lack of significance.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • jefe68

            Again, you’re not being honest nor are you worth going beyond this level of discourse.

          • Ray in VT

            Bush’s actions were not unavoidable. Choices were clearly made when a number of options existed. Gore may or may not have made the same ones. Maybe Gore would have given the inspectors more time instead of rushing headlong into Iraq, but maybe not.

            I pick my words generally pretty carefully. You seem to often want to alter my position regarding where I have taken issue with where I think that the Bush administration clearly lied and deceived the American people.

            I have answered your questions previously, and I have told you that I choose not to repeat my answers, especially in light of your apparent unwillingness or inability to either accept or understand my positions.

            Has it been decimated? Define that please. Has their ability to move money and people around been hampered and many of their top people killed. Yeah, although more people step in and new ways are found. They’re pretty resilient. Has their ability to carry out the sort of large scale operations like 9/11 been hampered or compromised? Somewhat to largely. Their focus in recent years has certainly been on smaller, more local attacks, although their Yemen bomb maker sounds like he knows what he’s doing. So, they have been hit about as hard as we can, but they still remain dangerous, so, in the context of how the President has spoken about the actions that we have taken and the impacts that we have been able to produce, then no, he is not lying. It’s not like he said that Al Qaeda is dead, as some have suggested.

          • HonestDebate1

            Oh yes I remember when you changed the subject after I asked you to clarify how all those Democrats were not lying. You blamed it on Bush for lying to them. When I gave you more quotes from 1998 (before Bush) you said they were just mistaken… but Bush lied. You never reconciled that, you changed the subject. As I recall it had something to do with Al Qaeda ties to Hussein but I may be mistaken. You clearly played the implication game regarding WMD and now you are trying to say you never did, it was something else.

            You wrote: “You seem to often want to alter my position regarding where I have taken issue with where I think that the Bush administration clearly lied and deceived the American people.”

            You are altering your position all by yourself. You have never said Bush didn’t lie about WMD and I refuse to move to the next pinball bounce of yours until you do. And you may not have technically said he did lie about WMD. You said he lied. You said all the Democrats that warned of WMD were not lying. I have repeatedly asked did all of them (including Bush) lie or none of them. I have said the answer is none of them. You refuse to say.
            Did i miss it? Instead you say you meant something else. So let’s stipulate that Bush lied about whatever else it is so you don’t have to repeat yourself. Are you admitting he did not lie about WMD? Clear it up. How can I assume you were not saying he lied about WMD if you will not say? Or should I assume it given what you just wrote? Just say it.

            But the bigger more relevant picture is your belligerent refusal to say whether Obama lied and intentionally (or not intentionally but according to you intent is not a factor of lying) misled America about the relevance of Al Qaeda. Use whatever definition (as is your MO) you want to for decimated but keep it real. Decimated cannot mean the threat has grown or even remained the same.

          • Ray in VT

            I choose to let my past remarks speak for themselves. I do believe that I have addressed your points previously, and I choose not to do so again, seeing as how repeating myself on a number of occasions has failed to impress upon you what exactly is my point or points.

            I also believe that I explicitly stated today what my opinion was regarding your question regarding our current President, and it is the dictionary, not me, that says that intent is not a factor in lying. I would suggest consulting a dictionary, and please stick to the words on the page, not ones ones that you have either mentally or actually penciled in to the definitions in order to make them fit your views.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, you never have and still belligerently refuse. Your stuck. You’re all over the place and none of it reconciles. You are saying I changed definitions to fit my views, BS. You are ignoring what the dictionary says. You’re lying about the definition of lie which is ironic. And now you have the perfect opportunity to clear it up but you don’t because you can’t. You have made it impossible.

            It’s sad when ideology trumps truth but if you don’t know what a lie is then I suppose it’s too much to expect you to understand the truth. Al Qaeda is not decimated by any definition other than ones you make up. We don’t close down 19 Embassies and Consulates because of an enemy that is decimated. Obama knows that. He lied.

          • Ray in VT

            No, I have addressed it in the past. I think that I have a generally pretty decent handle on what I have said. It’s not like I post stuff willy nilly and then claim to not remember it later. For instance, when I want to look up something outrageous that you have said, then I go up to that little search box, enter some terms, and presto! Quotes! It isn’t that hard.

            Oh, now I’m back to being all over the place. Sorry. Maybe I should try to KISS. It must be sad for you to be so full of your own b.s. that you can’t even properly read the definitions listed in many dictionaries without adding words or meaning that the text clearly does not have.

            It is too much for me to understand the world as you see and project it, because my world is pretty firmly grounded in reality, whereas yours often seems not to be. I suppose that you can prove that Obama knew that he was lying, if he was indeed doing so (which I do not think that he was). I mean, we wouldn’t want to hold his statements to a lower standard than some true conservative like Bush, unless that was somehow a part of the honestdebate1.

          • HonestDebate1

            Has Obama ever lied to America in your book? About lobbyist, Benghazi, the cost of Obamacare, insurance premiums, his inability to end certain deportations by EO, closing Gitmo, the “recovery”, being against the mandate, Obamacare is not a tax, Al Qaeda is decimated, he won’t raise any tax of any kind on the middle class, immigration reform in his first term, 5 days for the public to read proposed legislation, or anything ever?

          • Ray in VT

            Of course not. I’m totally blinded by ideology, and I’ve stewed in my own stink for so long that I don’t know what smells anymore. I also have a total inability to read a dictionary accurately, and I’ll go to any length to make absurd excuses to defend true conservatives, I mean true liberals, who, of course do no wrong, but it’s not about me.

          • Ray in VT

            Care to provide some exact quotes for exchanges that we had, or is the search feature still baffling you? For instance, here you cited then State Senator Barack Obama. Because for some reason a lowly State Senator would be totally in the know regarding what was going on in the inner workings of the intelligence community.


            I also think that it is fairly funny that the quote that you used was from a speech that then State Senator Obama gave opposing the invasion of Iraq. I probably should have looked that one up earlier.

            I am certainly willing to address what I have said in the past, just so
            long as you have a particular instance or instances in mind, and I’ll
            say whether or not I stand by that statement, as available facts or my
            knowledge may have changed. It’s not like I am willing to stand by a position 110% regardless of how foolish or blatantly unfounded it is.

          • HonestDebate1

            Gee wiz Ray. First yes, I don’t know how to do the search thing with specificity. Do i search key words in the comment I’m looking for, do I search your name, my name? I’ve made a lot of comments. Are you talking about the search box on the main page or is there another one tied to particular commenters?

            And now you are just changing the subject again, I’ll never get that. you gave me a link to a show over 4 months ago and I have no idea which comment you are referring to. I started to scroll and look for it but I don’t have much to go on. Was it a reply to you, someone else or a stand alone comment. How did it start out. And do you have a point?

            You used to be able to click on the timeline of a comment and get the anchor link but no more. I tried it this morning in a reply to Hennon. I tried the share link but all I got was a yellow stripe. I tried to right clicking and “Copy link”, when I pasted it said “link”. I finally figured out you can right click the timeline and select “open link in new tab” then copy the address bar and link to the actual comment. So if you want o go back 4 months and rehash something for some reason then go ahead. I’ll stand by what I wrote and explain it. If something has changed (including my mind) then I will happily correct the record and apologize.

            And you are still insisting you can lie without knowing you are lying and that’s just plum stupid so look in the mirror.

          • Ray in VT

            Sounds like you have a real problem there. I find the search to be quite easy to use. Go ahead and look through the page. On it you make a number of the same arguments about what was said either in 1998 or by people who were not privy to the information known by the administration and comparing those statements with administration officials who should have had access to all of that information.

            I don’t need to insist upon anything. The dictionary can speak for itself with no extra words or inferences added to the definitions contained therein.

          • HonestDebate1

            Well I wish you would have helped me out a little with some advice. I sure would like to know what you search. I don’t typically go back and look for stuff, I move on comfortable that my comments have been honest and well thought out. If someone want to throw one back at me then I’ll take it from there.

            And I have also made clear the whole exercise regarding Bush is irrelevant and silly. It was never more than your attempt to excuse one behavior by citing another. Bush is history but even if he was the devil it has no relevance to Obama. Obama is President now.

            But I will…. later. I just hope you respond. At some point it would be nice to just quit looking back and start to look at the present and forward. I do not think if I accuse Obama of lying the appropriate response is to say Bush lied too. So what? But you are being coy and playing games. I wish you would just say one way or the other if Bush lied about WMD but you won’t. Maybe I should just assume you don’t think he lied about WMD. But that’s the meme, that’s what gets thrown around. That’s what justifies Obama’s lies in the liberal mind. I still maintain you are stuck and changing the subject. Maybe it’s all in the board you linked but I think it started before that. And I am so unmotivated to get in a useless, irrelevant pissing match and look through 100′s of old comments that were just as irrelevant back then.

            I did just find a thing called the dashboard and it has a search box. I’ll see if it searches individual’s comments. Maybe it does.

          • HonestDebate1

            You wrote: “I am certainly willing to address what I have said in the past, just so
            long as you have a particular instance or instances in mind”

            I sure wish I could expect the same from you. But no, you won’t give me an instance just a search box. Thanks for nothing.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that my approach at all is “well Bush lied so Obama lying is okay”. I don’t like lies no matter who tells them. There are, of course, things that people do not disclose for various purposes, and when it comes to national security, there are often very valid purposes, although that can and does get abused. What I object to, largely, is the ease with which some will label Obama as a liar, seemingly not holding him to the the same “one must know that one is lying to be lying” standard that former President Bush gets. I just think that that is a pretty blatant double standard. Old news? Maybe, but former President Bush said something like he had no regrets about his actions, so few seem to have paid the price for what led us into the Iraqi quagmire and so many seem to be willing to cover up or deny the wrongdoings that cost us several thousand lives that many of us who were long opposed to such policies have a hard time letting it go, especially with all of the “phony scandals” that get pushed these days which are so comparatively miniscule.

            As for searching, I find that if I want to find what someone said, then enter their screen name and then maybe a key word. For instance, worriedforthecountry and brewery comes to mind regarding an exchange that he and I had regarding a brewery up here. One could also use brewery and “only in America”. Both searches should pull the same May 31st show up as the top story, with the latter example, with the quotes for precise phrase searching, being something that you said in the same exchange.

            As for WMDs, I will go against my lack of desire in repeating myself on this occasion. I think that I have been very clear regarding some specific instances where public statements by former President Bush were not in line with then available intelligence. Aside from that, I think that there were areas where the administration was not honest in how some intelligence, such as around aluminum tubes, was presented to the public, presenting a much more unified view of the intelligence community’s assessment then actually existed. I think that while the WMD intelligence was horribly wrong, as the Iraq Survey Group soon found out after the invasion, there was at least intelligence to support the contentions that were made, although perhaps we should have 1. been more skeptical of those sources and 2. allowed the weapons inspectors more time to do their work once they went back in in late 2002. Happy?

          • J__o__h__n

            Why do you want to blame Bush for the Arab Spring?

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t think blame is the right word but he laid out the vision early on. I think it was a SOTU speech. The liberation of 50 million in Iraq and Afghanstan certainly inspired revolution throughout. Unfortunately we were not prepared to follow through.

          • J__o__h__n

            An unrealistic vision which has been a failure, destabilized the region, and cost a fortune.

          • 1Brett1

            Don’t you mean “praise” Bush for the Arab Spring but “blame” Obama for the Arab Spring? …Oh dear, that was awkward…there needs to be more degrees of separation between the two comments for Gregg to feel comfortably self righteous –no, wait, I see the justification below; apparently we “didn’t follow through” on Bush’s foundational efforts…silly me.

          • nj_v2

            [[ Please Ray, I never said the Bush fixed the Middle East. I never implied it, I never hinted at it. He did liberate 50 million and set the Arab Spring into motion. I also think his actions were unavoidable. I've said before I 100% believe Algore would have gone to Iraq had he been elected given his dire warnings about WMD. But what you are suggesting is just silly. I understand you are not serious. ]]


            Clueless DisHonestMisDebatorGreggg gets all righteous setting the record straight claiming he didn’t say one stupid thing by saying another stupid thing.


            That is the theory that proponents of the invasion are peddling on the tenth anniversary of the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, on April 9, 2003. They are trying to persuade whoever will listen that the war was not such a bad idea after all, despite the bloodletting and wreckage. The latest push comes from Kanan Makiya, a Brandeis University professor who was one of the most prominent intellectuals behind the invasion. In an anniversary piece in the Times, “THE ARAB SPRING STARTED IN IRAQ,” Makiya wrotethat “the removal of Saddam Hussein and the toppling of a whole succession of other Arab dictators in 2011 were closely connected.” The invasion, he added, “paved the way for young Arabs to imagine” the removal of dictators elsewhere in the region.

            While events in one country can impact other countries, this is a wish-based myth.…

        • alsordi

          Pssst…..FYI, Al qaeda is a CIA created foil, conveniently used as enemy or surrogate depending on the situation.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • pete18

            You tin foil hat is starting to show.

    • 1Brett1

      I suppose it depends on how generally one wishes to interpret the word “decimate” or if one wishes to take the most-strict, narrow, historical, connotative interpretation of the word and what it singularly denoted when it was first used consistently enough to be placed in a dictionary. Gutfeld (and, presumably, you) are kind of basing the interpretation of the word on the most narrow, historical view of the word…of course, any time an argument starts out with a kind of “such and such dictionary says the definition of this word is…” or some variation on that argument tactic, I am inclined to tune out what they are about to say, their objective being that they wish to use someone’s words against them. There’s that aspect to Gutfeld’s pseudo-self-proclaimed cleverness. (I’d say stick to comedy, but he wasn’t very funny as a comedian. What is funny is that he occasionally dons glasses, presumably this makes him look smarter. Talking faster and responding quicker translates into Gufeld’s definition of “smart,” unfortunately…we all have our interpretations of words and concepts, I suppose.)

      Be that as it may, to summarize Obama’s words as, “al Qaeda is much weaker than it was when I came into office” is the overall sentiment expressed by both Obama and Biden in these sound clips (to quote Obama directly); do you call this an out-and-out lie? How about a deliberate attempt to mislead the American people? How ’bout both? I guess you would–wait, you have, but you would again be taking your opinion and stating it as a fact, of sorts…of sorts. And, aside from the one press conference blurb that was shown (in which one would have to look at the rest of what was said to assess fully what the president was actually saying and judge it on its entirety, something neither Fox nor Gutfeld are all that interested in) the rest of the sound clips (as out of context as they may or may not be, based on their brevity) are taken from campaign stump speeches only. At best, these sound clips reveal general sentiments made on the campaign trail…big deal.

      You are still mounting an argument about Benghazi in an oblique way. This topic is about a new threat and action. It would be difficult to have any kind of conversation with you on this new threat, however, as you are perched to use any event/action as an opportunity to bash Obama/his Administration. Your approach to him is to either claim he is a liar or he is weak, or both.

      I remember one of your criticisms of Benghazi, for example, was that he knew threats were in the air, it was the also the anniversary of 9-11, and he should have taken some precautionary measures (irrespective of any responsibilities on others I might add, well, except for Hillary). There are now precautionary measure taken (again, the responsibilities of others notwithstanding), presumably a measure you would applaud based on one of your criticisms of how Benghazi was handled, yet your criticism of Obama is unchanged. I suppose it is a “damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t” kind of proposition regarding your opinion. Not surprisingly, another example of a criticism not based on any policies or actions, but on your dislike for Obama.

      Your “enemies” as it were on here/anyone with whom you disagree, they too are either lying or are weak in their opinions, in your reduction of what you wish to argue about regarding what they may want to say on the matter. By the same token, your desire is to make them reduce their opinions to tell you you are either lying or that your arguments are weak through some inaccuracy. Either way, the purpose is to reduce any conversation to its easiest to argue. The real problem with that is any opinion on your part with regard to Obama’s policy in the Middle East/his handling of Benghazi/his handling of this new threat is going to be juxtaposing a complex series of events and approaches against the most simplistically reduced view of those complexities for the purposes of discrediting Obama and his Administration and his policies. However, the complexities of any opposing view will not be examined or given any credibility. And, if any complexities are pointed out, you will go back to a reductionists approach to their meaning. This is where the dishonesty comes in and where any exchange of ideas stops. Even another’s non-response will be characterized by you as, “no one can refute what I am saying” or “where am I lying?”…I chalk it up to people being tired of going around and around with you.

      I suppose, one can take what you said once about Benghazi and insert that into all other of your comments about Obama and the Middle East, and that one initial comment about Benghazi could fully explain your opinions, not only about Obama’s approach in the MIddle East but in his approach to anything and everything…tiresome commentary indeed.

      • Ray in VT

        But Brett, there is so much complexity in this debate with the guests on the show (dweebs with books maybe). Can’t we just label the President as a liar and move on? Don’t we just need the kind of common man’s common sense that great lights like Sister Sarah provide? She’s probably all over this one.

        • HonestDebate1

          It’s essential to know whether or not our President truly believes Al Qaeda is decimated. It’s sad all you guys want to do is yuk it up. It’s really quite serious.

          And this is off topic but Sarah (love her) was ridiculed for speaking the truth about Fannie and Freddie in 2008 and has now been vindicated. She’s awesome.


          • Ray in VT

            well, we should probably consult a montage with clips that are a few seconds long and maybe misquote or misrepresent the speech that he gave a few months ago to really get to the root of what he thinks. I don’t see anyone yuking up the situation, just some of the commentary and commenters. This is very serious, which is why we should turn to better sources than The Five. I thought that today’s guests were pretty good and thoughtful today, although none of them promoted the sort of chest thumping that you suggested above, so you may not care for what they have to say.

  • Jasoturner

    Yep, the world’s largest superpower responds to a threat by third world terrorists by boarding up our embassies (which are probably full of spies and surveillance equipment and do little cultural outreach in any event.) No wonder our credibility is approaching zippo in certain parts of the world.

    • alsordi

      Credibility? The USA backs a coup in Egypt of an elected president and then appoints an incendiary ambassador, Robert Ford, whom is known in the middle east a death squad coordinator ala John Negroponte.

      When Bush said MISSION ACCOMPLISHED in Iraq, he was not lying. The mission was to leave the Middle East fractured and destabilized, and they are falling like dominoes.

      • Ray in VT

        I don’t know if it can really be said that we backed the coup. We didn’t really do anything to deter it, and we probably shouldn’t have in the sense of attempting to interject directly into their internal affairs. I think that it is a bit of a problem that we are not calling what happened in Egypt a coup, as it clearly was one. I think that we are likely not calling it that because we want to work with Egypt, as it has long been a state with which we can work.

        • alsordi

          Ray, You are confusing “working with the state (a government of the people)” with working with a military regime. The US has been funding a military regime in Egypt for decades.

          • Ray in VT

            I guess that I was equating state with regime, not people. I will readily acknowledge that we have worked against the people of various countries in favor of some unpalatable regimes when we have seen it to be in our interests.

          • Jacob Arnon

            The Military regime in Egypt is supported by most Egyptians who demonstrated against Morsi.

          • alsordi

            You mean the wealthy Mubarak supporters.

          • Jacob Arnon

            !7 million people demonstrated against Morsi. I doubt they were wealthy.

            The revolt against the Muslim Brotherhood is a secular middle class revolt and it wasn’t pro Mubarak. Only left wing pro Islamists support Morsi.

            The extreme left wing has become an enemy of middle class democracy.

      • Jacob Arnon

        We didn’t back the coup though we should have. The Muslim Brotherhood were trying to dismantle Egypt’s secular state just as the current Turkish government did.

    • adks12020

      I’m curious…What would you have them do? If they don’t close the embassies and they get attacked the administration will be raked over the coals for not protecting our embassies. If they do close them people like you say they are weak and lack credibility. Are we supposed to send troops to protect the embassies and invite attacks both rhetorical and physical? It’s not exactly an ideal situation.

      • Ray in VT

        Agreed. It is, at least in the p.r. sense, a bit of a no win situation. The administration seems to be taking a pretty cautious approach, and that is probably the best way to go.

      • Jasoturner

        I think it would have been appropriate to put the security details on high alert, tell non-essential embassy employees to stay away, and to keep the embassies open. That sends a message to the bad guys that we will not be intimidated by them. That sends a message to the rest of the world that we – civilized nations – needn’t and shouldn’t alter our behaviors too drastically in the face of a handful on fanatics.

        The political calculus is real, but strikes me as a second-order concern. Politically Obama probably made the right choice. I think we can mostly agree the republicans would have tried to crucify him if the embassies stayed open and there was an attack.

        However, I think keeping the embassies open would have made a statement in defense of decency and civilization that closing them could not. Too bad our government is unable to focus on anything besides political point scoring.

  • John Cedar

    We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the
    religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.The religion of pieces is no exception. If we would simply quit meddling in their affairs with 8 y.o. girls, and their killing of Jews, they would leave us alone.

    • alsordi

      USA has religious tolerance??? How about pitting Shiites and Sunni against each other where there was once peace. How about the US is responsible for millions of deaths of Muslims in the middle east to include sanctions and bombing of Iraq and the meddling in the Iraq-Iran conflict ?

      • Jacob Arnon

        In the last few decades, since the Ayatollahs took over Iran and the Sunni militants tried to take over Algeria and now other North African Muslims countries ove a million Muslims have been killed in internecine civil wars which had nothing to do with the West.

        Blaming the West for the murderous Muslim regimes is what their i fellow travelers like to do. Anti-Americanism is the refuge of Islamic scoundrels.

  • alsordi

    I am wondering if Tom Ashbrook took the day off on this particular conversation to preserve his integrity.

    • StilllHere

      Too late.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Patrick-Dwyer-Jr/100002088204784 James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

    I find it very interesting that when folks are putting pressure congressman about NSA spying on our citizens, that they intercepted messages that caused security concerns. Of course you cannot verify these claims, you just have to take their word for it. I found a flat rock that has kept elephants out of my garden for many years now, trust me.

  • Jon

    Is there any intellectuals interested in discussing why Al-Qaida attck Americans instead?

    • nj_v2


      We’re not supposed to talk about that. Don’t want to “blame America,” ya know.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        don’t they hate freedom?

        • Ray in VT

          Who? Al-Qaeda or those damned libs?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Is there a difference?
            Maybe we just don’t have enough drones?

          • Jon

            ain’t it a pity W cannot run for president again?

          • HonestDebate1

            He can, can’t he?

        • nj_v2

          (Note: the guests just dismissed this as “collateral damage”)


          In 2004, Donald Rumsfeld directed the Defense Science Board Task Force to review the impact which the administration’s policies — specifically the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — were having on Terrorism and Islamic radicalism. They issued a report in September, 2004 (.pdf) and it vigorously condemned the Bush/Cheney approach as entirely counter-productive, i.e., as worsening the Terrorist threat those policies purportedly sought to reduce. It’s well worth reviewing their analysis, as it has as much resonance now as it did then (h/t sysprog).

          The Task Force began by noting what are the “underlying sources of threats to America’s national security“: namely, the “negative attitudes” towards the U.S. in the Muslim world and “the conditions that create them”

          And what most exacerbates anti-American sentiment, and therefore the threat of Terrorism? “American direct intervention in the Muslim world” — through our “one sided support in favor of Israel”; support for Islamic tyrannies in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia; and, most of all, “the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan“

          Let’s just repeat that: ”Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies.” And nothing fuels — meaning: helps — the Islamic radicals’ case against the U.S. more than ongoing American occupation of Muslim countries:

        • Jon

          why do they hate freedom as good as human desire? they not human?

    • HonestDebate1

      We’re infidels and must be killed, it’s not rocket science.

      • Jon

        then why aren’t the Muslims in America killing us?

        • HonestDebate1

          Hasan’s trial is underway, Tsnaraev’s is around the corner.

          • Jon

            good point. let me rephrase – why aren’t other Muslims in the world including all those in America attacking ‘us’?

          • HonestDebate1

            I am not a fan of the broad brush. All Muslims are not radical. Only the radical Muslims interpret the Koran in that way. It’s like the snake handlers in Christianity.

            It’s the radical Muslims that are killing us and the reason is because we are infedels. We have a Muslim family that takes riding lessons at our barn, they’re harmless… and good people. They dress a little funny though.

          • Jon

            have you ever had any doubt about the doctrine you receive? in other words, ever thought that radical Muslims attack you because of other reasons? perhaps they also have the ability to reason like (or unlike) you?

          • HonestDebate1

            Fair question, the answer is yes absolutely. I question everything. I didn’t just assume this.

            i’d like to unpack this but it occurs to me I can only assume what you think. Why do you think they want us dead?

          • Jon

            if you question everything then did you ask any radical muslin why? or perhaps thru any study to prove it? if you interested in alternative and logic answers, check out Ron Paul’s reasoning for his foreign policy – just google it – I happen to agree

          • HonestDebate1

            No, I don’t hang with radical Muslims.

            I don’t need to google Ron Paul’s stance, I remember it from the debates. I disagree. They wanted us dead long before we began liberating them and long before Ron Paul’s great great great grand daddy was even a thought in his daddy’s head.

            I actually think his stance is insulting to Muslims because it assumes Muslims don’t want to be free. It assume they like rape rooms and torture chambers. It assumes women want to be horribly oppressed. It assumes brainwashing madrassas are healthy for the youth.

            I do not accept the premise that we deserve death for liberating Muslims. I just don’t. The happiest Muslims live in Israel.

          • Jon

            who told you to liberate them (from what)? they’re happy with Sharia law. isn’t that the vice versa analogy of your view of ‘killing infidel’?

            are you talking about Ron Paul’ stance on Muslims?

            that’s your premise, not the one from people with reasoning.

          • HonestDebate1

            Sorry, I don’t accept they’re happy with Sharia law.


          • Jon

            are you happy with every law here?

    • tbphkm33

      That’s a complex issue, but most conflict, terrorist movements and war have a root in economic struggle. Resource scarcity. The have and the have-nots. For too long the U.S. and the West supported the “haves” in the Middle East, all while those regimes were subjugating their populations. The result has been taking snippets of religious texts to justify fighting back. Some are fighting back against Western supported puppet regimes, other’s are going right to the source and fighting back against the West and the U.S.

      It is too simplistic to say al-Queda and related terrorist groups are simply driven by religious ideology. Individual members might buy into the religious ideology brainwashing, but the overall movement is not driven by religion. At the end of the day, like layers of an onion, standing behind everything are those who stand to economically benefit from conflict and those who stand to lose.

      • Jon

        why did the west support the “haves”? or turn to support the “have-nots” e.g., in Egypt recently?

        • tbphkm33

          Ultimately economic interests – support those in control of the natural resources, oil in the Middle East. Same old spin that was seen for hundred of years of colonialism. No longer is it called colonialism, but it is still the same thing. Draining of natural resources to support the economy in the homeland. Be that the Spaniards in Latin America, the British throughout the world, or the U.S. in the past 100 years. Today it is justified by being labeled as open and fair market – only problem, for the masses, those markets are not as open and fair as they are purported to be.

          Ultimately, from an historical perspective, a sizable amount of blame for the current terrorism problem is traceable to America’s, and by extension, Western, addiction to cheap oil and cheap goods. Western consumption rates are unsupportable. It would take some 9 Earth’s for everyone to enjoy U.S. consumption rates. “Terrorism” is one symptom of the crumbling status-quo system.

          • Jon

            so you’re willing to trade your life style for the danger of terrorism and invasion of privacy by the gov in the name of security?

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Great question. Reminds me of that quip by Thoreau: “For every 100 men hacking at the branches of evil, there is but one striking at its roots”.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    This has been a very effective response to a very serious threat.

    Leaks and public outrage had threatened the 1984-ish “National Stasi Agency” surveillance state, and this demonstration of the absolutely crucial essential role of the NSA in keepin’ us safe from the terrorists has silenced all the criticism. Mission accomplished. I mean, we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud, right?

  • Coastghost

    “Americans” are not being terrorized by al Qaeda just now: the Obama Administration, on the other hand, apparently has been spooked, plausibly reacting with a rear-guard action meant only to forestall another Benghazi episode (death of another ambassador, another mission or consulate being overrun). Presumably, just as in Libya, first-term holdovers Susan Rice and Samantha Power are contributing to this formulation of US policy. How long will it take for our media to tell us who exactly has advocated or formulated the policy to close embassies?

    • brettearle

      If you were the President and you had already been through an Outpost/Consulate attack, resulting in Death, your thinking is that the President SHOULDN’T learn from the experience?

      I see.

      The Right criticizes for not being prepared enough for Benghazi..

      And NOW the Right claims that the Administration is TOO prepared.

      THAT is insane bias,

      • Coastghost

        Nyet: recall that consistency can be seen as the hobgoblin of small minds.
        Obama & Co. are not obliged to learn the lesson you claim they’ve learned, since mere reaction forestalls thought on the matter. The timeline for the development of the specific decision to close US embassies in the face of renewed threats properly SHOULD have begun within the Obama Admin. some ten or eleven months ago.
        Or is this move simply a reaction to the fresh intelligence, in which case no strategic thought has been given in the past ten or eleven months to the continuing threats posed by al Qaeda (?).
        –To your point: with ALL available info in hand, you and I both might have made the identical decision that Obama has made. But not necessarily.
        The timeline for this decision-making will come out in due course: I’m patient but I figure it’s not too early to ask.

        • HonestDebate1

          I think it’s a good question but I suspect politics played as big a part as anything. If so, the answer may not be forthcoming.

      • HonestDebate1

        “The Right criticizes for not being prepared enough for Benghazi.”

        I take issue with that. It’s true we should have been more prepared but there is a difference between being prepared and denying repeated request for security. And to the extent we were prepared, the order was given to stand down. And then we were lied to about the video to perpetuate the bigger lie that Al Qaeda is decimated.

        I don’t know who you are referring to but speaking for myself I do not criticize the President for being too prepared. I did not infer that criticism from Coastghost. And those few who are complaining seem to be predominately from the left.

        • Ray in VT

          Who gave a stand down order? Valerie Jarrett I hear is the culprit now. Oh, and the video. Don’tcha know that there was no indication of a demonstration at the time. I mean, it wasn’t even responsible for the demonstrations in Cairo after all. It was that one tweet from that one guy that caused all of that anyways. It was all just a fabrication. Puh-lease.

          • HonestDebate1

            Greg Hick testified under oath the order was given. Pentagon spokesman Maj. Rob Firman tried to split hairs and say they weren’t told to stand down they were told to stay put. Alrighty then. There have been other administration apologist who said there was no time to get there so they didn’t try. That was a decision made by someone. We had willing assets angry they could not help. The SEALs that died despite the order did so voluntarily and one was killed when he lit up the target for air support thereby exposing himself. These things don’t happen is a vacuum. The order has to come from somewhere but the “outraged” President doesn’t seem to be demanding answers.

          • Ray in VT

            Should that group, which my understanding is that they were the main available defense group for the embassy in Tripoli, have boarded a plane and left the Tripoli post without support while indications of possible violence might occur against that position and it’s personnel. No way that could have worked out poorly. By all means, deprive your position of it’s defense while heroically riding out to save the day. It’s great in a movie, but poor strategy on the ground. Current and former administration officials, including people like Robert Gates, have stated that the idea that forces could have made it there in time to prevent the second attack fanciful, and a number of officials have stated that assets began moving as quickly as was possible.

            Some of the actions at the annex are unknown. For instance, one account says that rescue attempts by Woods and others may have led to the annex attack, but perhaps not:


            It is possible that they led the attackers there, but it may have been the cavalry that did it. I suppose that it would be too much of a stretch to conclude that any sort of orders came from the Chain of Command. Such an order must have come from the top, for some reason.

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t say orders came from the top I don’t know. I just said the order was given. And plenty have said there was time and it’s been proven. The fight lasted many hours and came in two stages. Back in the day we used to at least try.

          • Ray in VT

            Yup, the order was given to defend their turf and protect the people where they were. How outrageous. I wonder if I searched the show history who I would find saying that only the President could give such a stand down order? Maybe that’s a project for tomorrow.

            The fight did not last many hours. There was one attack, and hours later, perhaps right around the time that at least some aid began to arrive, another one happened.

            “Plenty have said there was time and it’s been proven”. By whom? Care to cite sources? There is a good quote here from Gates:


            It also references other sources who have stated that the sorts of rapid resource deployments were not possible. You imply, or in fact straight out state, that the administration left the people in Benghazi hanging, and I find such sentiment to be revolting.

          • HonestDebate1

            The first attack happened about 9:30 PM and lasted to about 11:00. The second wave happened about 1:30 AM and lasted an hour or so. We lost two soldiers in that attack. Sigonella is about 4 hours away. Tripoli was closer and they got there on their own without orders by 1:45. It was possible. Where was Obama after 5:00? Drunk? No one knows.

            Gates said (from your link): “I only know what I have read in the media. I haven’t had any briefings or anything.”

          • Ray in VT

            The part of the attack that killed the men at the CIA annex lasted some 11 minutes at around 5:15, and while a 6 man team arrived from Tripoli at about 1:30 (without orders? source?), that was 6 guys in a potentially hostile city. Part of the question regarding relief is what was the status of those forces at the time? For instance, some have criticized the unit in Croatia, which was ordered to move to Sigonella, for not being there super fast, but what was their status at the time that they were ordered to move. They weren’t exactly geared up and waiting on the runway for instant deployment.

            All in all, in a crisis things get confused, especially in a situation with many unknowns, and some mistakes will be made. However, I think that the critics of the administration on an issue like this are largely barking up the wrong tree. I think that Obama was plotting his revenge.

            Gates gave his criticisms and his take, and he was citing people in the know. I believe that he described the portrayal of U.S. military capabilities by administration critics as “cartoonish”, and that seems about right when it comes to some portrayals. The comments that have been made public by officials in the chain of command have pretty much discredited much of the right’s nonsense that they’ve been putting out since last fall, but one wouldn’t know that listening to some people.

          • HonestDebate1

            See, here’s my dilemma, I can give you my source and you will shoot the messenger no matter how valid the info because it was a Fox interview posted by Bietbart and linked to by Hot Air. If anyone was as fair and balanced as the conservative media I could give you Media Matters, MSNBC or Huffpo.

            But you asked so here’s the sources all within this Hotair link. The Fox interview is on video and the link to Brietbart is there too.

            “Bear in mind, though, that the Tripoli detachment came on their own rather than waiting for orders from State, which were not forthcoming anyway”


            That’s a good recap and Hot air is an excellent blog but go ahead and dismiss the SEAL, HotAir, Brietbart and Fox. Whatever you do don’t trust a word thereby tacitly accusing them all of lying (whatever that means).

            So there it is, I have done what you asked. Now it’s your turn, you wrote:

            “The part of the attack that killed the men at the CIA annex lasted some 11 minutes at around 5:15″

            I have no idea where you got that, what is your source? the first shots weren’t even fired until 9:30. Was it a typo? Did you mean 9:15? I’ll take your word for it but I still want a soucre that says the 4 all died within 11 minutes. Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were not killed until after 2 AM.


          • Ray in VT

            Well, you certainly seem to have made up your mind as to what I will say, so I guess that I don’t need to respond. Except, of course, that your projection of me is way off. I wouldn’t exactly call Fox News, Breitbart or the rest as being fair and balanced on this whole story, no matter what their slogans may claim.

            The sources for my timeline comments came from here:


            but there is also this:


            which I didn’t use because I had not seen it, and this, which was also not what I consulted:


            but I did look at this:


            Here is my problem with your source. You have an unnamed source contradicting other accounts, including testimony given before Congress, as to how things unfolded. For instance, there is a reference in there to the Croatia group, which this source says if they were scrambled immediately (like as in the moment that things started to hit the fan), then they might have gotten there by 1:30. The problem that I have with that is, as Gates said, that is not how things work in the real world. It takes time for information to move and to get things in motion.

            Greg Hicks made some references to discussing getting the response team in motion and chartering a jet during his testimony, so I’m not so sure about the claim from the secret source of a team acting on their own and commandeering a jet.


            The mortar attack on the annex was at 5:15am, which is from the timelines, and was said to last for roughly 11 minutes. That is where I got that

          • HonestDebate1

            I will use your timelines over the WSJ in the interest of niceness and to avoid conflict… and also because they make my case better.

            You wrote: “The part of the attack that killed the men at the CIA annex lasted some 11 minutes at around 5:15, and while a 6 man team arrived from Tripoli at about 1:30…”

            The Benghazi times are AM. The WSJ timeline just says “after 2AM” but the CNN timeline says Woods and Doherty were killed around 5:15 AM (Sept 12) almost 8 hours after it all started. The “rapid response” team in Croatia was 3 1/2 hours away. We can’t say what would have happened if…. but we can say they had time to get there. The larger issue to me is that we didn’t even try. We had no way of knowing the fight would not have gone on for days.

            Regarding the order, the fox interview sounded credible to me but you’re right about not being able to confirm it. I can certainly understand the eyewitness wanting to remain anonymous. Also keep in mind Obama has made all witnesses off limits. It’s been alleged by Trey Gowdy they are being moved to secret locations and given new identities. Plus the CIA is conducting relentless lie detector interrogations on anyone involved to make sure no one talks. No one is saying a word. It’s not like we are getting clear picture from this administration.

            As I recall from the Hicks testimony he said the tripoli response team got stranded at the Benghazi airport. It sure seems like if there was an order it was woefully inadequate. 6 guys in a hostile city (as you say) without a ride does not sound like very much of an effort. It sounds more like a bunch of desperate patriots doing all they could without support. Also there may be confusion with Doherty and Woods who were already there and acted on there own definitely without orders.

            I’ve almost forgot what we were arguing about so let me crystalize my point a bit. IMO there had to be an order to stand down because there were options available. If there was an order to aid then it was woefully inadequate and everybody including Gates is saying it was futile. The party line is based on “even if” the order
            was given there was no time. That assumes there was no order.

            I will go back and look at the Hicks testimony as well as others because I remember someone testifying under oath about their outrage at the order to stand down. I am not trying to muddy the waters between being ordered to stand down and not being ordered to go but it seems to me they are linked. Hicks was the liaison between the Sate Department and the boots on the ground. He was in contact with forces in various locations trying to form a response that never happened. There had to be a reason in the form of an order.

          • Ray in VT

            3.5 hours according to whom? What would they have had available? Rifles and small arms potentially in a hostile city. This isn’t Rambo. The military acts, but not recklessly. Given that it takes time for people to be informed, orders to be given and received and people set in motion, I am willing to give the military the benefit of the doubt when the commanders say that they got things into motion and onto the scene in as speedy and practical way as possible.

            I don’t trust an anonymous source on Fox, or any other partisan outlet, especially when it contradicts the testimony so far available to Congress. Things may change, but I’m not going to hold my breath on this one, and I’m not going to trust Gowdy, Chaffetz or Issa any further than I can throw them. I’m willing to hold back and wait and see what happens in the fullness of time.

            It does appear that they got stuck at the airport, because support was not available at that time. Again, they had what they did. I don’t know what you expect them to have had in that initial group, except, perhaps, for the other four guys in Tripoli (who were not ordered to stand down).

            Doherty appears to have come in from Tripoli, although many accounts, and I think inaccurate accounts, have him in Benghazi from the start, and there does not appear to have been any sort of attempt to impede people from the CIA annex from moving to assist the consulate, just as no one in Washington was watching in real time, which was another claim early on.

            I don’t know what you are trying to get at regarding an order. A small response team was initially sent. Hicks seems to have had a discussion about that with his people. Maybe he was ordered to send them, and maybe he wasn’t. If he was ordered not to send anyone, then no such order has emerged. Perhaps he had some level of discretion as the man in charge.

            Units in Spain and Croatia started mobilizing, and some security personnel were to stay and protect the Tripoli embassy. A response did happen. People got there. Just, apparently, not as soon as some people who are not in the military, save this one anonymous supposed “special operator”, would have liked.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m talking about flight time which is 3 1/2 hours, some say 4. If the order is delayed it takes longer. This was a rapid response team that was trained to go now. 8 hours should have been plenty of time but they did not know they didn’t have 24.

            On one hand you are saying the military doesn’t act recklessly and on the other you are saying they sent 6 guys and a few guns to a hostile city to be stranded at the airport. What’s reckless is hanging Stevens out to dry.

            On one hand you are saying you don’t trust members of Congress, on the other you trusted those who fed you the video meme.

            On one hand you say the stand down order has not emerged, on the other you don’t seem to need the order to emerge that sent the tripoli team. So assume the eyewitness was lying.

            You get snippy because I predict what you will say and then you do exactly what I said you would. And that includes tacitly accusing Fox and the eyewitness of making the whole thing up.

            I actually appreciate the ambivalence and admit you could probably do the same analysis on my comments… maybe. The point being it is indeed unclear, there are agendas all around and the clarity is not forthcoming. So aside from the above snippy paragraph I really don’t mean to be adversarial or snarky. And I have learned a few things from this endeavor and you made me rethink some things. To me this is relevant and timely so I will study it deeper.

            Now back to the crux, to my mantra, to the part I am firm on. It’s my opinion there was time to act and prevent the death of Woods and Doherty but I can’t prove it any more than you can prove there wasn’t. What I do know is there was not a chance without the President calling his security team to the situation room and being involved to lead the process. He can move mountains with the full force of all his available assets and bold leadership.

          • Ray in VT

            4 hours if they have a fueled plane on the runway and that they were totally geared to go, which they were not, at least according to the things that I have read. This guy, a former Special Ops guy, for instance:


            As for the six (or seven) man team, it is not clear that they were military guys (two may have been). It looks like they were mostly either CIA or State Department people, and it is not clear what their task was. Securing the airport at least seems like a best first step, but part of the reason that they were stranded at the airport was due to the lack of reliability of local forces. They moved once local aid became available, so that, at least was prudent, and the situation seemed to be relatively calm prior to the CIA annex getting mortared.

            I say that a stand down order has not emerged because at least the Tripoli guys that remained there said that they received no stand down order.

            I did not dismiss your source out of hand based upon the messenger, as you suggested that I would and then claimed that I did. You gave me an alleged eyewitness from a source with a partisan agenda. Tell me, what credence would you give to an anonymous source on MSNBC who provided comments that run entirely counter to the top military brass from a GOP president? I think it likely that you will tell me that you’d give the guy a fair shake, and if so, then I think that that is unlikely. You say that I am implying that the “eyewitness” and Fox are liars, but aren’t you basically saying that the Secretary of Defense and the Chair of the JCS are lying because the “eyewitness” contradicts their statements.

            You say that “What I do know is there was not a chance without the President calling his security team to the situation room and being involved to lead the
            process”, but why? Indications are that the President was informed and assets were set in motion. I’m sure that Super Ronnie or the Great W. would have magically flown there and saved those people personally, but, sadly, Obama is only human, so how would calling such a meeting have gotten a plane to the Croatia team as described in the article that I referenced, any faster?

          • HonestDebate1

            Regarding the timing, I stand by it even using 4 hours. They had almost 8 but the point is they did not know how much time they had. It’s pretty lame for them to just stay put on the assumption they probably don’t have enough time anyway.

            I don’t agree the eyewitness necessarily contradicted the SOD or the JCS. The statements were very parsed. I’m not sure where the line is between being ordered to stay put and being ordered not to go. The commander in charge (forgot his name) was said to be retired and unavailable for testimony until just recently but he wasn’t under oath. I have also read the 6 missed the military plane so that’s why they chartered. Again, it’s all still very unclear.

            But you know what, it’s fair to say I don’t trust this administration. They clearly dropped the ball on security request. They clearly had a reelection agenda which relied on the notion Obama had defeated Al Qaeda. They clearly have tried to keep the witnesses from being known. They clearly lied about the video. The terrorist are free and the videographer is in jail. I could go on but it’s redundant at this point. I understand you disagree but I have my reasons and I believe them to be valid.

            We’re just too far apart to agree if your claim is Obama didn’t need to be engaged, his whereabouts need not be known and it was all inconsequential. That’s not what I expect from the Commander in Chief.

            We’re talking past each other so I’ll ask it this way: Do you think the situation was handled in a coherent, prudent manner?

          • Ray in VT

            But you are standing by a 4 hour time not knowing what the status of the group in question was. 4 hours might have been enough to get there if they were prepped and ready to go and got into motion within minutes of word of the attack reaching the White House. I think that that is just an unrealistic view of capabilities, unless circumstances were to only just line up so that, for instance, the team in question had been on the move already.

            That you do not trust the current administration is quite apparent, and I think that a healthy distrust of government and those in it is a good thing, however, when one strays so far, as I think that you often do, into the realm of fantasy in order to push a partisan line, then I do not consider this to be healthy. For instance “clearly they lied about the video”, despite initial evidence that the attack began with a spontaneous demonstration (and not even getting into your vastly differing standards of a lie for this versus the previous administration), the videographer being in jail reference, when the dude clearly violated the terms of his parole, and I’m sure that there would be similar issues with your other points, such as the administration needing to sell the American people on Al Qaeda being defeated, and I would like to know when that was claimed, as I think that the administration has been fairly straight with the American people as to the relative known capabilities of that group at this time.

            My contention would be that the President seems to have been informed and that he gave instructions to top people. I do not feel the need to know his exact whereabouts or need to see him personally directing action. I just don’t feel that it is necessary. Do I think that the crisis situation following the attack was handled in as prudently and as coherently a manner as I think that one could reasonably expect in the middle of a chaotic situation? Mostly yes. I take it that you do not, although much of your criticism in this particular thread seems to be largely second guessing decisions made regarding how to best respond to an ongoing situation and to cite a questionable source who contradicts timing statements made by many other sources, although I was somewhat heartened to see that it took you this long to make a video reference and call the administration a bunch of liars.

          • HonestDebate1

            They were a rapid response team, they stay prepped and ready. Irregardless I made the case why it didn’t matter, they did not know how long the fight would last.

            I’m not going to go back and make the case yet again they lied about the video. It’s been proven over and over. The snub of the Libyan President alone that resulted in our not being allowed on site for weeks proves it. It’s ridiculous to say they thought it was the video. You talk about the first reports but Obama was still at it two weeks later. It was a lie. You are the only one on the planet still clinging to it.

            And yes, they are a bunch of liars. They intend to deceive. Clapper had to admit he lied about NSA tapping. I just posted a comment this morning about Holder lying over mortgage fraud. I’ve given you laundry lists of the lies. Obama even lied in his own book. They lie and lie and lie again. You don’t have to agree but I’m not making claims out of thin air just to be nasty. The evidence is clear.

            Yes I disagree and am actually astonished you believe it was handled as best we could expect. You have a very low bar. They anticipated nothing, the only help was voluntary and inadequate, they ignored the one Muslim leader on our side and pissed him off. If they actually still believed the video meme days and weeks later then they are just stupid which is the ONLY reasonable alternative to lying. I don’t think they’re stupid. They did nothing, nothing. My opinion is it was handled horribly, they have no defense.

            “We’re portrayed by Republicans as either being lying or idiots,” said one Obama administration official who was part of the Benghazi response. “It’s actually closer to us being idiots.”


          • Ray in VT

            And your evidence that they were prepped and ready to go is what? You can “make the case” by merely saying that all you like, but that does not make it so, and the orders were given to get them into motion.

            I find your willingness to go on and on about how the intelligence over the video being some made up lie to be below ridiculous, considering that people on the ground the next day were expressing outrage regarding the video. I, as I have repeatedly stated, am willing to give situations time to play out, and I would really only be extremely concerned had administration officials talked about a protest after surveillance video was retrieved from the consulate. Considering the events in Egypt, outrage over the video seemed like a possibility, but if you go back to the comments from last September 12th, you will see a number of commentors saying that it did appear different in nature in Benghazi. I wonder, how long do you give an administration to say everything that it knows, and based upon your standard of a couple of weeks for the Obama administration, then was it wrong for the Bush administration to not reveal the internal doubts regarding WMDs in Iraq? Should they have come clean within days? If not, then why not?

            I have some pretty high expectations, but I realize that in dangerous and chaotic situations confusion can, and does, often reign, and that orders and information takes time to move up and back down the chain of command. In such situations, I find myself fairly unwilling to criticize people for not acting instantly or totally correctly. But please, though, continue, in spite of available evidence, to continue to attempt to pass what Fox News and the like posit as fair and balanced coverage of the events in question, combined with your highly selective use of facts and quite questionable, partisan use of what you say constitutes a lie. It is highly entertaining.

            I’m not saying that some very bad mistakes were not made by the administration. That would be like saying that Bush never lied. What I am saying, though, is that while mistakes were made, a timely response began, and for some time it was unclear as to what could be proven about the outbreak of the attack, who was responsible and what the motivations were. I think that to suggest that the administration’s response was a part of some sort of attempt to paper over the nature of terrorist threats globally as part of the reelection campaign to be cynical, wrong and requires one to buy into their narrative of what they say that the President said about terrorism, which requires one to ignore much of what he said about terrorism.

          • HonestDebate1

            Are you denying they were a rapid response team? I told you why it’s irrelevant anyway, you do you pretend I didn’t. Why are you talking about the next day and ignoring the fact Obama was still blaming the video 2 weeks later? The first reports were that it was terrorist, the President ofLibya said it, the CIA said it, there was no protest, the weaponry was not consistent with a protest, it was the anniversary of 9/11. They didn’t just float the idea that it may be the video they said it with certainty. It’s disgusting. We’re getting nowhere and I just don’t understand how your ideology can blind you to this degree. They lied, they are still lying.

            Reconcile these statements:
            “I have some pretty high expectations…”

            “Do I think that the crisis situation following the attack was handled in as prudently and as coherently a manner as I think that one could reasonably expect in the middle of a chaotic situation? Mostly yes.”

            “I’m not saying that some very bad mistakes were not made by the administration”.

            There was no response at all, timely or otherwise. Obnama has you right where he wants you.

          • HonestDebate1

            I just want to make sure I understand you, please correct me. We had the Clinton Administration make regime change in Iraq US policy. We had both Bill and Hillary Clinton, Algore, Sandy Berger, Albright, Pelosi, Reid, Ted Kennedy, and every Democrat alive (slight exaggeration) sound dire warnings about WMD. Clinton’s CIA honcho said it was a slam dunk. We had no verification for years and years from inspectors but Bush should have assumed the notion was false and everybody was wrong. Fine.

            But then in Benghazi we had no one onsite that said it was a video that instigated the attack. Everyone who was actually there said it was a terrorist attack including Stevens himself. So Obama was justified in telling the world it was the video.

            We have an eyewitness do an interview on Fox who says they were ordered to stand down but we shouldn’t believe him despite the fact no help ever arrived. But we should take as gospel reports from people who weren’t there that it was the video.

    • fun bobby

      what was that building in bengazi? it was neither an embassy nor a consulate. for some reason they don’t like calling it a CIA safehouse that they were doing arms deals out of. why is that?

  • truegangsteroflove

    This all seems a bit too handy. Some of us are old enough to remember the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and various other schemes like the coup d’état in Chile, the assassination of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, and many more. Remember the Maine.

    Now we have people bandying about the heady term “AQAP.” I wonder if AQAP calls AQAP AQAP. Here in the U.S., having an acronym for an organization that may or may not exist tends to make it real in the public’s minds. There must be a threat because we are calling it AQAP.

    One thing that should give pause is that the senator chosen to go on talk shows promoting the “threat” hype is Saxbe Chambliss. He became a senator by negative and false campaigning against his opponent, Max Cleland, who lost three limbs as a soldier in Vietnam.

    There may be a threat, and there may not be. We have no way of knowing, based on the credibility of our government and its various spokespersons and our Potemkin journalism community. It looks too much to me like a desperation attempt to change the subject away from government spying on all American citizens.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Part of me wants to know “how does Chambliss get to be the point Senator” for this, and if anyone else chosen by the GOP to do this would make it different for our “chattering classes”.

      • truegangsteroflove

        When you put something in quotation marks that means you are quoting something. Generally it doesn’t apply to quoting what you are currently stating. For some though, it works just fine. It’s a variation on Socrates’s dictum “Know thyself,” dumbed-down to quote thyself (without quotation marks. henceforth there will be something to quote).

        I agree that Chambliss is no worse than any other “Republican.” (I put this in quotes because it is an assumed identity, subject to the vicissitudes of assumption). In his particular case he has shown himself to be a crasser opportunist than most, taking election campaigning to new lows. Now he “looks senatorial.” (this term has been used many times, hence the confident use of quotation marks)

        I thought the “chattering classes” (quoting a term recently coined) consisted of members of AQAP. At least that’s what we’ve been told. Maybe there’s more to this “chattering classes” notion than meets the eye.

    • anamaria23

      Some of us are old enough to remember 9/11.

      • truegangsteroflove

        I remember the negligence that enabled the attacks of September 11, 2001. Some prefer the easy slogan 911. It makes for better reflex reaction. So does AQAP. Most fall for it, some don’t.

    • truegangsteroflove

      Remember the Alamo. It gave us Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Remember Little Big Horn. It gave us the rest of the West.

  • alsordi

    Only 36 posts today?

    Where are all the pseudo-liberal opinions on this serious issue?? Sheepish? Squeemish?

    Perhaps you know this threat nonsense is actually YOUR government scaremongering in response to Edward Snowden’s revelations of an out of control surveillance and infringement of civil rights of the American people. … and of course the never mentioned insider wall-street trading scam by contractors carrying out the surveillance and maintaining these systems.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Ever consider it’s august and some people with lives have other things to do?

      Anyway I agree on the substance, as I said below. The righty policies coming from the faux liberal Obama are astonishing. Talk about the Manchurian Candidate!

    • 1Brett1

      Only a conspiracy theorist such as yourself would look at a small number of comments and determine that this means, “you [On Point forum commentators] know this threat nonsense is actually YOUR government scaremongering in response to Edward Snowden’s revelations of an out of control surveillance and infringement of civil rights of the American people.”

      And, only you would shoehorn an even greater conspiracy idea–about Wall Street insider trading being a practice among surveillance/maintenance systems–into your comment…I know, I know, I’m naive and you are informed…blah, blah, blah, whatever. I suppose you’ll be wanting to throw up some link along about now to a lunatic-fringe website that supports your “views.” Let’s see…um…touché? (a preemptive touché, I should say).

      • Ray in VT

        It is interesting what brings in the comments. I think that there have been a couple of shows on Syria that don’t get many comments. I think that part of it is who’s looking to pick a fight that day with some over the top comment.

        • 1Brett1

          Ray, I try to guess sometimes how many comments there’ll be…I figured this one wouldn’t get that many. Often, there are less with a guest host, for one thing (depending on the subject matter). I think also that there is a lot of ambivalence about how to proceed regarding terrorist threats (at least I have a lot of ambivalence, and I don’t think my own conflicted views are unique).

          I figured some would simply use the topic opportunistically to talk about their own pet gripes involving surveillance or Benghazi, etc. (I didn’t seem to be wrong about that.) I knew yesterday’s Rand Paul/libertarianism segment would get a lot of comments. He always gets a reaction. And, we have an abundance of armchair libertarians here who are particularly looking for fights all the time, so I thought it would be a 450 comments day…Man, what did it turn out to be over 700!?!?! (I suppose any disparaging remarks about Rand Paul are actual threats to freedom and liberty themselves.)

          In Sordi’s case, his commentary in general seems to be over the top all the time (and with no trace of irony or otherwise sarcasm, I might add). We have a few like that. I fairness to him, I think he just has that sort of world view; I don’t think he is a baiting sort, but I don’t know, can’t say for sure.

          • Ray in VT

            Hour one almost always gets more comments than hour two it seems. Maybe you’re right about the murkiness of the topic suppressing people’s desire to comment. We know about this problem, and we know what actions have been taken, but it is not always clear how well those actions work out, and one gets into some dicey ground, such as with the use of drones, which can have a lot of benefits and detriments.

          • 1Brett1

            Hour one definitely has it all over hour two. This may be a big vacation week for people? I’ll bet there would have been more interest if the focus had been on drones, speaking of them.

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe. The drone shows have raised some interesting questions.

          • J__o__h__n

            I think the show with the most comments was on 9/11 conspiracy theorists so number of comments don’t correspond to the legitimacy of the show’s subject.

          • 1Brett1

            My reply didn’t have anything to do with any correlation between legitimacy of topic and number of comments…

            I think you are correct that the 9/11 conspiracy show got the most comments. I am guessing that the Texas secession show was also a big one for comment numbers (maybe #2?)…I see the Rand Paul/libertarian show is up to 829. Maybe there is a correlation between number of comments and nutty topics?

          • Ray in VT

            The top ones from the last year seems to be Texas secession, Ben Carson, Romney’s 47% comments, a Friday roundup and then a bunch of gun shows.

          • 1Brett1

            That makes sense…Probably any of the shows on the Zimmerman-Martin thing would have also prompted a high number of comments…Controversial people (e.g., Carson) seem to prompt a lot of comments. Anything to do with guns would also prompt a lot of comments. The more a topic prompts strong emotions/opinions that are far apart from each other in a demarcated line of “one side or the other” the more it seems to get a lot of comments. Maybe they could do a show with Carson and Romney talking about guns, abortion, entitlements and Texas secession! Now that would be a show!

          • Ray in VT

            It would have a bazillion comments! Let’s make it happen.

          • J__o__h__n

            It was more of a response to the thread in general than to your specific post.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, I was looking that that show’s comments earlier. There were a couple from recent months, and I didn’t see any screen name that I recognized in the newest few pages of comments. The belief in some of this stuff boggles my mind. We have an IT guy who believes in the mind control drugs in airplane contrails. He’s great at his job, and he’s a heck of a nice guy, but he’s nuts.

          • fun bobby

            apparently they work

  • http://michael.wordpress.com/ michael abrams

    With the cuts in defense , it is plausible that embassies would be closed. Looking at the long history of Middle east conflicts (thousands of years) we can only aid when requested but only give aid as a partner and member of the UN. Our unilateral support only alienates us with the people we are attempting to support. These folks are dirt poor but the terror system provides just enough support to keep them on their side, much like a drug addict receiving addition maintenance from a pusher.

  • edloveryomtvraps

    How convenient that right after the congress nearly voted to defund the NSA’s domestic spying, right after public opinion started to swing against ubiquitous spying on Americans, right after the DEA was revlealed to be using the NSA’s dirt on Americans /and lying about it/[1], we get breathless, vague reports of a scary “terrorist plot”.

    [1] http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/05/us-dea-sod-idUSBRE97409R20130805

    • fun bobby

      and what does Dr. Dre have to say about it? ( I agree 100% with what you said but I cant help myself)

  • pete18

    I’m obviously no Obama fan, and think his NSA activities are very troubling, however, I give him the benefit of the doubt regarding this particular terror threat. I’m not sure shutting down the embassies is a great idea but Al Qaida is definitely up to something:


    • HonestDebate1

      I agree with you. I am assuming, as drastic as these measures are and despite the weakness it projects, that Obama is acting in our best interest given what he knows.

      • fun bobby


        • HonestDebate1

          Point taken but I have to assume one way or the other. You are assuming the threat is fabricated to stifle liberty. You may be right but I’ll stick with my assumption for now.

    • fun bobby

      of course they are. whatever the cia needs them to be up to

      • pete18

        Are you a “truther” too? Also, on a lighter note, why the switch from “photo buddy” to “fun bobby?”

        • fun bobby

          I did not think anyone disputed that we trained bin laden back when the Russians had their quagmire over there. since everyone agrees that he did work with the CIA why does not anyone seem to know exactly when he stopped working for us?

          • pete18

            That wasn’t really an answer.

          • pete18

            Is it your opinion that the CIA directed Bin Laden to carry out the attacks on 9/11 as an excuse for the US to go to war?

          • fun bobby

            who knows? seemed to have created an excuse to do all sorts of terrible, stupid things. I was wondering if anyone knows when he stopped working for the cia

          • pete18

            That you could even entertain it as a viable option is troubling. Bin Laden’s connection with the CIA was an alliance of convenience, just like the one between the US and Russia during World War 2. He had his own agenda before and after the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. To make a leap to him being a permanent employee of the CIA who would be willing to do their bidding for cash is to ignore the documented history of radical Islam and common sense. Stupid things can be done without having to have convoluted conspiracy theories that lack any evidence or defy all likely motivations for the players involved.

          • fun bobby

            its funny you should mention WW2 in the same breath as you chastise me for believing that the there could ever possibly be a false flag attack in AmericaYou know why Hitler’s invasion of Poland was so popular domestically right? it was because he had performed a series of bombings in his own country and blamed them on Polish terrorists. I did not say he was anything of the sort. just asking a simple question. when do you think he quit working for us?
            . I am sure you have seen the memo circulated in the bush white house saying what they would like to achieve if only there was some sort of large scale terror attack.

          • pete18

            I wasn’t chastising you for suggesting false flag operations have happened or were possible considerations in the general sense, there are plenty of historic examples to buttress this idea (although the Gulf of Tonkin is a much better example for the US than the Hitler one). What I was chastising
            you for was considering the 9/11 attacks as a possible false flag operation. It’s a loony idea, even as the most remote
            possibility. “Just asking the question,”
            (about Bin laden and the CIA) isn’t just an innocent inquiry from an open-minded inquisitor, it implies that you think the answer might be evidence of a conspiracy that you think is plausible. Particularly when it follows your earlier quote about the CIA controlling what Al Qaeda does. It’s kinda’ like saying, “what about the Martian’s role in the attack, just asking?”

            There is no concrete public evidence that Bin Laden got any
            money directly from the CIA, however it is known that they supported the Afghan
            rebels indirectly, through the Pakistani Military Intelligence. Either way, Bin
            Laden would have no need for CIA money given his family fortune made from their construction business (they were billionaires) and his know anti-American sentiments. Any collaboration, if there were any, would have been driven by
            fighting a common enemy, the Soviets, with no reason for either of them to
            collude beyond that.


            I haven’t read the memo that you mentioned (maybe you can
            provide a link) but if you consider all the motivations that might have lead
            either the CIA or the Bush administration to attack it’s own Pentagon, one of
            the most important financial and symbolic buildings in New York, or the White House or Congress (the
            most likely target of the planed downed in PA), as well as the murdering of 3,000 innocent people (or it least 100s of innocent people if they weren’t expecting the building to topple) it’s completely absurd, you can’t
            even write fiction that would make less sense. The same is true of any of the
            incentives that you might imagine for Bin Laden, given all his known activities
            before and after the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.. This is all Occam’s
            Razor stuff in spades, the official story is the simpler one and the explanations
            and motivations fit the cast of characters involved like a glove, the
            conspiracy stuff is a suit that’s five times too small and requires twisting
            your brain and all common sense into a contortionist’s maze to make it even
            remotely possible.

          • fun bobby

            yeah maybe they just ignored the memo “bin laden determined to attack” by accident. they were bumbling idiots right? whoops! well now that that happened lets go invade Iraq! is any collusion required between bin laden directly and bush for there to be malfeasance? is there any functional difference between orchestrating an attack and allowing one to proceed?
            who knows? all I do know is that history repeats itself. and good tactics are good tactics. do you remember sun tsu’s advice for how to get your soldier’s to fight the hardest?

          • pete18

            Malfeasance is quite a different charge than knowing collusion. There are quite a number of reasons why the government didn’t put all the dots together in a way that gave them actionable intelligence (“bin laden determined to attack” was not actionable). Much of it did have to do with them being bumbling idiots, particularly the wall between the FBI and the CIA. That history repeats itself and Sun Tzu wrote an oft quoted book on the art of war is about as relevant as to whether the US government participated in the 9/11 attacks as George Bush’s astrological sign. To believe such crime was committed you have to have an understandable motive (there is none beyond the fantasy that because the US politicians in both parties that found it strategically important to get rid of Saddam Hussein they would be willing to do ANYTHING to achieve it ), evidence (none of that either) and a willingness to believe that
            nobody in the know about would ever talk or leak information about it. With his Presidency at stake, Richard Nixon couldn’t keep a two-bit burglary secret, do you really think that there wouldn’t be anyone that would turn on the CIA or George Bush with something as big and morally compromising as American Crime of the Century? Wouldn’t there be a Snowden leaker somewhere in all this?

          • fun bobby

            malfeasance or collusion is there any difference in the outcome? the art of war is always relevant. ignore its directives at your own peril. ignore history at your own peril. I wonder if the German people knew that it was in fact their own government staging the bombings in their own country, how could they keep that secret? Nixon only went down because an assistant FBI director turned on him in secret, otherwise would we have ever been found out? that man kept his identity secret for 31 years after his leak. if that happened today he might have just been disappeared to a secret prison. don’t you think they learned anything about keeping secrets from Nixon? the government apparently has all kinds of secrets they have successfully kept from us. we still don’t know all that snowden knows

          • pete18

            “malfeasance or collusion is there any
            difference in the outcome? “

            Outcome no, but in understanding what actually happened, or what crimes the government may have committed, the state of our democracy, or Al Qaeda and what to about them policy-wise, it makes EVERY difference in the world.

            “the art of war is always relevant.
            ignore its directives at your own peril”

            Believe it or not, not every General or Supreme commander has run their wars or policies based on Sun Tzu’s book.

            “ignore history at your own peril. I
            wonder if the German people knew that it was in fact their own government
            staging the bombings in their own country, how could they keep that secret?”

            I agree with you about history, but I
            think you are drawing completely misguided conclusions from Hitler’s
            false flag actions in Poland. There was no importance to that action staying
            secret as it was done for international consumption (Hitler needed a pretense
            to invade Poland) not for swaying domestic opinion. Hitler had full control of the army, press and had eliminated all his political opposition well before
            1939. The false flag action was accomplished with small band of SS men who crossed the Polish border, took over a radio station and broadcast that Poland was invading Germany, and then shot up a bunch of concentration camp prisoners dressed in Polish uniforms and draped them over fences and trees so it looked like they were shot trying to invade Germany. They made sure the press showed up to shoot pictures and then Germany invaded Poland the next morning. The truth about what happened never had time to be debated and was a moot point after Germany secured Poland. It was irrelevant to the war and German domestic opinion, and that opinion had no effect on Hitler anyway, so it was not a test of the how well secrets can be kept. This is quite different from 9/11 where the national understanding of what happened that day had everything to do with the events that followed and riveted the press, the public and all the political players. However, if you want to stipulate that conspiracies can be kept longer under a dictatorship, you’ll have no argument from me.

            “Nixon only went down because an
            assistant FBI director turned on him in secret,”

            Yes, exactly, completely proving my
            point. There’s always somebody who will talk or turn on the group. Although it
            wasn’t only Mark Felt during Watergate, John Dean also talked, there was an
            Ehrlichman memo about the burglary plans that turned up, and lots of evidence was found during the initial investigation of the burglary that linked Howard Hunt to the crime. This is the kind of stuff that happens in real world activities, people talk, make mistakes, and leave evidence. The clean, flawless, able to cover every track or eliminate every potential leaker secret intellegence agency only exists in poorly scripted spy movies. Felt kept his secret because only Woodward knew about it and had agreed to keep his identity confidential but he was on lots of people’s lists as a possible “deep throat,” so his identification was hardly a furtive blank slate.

            “the government apparently has all
            kinds of secrets they have successfully kept from us.”

            Well sure, but in Snowden’s case, as in
            most espionage stuff, most of them aren’t the types of things that people are
            puzzling about. It’s more pedestrian stuff like the names of agents, the
            locations of weapons, or blackmail material on world leaders.

            However, if you have the crime of the
            century committed by the US government, and the revelation of that information would be the biggest news story in 100 years and change almost everything about our current foreign policy and our domestic politics, there is a lot more pressure and incentive for that information to leak or be discovered. If Snowden actually knew that information, he would be holding the biggest ace card ever played in negotiations to win his freedom and immunity.

          • fun bobby

            he is still alive

          • pete18

            There you have it, direct evidence that the US government participated in the 9/11 attacks.

          • fun bobby

            like I said I don’t know what really happened. the government does have a well documented history of lies. all of them were kept secret until they were not anymore. some of their lies almost everyone knows are lies yet they stick to their story. for example they claim that cannabis,

            The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
            The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
            There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
            that’s all total BS yet its the governments official story. you seem to have a lot of faith in the boy who cried wolf

          • pete18

            I never said the US government doesn’t have a well documented history of lying, they lie all the time. My faith in the fact that the 9/11 attacks weren’t committed by the US government has nothing to do with what the US government says about it.

          • fun bobby

            all right don’t leave me hanging, how are you so sure its true then?

          • pete18

            Common sense. I’ve already said all this but here is a synopsis:

            A. There’s absolutely no evidence to indicate such a thing happened (and there would be at least some bit of something somewhere).

            B. None of the motivations imagined for any of the players that might be involved make any sense in real world terms but make complete sense for what happened in the official story. This is quite different from the theory that George Bush’s administration might have lied about the evidence of WMD being in Iraq. I don’t believe they did but at least in that hypothesis there would be a plausible reason for them to do so.

            C. To have pulled off such a thing, either by proactively hiring Bin laden or by passively letting an attack happen that they had intell on, would have required such an intricate amount of planning, an
            absolute control over all staff, party members, Pentagon officials and
            government agencies, and an acting performance by George Bush worthy of Sir Laurence Olivier that it would be all but impossible to achieve. The Bush
            administration was not that competent. Also, the risk of being caught would have been so great, and the consequences so damaging
            that a rookie president, less than a year into his first term would have never
            dared entangle himself into such a mess and put his fragile hold on power in such
            jeopardy. And, do you really think George Bush would have allowed himself to look so bad during the first few hours after the attack if he had helped plan it, or knew it was going to happen?

            D. There would have to have been a pretty large number of people in the know for this to have happened. Given that, and all the political enemies and hostile press that Bush attracted both nationally and internationally, an event of this magnitude could not stay secret for very long. It defies human nature.

            Think of all the damaging leaks regarding
            NSA, Abu Grab, and Valerie Plame that happened under Bush. If his
            administration had already purposefully murdered thousands of it’s own citizens
            to achieve it’s objectives, and had the ability to know about all the people
            who could possibly leak stuff and whisk them off to CIA black sites to keep
            them quiet, do you think they would have hesitated to do so with non-9/11
            collusion stories that would hampered the achievement of their ultimate

          • fun bobby

            let me reiterate I have no idea what really happened.

            A. absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

            B. how could you or I possibly know or understand the motivations of those in power? The WMD seemed like BS at the time and all they had to do was to listen to the UN inspectors. That’s a great example of the bush admin lying in order to pursue war (a war of choice in which over three thousand Americans eventually died)

            then there is this (written before 911)

            Section V of Rebuilding America’s Defenses, entitled “Creating Tomorrow’s Dominant Force”, includes the sentence: “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor”


            D. how many people were in the know about the NSA thing? how many came forward? do you really expect Cheney or Rumsfeld to do the right thing?

            “If his
            administration had already purposefully murdered thousands of it’s own citizens
            to achieve it’s objectives, ”
            does that refer to the troops they sent in to die (you go in with the army you have) or those poor folks in the towers?
            it is not necessary to fool all of the people all of the time

          • pete18

            “let me reiterate I have no idea what really happened.”

            But you are saying that you consider the “Truther” version of events to be a
            viable option, which I think you need to defend rather than claiming an
            open-minded ignorance about everything. It is possible to rule out some things by using your brain. Give us a workable version of how that could have actually worked. If you can’t do that, then it’s about as viable a theory as saying invisible time travelers did it.

            “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”

            No, but if you are going to propose an extreme and unlikely accusation you have to have something.
            A workable thesis, understandable motives, eyewitnesses, documents,
            leakers or some evidence, take your pick.

            “how could you or I possibly know or understand the motivations of those in power? The WMD seemed like BS at the time and all they had to do was to listen to the UN inspectors. That’s a great example of the bush admin lying in order to pursue war (a war of choice in which over three thousand Americans eventually died)”

            This really isn’t rocket science. People in power aren’t aliens, they’re human beings with the usual set of human drives. It is quite doable with an everyday understanding of history (which you keep telling me is so important to pay attention to) biography, sociology and psychology. Whether you would do what someone else in power would do isn’t required. As long as you know something about the individuals and the context they are operating in, you don’t have to be a radical Islamist, a Republican President or a British Prime Minister to understand what things would or would not drive them to particular actions.

            “then there is this (written before 911)

            Section V of Rebuilding America’s Defenses, entitled “Creating
            Tomorrow’s Dominant Force”, includes the sentence: “Further, the
            process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to
            be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor” “

            Yeah sounds ominous doesn’t it? Of course, when you rely on one line
            excerpted from a policy report that you never read you can make it sound like
            anything you want. The Project for an American Century angle as an argument
            against neo-cons and the Bush administration is one of the dopiest of all
            critiques. That came from a complex and wide ranging policy paper by a number
            of noted conservatives that covered their recommendations and thoughts about the military and foreign policy after the end of the cold war. The line about Pearl
            Harbor was just an acknowledgement to the reality of the world (which any
            thoughtful policy paper would do) in which the adjustments to the military that they were recommending would have to contend with.

            Here’s the whole

            ‘”Further, the
            process of transformation,
            even if it brings
            revolutionary change, is
            likely to be a long
            one, absent some
            catastrophic and
            catalyzing event – like a
            new Pearl Harbor.
            Domestic politics and
            industrial policy
            will shape the pace and
            content of
            transformation as much as the
            requirements of
            current missions. A
            decision to suspend
            or terminate aircraft
            carrier production,
            as recommended by this
            report and as
            justified by the clear direction
            of military
            technology, will cause great
            upheaval. Likewise,
            systems entering
            production today –
            the F-22 fighter, for
            example – will be in
            service inventories for
            decades to come. Wise
            management of this
            process will consist
            in large measure of
            figuring out the right
            moments to halt
            production of
            current-paradigm weapons
            and shift to
            radically new designs. The
            expense associated
            with some programs can
            make them roadblocks
            to the larger process
            of transformation –
            the Joint Strike Fighter
            program, at a total
            of approximately $200
            billion, seems an
            unwise investment. Thus,
            this report advocates
            a two-stage process of
            change – transition
            and transformation –
            over the coming

            Read the whole thing if you really want to kill some time: http://www.newamericancentury.org/

            “If his administration had already purposefully murdered thousands of it’s own citizens to achieve it’s objectives, ”
            does that refer to the troops they sent in to die (you go in with the army you
            have) or those poor folks in the towers? it is not necessary to fool all of the
            people all of the time”

            You’re giving me bromides and your war opinions rather than responding to my point. Whether the war was moral, or right, or Bush lied is a whole other
            topic, which we can debate sometime if you’re interested. I’m still waiting to
            hear you put together a working thesis for how the Bush administration could
            have somehow participated in the 9/11 attacks, since you’re the one who is
            proposing it as a workable hypothesis.

          • fun bobby

            hmm they get a memo entitled “bin laden determined to attack” and choose to ignore it. then they can begin their war in Iraq, an endless global war on terra and enrich all their cronies

          • pete18

            To enrich all their cronies? Please. I asked for a workable hypothesis. Who does anything to enrich their cronies without some sort of payback for themselves? The answer: aliens, robots and imaginary straw men that are usually used to attack conservatives about tax cuts for the rich and wars for oil.

            What would their payback be? Who exactly would the cronies be? What do you think would be more important for a President, getting his cronies more money or staying in office?

          • fun bobby

            we are talking about Rumsfeld here, among others of his ilk. this is the kind of person Rumsfeld is:


            if you are one of those folks who at this point would attack the source just research don Rumsfeld and NutraSweet. read any article from any source about that topic and then tell me that Rumsfeld is not adept at profiting from cronyism. Tell me that he would not knowingly put Americans lives at risk for personal gain. I would say 12 million dollars in the 80s is pretty enriching. Do you really need me to make a list for you of who profits from war?


          • pete18

            I think the Rumsfeld Aspartame article is a bit overstated,
            since one of the premises is that it is unquestionable that Aspartame is a
            health hazard, and that is not true. At most it’s been a debated and
            controversial topic but there have been no definitive studies that have
            connected it to cancer in humans.

            That Donald Rumsfeld would use his political power to make money would not make him very unique in the world of politics nor would that be an indicator that he was one step away from approving of the mass murder of innocent Americans to enrich himself. However, for the sake of argument, let’s say that you are correct and Rumsfeld is a greedy, evil,
            Machiavellian character with no qualms about murdering Americans if he could
            make a buck. You still need to show a few more things, for your theory to hold
            together. How would inciting the war have made his cronies money (specifically, not abstractly or with pictures of Bush and Rumsfeld shaking hands or kissing various dictators or oil sheiks, or a digital map showing that every big company in America gives money to politicians on both sides of the aisle). Which cronies are you talking about? Is there any link you can find to increased stock holdings from particular companies to Rumsfeld’s portfolio? Or Bush’s or Cheney’s (Cheney divested himself from Haliburton stocks before taking office and Bush had no holdings in any oil related businesses by the time he was President).

            Since Rumsfeld was appointed to his position, not elected, he had no campaign chest for anyone to donate to. So was he trying to start a war so BUSH’S campaign donations would be bigger? If his (or Bush’s or Cheney’s ) only goal was to make money or increase campaign donations, why wouldn’t they pick much simpler, more predictable, less risky and slightly less immoral methods? Inciting a terror attack on your own country, convincing the entire political structure and the public to go to war in Iraq in response, and putting your entire political career, as well as your freedom in great jeopardy to accomplish this seems like the path of most resistance. There would be so many easier ways for any of these guys to have achieved these goals.

            And since Rumsfeld does not make the call on whether we go to war or not, how could have he possibly made it happen beyond being one of many voices talking to the president? The President is the one who reads the memo, decides how to respond and makes the decision (after congressional approval, which Bush got) to go to war.

          • fun bobby

            yeah, I thought you were one of those.
            a funny part was how you vehemently denied that cronyism exists then you said this: “That Donald Rumsfeld would use his political power to make money would not make him very unique in the world of politics”
            your defense of aspartame sounded very much like the defense of cigarettes they used make when I was a kid.
            Do you know what the bushes are actually investing in? maybe you should look into it, its disturbing.
            all that small handful of like minded individuals needed to do was ignore a known specific threat. there is quite a bit of evidence that they did so. the most incontrovertible evidence that they did so was the pile of corpses around the WTC.

          • pete18

            “yeah, I thought you were one of those.
            a funny part was how you vehemently denied that cronyism exists then you said this: “That Donald Rumsfeld would use his political power to make money
            would not make him very unique in the world of politics”

            I thought I was confirming that cronyism is ubiquitous among politicians with that statement.

            “your defense of aspartame sounded very much like the defense of cigarettes they used make when I was a kid”

            From the American Cancer Society:

            ” Studies done in the lab:

            Many studies have looked for health effects in lab animals fed aspartame, often in doses higher than 4,000 mg/kg per day over their lifetimes. These studies have not found any health
            problems that are consistently linked with aspartame.

            Two studies published by a group of Italian researchers suggested that very high doses of aspartame might increase
            the risk of some blood-related cancers (leukemias and lymphomas) in
            rats. However, both the FDA and the EFSA have called these results into
            question, citing a lack of some important data in the published studies
            and other concerns.

            Studies in people:

            Most studies in people have not found that aspartame use is linked to an increased risk of cancer.

            One early study suggested that an increased
            rate of brain tumors in the US during the 1980s might have been related
            to aspartame use. However, according to the National Cancer Institute
            (NCI), the increase in brain tumor rates actually began back in the
            early 1970s, well before aspartame was in use. And most of the increase
            was seen in people age 70 and older, a group that was not exposed to the
            highest doses of aspartame, which might also make this link less
            likely. Other studies have not found an increase in brain tumors related
            to aspartame use.

            In the largest study of this issue,
            researchers from the NCI looked at cancer rates in more than 500,000
            older adults. The study found that, compared to people who did not drink
            aspartame-containing beverages, those who did drink them did not have
            an increased risk of lymphomas, leukemias, or brain tumors.”


            “Do you know what the bushes are
            actually investing in? maybe you should look into it, its disturbing.”

            No, I don’t. Please tell me and show me
            how it would make the case that taking all those risks would accomplish the
            goals you imbue them with and be more attractive than the myriad of much safer
            and more predictable methods. You’re making an extreme accusation, you have to do better than casual correlations to defend your theory.

  • hennorama

    Closure of US diplomatic facilities in response to threats is nothing new.

    President Obama was caught in a classic “between Iraq and a hard place” situation. If no action is taken and an incident occurs, he gets blamed. If action is taken and nothing happens, he gets blamed.

    Of course he would take the more cautious approach in such a circumstance.

    None of us are privy to the actual information about the threat(s), which allows the imaginations of conspiracy theorists to run wild, and for fools in Congress and elsewhere to make absurd claims.

    Rather than uniting against threats to American personnel and facilities overseas, we get asshats like noted “birther” Rep. Rep. Louie “The Loon” Gohmert (R-Texas) say this:

    “We don’t want any more people to die, but it brings us back to the question that Hillary Clinton asked, what difference does it make at this point?

    “The difference it makes is, that if you will bother to find out exactly what went wrong, why you didn’t have security where you needed it, where you need security to shore up, what you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen again, you don’t have to close your embassies like a bunch of cowards that go running away.”


    “We don’t want any more people to die, BUT … “

    Very classy there, Mr. G. You certainly demonstrate that you are nothing like the name of where you were raised – Mt. Pleasant, TX.

    • 1Brett1

      I’m just amazed that Louie “The Loon” “Gomer” Gohmert has gotten as far as he has!

      • hennorama

        1Brett1 – I think the “Gomer” comparison does a disservice to Jim Nabors.

        • HonestDebate1

          That’s cute but Gomert is right. I’m not criticizing Obama for being cautious but this does clearly send two messages. It shows America that Al Qaeda cannot be decimated and Bin Laden’s death meant little. It also projects weakness to our enemies much like the apology over the video from our Embassy in Egypt did. Rather than an apology the message should have been there will be hell to pay if Muslims cause murder and mayhem over a silly video.

          There was another option besides closing embassies or doing nothing. We could also beef up security and project strength. We could make clear this was no game, don’t mess with us or our interest. Period.

          • 1Brett1

            “don’t mess with us…”? Yeah, we should probably be doing a lot of chest beating and saying phrases like, “bring it on” and “don’t mess with us,” and “there will be hell to pay,” etc. Oh, and we could also get involved in a long war, too; all of that has certainly worked well for us in the past…

          • HonestDebate1

            Or, I killed your leader! Bin Laden’s dead!
            Bin Laden’s dead! I decimated Al Qaeda! that seemed to work well on the last 9/11 anniversary.

          • fun bobby

            you know what decimated means right?

          • HonestDebate1

            I know what it doesn’t mean.

          • fun bobby


          • 1Brett1

            Delusions about causal relationships that don’t exist? …That was bad even for you.

          • HonestDebate1

            Can you honestly say that the spiking of the football didn’t enraged the radicals? And BTW, I’m not concerned with pissing them off or offending them.

          • hennorama

            1 Tea Snot Be’d He – TYFYR and your kind words.

            “I’m not criticizing Obama for being cautious BUT …” Clearly you like Mr. G’s linguistic style.

            You should try it with your significant other – “Darlin’, that new outfit makes you look great, BUT …” – and see what she “hears.”

            Let’s count the memes in your comment:

            1. Al Qaeda cannot be decimated
            2. Bin Laden’s death meant little.
            3. It also projects weakness to our enemies
            4. the apology over the video
            5. the message should have been
            6. Muslims cause murder and mayhem over a silly video. (that’s a two-fer)
            7. There was another option
            8. We could also beef up security and project strength.
            9. don’t mess with us or our interest.

            You get credit for one thing that Rep. L.G. does not – the use of the word “we” in your comments. Notice how Mr. G’s comments consistently projected an accusatory separation of “you” vs. “us”:

            if you will bother
            why you didn’t have security
            where you need security
            what you can do
            you don’t have to close your embassies

            Now let’s see if I understand you correctly, sir – it appears you think the US hasn’t done enough to increase security at the various diplomatic facilities that were closed, and that the US should “project strength.”

            Please correct any inaccuracies.

            (I’ll ignore the silly “Al Qaeda cannot be decimated” and “Bin Laden’s death meant little” and the various “silly video” comments just now)

            A few questions come to mind:

            What are your specific recommendations for increased diplomatic security that have not already taken place?

            How will your recommendations be paid for?

            Is it OK to borrow money for this purpose?

            What role should the host countries have, and how have the host countries not lived up to their obligations?

            Exactly how should the US “project strength”?

            Is Rep. Gohmert part of the problem, since he is part of the US government?

          • 1Brett1

            Maybe the embassies/consulates could have a bunch of Duck Dynasty-type looking characters standing around outside with guns and wearing camo while pointing at people passing by, saying, “don’t mess with us!”? I mean that’s a start. We could also have a president who beats his chest more and says things like, “bring it on Muslim terrorists, there’ll be hell to pay, you rascals!!!” Maybe this could be punctuated with a few fist shakes, etc.? If Obama wasn’t such a wimp, he’d come up with something, at least. Instead, all he does, all the time, all day, every day, is bow, apologize, bow, apologize…I hear he has a prayer rug in the Oval Office facing Mecca…what’s up with that?!?! Romney would have been kickin’ ass and takin’ names, I tell you what!

          • Ray in VT

            How dare you yuk it up, Brett? How very dare you?

          • 1Brett1

            I know, and I am truly ashamed…why, my comments themselves are probably compromising national security! I’ll bet terrorists are looking at these comments as we speak and saying, “look, liberals! weak, weak, they are all weak! We will radicalize them all!” Comments like the ones advocating for more chest beating are probably to a terrorist like garlic or the crucifix to a vampire; the terrorists read those and cringe in weakness, “noooooooo; I’m melting, melting….”

          • HonestDebate1

            Gee wiz Hennon, you’re losing it! Maybe I could have been clearer, I don’t know.

            I wrote: “I’m not criticizing Obama for being cautious but this does clearly send two messages.”

            It sends two messages, that’s a fact not a criticism for being cautious. I don’t criticize him for being cautious.

            I’m not going to comment on the language (you/us) thing, it’s irrelevant and silly. And the memes are just weird, especially #5 and #6. It’s a total recast of what I wrote. I’ll leave them alone too and simply clarify #1 which you seem to have understood. But I know how you are so I’ll say I did not mean they were impossible to decimate and would have been clearer if I wrote, “It cannot be true that Al Qaeda is decimated.

            You wrote: ” it appears you think the US hasn’t done enough to increase security at the various diplomatic facilities that were closed, and that the US should “project strength.”

            I did no such thing. What I have said is I give Obama the benefit of the doubt for acting in America’s best interest. I made no suggestions whatsoever regarding this alert. I don’t know the intel or the circumstances. All I did was point out we have options other than closing embassies or doing nothing. It may very well be that closing them is the best approach.

            So your questions are built on a false premise I did not suggest. I can’t really answer them except in general terms. I’ll try as I again point out you rarely answer mine.

            The first one I will skip because I am not suggesting increased security. All I’ll say about the second and third is we can’t spend a dime on anything without borrowing and even closing the embassies cost money. Saving lives and protecting our interest trumps costs especially in the context of how much we throw money around. The money down the Solyndra rat hole alone could buy a couple of brand new embassies. The answer to the fourth question is IMO zero, we learned that lesson in Benghazi when the Libyan guards aided the enemy. And even when the Libyan President tried to help we stuck a thumb in his eye. #5 can be answered by saying I would be satisfied if we simply did not project weakness but again, I don’t know about this case, maybe projecting weakness is a feint. I don’t get #6. It seems to imply I don’t like government. I’ll just say Louie Gomert is a patriot I hold in high regard.

          • hennorama

            1 Tea Snot Be’d He – TYFYR.

            It is merely your opinion that “this does clearly send two messages.” Others have different opinions. Some think it’s a conspiracy to distract everyone from [fill in the blank].

            Yes, of course. You’re NOT criticizing President Obama. Of course.

            My points about your phrasing of “I’m not criticizing Obama for being cautious BUT …” are that is was similar to Rep. G’s phrasing, and that the word “BUT” effectively counteracts the preceding phrase.

            As in “I’m not criticizing Obama for being cautious but [I am criticizing him for the “fact” that] this does clearly send two messages [not to mention the rest of the things I'm going to mention].”

            Alternatively: “It’s OK that Obama was cautious. Nevertheless, being cautious is not OK, because it sends two messages.”

            This is similar to the “backhanded compliment.” (You’re surprisingly well-spoken for an equine excrement expert from North Carolina).

            One realizes that the subtleties of language are not universally appreciated. That you feel what I pointed out is “irrelevant and silly” is unsurprising.

            It’s also unsurprising that you feel “the memes are just weird,” as you cannot keep yourself from using them. Your mention of “the Solyndra rat hole” meme is merely another example.

            You wrote “I am not suggesting increased security.” Got it. The fact that you previously wrote “We could also beef up security” clearly proves the accuracy of your statement.

            Yeah, right.

            As to your opinion of Rep. Gohmert – there’s no accounting for taste.

            Thanks again for your response.

            BTW – I understood all of your prior comments despite the awkward phrasing, especially your words “It shows America that Al Qaeda cannot be [is not] decimated…”

          • HonestDebate1

            No, I am not criticizing Obama’s actions. I am on record on this board and yesterday’s board. As eager as I am to criticize Obama (and I am) why would I hold back? And if your point is it sends more than two messages then fine, no argument. Can you say it doesn’t send the messages I claim? Being cautious is good, period. That’s my unequivocal claim. The messages sent are a different matter. You are arguing grammar and syntax not logic. That’s your game.

            I liked Bush but I liked Reagan more. Did I just say I didn’t like Bush? Your logic makes no sense.

            Regarding Solyndra it’s $500 million, math is math.

            So, let me understand, my sentence negates itself because of the word “but”, at the same time my preceding sentence, “There was another option besides closing embassies or doing nothing” had no relevance to “We could also beef up security”. Gotcha’, you are making perfect consistent sense. NOT!

          • hennorama

            1 Tea Snot Be’d He – TYFYR.

            Allow me to remind you of your words, “Gomert is right.”

            Unless we’re in some alternate universe where English words now mean the exact opposite, Rep. Louie G. was criticizing and not praising President Obama’s and the State Dept.’s actions, resulting in the closure of US diplomatic facilities, when he said “…you don’t have to close your embassies like a bunch of cowards that go running away,”

            Please note that I never indicated you were criticizing President Obama’s actions. Clearly you were praising his current and prior actions.

            Obviously you would hold back because you are widely known as reasonable, thoughtful, and non-judgmental. Always.

            Sorry, but I can’t hold my laughter back any longer. HA!

            Yes, I can refute your claims.

            You claimed “It shows America that Al Qaeda cannot be decimated and Bin Laden’s death meant little,” and “It also projects weakness to our enemies much like the apology over the video from our Embassy in Egypt did.”

            Al-Qaeda can be simultaneously decimated and an ongoing threat. These are not mutually exclusive concepts. Think of a severely wounded and cornered predator. Americans are smart enough to understand this. Claiming that Osama bin Laden’s death “meant little” is laughable on its face and needs no specific refutation.

            I won’t re-argue what the Cairo Embassy’s tweets actually said, and instead will simply indicate disagreement with your characterization. What these closures indicate to anyone with a brain is that the U.S. has learned from prior mistakes and is erring on the side of caution during a period of implementation of all 29 recommendations of the Accountability Review Board.

            Strong entities ultimately care little about the opinions of others, and act as they see fit, especially pertaining to issues of security.

            If enemies of the US are foolish enough to believe closing some diplomatic facilities means the US is weak, they are free to act on that delusion. It’s difficult to view the fact that a government can project its power from thousands of miles away, via a button on a joystick, as “weakness.”

            Only fools would believe such a thing. The leaders of Al-Qaeda are not foolish. They are cold and calculating, and long-term strategic thinkers. While they are not the only enemies of the US, they certainly are the ones most involved relative to these closures.

            As stated, the subtleties of language are not universally appreciated. In future, you may consider separating your statement into two separate sentences:

            “I’m not criticizing Obama for being cautious[; being cautious is good, period.] [That said,] this does clearly send two messages [which I view as “not good, period.”]

            Allow me to demonstrate what I had already discussed, using your new example:

            “I liked Bush but [the deficits he ran up were terrible].

            I liked Reagan more [but he ran up deficits, too.]

            The key is maintaining the same subject, not pulling the ol’ switcheroo.

            You wrote “I’m not criticizing Obama for being cautious but this does clearly send two messages,” followed by sentences that were clearly critical. It’s not really that big a deal, I just find it interesting, and pointed it out.

            If you “honestly” believe you were not in any way being critical of the President, let’s just say I disagree.

            As I said, I understood you perfectly.


          • HonestDebate1

            “Gomert was right” and “I’m not criticizing Obama’s actions” cozy up nicely without contradiction and in this universe. What Gomert said was factually correct.


            (paragraph 3)

            (paragraph 2)

            And please, don’t insult my intelligence by suggesting the unprecedented (your word) closure of 22 (your number) embassies and consulates does not send a message of weakness; or that is done because of a threat from an enemy that has been decimated.

          • hennorama

            Per the GS R-O-M [alrighty then]

          • HonestDebate1

            Yep, the proof is in the pudding, I’m on the record over several days and have been clear. I do not criticize Obama’s actions. But don’t worry, I reserve the right as facts unfold.

          • hennorama

            Good to read that you acknowledge that you words are merely your opinion rather than facts.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s your opinion.

          • hennorama

            Yeah, except NO. Your opinions are merely opinions.

            As you seem to enjoy youtube videos, perhaps this one will help you to understand:


          • HonestDebate1

            Of course my opinions are opinions as are yours. It’s a fact that I am on record expressing my opinion that Obama is acting in our best interest. It is a fact that I have expressed my opinion that we should give him the befit of the doubt. I have no idea what your point is.

          • hennorama

            Yes, it’s clear that you don’t understand, because you are unable to distinguish fact from opinion, as evidenced by your words:

            “It sends two messages, that’s a fact not a criticism for being cautious.”

            This is not a fact and is simply your opinion.

            “What Gomert said was factually correct.”

            This is also not a fact and is simply your opinion.

            Again, you may want to view the video.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s a fact that you will do anything to distract from the point by zeroing in on some esoteric semantic BS that assumes you know more than anyone about everything… or maybe it’s just my very informed by experience opinion. It’s a fact you think you are the blog’s schoolmarm… or maybe it’s just my very informed by experience opinion.

            Moving on, it seems to me you are ignoring the facts at hand and considering YOUR opinion that I am criticizing Obama as a fact. So all kidding aside, as you remember my answering your questions as I admonished you for rarely answering mine, I’ll ask you, do you agree the following is a fact supported by evidence?

            It is a fact that I am on record for days having expressed my opinion that we should give Obama the benefit of the doubt.

            And just before I hit post, as a preemptive measure, I will point out that I may not have used the words “benefit of the doubt” (I think I actually did more than once but I’m not looking it up). I could rephrase the above paragraph and I thought about it but that would be silly. I gave him the benefit of the doubt by assuming he was acting in our best interest. That’s what it means. It’s clear so I’ll leave the paragraph as is… but I know how you are when you get cornered. I have a feeling you will do anything to keep from admitting the above is indeed a fact. Here’s your chance to prove me wrong.

          • hennorama

            1 Tea Snot He Be’d – TYFYR.

            HA! Let’s go to the Gregg Smith Response-O-Matic again, shall we?

            [It's not about me] [Get me out of your head]

            I truly enjoy your hilarious ideas that I am somehow “cornered” or that I “know more than anyone about everything” or that I “think [I am] the blog’s schoolmarm.”

            Truly hilarious, sir.

            No “admission” is necessary, as I’ve never disputed that you opined that “we should give Obama the benefit of the doubt” and similar. Rather, I indicated that your remarks can easily be interpreted as critical “backhanded support” via your “I’m not criticizing Obama for being cautious BUT …” comment and similar. This was coupled with you claiming that your opinions were facts, which is obviously not true, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out.

            Allow me some linguistic license:

            You wrote “I’m not criticizing Obama for being cautious but this does clearly send two messages.”


            “I’m not criticizing [you] for [thinking Pres. Obama was being prudently] cautious but [your sentence above] does clearly send two messages.”


          • HonestDebate1

            So I criticized Obama’s actions regarding the closings by giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he is working in the best interest of America? You’re really making sense now!

            You assumed I was criticizing Obama because he “hasn’t done enough to increase security at the various diplomatic facilities that were closed, and that the US should project strength” but I did not. Despite my being on record multiple times before our discussion saying unequivocally I am NOT criticizing Obama followed by no buts, your opinion is I am criticizing him because I pointed out the action sent messages. As if EVERY action, good or bad, a President makes doesn’t send messages. And now you step it back from accusing me of criticizing him for his actions to saying my comment “can easily be interpreted as critical”. Well, that’s your opinion even though you treat it as gospel. I have no control over your opinions or bizarre interpretations.

            You’re schoolmarm self is funny when you get cornered!

          • hennorama

            He Tasted 1Bone – TYFYR.

            In reverse order:

            No apologies needed. My feelings are unhurt, I’m not “cornered” and if I had a “schoolmarm self” you’d receive demerits for the following:

            “you’re schoolmarm self” – really now, Gregg. You can do much better, sir.
            Reading Comprehension

            As to the RC issue – allow me to place your words in the context of mine:

            YOU: “You assumed I was criticizing Obama because he “hasn’t done enough to increase security at the various diplomatic facilities that were closed, and that the US should project strength” but I did not.”

            ME: “Now let’s see if I understand you correctly, sir – it appears you think the US hasn’t done enough to increase security at the various diplomatic facilities that were closed, and that the US should “project strength.”
            Please correct any inaccuracies.”

            Clearly my words indicated uncertainty as to your meaning, (let’s see if I understand you correctly …it appears …Please correct any inaccuracies) and did not assume anything.

            YOU: “And now you step it back from accusing me of criticizing him for his actions to saying my comment “can easily be interpreted as critical”.

            ME: “Yes, of course. You’re NOT criticizing President Obama. Of course.”

            And “Please note that I never indicated you were criticizing President Obama’s actions.”

            Repeating: I never indicated you were criticizing President Obama’s ACTIONS.

            YOU: “So I criticized Obama’s actions regarding the closings by giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he is working in the best interest of America?”

            ME: see above.


            From the get-go, your words amused me. I hate to explain humor, but history indicates that irony is mostly lost on you and therefore I am compelled to explain.

            To put it plainly, your words “I’m not criticizing Obama for being cautious but this does clearly send two messages” were ironic and amusing on their face, as they “send two messages,” especially in the context of the words that followed.

            That was one of my points. I thought this was obvious, but apparently I’m alone in discerning this irony. I tried to hammer home the point in my last post, but that seems to have been lost on you as well.

            Not that there’s anything wrong with that. As stated, one realizes that the subtleties of language are not universally appreciated. That is not criticism. It’s merely a statement of fact.

            There’s also nothing wrong with thinking that “Louie Gomert [sic] is a patriot” and that you “hold [him] in high regard.”

            As stated, there’s no accounting for taste.


          • HonestDebate1

            Fail. Context matters, no?

            “Please note that I never indicated you were criticizing President Obama’s actions. Clearly you were praising his current and prior actions.

            Obviously you would hold back because you are widely known as reasonable, thoughtful, and non-judgmental. Always.

            Sorry, but I can’t hold my laughter back any longer. HA!

            You should be ashamed of yourself. But whatever dude. Kicking your ass over and over is not challenging or fun. Believe what you want, I don’t care.

          • hennorama

            He Tasted 1Bone – TYFYR.

            Clearly, your ignorance is blissful.

            My prior post contained words from my original response to you, which clearly indicated uncertainty as to your meaning. I cannot help that you fail to recognize this fact, sir.

            As previously indicated, irony is mostly lost on you. The same could be said for sarcasm.

            Thank you for your highly entertaining judgmental righteousness. Please remind me of all the things I “should be ashamed of” so that I may chronicle them for future enjoyment.

            Allow me a further guffaw – “Kicking your ass over and over”- ahhahahahahahahahaha.

            Très drôle, monsieur.


          • fun bobby

            yeah why not start a third war or a fourth? that will make us look tough

          • HonestDebate1

            The war has already started. But don’t worry, we don’t look tough.

          • fun bobby

            we need to learn the art of fighting without fighting. we could learn a lot from the chinese

          • HonestDebate1

            All indications are we could have solved the Iranian problem without a bullet in 2009 if we had just supported her citizens.

          • fun bobby

            what’s clear is that violence is not the solution. the virus in the centrifuges was pretty clever but I think in the long run we are the most susceptible to that sort of thing

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes it was. Action does not mean war. Inaction can mean war. It all depends.

          • fun bobby

            if you are weak you should appear strong. if you are strong you should appear weak.

          • brettearle

            That’s Right HD.

            Why don’t you expand the jingoism and do what McCain does…..?

            Support 5 wars–count ‘em, FIVE–in the last 12 years:


            Sooner or later, Canada and Switzerland will go on his list.

          • HonestDebate1

            Breattearle, I think you missed my point. I was talking about avoiding war not waging war.

          • brettearle

            I may have.

            But supporting citizens of a Repressive Theocracy normally implies more than simple Verbal Support.

            Perhaps you implied Verbal support.

            But, at the time, I saw your comments, I had my doubts.


            Because you and I know BOTH KNOW that verbal support isn’t going to help.

            How would it have?

          • HonestDebate1

            Verbal support can go along way compared to silence when tipping points are reached. the citizens of Iran were literally putting their lives on the line.

            I’ll agree that word have to mean something, if you tell someone you have their back then you have to mean it but that does not mean war. The other thing is, IMO, Iran will cause trouble and we may not have the choice to avoid conflict. The point being sometimes inaction is worse than war if the result is a bigger more delay war.

            And i replied to you unfounded accusation on another board.

        • 1Brett1

          Aww, Gomer…How cold I have been so crass as to make a comparison to Louie “The Loopy Loon” Gohmert!?!?!? Sorry, and thanks for setting me straight, henn!

          • hennorama

            1Brett1 – I just calls ‘em likes I sees ‘em.

            It was of course quite handy that someone else had already placed their photos side-by-side.

            One thing Rep. G can be commended for – he’s unfailingly entertaining.

          • 1Brett1

            I was wondering about the side-by-side photos, henn. I thought you either found them that way or had some super-duper photo uploading capabilities. I’m glad you clarified…Gregg would have been thrown into a whole new area of paranoia and would have driven farther out through the next neighborhoods over to steal his wifi, driving up carbon emissions…actually, he probably does that anyway and laughs, “aha, I’ll show those liberals; I’ll cause global warming and pretend like I’ve just been on the front porch of my little tin-roofed shack the whole time! bwaaaaaa!”

          • Ray in VT

            Come on, Brett. Everyone who’s anyone who’s in the know knows that it’s only biased, unscientific screwballs like these guys that still believe in the myth of global warming:


          • 1Brett1

            The AGU!?!?! Aren’t they a secret branch of the government?!?! Besides, how many degrees of separation are there between them and Solyndra?

            …And not a single liberal on this forum has brought up any relationship between the government, the AGU findings and Solynbdra!?!?! I guess they’ll claim this is another “phony” scandal!?!?! Could this just be libs giving another GW alarmist a pass on facts?!

          • Ray in VT

            Finally, someone who is willing to address the real issues of the day that the drive by liberal media doesn’t dare to touch.

          • hennorama

            C’mon Ray in VT – everyone who’s anyone who’s in the know knows that a document titled “Human-induced climate change requires urgent action” should be virtually ignored, and that no action should be taken, just like with a document titled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.”

          • hennorama

            1Brett1 – TY for your response.

            I’ve learned that there is generally nothing new under the sun, so rather than do any actual work, it’s far easier to simply appropriate it.

            This is the source:

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Gomert is entertaining, but can he deliver Indiana, or at least “Back Home Again in Indiana”?

          • hennorama

            TF – I always thought the standard was “will it play in Peoria?”

            Seriously though, Jim Nabors could really sing. Based on the audio of Rep. Gohmert’s voice that I’ve heard, I certainly don’t wish to hear his rendition of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana.’

            Thankfully, it’s unlikely that he will unleash that particular weapon of mass distraction upon the world.

        • brettearle


    • HonestDebate1

      Is closing 19 Embassies and consulates all at once anything new? I honestly don’t know, it’s not a trick question.

      • hennorama

        1Bonehead Test –

        There were 22 initial closures on Sunday, then the list was updated.

        Perhaps there were a similar number of closures during WWII. There definitely have been simultaneous closures in the Middle East before, but not to such an extent. As far as I can determine, this is an unprecedented number of simultaneous closures.

        • HonestDebate1

          Thank you.

  • tbphkm33

    Washington’s hawkish stance on this issue does make you wonder what the real mix between a bonafide threat and PR grandstanding (remember how the GW Bush Administration used terror alerts to goat the public). Especially in light that this comes on the heels of the NSA debacle. At least one alarmist Congressman was quoted as saying its the most noise since right before 9/11 – well, sorry, but wrong. What made the immediate lead up to 9/11 standout was how quiet chatter and terrorist activity got. The peace before the storm. It was so quiet that I remember about 10 days prior to 9/11 having a discussion hypothesizing something big was about to happen, simply because al-Queda had been so quiet.

    • tbphkm33

      For what its worth, my read of the overall terrorist situation is that the calculated risk has lessened, but the completely out-of-the-woodwork attack risk has risen. In the late 1990s and leading up to 9/11, there was mainly al-Queada, a smaller and more disciplined force. Today there is more support for terrorism in a much larger area and more terrorist groups, but overall the threat is diffuse. Many factions are inefficient due to infighting, conflicting goals, and resource scarcity.

      I do not see U.S. and “Allied” military action over the past 15 years having much effect overall on terrorism. Other than in the case of Iraq driving right of center individuals into the terrorist camp, thus creating ideological terrorists.

      The “safety” of the west, the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests has had much more to do with the development path of al-Queda and related groups than external military action. If anything, al-Queda has succeeded in robbing the U.S. of much needed financial resources that have transformed the nation into a militarized society, economic resources that otherwise would have been spent elsewhere. A reality that gives the U.S. some long-term structural deficiencies.

      In the big picture, I don’t see a 9/11 style attack or any sort of nuclear material disposal and/or detonation as a viable option for al-Queda, or its related groups, in the next five years. There is the possibility of an externality, a small cell managing to detonate say a truck bomb in a major U.S. city, but that threat has always existed and is generally regarded as being indefensible against. Timothy McWay proved that a determined group of 3 to 5 individuals can pull off such an attack with little fear of detection. Resistance groups in WWII Nazi occupied territories showed that even during an occupation, it is nearly impossible to defend against such an attack.

      So, that’s my two cents this morning. Back to the doldrums of this international strategic plan, material so dry that its hard to write…

    • brettearle

      In recent days, Saxby Chambliss, a Republican senior senator on the Intelligence Committee, made the comment that covert communications had not picked up such Al Qaeda chatter, in a long time.

  • Jeff Garrison

    The struggles with Al Qaida has been significantly founded on ine of ideas. US skills with ideas in the international arena has improved but our blunt response of drone striking a small meeting of Al Qaida members with a peaceful rational player isa huge tragedy and costly for the struggle. Are we afraid to deal with the ideas of fundamentalism be too close to home, since we have our own domestic fundamentalist groups?

  • J__o__h__n

    I think the embassy closings is caution due to not wanting a repeat of Libya rather than by trying to distract attention from Snowden’s whistle blowing. Making a big deal over it with Putin is keeping it on the front page. Closing embassies doesn’t distract the public like ginning up a potential domestic threat would.

    • Ray in VT

      I did wonder this morning how long it would take before someone raised the specter of whether or not this was some sort of a distraction invented by the administration because of (fill in the blank).

      • fun bobby

        the exposure of the domestic spying program? seems like a pretty large coincidence

        • HonestDebate1

          I have a question but you don’t have to answer. Are you Futo Buddy? You’re anonymous either way. I’m just wondering.

          • fun bobby

            (in my hilldog voice)
            what difference does it make?

          • HonestDebate1

            None, never mind.

          • pete18

            It means there are either one or two guys that need to fix the “shift” keys on their computers :)

          • fun bobby

            that’s funny

    • fun bobby

      what does bengazi have to do with embassies?

      • 1Brett1

        A Futo Buddy by any other name still smells…

        • Ray in VT

          I sort of wondered, but if this indeed Mr. Futo, then at least while I still disagree with some-to-many posts, then at least they are not of the character than they were previously. If he is someone else, then I merely disagree with him on certain points. Hopefully he doesn’t have the problems that plagued the other Fun Bobby about which I know.

  • Geheran1958

    Earlier this year, President Obama, in a major speech, declared terror and Al-Qaeda “on the run” and a function of the past tense. His “Mission Accomplished” declaration was clearly premature. Funny, when GWB made his “Mission Accomplished” landing, the media was all over him when it became apparent that there was more work to do.

    • fun bobby

      no sign in the background. seems like al queada appears whenever you need an excuse to crack down on liberty

      • HonestDebate1

        Good point, think about that for a minute. In that speech Bush spoke of the struggle ahead. He said: “We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We are bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous.” He made clear that “our mission continues”. He never said mission accomplished but there was that banner. It was actually a great speech.

        President Obama didn’t have a banner but he has said over and over that Al Qaeda is on the run and decimated. I guess the lesson is it doesn’t matter what a President actually says, banners trump all. No banner, no problem.

    • brettearle

      A terror alert and, generally, Al Qaeda being on the Run, can easily be 2 different things.

      • Geheran1958

        Point taken. What I should have said was Obama declared it was time to bring the war on terror to a close as the threat (implied) from Al-Qaeda was largely eliminated. On Jay Leno’s show the other night, Obama seemed to backtrack from his earlier statements on the terror threat.

        • fun bobby

          funny how he goes on a late night comedy show to discuss such important things. its almost as if we don’t have journalists who would like to interview him

          • Geheran1958

            The prez is remarkably careful when choosing who gets to interview him. While I don’t pay close attention to BO’s press briefings, it would appear that the WH press corps fails to ask our CIC the tough questions with the possible exception of Fax News.

          • fun bobby

            and even their questions are not that tough. welcome to the new age of transparency we were promised

  • tbphkm33

    I keep meaning to make the point that Russia granting Snowden a one year’s asylum and the U.S. reaction only underscores that what “secrets” Snowden still has in his possession is perceived to contain critical information. If not, the Russian’s would not be interested in keeping him close, nor would the U.S. be so upset about not getting him back.

    Still, at the end-of-the-day, Snowden will end up a pawn. Traded by Moscow for someone or something they want more. Those cards Snowden holds have an expiration date and he has pissed off enough powerful people that they will want to see him back in the U.S. just out of spite.

    • brettearle

      Additionally, there’s also the Prestige factor and the Humiliation factor.

      • fun bobby

        plus at this point it seems like Putin is punking oboma on the regular. now the best response he can muster is to take his ball and go home

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    I wonder what reaction we’d see if Congress actually tried to take away some of the surveillance programs now in full gear. Or, de-fund a few overlapping CIA-like intelligence operations.

    Problem is they all have a vested interest in playing up an enemy – why? because it pays their salaries, benefits – and when you get right down to it, is a source of power.

  • Pingback: Amid Embassy Closings, Weighing The Threat From Al-Qaida | Cognoscenti

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