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Benghazi & Rice

Oh, i really didn't want to get into this. It's so depressing and so stupid and i really thought it would just go away after the debates and the election. But with Susan Rice now a top contender for the Secretary of State position (and i hope Obama doesn't back down on this, and it seems that he isn't), this nonsense isn't going away.

I still can't fully grok what, exactly, the complaint is. But the noise around Rice specifically seems to be that she blamed the attacks on the anti-Muslim video, and it turned out to be the works of {extremists? terrorists?} who were planning something for a September 11th anniversary attack and used the outrage over the video as cover. I haven't seen an adequate explanation as to why, if Rice did indeed say that, it's a vast conspiracy of some kind. I don't understand what the Obama administration is supposed to have gained from it. The whole "did you call them terrorists fast enough" thing just seems completely nuts and straight out of an immediate post-911 mentality where it's very important that we agree to use the word terrorist a lot to scare each other.

But the key here is that even people who point out how stupid all of this is still seem to concede that Rice made a mistake or somehow did something wrong in her press interviews immediately following the attack. Seeing something on the Jon Stewart show yesterday is what got me riled up about this again.

To understand all of this, because it is so in the weeds, you really have to go and read the past two months worth of post at the Daily Howler. If you're not going to do that, here's this quote:

From September 17 on, this has been a Standard Claim from the right: Ambassador Rice went on TV and made her claims "sound crystal-clear." (Gerecht had just offered the same talking-point, saying that Rice had been "so assertive" and so "determined" to advance her specific conclusions.)

In the real world, that isn't what happened. Once again, for the ten millionth time, this is what Rice said that morning on a well-known show, Meet the Press.

By our count, she voiced seven disclaimers in just 170 words:

RICE (9/16/12): Well, let me tell you the best information we have at present. First of all, there is an FBI investigation, which is ongoing, and we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was, in fact, initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo--almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video.

What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons, which, unfortunately, are readily available in post-revolutionary Libya, and that escalated into a much more violent episode.

Obviously, that's our best judgment now. We'll await the results of the investigation, and the president has been very clear--we'll work with the Libyan authorities to bring those responsible to justice.

Over and over, again and again, Rice said she was offering the "current assessment"-- "the best information we have at present." She said she awaited fuller information from the ongoing FBI probe. But so what? By the next day, Liz Cheney was trashing Rice for "saying with 100 percent certitude that this was all because of the movie."

Just that quickly, all those disclaimers had been disappeared. They remain disappeared to this day.

I think what Rice actually says is generally considered correct. There was a copycat video protest. And then, separately, an opportunistic group attacked the embassy. Rice's words have been cut up to make it sound like she was saying that the attack on the embassy was a spontaneous attack by the protestors. But you can clearly read the full text and see that's not what she's saying.

Beyond that, and more importantly, she was giving the initial assessment based on information that was known at the time, and she said so.

I don't take the attacks on Rice seriously. The whole thing just seems like such nonsense to me. So the attacks just seem like "we're going to fight Obama on everything using whatever flimsy rationale we can make up". And it works because the media is so lazy they just accept the storyline even if it's wrong, and even "liberals" want to at least look reasonable and say "Look, what she said was wrong, but...". So if there's something legitimate to be concerned about here, please to explain, because i'm missing it.

I was going to segue into filibuster reform here (because if the Dems go forward with that they can approve Rice's nomination without any votes from the minority party), but i've gone on longer than i want to anyway.

By fnord12 | November 30, 2012, 3:18 PM | Liberal Outrage