Plausible Deniability: Deconstructing how Obama described the Benghazi terrorist attack
by Scott L. Vanatter
Groucho Marx once tried to get out of trouble by comically declaring, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”
In the Rose Garden the day after, Obama had to go out of his way not to accidentally mention the word “terror” in his first seven mentions of what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
In his statement, he employed the following carefully chosen words and phrases. Not what he does not say.
He said it was “an attack.” Mr. President, what kind of an attack?
He called it “this outrageous and shocking attack.” Yes, shocking that he did not cease the moment to accurately label it a terrorist attack up front. Right at the start.
Then he spoke of the “the killers who attacked our people.” The killers? Doesn’t the use of the word “killers” seem to indicate more of a neighborhood crime problem, than the work of a worldwide terror network?
He then decried “this type of senseless violence.” Mr. President, what type of violence was it? Not telling yet? Why not?
He then referred to “these brutal acts.” Brutal they were. Brutal terrorist attacks. Why pussy foot around? This is now the fifth time he has referred to the terrorist attack without so labeling it as such. He goes on.
He again referred nebulously to “this attack” and then again labeled the actors not as terrorists but as “the attackers.” Another missed opportunity to be clear. An anxious nation is waiting to hear what has happened.
He shifted gears and referred to “the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks” and “the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan” and tacked on a reference to “this attack in Benghazi.” Now, he finally gets around to using the term, but it is not specifically in reference to Libya, but to our freedom in general: “As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe. No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.” Supporters can point to his inclusion of the word terror in the phrase “acts of terror” — but this generic application of the term does not necessarily refer to the attack in question, else why did he not use the term in any of the seven previous mentions or two trailing mentions.)
Then, he wraps up, generically labeling what happened as “this terrible act.” Finally, after introducing the idea of terror, he missed the perfect opportunity to make the point – if he intended to make the point at all. But he overtly chose not to use the term “terror” to specifically refer to Benghazi. He sticks with the generic “terrible act.”
In conclusion he refers to “their attackers” – not to the terrorists who attacked and killed Americans. See related piece on how Obama carefully chose his words to afford him plausible deniability of apologizing without using the actual words.
This whole statement was crafted so as to give him plausible deniability. His describing a terrorist attack nine times without referring to it as such allows him to do several things:
1. To continue his plan not to offend Middle Eastern thugs’ sensibilities. (It is naive to assume that thugs can be swayed with kind words.)
2. To adhere to the left-liberal theory that there really are no such things as “terrorists” – just freedom fighters — from someone else’s point of view. (To them using the word “terrorist” is prejudicial. Some liberal entities have debated whether to discontinue using the term. The New York Times is one such organ.)
3. To try to run out the clock till past the election. Their effort to publicly deny that this was a terrorist attack was, in some weird, otherworldly way, an attempt to run out the clock. Past the election. It was an effort to wait it out — like Nixon waited out Watergate — till after the election.
4. To maintain his story that he’s got al Qaeda “on the run” — when the opposite is true.
Over the next two weeks Obama specifically refused, when asked, to correctly label the organized terrorist attack in Benghazi for what it was. He did the opposite. He and his spokespersons specifically called it a spontaneous response to a video. Carney went so far as to say, “Let me be clear” and went on to use the video ploy. Obama himself refused to call it terror on the View, with David Letterman, and at Univision. The whole sordid affair continues to unravel. We now know he knew real-time it was a terrorist attack. In addition to his poor economic record, his purposeful mis-characterization of the facts on the ground has caused uneasy feelings and serious doubts in voters’ minds. Further, his unconscionable lack of any rescue efforts during the initial seven hours will continue to disturb voters. Now they are waiting for the other shoe to drop. What else will we find out?
As smart as Obama is made out to be, and as smart as this team is made out to be, this is not smart. It does not pass the smell test. It walks and quacked and is now anatomically proven to be a duck. As Groucho Marx said, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”
Click here to read my piece describing Obama’s Provocative Weakness, including specifics about his Apology Tour.