John Bernard served 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, both active and reserve. He currently owns Bernard Woodworking and operates the Let Them Fight or Bring Them Home! website.
** ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT LET THEM FIGHT OR BRING THEM HOME! **
The controversy ignited by the latest story emanating from the decaying carcass that is The New York Times and its writer, David Kirkpatrick, playing the amateur philologist on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, magnifies the ludicrousness of political discourse in the second decade of this twenty-first century. In one of the most nauseating displays of familial fawning to date, David Gregory all but kissed Kirkpatrick for the dubious conclusions drawn from his investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack.
The centerpiece of Kirkpatrick’s report is his conclusion about whether or not Ansar Al Sharia was in fact affiliated with or led by Al Qaida agents. He draws his conclusion, which conflicts with standing testimony and conclusions in DC, from “months of interviews conducted by The New York Times”. He also concluded that the attack itself, while conducted by a small disparate, unconnected militant group, was in fact launched in retaliation for the now famed YouTube video about Mohammed.
The two things which dissolve the credibility of his conclusions and the NYT’s investigation are the amount of time that had transpired between the date of the attack and the interviews and his counter claim about the effect of the video tape. Clearly the interviews had taken place some months after the attack and certainly far enough removed to give the interviewees an opportunity to fine tune their comments utilizing information gleaned from the internet and other venues thereby making the content of those interviews unreliable.
Second, the claim that the video was the reason for the attack (even mere hours after the attack) was unbelievable given that the video had only been viewed by a particularly small number of people anywhere in the world, much less from the war torn wasteland that is Libya.
Predictably, Kirkpatrick launched into a diatribe on the practical use of the word affiliation saying that it can mean different things to different people. Of course he was trying to drive a spike in the heart of the allegation that the militants who attacked the Benghazi compound were “affiliated” with Al Qaida. What is so spectacularly unintelligible about this point is that it had been determined during Libya’s revolution that Al Qaida agents were helping and coordinating efforts during that fight. To suggest they simply abandoned the effort after the fact defies logic; making this a focal point of his conclusions does nothing to bolster his credibility or that of those months of NYT interviews.
The more important indication of an apparent affiliation with Al Qaida was apparently not obvious to Kirkpatrick and it may well be because he has never sullied himself in a uniform and therefore has little practical understanding of military strategy, alliances and affiliations. He also seems to have missed the fact that anyone adhering to an established religious doctrine, at least academically, forges an unspoken alliance with likeminded adherents to include any divine exhortations to action. His dismissal of the affiliation charge clearly indicates his having discounted the years of investigation, messaging interception and ground reconnaissance which has placed Al Qaida in the midst of far more militant cells and specific attacks than any of us would like. His dismissal of Ansar Al Sharia as a firsthand, trained, ideological affiliate, frankly, belies his political leanings more than his investigative gut about the likelihood of such an affiliation given the years of collective action by Al Qaida nearly everywhere in the world.
His assertions that Ansar Al Sharia was not “affiliated” with Al Qaida central simply because the NYT’s late-to-the-game interviews indicated so, puts the entirety of history on its head. Using his logic, the United States effort in the European Theater in WW II was a unilateral act by virtue of our not being “of Britain”. In addition he either doesn’t understand the difference between a temporary, military alliance between member nations and an ideological coupling or was determined to lose his audience in the fog of semantics for another purpose. I respectfully suggest the latter and David Gregory was more than happy to accommodate him in this most dubious effort by not questioning him on anything tangential to the story.
For instance, even if Ansar Al Sharia was neither ideologically nor legally bound to Al Qaida, it still does not explain why Ambassador Stevens was some thirteen hours away from his appointed place of duty (in Tripoli) meeting with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin an hour before the attack. Every story printed or spewed across transmission lines and satellite signals has managed to omit any discussion about this meeting some thirteen hours away from the United States Embassy in Tripoli, across very hazardous roads and in the midst of a very unstable Benghazi. Even Congressman Darrell Issa neglected to mention this when afforded the opportunity to counter Kirkpatrick’s claims.
The lack of forthrightness by the Administration over these many months indicate the attack itself served more as a convenient cover for the White House and whatever else was going on in Benghazi that night and in the weeks prior than it did for Ansar Al Sharia or Al Qaida.
This is the true travesty of this event; that something untoward or illegal was underway at the compound in Benghazi and is being conveniently sidelined by lesser “concerns”. It is equally appalling that after 14 years of intense, national exposure to this same enemy and his ideology that we cannot muster a simple majority in Congress which agrees, at least fundamentally, that the ideology that links all of these cells together with some member states like Iran and Libya could give impetus for these unprovoked attacks.
It seems some men cannot help themselves but to continue to give more credence to the actions of men than the doctrines of their “gods” which compel those actions. It is also clear that the academic investment necessary to truly understand this simple point will never be made at the behest of any Federal agency even though it provides a very specific and accurate understanding of the “why” in these attacks. At least an honest academic debate about Islam would help render a more coherent statement than the mushy love-fest we witnessed this past Sunday on “Meet the Press.” It might also take this part of the discussion off the table long enough for Congress to ask the truly important questions, like what the CIA was up to in Benghazi, what compelled Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, to meet with a Turkish Emissary thirteen hours away from the Embassy, what connection there might be between this event and the Libyan flagged Vessel Al Entisar laden with ill-gotten weapons just weeks before the attack.
You know, little things that actually affect U.S. National Security and any vestige of righteousness which might yet remain in the United States of America.
And why does this matter? Because somewhere in the musty corners of this misguided Administration festers the next vile plan which includes the unwarranted killing of more American Service members for some yet to be revealed and dubious effort.