The Weekly Standard sums up a little bit of testimony from outbound Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that will be a mere footnote for Barack Obama, but probably would have brought down a Republican President. At 5:00 PM on the afternoon of the Benghazi consulate attack, Panetta had a scheduled meeting with President Obama… who then walked away from the whole mess and never looked back:
Panetta said, though he did meet with Obama at a 5 o’clock prescheduled gathering, the president left operational details, including knowledge of what resources were available to help the Americans under siege, “up to us.”
In fact, Panetta says that the night of 9/11, he did not communicate with a single person at the White House. The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Obama did not call or communicate in anyway with the defense secretary that night. There were no calls about what was going on in Benghazi. He never called to check-in.
The 5 o’clock meeting was a pre-scheduled 30-minute session, where, according to Panetta’s recollection, they spent about 20 minutes talking a lot about the American embassy that was surrounded in Egypt and the situation that was just unfolding in Benghazi.
This is pretty much what we right-wing types suspected all along. Empty Chair, bumps in the road. It’s still breathtaking to hear it confirmed. The media never would have allowed this to be kept secret throughout a Republican re-election campaign, and if it had somehow remained buried this long, it would immediately explode into a national scandal that would re-shape popular culture. If Obama was a Republican, the brutal late-night comedy skits of him wandering off in the middle of a deadly attack on Americans abroad would begin tonight – he’d be depicted playing video games, shooting skeet, brushing up on his blackjack skills for his upcoming trip to Vegas, etc. (According to Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, what Obama actually was doing was making a political phone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was upset about being snubbed during his visit to the United Nations two weeks earlier.)
And there’s more, once again courtesy of the Standard, as Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey describes a bureaucratic cluster-you-know-what of astonishing proportions, in which absolutely nobody in this immense government seems to have known that Ambassador Chris Stevens was asking for help in an insanely dangerous part of the world, on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks:
Everything the Obama Administration did after Benghazi, including the phony “spontaneous video protest” narrative, is consistent with a panicked candidate realizing he made a mistake that would be fatal to his political ambitions, and scrambling furiously to cover it up for a few crucial news cycles. Imagine what Mitt Romney would have done with the bombshells delivered by Panetta and Dempsey today. Look at what the media did to him just for offering what criticism he did… and Romney didn’t know the half of what was really happening in this bloody circus on that fateful night.
An earlier, better age would expect top leadership to take full responsibility for an almost unbelievable failure like this, and not just by saying “I take responsibility” into the cameras a few times. Instead, the epitaph for Benghazi was written into the pages of history by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”