Obama, Benghazi and the risky business of promoting regime change

How ironic it eventually prove to be if President Obama is remembered for proving just how dangerous it can be to practice “regime change”? Photo: Woodward and Bernstein

NEW YORK May 6, 2013- Forty years ago this month, televised hearings began that led on August 8, 1974 to the resignation of Richard Milhous Nixon as 37th President of the United States of America.

Watergate started out as a “third-rate burglary” with the cover-up eventually yielding numerous scalps. The scandal that came to light emerged before craigslist and the internet gutted the business model for the mainstream media.

In 2013, we are dealing with another government cover-up.

Who will lead the charge and expose what actually happened at Benghazi in proper context?

What will hard evidence show concerning the sale to the American public of a false narrative regarding events of September 11, 2012 and their immediate aftermath?

Where are the Modern Woodwards and Bernsteins?

Thank goodness, fat neckties and sloppy hairstyles are no longer in vogue. However, all of us need mourn that many in the journalistic elite today seem more comfortable playing Inspector Clouseau than Edward R. Murrow.

Forty years ago, mainstream journalists were brave—no political target was too big.

In 2013, the “listserve” pack of some connected big-name investigative journalists seems to have accepted ground rules that call for insulating important Democrats from risk rather than exposing truths.

When was the last time we heard President Obama, Senate Leader Reid or Minority Leader Pelosi field the kind of incendiary questions Sam Donaldson used to fire regularly at the White House?

Could the Political Ground actually be Shifting yet Again?

Published in May 2012 in time to affect the Presidential election, Ed Klein’s The Amateur appeared to hit Barack Obama over issues of basic competence right between his eyes.

Then, as Mitt Romney and the Republican retinue stumbled, the President re-acquired his “mo-jo”.

Much has changed in this New Year. The battery packs powering cloaks of invincibility for President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Valerie Jarrett and the larger Obama team seem to be running out of “juice”.

For months, the Fox News team, WABC radio’s John Batchelor and The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes have been lone movers seeking to expose the wider story behind events in Libya in the run up to Election Day.

With hearings set to open this week, other news organizations are finally re-awakening the kind of skepticism kept at the ready for use primarily against Republican leaders.

Hearings starting tomorrow before Congressman Issa and his Oversight Committee colleagues will bring the American public one big step closer to learning the truth behind the Benghazi shuffle—when political operatives sold a fabulous tale, Hollywood style, to a public in thrall during a pivotal national election.

The horrid details about Benghazi and its aftermath will capture more than a trivial share of public attention in coming days and weeks.

However, the real scandal could be more serious than a bungled explanation of events that cost America four lives and other wounds.

The roots of the arrogance around the Benghazi episode appear to run deep.  The Obama Administration since Day One has displayed a stunning disregard for its constitutionally mandated duties in conducting domestic and international policies.

At home, Team Obama and Republicans who seem to have given up the fiscal fight are succeeding in destroying the credit standing of America.

On foreign policy, Congress is charged with providing “advice and consent”. Do we actually have a coherent foreign policy that could serve our valid national interests? The media scrum revved up during the Iran-Contra episode—where is the agita among the fourth estate now as we think about various failed and offbeat foreign adventures?

The mainstream press, until recently, has been stuck in “man-crush” mode—no negative adjectives or adverbs allowed in describing this team.

However, with Benghazi, we seem to have evidence that the White House and various collaborators were working directly against our actual benefit.

Is it much of stretch to imagine that the same brilliant minds who would let guns “walk” across our southern border as part of some intricate plot might countenance military aid and comfort going to foreign militias without thinking about the potential repercussions all the way through?

Examining the Long Trail of Bunglers and Bundlers

At the most recent White House Correspondents Dinner, President Obama joked about Marco Rubio’s light resume in advance of the Senator’s rumored Presidential ambitions.

That attempt at humor raises the question of who in senior roles overseeing National Security has actually covered himself or herself in glory?

By some accounts, the most powerful person behind the President (excluding his wife and mother-in-law) is Valerie Jarrett. What are her best credentials? Has she and her wide web of past connections ever been thoroughly vetted? Jarrett’s title is “Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.” What role has Jarrett played advising in connection with foreign matters—especially those relating to prosecution of the “War on Terror”?

What about John Brennan, now Head of the Central Intelligence Agency? Did the media ever find out exactly what role he and his firm had in rummaging through various sensitive passport files prior to 2009?

What about Tom Donilon, Head of the National Security Agency?  Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner exposed a web of deceit at Fannie Mae when Donilon worked there. Who may have chits in to him?

And what about James Clapper who incoherently argued in 2011 that the Muslim Brotherhood is actually a secular organization?

Does the Obama team actually believe that radical Islamist groups pose a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States of America?

Legends and their Fall

Presidents obsess about their “legacies.”  That obsession is expected.

How ironic and unexpected will it eventually prove to be if President Obama is remembered chiefly for proving just how dangerous it can be to practice “regime change”?

Before widespread use of the internet, before cheap and powerful communications tools, it took brave editors and intrepid journalists to do the people’s work—to expose the most powerful as they perverted government to advance narrow political interests.

With apologies to Mark Twain, I respectfully ask members of the mainstream media  to “put on their shoes”, roll up their sleeves and finally expose manifold lies still flying around the world that the Obama Administration is ceaselessly selling to the American public.

Al Qaeda, affiliates, and rising contenders remain as lethal adversaries inside and outside the U.S. homeland.

Core elements of radical Islamist thinking include advocating destruction of secular rule everywhere it now exists and implementation of Sharia as supreme law. Neither of these tenets works in America.

We are not going to “nice” radical Islamist firebrands and their adherents into forging a lasting, fruitful, global peace.

If honesty remains the best policy, can we say America is more secure now after 12 long, brutal, costly years of experimentation in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Do we really believe that encouraging the vaunted “Arab Spring” was inspired foreign policy?

At home, General Motors is certainly not on a solid road to recovery based on close review of their latest quarterly report.

The private sector is actually not “doing fine”.

America remains addicted to debt that stands today at towering levels.

Abroad, rivals and enemies see the Obama/Biden/Clinton/Kerry strategy of “leading from behind” for what it truly is: “failing in front of our eyes”.

Does Team Obama actually understand who are America’s most potent foreign enemies?

Why do we love regime change throughout the Middle East but, so far, not in Pakistan or in Iran?

Let the tough questions and assessment of hard evidence finally begin.


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Charles Ortel

Charles Ortel became a lapsed member of the silent majority in August 2007 when he began alerting the public to dangers posed by structural changes in the global economy. Since then, Charles has appeared in the print, radio and television media with increasing frequency. Brass Tacks will attempt to offer non-partisan perspective on factors contributing to the unresolved, burgeoning crisis and discuss potential solutions. Graduated from Horace Mann School, Yale College and Harvard Business School, Charles tries to learn each day.  

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