David Barton's Libyan Fever Dream: Obama Was Complicit In U.S. Ambassador's Murder

david barton.jpg
David Barton and his Texas flag shirt, presented without comment.
Today, in The State of American Discourse, I present to you David Barton, religious ideologue, fantastical historian and weeping boil on the hide of Texas. No, he is not an entirely fringe crank. Barton is the former vice chair of the Texas Republican Party. He recently helped draft the ridiculous anachronism that is the current GOP platform. His latest book, "The Jefferson Lies," so distorted historical fact that its evangelical publisher pulled it.

We apologize for bringing his latest foible to your attention, but it's so vile, so incredibly noisome, that perhaps he will finally go away because of it. On his online radio show, "Wallbuilders Live," Barton aired out his febrile suspicions. He says he's had some "face time" with certain unnamed members of Congress. Roughly a year ago, he claims, the U.S. joined the U.N. in an "anti-blasphemy" resolution that would outlaw criticism of Islam.

Barton's argument is difficult to discern, but he seems to suggest that President Barack Obama left the U.S. embassy (I think he meant consulate) in Benghazi intentionally unguarded. And as the U.S. ambassador and others were slaughtered, Obama, he theorizes, told U.S forces to stand down. Barton surmises this was all a ploy intended to drive home the need for an anti-blasphemy resolution he claims we and "57 Islamic governments" already joined because...well, I just don't know.

"So we're watching this thing develop, we watched four lives get lost and then what happens is we're told 'Oh, it's this video, we can't be criticizing Islam, this video that criticized Islam, it cost four people [their lives.]' This is the perfect set-up for the anti-blasphemy resolution that we joined on to and said we're going to be a part of. I think it backfired; I really think that's where they were headed."

Like the creative histories Barton pens, this one isn't any less mendacious. We joined a religious tolerance resolution last December condemning the stereotyping, racial profiling or stigmatizing of people based on their religion because, of course, that is a principle upon which this nation was founded. It's really more of an admonition to countries with a poor record of tolerance toward religious minorities. The more stringent, free-speech restricting anti-blasphemy resolution Barton refers to has received dwindling support in the United Nations, especially from Western countries like the U.S.

What are you supposed to do with this knowledge now, dear reader? I'm not sure. Despair at the fact that there are people out there who will accept David Barton's version of the world uncritically?

H/T Texas Freedom Network and Right Wing Watch


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132 comments
RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Did some fact checking, as I am sometimes inclined to do.  It is apparent from media timelines, the first time anyone from the administration specifically linked the Benghazi attack to terrorism was Sep 20, 9 days after the attack.  Jay Carney states:

 

September 20 -- Jay Carney:

"It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials."

 

Although, it appears, or it can be taken, that he is saying that the violent attack itself makes it terrorism, and not that it was a coordinated and planned terrorist attack.  It appears that way, I'm not Jay Carney, so I can't speak to his context or frame of mind.

 

Prior to that, any mention of terror or terrorism was a very vague and broad reference to terrorism on the whole, and our nation's intolerance for it.

 

The first administration official to come directly out and state that the attacks in Benghazi were, in fact, a thoroughly planned and flawlessly executed terrorist attack, specifically targeting the US and our personnel, was Leon Panetta, on Sep 25.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/10/world/libya-attack-statements/index.html.

 

It's not easy, sifting through all of the left and right spin on this subject, but this link appears to be the least biased in either direction, focusing instead on just the dates and the quotes.  After reading the direct transcript of President Obama's speech on Sep 12, it is fairly evident that he is not calling the Benghazi attacks acts of terror, but alluding to terrorism in general.

 

Other statements by administration officials show a degree of circumspection, of waiting for the evidence to be gathered and analyzed before making a definitive statement.  I have no problem with this approach.  Swift condemnation and immediate action could only serve to further fan the flames of extremism and would not have brought Ambassador Stevens and the others back to us.

 

It is easy to sit back and claim 'intelligence failure', as was done after 9/11, after no WMD were found in Iraq, and for the Benghazi attack.  There were no intelligence failures.  Anyone who claims there were is either very ignorant of the nature of the intelligence world or grinding an axe.  Intelligence gathering is sketchy at best, dubious most often, and in many cases, impossible.  This is against conventional targets like governments.  Against small, disorganized groups, utilizing low-tech means of communication and logistics, it is even more difficult.  To add to the frustration, US laws and the demand for full disclosure by US politicians and citizens serves only to make the enemy more aware of collection efforts, and better prepared to thwart them.  Finally, Intelligence is only as good as what is actioned on it.  Too often, politicians choose to ignore intelligence that doesn't fit their agenda.  RE: Bush attacking Iraq after 9/11, even though Iraq had nothing to do with it and the State Dpt pulling off the Benghazi security detail in the weeks leading up to Sep 11 and refusing to reinstate it, despite numerous requests by Amb. Stevens and reports by the intelligence community that something was planned for 9/11.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

Barton looks like a wax version of Gay Howdy-Doody in that photo.

observerislibtards
observerislibtards

Shove your naive libtard propaganda up your "progressive" ass and celebrate Divershitty already!

lolotehe
lolotehe

For a person in a region that has no free press, anything that appears online must look like it's sanctioned (if not out-and-out produced) by a government. We can't say there weren't riots caused by the video, but that was a handy cover for the attack and may have been fueled by those who wanted to attack.

 

I think it's more interesting that a guy who wants to push our country towards religion-based laws is so willing to rail against religion-based laws. If he's so upset about one religion pushing their beliefs on another, when is he going to come out against blue laws?

 

I don't have the patience to deal with Christianist extremists like that. Today, he's arguing against anti-blasphamy laws, next, he'll be talking about the war of Christmas. There's no consistency to these people and they should be either ignored or offered the treatment they so badly need.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

“We’re not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers,” Neil Newhouse, the Romney campaign’s pollster, said during a breakfast discussion at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

censormeallyouwant
censormeallyouwant

Obama voters are still desperately fumbling for a way to blame this all on Bush

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The morning after the Benghazi attacks Obama clearly said this was an act of terror:

 

"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."

 

During the second debate, Romney had his head handed to him on a platter for claiming Obama did not say this.

 

Case closed.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

 @RTGolden1 

 

"There were no intelligence failures."

 

That's the point, they had more than enough intel avoid this in the first place. They had intel, the CiC was in the situation room, they knew more about what was happenong than the people on the ground.

 

So, if there was no failure of intel and these people died, what and who failed?

 

For an administration that prides itself on getting out stills of the CiC in the situation room ASAP after an operation, they seem a bit reluctant to place the CiC in the room at all this time. There's a lot of confusion about who did what, when, among those who were there, and this is the administration that leans heavily on the situation-room narrative. It seems the transparency is more like a scripted reality show.

 

"Against small, disorganized groups, utilizing low-tech means of communication and logistics, it is even more difficult."

 

The American military has been training in this environment well before these long wars, we can actually be better at the other guy's game than them, given the chance.

 

But it's still a dead-end if your allies are shooting you in the back.

observist
observist topcommenter

 @albert.finney000  Yes... quite reminiscent of Ralph Reed.  I wonder if the Gay Howdy-Doody gene is linked to unscrupulous religio-political ambition?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @lolotehe They're not stupid.  Nor is their internet controlled like you assume.  We're the one's with propagandized worldviews.  They see it far more clearly, have access to any satellite in the world.  We're the ones who arrest people for providing access to certain satellite channels (see NJ and "al Manar")   What you miss is that that video was distributed and released in Egypt in a way that was indeed better coordinated than the film's production.  It's distribution was aided by the usual neo-cons/Islamophobe industry. 

 

As to the riots over the movie, let's remember that the movie was the last straw, and hardly "the cause"  Also, in Libya there were no riots.  There was an official announcement of the drone murder of Al Libi, by Al Zawahiri.  Al Z called on Libyans to avenge the murder of Al Libi.  Further, we should perhaps reflect if arming militants is a good way to overthrow a regime.  We should reflect on whether we should continue doing this in Syria.

 

I don't have any issue with your other statements, but the "facts" are not coming to light, and most likely won't in a broad way--the story is dead, been manipulated for political gain.  It doesn't matter either, there's nothing to learn, unless we want to draw a larger lesson for our foreign policy.  But, 4 dead is arguably better than the 4000 dead in Iraq. 

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

 

No, he ambiguously alluded to "no acts of terror" while specifically blaming the murders on a video. he did this at the UN, and at the event surrounding the arrival of coffins, and Clinton and Rice stuck to that line for almost two weeks. Haven't seen the 60 minutes outake released today, I take it.

 

We know now what they knew then, we know now they were lying, the question is why?

 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @albert.finney000  @RTGolden1 we weren't attacked by our allies.  Further, the Al Zawahiri movie is yet to be told.  I'd recommend reading Bin Laden's statements--the US intel/PR agency is incapable of accepting reality.  Bin Laden's statements are sane, and show he better understood reality than our PR/intel nexus.  But, that would be using the truth as our metric.  But, we're being propagandized.  So, truth isn't their measuring stick, it's their agenda. 

 

Also, the BenGhazi attack was on CIA operatives, Ambassador Stevens first among them.  CIA don't travel with teams of Armed guards, nor do ambassadors.  This whole "controversy" is political sniping, and is a non-issue. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @albert.finney000  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz they used to.  Romney's economic analysts, were no such thing, and all the conventional bi-partisan analysts were denounced as partisans.  That's shameful, and you supported it. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @albert.finney000  @mavdog  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz why albert?  cause they don't want to open a debate about the wisdom of arming militant Salafists.  We aren't prepared to reflect on that, not on the same actions in Syria.  The GOP is all wet too, cause they presumably wanted to invade with US troops, where even more would be dead (from accidents alone) 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @mavdog  @albert.finney000  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz mav dog, the administration is dissembling too.  You shouldn't defend them.  There was no evidence of a protest in Ben Ghazi.  Never was.  Signals got crossed, no doubt, but us foreign policy is a propaganda campaign against Americans. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @albert.finney000  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

 replace "we know" with "right wing zealots believe"...

 

what is true is what was initially thought to be an anti-video demonstration in Benghazi turned out to be an attack by a radical islamist militia, that the president was told it was an anti-video demonstration which proved to be incorrect intel, and when the president knew it was an attack his comments and the position of the WH changed to reflect.

 

pretty basic really.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

 

And in related news, we know there was no anti-video demonstration in Benghazi. We know the president knew there was no video-related demonstration in banghazi, and we know the president told us that the murders were a result of a video-related demonstration in Benghazi.

 

 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @mavdog  @albert.finney000 it's not a tragedy when soldiers die in war.  The ambassador was also a CIA operative.  It's wrong to ask him to compromise the mission of ambassadors to engage in acts of war in that post.  

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  @RTGolden1 Myrna, We left Iraq under the arrangement established by Bush.  Obama lobbied to keep us there.  So, how does Obama claim credit for a policy that he failed to alter?  That he tried to alter?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

 @censormeallyouwant  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz He was also a CIA operative, acting in clandestine facility.  This is better than an US lead invasion, where our ambassadors live, but hundreds of soldiers die.  What's your alternative jackass?

Daniel
Daniel

 @censormeallyouwant  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

"In typical Obamaniac fashion, you and Obama insist on taking credit for anything positive while trying to blame Bush for anything under Obama's reign that you dislike."

 

Say it ain't so! How dare that black Kenyan invent politics!

 

So how many minutes has it been since you fell off the hay wagon?

EastDallasDad
EastDallasDad

 @observerislibtards On the direct orders of the President shitbird. Seal teams don't wander the globe carrying out missions without orders. There was great risk involved in this mission and if it had ended disastrously, the President would have had to answer for it. It was his call.

censormeallyouwant
censormeallyouwant

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz In typical Obamaniac fashion, you and Obama insist on taking credit for anything positive while trying to blame Bush for anything under Obama's reign that you dislike.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Of course I give him credit.  I have never tried to take that credit from him.  It was the president's call to make, just as it was the previous president's call to not go after the brass ring when he had the chance, and likewise the president before him.  President Obama made a tough call, which was, incidentally, the right call, and Bin Laden is dead.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

 @mavdog 

 

"the question is why would YOU blame Obama for the ambassador's death?"

 

He's the CiC, in the situation room, and these people died.

 

"The blame goes to those in libya who attacked the consulate."

 

Who were inflamed by a video!!!

 

 

"this is such a clear example of just how rabid the opposition to obama is. take a tragedy, a tragedy "

 

Katrina.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

 @albert.finney000  

 

"but you're not blaming Obama for the ambassador's death".

 

the question is why would YOU blame Obama for the ambassador's death?

 

The blame goes to those in libya who attacked the consulate.

 

this is such a clear example of just how rabid the opposition to obama is. take a tragedy, a tragedy not unlike what has been experienced by other recent presidents, and twist the hell out of it for political purposes.

 

observerislibtards
observerislibtards

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @albert.finney000 Obama didn't kill bin laden. Seal team 6 did.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @RTGolden1 Let's see, what else?  Since bush was the sitting President during the 9/11 attacks, the economic meltdown, the housing collapse, and the stock market plunge, then he deserves the blame for all of those.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @RTGolden1 While we're at it, by your reasoning, then, Obama gets credit for getting us out of the Iraq War and Bush gets the blame for getting us into it.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  @censormeallyouwant So, you're admitting that President Obama must shoulder the blame for the loss of US lives in Benghazi?

Because really, he must.  One can delegate authority, not responsibility.  These instances, 9/11, Khobar, the USS Cole, etc are truly the responsibility of those who carry them out and those who order them forth.  That is where the blame should focus, not on the President.  However, the President granted Sec. Clinton the authority to remove the Marine security detail from Benghazi, and he is responsible for her doing so.  Perhaps it would not have saved those lives, but it would have made it much more costly to take them.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

 

Yes, Bush was responsible for the Iraq war, because he lobbied congress, the American people and the UN to act on the intel and warnings both American parties and much of the UN had voiced during a decade of war with Saddam Hussein.

 

And now, Iraqis have a fledgling democracy. I blame Bush.

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