Obama, the man who wasn't there

Michael Goodwin:
The Benghazi terrorist attack was a debacle in three distinct stages. The fatal mistakes occurred in the first two — the failure to provide adequate security before the attack and the failure to provide help once it started. Those mistakes were tragic, but the Obama administration’s explanations are coherent, though hardly defensible.

The mystery always has been the third stage — the aftermath, or more accurately, the coverup. Even before the bodies of the four Americans came home, the White House was eager to tell any story except the real one.

Aides twisted and turned to create the false narrative that a protest over an anti-Muslim video was spontaneously hijacked by radicals. But two problems quickly emerged: There was no video protest in Benghazi, and the attack, which used heavy weaponry, was well planned.

So, why did the White House spin the web of deceit? Don’t they know the coverup is worse than the crime?

Finally, we have the answer, thanks to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. In his reluctant Senate testimony, he provided the missing piece of the puzzle: The commander in chief was MIA. The coverup was created to protect his absence.

According to Panetta, President Obama checked in with his military team early on during the attack, then checked out for the rest of the night. The next day, we already knew, he blamed the video maker and flew to Las Vegas for a campaign event.

Meanwhile, half a world away, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans had been slaughtered by Islamists. Their murders on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 gave the incident extra gravity and led the White House to conceal the facts. An honest chronology would have revealed the president’s shocking behavior during the most successful attack against Americans by foreigners since 9/11.

Imagine the questions that would have come: What did Obama do through the long, bloody night? Whom did he talk to? When did he learn that Stevens was dead?

There is still much we don’t know, but Panetta, under persistent Senate probing, revealed that Obama simply wasn’t involved. Did he just go to sleep?
... 
A military officer would be brought up on charges and George Bush would be ridiculed, but Obama will get a pass again, because so little is expected of him.  You would think that after the Panetta testimony broke his support staff would indicate his busy night of being President  but so far, there is nothing other than getting people to pack for his campaign trip the next day after a brief press statement.  There was probably some time spent planning an angry responses to Romney's questioning of how the Egyptian embassy responded to demonstrations.  One thing his campaign was good at was deflecting attention through moral preening.  It was one of those "How dare you" moments liberals are so good at when caught in questionable conduct.

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