wheels spin and spin, big wheels turn around and around
Washington can’t seem to get their story straight: first we were told the attack on our Benghazi consulate and the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens was the result of a spontaneous demonstration that got out of hand – and today we’re told it was all a plot initiated by a heretofore little-known "al Qaeda affiliate."
Before we get to the obvious question – which is it? – let’s linger awhile and wonder: why the sudden change in spin? This is important because in Washington, and the world of American politics, there is no reality: there’s just spin. People have opinions carefully tailored to the political demands of the moment – and during a presidential election year these change by the minute.
It was Senator Joe Lieberman who made news when he asked National Counterrorism Center chief Matt Olsen whether the Benghazi incident was a terrorist attack: "I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy,” Olsen replied. This was immediately pounced on by Fox News and our good friends over at Reason magazine, among others, as proof that it was, as Sen. Susan Collins put it during Senate hearings the other day, "a premeditated, planned attack that was associated with the date of 9/11, the anniversary of 9/11."
The video, these spin-meisters aver, had nothing to do with it: it’s just because those Muslim freaks hate not just America but the modern world, of which we are the preeminent example. Fox & Co. have been pushing this line from the beginning, and they were delighted to re-broadcast Olsen’s remarks as supposedly confirming their view.
Yet if you investigate further – beyond reading the first line of Olsen’s remarks – this alleged confirmation evaporates:
"We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda’s affiliates; in particular, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
"It appears that individuals who were certainly well-armed seized on the opportunity presented as the events unfolded that evening and into the morning hours of September 12th. We do know that a number of militants in the area, as I mentioned, are well-armed and maintain those arms. What we don’t have at this point is specific intelligence that there was a significant advanced planning or coordination for this attack."
Translation: it was a terrorist attack if you say so, Senator Lieberman.
In the world outside Washington, D.C., the laws of logic operate as follows: first we find the evidence, then we draw conclusions from it. In the Imperial City, however, these laws are inverted: first the conclusion, then the evidence – which can always be manufactured or spun to suit.
Lieberman and the War Party want to elide the "Innocence" video out of the equation entirely. We’re supposed to forget about it, and focus our attention on the Eternal Enemy, the Emmanuel Goldstein of the post-9/11 world – "al Qaeda," a brand name copyrighted by no one and claimed by many. This will buttress our flagging interest in pursuing the new Hundred Year War and stoke up our bloodlust for a bout with Iran – or so the War Party hopes.
September 22, 2012
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.
Copyright © 2012 Antiwar.com