Mark Ellis
The speech we might have heard
By Mark Ellis
October 13, 2012

There's a saying in politics, "the cover-up is always worse than the crime." It's not always true, but it was true with Nixon and Watergate, and it was true with Clinton and Monica.

With the situation in Libya and the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, no cover-up could be worse than what we had on the ground. But allegations of politically motivated subterfuge to protect the Obama Administration are flying.

What allegedly needs covering-up is the fact that Hillary Clinton's State Department left the ambassador vulnerable on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, even after there had been warnings, some from Stevens himself, that the security of the embassy in Benghazi was threatened. Warnings that went unheeded.

We know now that those handling the crisis at the highest levels knew within hours that this was a planned terrorist attack. Analysts are alleging that a politically motivated decision was made to try and manufacture the Benghazi attack as a spontaneous reaction to a low-rent video trailer mocking Islam on YouTube.

The plot was allegedly concocted to spare the current administration the disastrous fallout of its failure to fulfill the primary obligation of the federal government: to protect American citizens on U.S. soil, even if that soil is half a globe away. Further, say the cover-up theorists, such a coordinated attack on the eve of an election would bode ill for Mr. Obama's entire foreign policy, a policy the opposition has characterized as equal parts haphazard naiveté and Neville Chamberlain-style appeasement.

We don't yet know exactly what President Obama knew, or if and when he knew anything.

Such an alleged cover-up, however misguided, amateurish and/or unscrupulous it may or may not turn out to be, could never come close to being as bad as the night of horror experienced by our fallen countrymen. But if proven, such a plot would constitute a serious aggravating factor, and would not help matters for a presidency teetering on the brink.

Ambassador Stevens was probably doomed, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and the family of the others who died.

The cover-up could have been avoided. If, and I submit this with all due and utmost respect, the President would have waited 48 hours, until all the facts on the ground were in, and said:

My fellow Americans, we have word of a vicious and cold-blooded terrorist attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, a planned attack which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, two Navy Seals, and another American. We believe this attack was planned to coincide with the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.

In my four years in office, I've made national security a paramount objective for my administration. We've decimated the ranks of Al Qaeda's leadership with targeted drone attacks, and thwarted several plots to commit acts of terror in our homeland. With help from our brave men and women in uniform, we got Bin Laden.

At the same time, I have reached out to our Muslim friends, attempting to convey that our nation means them no harm, and that going forward we can work together for peace. We see evidence every day that this two-pronged effort — outreach to our friends and an unambiguous posture when faced with those who trade in terror — represents a positive evolution in the relationship of our culture to Islam.

But the thing you have to remember about terrorist acts is that we have to get it right every time, and the evildoers only have to get it right once. We missed one here, with tragic consequences, and I take full responsibility for that. There is no doubt we should have been more prepared.

We can't turn back the clock. Neither can we turn away from justice. Tonight I want to assure you that my administration is taking the necessary steps to ensure that justice will be done in this matter.

Such a statement rings true, even if you don't buy a word of it. I believe a lot of people would have bought such an explanation. Yes, taking full responsibility for such a disaster always carries the risk of political oblivion. But I can't imagine anything worse than the debacle our nation, and this president, is faced with now.

In any event, it's too late for the "truth," too late to uncover the alleged cover-up.

© Mark Ellis


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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