What’s the most likely thing Obama said to his speechwriter the night of September 11, 2012? A or B?
A: “Mr. Speechwriter, please write me a speech that lets me tell the full truth about my deadly defeat tonight to the terrorists in Benghazi, Libya. Make it clear that I take the full blame for the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans whom I could have protected or saved, but whom I left out there to die. Talk to David. He has the facts. Tell him I want to make public the unvarnished truth of my unforgiveable negligence.”
B. “Mr. Speechwriter, Joe tells me I have to give a Rose Garden speech tomorrow morning on our epic fail tonight in Benghazi, Libya. I have no time to write this. I’ve got a Las Vegas fundraiser tomorrow night to get ready for. It’s big money for my re-election campaign, top priority.
“You’re the one who came up with that great line that I’ve decimated al Qaeda and made Americans safer, so you’re perfect for this Benghazi speech.
“Here’s what you have to do when you write this thing: Hide the fact that Ambassador Stevens – living in the U.S. Consulate out there in Benghazi, Libya – was begging for more protection for months and we failed to give him the security he so obviously needed. Hide the fact that Stevens’ death was a U.S. defeat to a planned terrorist attack on, of all days, September 11th, when we obviously should have been on high alert in an unstable Muslim country like Libya.
“Hide the fact that this attack in Benghazi continued, off and on, for seven hours and that we failed for all seven hours to deliver any effective aid to Stevens, leaving him and three other Americans out there to die tonight as the terrorists burned the U.S. Consulate and attacked the CIA annex nearby.
“And don’t bother David. I’ll use him for the cover-up in a few days. He’ll say whatever I want him to whenever I need him to say it. He’s in my pocket, deep.
“Make that speech sound as if the terrorist attack that Ambassador Stevens foresaw was not a foreseeable terrorist attack at all, but a totally unpredictable riot by a bunch of crazy people who never would have stormed the Consulate had that American not posted the anti-Muhammad video on YouTube. Blame that American. Don’t name him. Just hint strongly that this terror attack -- I mean, this terrible attack -- was the result of his video’s denigrating Islam and stirring up Muslims. The press will eat it up.
“Don’t blame Joe and me for the four Americans who died. Subtly blame that ugly American. And in case our cover-up doesn’t work and somebody tries to catch me not calling this an act of terror, say something about how we generally oppose acts of terror. Don’t give the press anything that they might quote as me admitting I’ve been defeated by a terrorist group. Don’t let me directly call the Benghazi attack an act of terror, but let Candy Crowley think I did.
“Don’t call the terrorists terrorists. That sounds too much like this group planned the attack, which they did. Call them killers or angry extremists, and say we’re going to bring them to justice. Yeah, ‘bring them to justice.’ That sounds like Bush. That’ll confuse the Republicans.
“Cleverly suggest that Ambassador Stevens and the others were the victims of a rally that spontaneously spun out of control, like those Hell’s Angels and Deadheads at Altamont. No, there was no rally or rock concert to spin out of control in Benghazy, but we can hint there was, can’t we? Call the attack outrageous and shocking, a terrible act and nothing more. As you know, I’ve been telling everyone that I’ve decimated al Qaeda. I’ve been telling the voters that, thanks to me, Americans are safe from terrorists.
“So let’s pretend this new 9-11 terror defeat was not preventable. Let’s pretend we could not have saved the four who died, even if we reacted immediately. Let’s not admit I’ve been as miserable a failure at fighting terrorists as I’ve been at creating jobs. Dammit, I’m trying to get re-elected here, and that’s the thing that counts. Look at the facts and forget them. We have to pretend!
“Did Joe fix my teleprompter?”
* * *
NEXT MORNING, in the White House Rose Garden.
“Good morning. Every day, all across the world, American diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests and values of our nation. …
“Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi. Among those killed was our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, as well as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. We are still notifying the families of the others who were killed. …
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. … And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.
“Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. …
“Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. … And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi. …
“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. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.”
* * *
The president gives his speechwriter the same framework for his Sept. 25 address to the United Nations.
SEPT. 25, 2012, the United Nations.
“In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they’re willing to tolerate freedom for others.
“That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.
“It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well -- for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.
“I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. And the answer is enshrined in our laws: Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. …
“Now, I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech. We recognize that. But in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how do we respond?
“And on this we must agree: There is no speech that justifies mindless violence. There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There’s no video that justifies an attack on an embassy. …
“In this modern world with modern technologies, for us to respond in that way to hateful speech empowers any individual who engages in such speech to create chaos around the world. …
“We do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue, nor do we assume that the violence of the past weeks or the hateful speech by some individuals represent the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims, any more than the views of the people who produced this video represents those of Americans. However, I do believe that it is the obligation of all leaders in all countries to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism.
“Burning an American flag does nothing to provide a child an education. Smashing apart a restaurant does not fill an empty stomach. Attacking an embassy won’t create a single job. …
“It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind. …
“The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt -- it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted, ‘Muslims, Christians, we are one.’…
“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.”
* * *
SEPT. 27: Federal authorities in Los Angeles arrest Sam Bacile, producer of the anti-Muhammad film “Innocence of Muslims.” He is charged with a probation violation related to a fraud case in which he opened bank accounts using stolen Social Security numbers. His probation violation was the use of an alias in making the film and his failure to tell the video actors of his criminal conviction. Bacile remains in federal prison. His video had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. However, it was the excuse for rioting and dozens of killings in other Muslim nations.
Have you made your choice? Which direction did President Obama tell his speechwriter to go on Benghazi?
A or B?