“It was five in the afternoon when Mr. Obama took his 3 a.m. call. He still flubbed it.”
The U.S. ignores warnings of a parlous security situation in Benghazi. Nothing happens because nobody is really paying attention, especially in an election year, and because Libya is supposed to be a foreign-policy success. When something does happen, the administration’s concerns for the safety of Americans are subordinated to considerations of Libyan “sovereignty” and the need for “permission.” After the attack the administration blames a video, perhaps because it would be politically inconvenient to note that al Qaeda is far from defeated, and that we are no more popular under Mr. Obama than we were under George W. Bush. Denouncing the video also appeals to the administration’s reflexive habits of blaming America first. Once that story falls apart, it’s time to blame the intel munchkins and move on.
I actually think Stephens is being kind here. American weakness has always begat chaos, which most people understand and some predicted. We’ve moved beyond fecklessness and cynicism to criminal negligence. In fact, we might have always been in negligence territory.