Talking About Benghazi – A Guide

It is time for the Benghazi scandal to break through the barriers set by Old Media and the Left. YOUR efforts can and will make a difference on how effective that breakthrough can be. Here’s a primer on who to target and how to get the message out.

You can just be an observer and a chronicler, just watch and report on the story, comment about it, celebrate when things go well, complain when they don’t.  You can watch for New Media to force this story to the top where it should be.

OR…you can seize the mantle of Matt Drudge and Andrew Breitbart and be part of the effort that makes it happen. Get this story into the minds of people who don’t pay attention to politics. Be part of the solution.

Realize that there are different groups of people out there, and save yourself some time, make your efforts more successful. Before you engage in conversation with someone, figure out what group they are in, so that your efforts are properly focused and targeted.

The Faithful: lefty zealots, truly believe that this is old news and that you are blowing things out of proportion. They are informed about the events, just have a completely different take than you do. You won’t change their minds, ever, but it can be worthwhile to read what they write – knowing your opponent is key to defeating them.

The Shock Troops: these are the random commenters, leftists yes, but neither well informed nor politically purpose driven. They’re basically trolls. They’ll dump some half-baked slogan on your threads. Their goal is self-amusement and your distraction. Deny them that second one. The only reason to respond to anything they say would be to correct an error or provide a quick link to additional information. But that is just for the benefit of OTHER people reading the thread. Engaging in conversation with these types is a complete waste of time. Gentle mocking or dismissiveness is usually fun. “Thank you for your perspective, have a blessed day”. And then…nothing.

The Supportives: these are your friends, with varying levels of knowledge of the issue. You can learn from them, share information and tactics with them. Reshare each other’s content – your circles are different from theirs, the story will reach different people. These are the folks you partner with to increase the reach of this story.

The Non-political: THESE folks are your target. They are your family, your wife, her friends, the other parents at your kids’ school, most of your co-workers.  The people who follow you for your beer review posts or your flower pictures. The VAST majority of people you know. THESE are the folks you need to reach.

Why is it going to be possible to reach them? They’ve ignored this story for 2 years and don’t care about politics.

At this point, it’s beyond politics – it’s human decency, national security, and a cover-up of terrorism for personal political gain. You can get people’s attention with that.

The left seems to have settled on RIDICULE as their tactic of choice here. From the top down, we’re being ridiculed for caring about this.

Non-political folks may instinctively want to join in on the fun, we all like to make fun of crazy people, and making fun of those nutjobs who are obsessed with Benghazi is easy and fun…DUDE!!!!

But those who are just joining in the fun and haven’t thought much about it can be brought up short quite easily…

“I know it’s funny to joke about, but it WAS a successful terrorist attack on American soil. 4 people died, including our Ambassador, 10 were injured, it was a CIA group and they didn’t know this attack was being planned. That’s the kind of thing the White House SHOULD find very important, and they’re joking about it. Oh, and did you know we STILL don’t know where Obama was during the whole thing? He wasn’t in the situation room, and no one seems interested to find out where he was.”

  • Your first step was to agree with their ability to see humor. You are AGREEING WITH THEM not opposing them, this puts you on the same side.
  • Then you clarify / add to their store of knowledge about the event. You’re informing, sharing, helping.
  • You empathize– express the same emotions they must be feeling – shock and surprise. It’s never really described as a successful terrorist attack on American soil, on the CIA.

Most folks don’t know enough about it to have looked at it that way. Rational Americans who are not interested in politics MAY be interested in a deadly terrorist attack on American soil, that the CIA didn’t predict, that NO ONE was allowed to go help, that was blamed on some video so you’d still love the Obama Administration.

It’s never been described this way, but you have the opportunity to do so.

This is FAR easier to explain that the Valerie Plame thing. FAR more directly important than the Monica Lewinsky perjury scandal.

Most people will be kind of irritated when they see the dismissive juvenile attitude of the top level folks on the left about this story. They just aren’t hearing about it.

So…the left has chosen mockery and derision of US for considering this story important. Fine. Great actually.

The highly inappropriate and insanely offensive nature of their current response is the PERFECT way to get your uninterested friends interested in this story.

Now is the moment…carpe diem.

CU Talks: Benghazi and PopTarts, ep.1416

The podcast is here! We were supposed to talk about John Kerry being wrong about Israel, and then the entire Obama Administration being wrong about Benghazi, but the Benghazi story kind of exploded yesterday, so Israel was left for another day.

Israel is busy being a very successful country, and they really don’t need us screwing them up any further, it’s probably good for us to leave them alone for a while.

The Benghazi situation MAY finally be reaching that tipping point where it becomes something more than just a “Republican obsession”. There was some quite amazing testimony from Gen. Lovell with Jason Chaffetz. A Congressman using anger to keep the tears at bay, and a General deploying stoic silence to keep his emotions in check. Judicial Watch also finally got an unredacted version of a memo that really does deserve to be called the smoking gun.

It’s about time for an honorable Obama Administration employees to come forward and speak the truth of that night, and of the cover-up aftermath.

Bret Baier had an NSC spokesman on his show who clarified what many of us had suspected – Obama never bothered to go to the Situation Room at all that night. NINE HOURS the consulate and compound were under siege. The Egyptian Embassy was also under attack at that time. American soil under terrorist attack, American citizens under fire. Obama couldn’t be bothered to go down the hall.

After we talked about this for an hour, we needed some sanity, so Antonio and I talked about PopTarts, and Nikos just laughed at us being silly. That’s the way things go.

Sources

We used these articles to aid in our research for this week’s episode, please check them out for yourself!

About the show:

Every Thursday, 9pm Central, join us for an hour of Conservative Discussion with real people from real places in America, NOT DC and NOT the Media. CU Talks is the one hour weekly program from
The Conservative Union, largest conservative community on Google Plus. We focus on political news of the week, as it matters to you, and with an optimistic spin.

About the hosts:

  • Nikolaos Dimopoulos (Nikos) was born in Greece, got here as soon as he could
    , will be a US Citizen eligible to vote in 2016, and is the American Dream personified.
  • Leslie P is a native Texan and a redhead, she’ll cut you.
  • Antonio Cunningham is a conservative in a sea of liberals in Atlanta, living the conservative life and providing and example of how it’s done.

We may or may not all be armed.

The “President Didn’t Know” Administration

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On the heels of the story that the NSA for more than a decade has been eavesdropping on leaders of America’s allies (most particular German Chancellor Angela Merkel), comes this response from the White House:  Obama had no knowledge of the program at all.

The White House cut off some monitoring programs after learning of them, including the one tracking Ms. Merkel and some other world leaders, a senior U.S. official said. Other programs have been slated for termination but haven’t been phased out completely yet, officials said.

The account suggests President Barack Obama went nearly five years without knowing his own spies were bugging the phones of world leaders. Officials said the NSA has so many eavesdropping operations under way that it wouldn’t have been practical to brief him on all of them.

First problem with this is, does anyone really believe a low-level intelligence staffer would decide to bug the phone of the leader of a major U.S. ally, without White House approval?  Secondly, when this information percolates up the food chain to its ultimate recipient (namely, the President of the United States) don’t you think people would wonder what the source of the intelligence was?

I think most people with a semblance of common sense would assume that this is a farce; for Obama not to know this was going on after five years in the Oval Office is either simply a lie, or means that our Commander-in-Chief is far more incompetent than even his harshest critics have claimed.

However, this “Obama didn’t know anything!” defense is nothing new.  Go back to Benghazi, the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, etc…Obama never seems to know anything that is going on in his own administration.

And it isn’t even primarily foreign affairs issues either.  Look no further than Obama’s signature domestic legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

In an exclusive interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked when the President first learned about the considerable issues with the Obamacare website. Sebelius responded that it was in “the first couple of days” after the site went live October 1.

“But not before that?” Gupta followed up.

To which Sebelius replied, “No, sir.”

To which I provide the same response:  either Obama is incompetent and doesn’t have a clue what is being done in his name on the signature policy initiatives in his own administration, or somebody is lying.  At this point, I am not sure which is more likely.

I understand the natural tendency of the President’s staunchest allies to defend him, and try to protect him from attacks.  But this is getting ridiculous.  Is there nothing Obama’s responsible for within his own administration?  Again, at some point, you come to the conclusion that either you are being lied to, or Mr. Obama simply is more incompetent than anyone could have imagined.  In that line of though, the President would be better served by taking responsibility for his mistakes, rather than looking for somewhere to hide when his policy decisions blow up in his face.

Thoughts On The Benghazi Hearing

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Capitol Hill hearings today featured three compelling witnesses, all State Department veterans: Gregory N. Hicks, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Libya and the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat in the country at the time of the Benghazi jihad attacks; Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine who now serves as deputy coordinator for operations in the agency’s Counterterrorism Bureau; and Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic-security officer who was the top security officer in Libya.

Clearly, those that testified today appeared overall to be much more non-partisan and professional than some of the people questioning them.  Anyone that watched the testimony is going to be hard pressed to label Hicks and the others as some kind of political firebrands.  Tears were in the eyes of many of these whistleblowers, as they told of how their friends died while they watched.

A few questions clearly remain after today’s testimony:

1.  Not once, but TWICE, there was a ‘stand down’ order made on the night of 9/11/2012.  We can argue whether or not this action could have saved any lives; there is some dispute of whether the force in Tripoli could have made a difference, and whether there were other assets in the area.  Only the Defense Department review of events of that night will answer that question.

However, Hicks argues that even an Air Force fly over may have pushed the rebel insurgents back.  That is only his theory, however.

That said, we know the military was ready to move.  According to Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Libya, special forces in Tripoli were “furious” when they were told to stand down during the Benghazi attack. “I will quote Lieutenant Colonel Gibson,” Hicks told the House Oversight Committee in hearings today, “He said, ‘This is the first time in my career that a diplomat has more balls than somebody in the military.’”

Mark Thompson, the deputy coordinator for operations at the State Department’s bureau of counter-terrorism during the Benghazi attacks, testified in previous testimony, that the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST)—a special unit comprised of special-operations officers, FBI officers and diplomatic security personnel—was not deployed on the evening of the attacks.

“I alerted my leadership indicating that we needed to go forward and consider the deployment of the Foreign Emergency Support Team,” Thompson said. He added that he was told that meetings had already taken place. “I was told this was not the right time to deploy the team.”

So who made the decision to stop deployment? Maybe it was the right decision, maybe it wasn’t, but 8 months after the attack, we don’t know who in the leadership made the call.  I presume it was President Obama.

2.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was personally called by Hicks at 2 A.M. that night…did she issues the ‘stand down’ order herself?  Is that even legal?

What is more important about this call is that at that time, he told Ms. Clinton, in no uncertain terms, that this was clearly a terrorist attack, according to Ambassador Stevens himself, who told this to Hicks as the attack was starting.  Why Clinton then repeated the rhetoric that it was a ‘spontaneous protest’ days later, even at the funeral of one of the dead, remains a mystery.  Some intelligence sources in D.C. remained unsure of the facts, but if your own diplomatic personnel say it was a terrorist attack…why wouldn’t you believe your own people on the ground over intelligence sources in Washington?

3.  Following up on the previous, one thing is clear:  The “protest” about a YouTube video was a complete fabrication by the Obama administration. There was at no moment in time any evidence that this was spontaneous or that it was instigated by the video.  Not according to the people in Libya at the time.

4.  There was clear push back from allies of Ms. Clinton in allowing these whistleblowers to testify to Congress. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills on multiple occasions put up road blocks and pressured the witnesses to limit their testimony.  Why?  If Ms. Clinton supported full openness and transparency, there was absolutely no reason for these actions.

Further worsening the appearance of this, Hicks testified that he basically has been demoted; and the demotion came only after his intent to testify and bring his version of the facts came to light.  So much for whistleblower protections in the Obama Administration.

The reality is, ultimately, this testimony will do nothing on the larger scale.  Liberals dismissed this testimony without every hearing a second of it, and the media will aid their wish to remain ignorant.  They feel they know everything they need to know, even though there were numerous facts today that were omitted in the internal review performed by the State Department, and out right contradictions to testimony by Sec. Clinton and others.  It has gone so far as the White House complaining to CBS that Sharyl Attkisson, who has done brilliant work on Benghazi, should basically be ‘shut down’.  That is what transparency means to this White House and to the media today.

Furthermore, because of the lack of transparency from the White House, we don’t know who gave the ‘stand down’ order. If it was the President, he should admit it.  It was clearly his right, but to pass the buck to low level staffers who should never have had that responsibility is simply unfair.

However, Republicans have failed to show an outright cover-up.  The clearest we get to such a ‘crime’ is the Susan Rice debacle, with the repetitive blaming of the YouTube video for the riot instead of it clearly being, by all evidence even on the day of the attack, a coordinated terrorist event.  Was this a true cover-up, or was the administration really so stupid to believe their own story?  This is the most politically slanted part of the story, and my guess is neither side will accept the other’s version completely. Let us accept this much: it is reasonable to say the administration was clearly and utterly incompetent, and honestly should never have even mentioned the video in relation to Benghazi.

Ultimately, the country learned a lot about how the Obama Administration works today.  The blame, when things go wrong, will never reside with the President or his key advisers, but will be displaced to low level players that have no political leverage.  When those low level advisers try to tell their story, they are treated as pariahs and they are attacked mercilessly.  Democrats in that hearing today had no respect whatsoever for the concept of ‘whistleblower protections’, and sadly, future whistleblowers in this administration surely will have learned that lesson; they will get no protection from this President.

As for the night of the attacks, there was poor execution for any response, and even with the ‘fog of war’, the Obama people performed poorly and in hindsight, were completely taken aback by the events.  What is more disturbing is that on 9/11, one of the few days on the calendar when we should be prepared for a terrorist attack…our President and his administration were woefully unprepared.

One final point.  What is also clear, and that we have long known, is that those that died that night were left alone, without enough security, and still did their duty to our country.  They died as heroes.