A report yesterday in the Toronto-based Globe and Mail ("Obama’s reaction to Benghazi will be muted") concerning the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya caught my eye. Right there in its third paragraph, Alan Jamieson said that "On Wednesday, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was destroyed by Muslim militants."
"Destroyed"? I hadn't read that anywhere else. CNN and many other U.S. news outlets described what happened in Benghazi as an "attack" -- as if the damage done, even if serious, was not in effect a demolition. The distinction seemed particularly germane to a report yesterday in the Associated Press about Marines being dispatched to Libya:
When the Pentagon called out the Marines on Wednesday and dispatched them to Libya, it wasn't the first wave of an invading force.
Instead, the 50 Marines are part of an elite rapid-response team and they were sent to assess and reinforce security in Libya in the aftermath of the attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador there and three other Americans.
Known as a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, or FAST, the team's role is to respond on short notice to terrorism threats and to bolster security at U.S. embassies. They operate worldwide, and the team that went is one of two that are based in Spain.
Administration officials who discussed the Marines spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the military movements. The Marines arrived at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, and there were no immediate plans for them to advance to Benghazi.
The obvious question is whether there's any point, other than to perhaps scrounge around for records, in having the Marines "advance to Benghazi."
It would seem not, based on pictures seen at the following sites:
- BuzzFeed -- "10 Photos From The Destroyed U.S. Consulate In Libya."
- Buzzelicious -- U.S. Consulate Images."
I'd say "destroyed" is a correct description. It's hard to imagine any part of the consulate's structures being realistically salvageable.
There is now an exception in video made available at CBS News six hours ago. I daresay the establishment press has known for a lot longer than six hours about the consulate's destruction, and that most Americans don't know that the consulate really was destroyed (possible qualifier: perhaps TV reports, which I rarely watch, might be saying this. But if they are, at least until late yesterday, it wasn't based on Associated Press or CNN copy).
So what explains the press's apparently squeamishness about telling us that?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.