Keep up the good work, Rachel, even when it's not at all what you intended.
In the wake of last week's deadly attack against the US consulate in Benghazi, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow helpfully provided Mitt Romney with plenty of damning information for use against President Obama in their upcoming debates. (Video clip after page break)
Turns out there were warning signs going back months that the situation in Benghazi was rapidly deteriorating and the Obama administration did little to protect Ambassador Chris Stevens and the consulate.
On her cable show Thursday night, Maddow described how Stevens, an Arabic speaker and "longtime student of Libya" who "understood the country well," traveled to the coastal city of Derna in 2008. Stevens wrote a classified memo, later published by WikiLeaks, warning of growing al Qaeda militancy in Derna, "right there next to Benghazi," Maddow said.
Stevens' cable to Washington "actually used the Bruce Willis movie 'Die Hard' as an analogy for understanding how intense the local attitudes were there about jihad," Maddow said. Not only that, al Qaeda documents seized by American troops in Iraq revealed that more holy warriors were sent to Iraq from Derna "than any other place in the entire Arab world," Maddow said.
Maddow also pointed out how CNN reported this past June that al Qaeda sent one of its top operatives in Pakistan to Derna during the uprising against Gaddafi in early 2011 "to capitalize on that town's legendary militancy." (Yes -- "legendary". She says things like that).
"The assignment was to set Derna up just outside of Benghazi as essentially a new, mini-Afghanistan," Maddow said, "a new hub for al Qaeda, with multiple training camps there for al Qaeda fighters. That was last year and ultimately this murder of an American ambassador did not happen in Tripoli, didn't happen way over on the western part of the country, in the capital where the US has its embassy and which is guarded by US Marines and has full security, it didn't happen there. It happened when the ambassador was in this lightly fortified consulate building, over in the eastern part of the country, in a city that's basically right next to what al Qaeda is trying to build as a new hub for terrorist training."
As if all of this weren't enough to indict the Obama administration for leaving Ambassador Stevens and other diplomatic personnel vulnerable in a dangerous corner of the world, Maddow provides even more incriminating details.
Benghazi, she further pointed out, was targeted with "multiple" terrorist attacks in recent months that had nothing to do with local grievances or lingering anger toward Gaddafi.
In May, the Red Cross facility in Benghazi was struck by terrorists who quickly posted a video of the attack. The name of the group? "The Brigade for the Release of the Imprisoned Sheik," Maddow said, aka "the blind sheik" imprisoned in the US for his role in the plot to bomb targets in New York City in the early 1990s. Suffice it to say this is a militant gang that doesn't look kindly on Americans.
A month later, Maddow said, the Obama administration announced that al Qaeda's second in command, a Libyan known as al-Libi, was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan. "Within 24 hours," Maddow said, the group named for the blind sheik attacked ... the US consulate in Benghazi. No one was injured in the attack, which was again recorded and posted online.
"Less than a week later," Maddow said, the same terrorist group hit a convoy in Benghazi carrying ... the British ambassador to Libya. Two of his bodyguards were injured and "again it had all the hallmarks of either al Qaeda inspiration or al Qaeda training. They filmed the incident, they dropped leaflets, they tried to take as much credit as possible."
Then early on Sept. 11, al Qaeda released a video with Zawahiri, its successor to bin Laden, calling for attacks to avenge the death of al-Libi, Maddow said -- "and by that night, by the night of Sept. 11 this week, we had what appears to be an organized, military-style, sustained, sophisticated, complex attack on that same US consulate, again, and this time they killed the American ambassador and three other Americans."
Yet despite all of this, Maddow could not bring herself to ask the blindingly obvious question -- why were Ambassador Stevens and other diplomatic personnel at a "lightly fortified consulate building"?
Instead, Maddow turned her wrath on a man who had nothing to do with leaving Stevens and those around him exposed to the tender mercies of jihadists -- Mitt Romney.
As far as Maddow was concerned, Romney's criticism of the US embassy's response to a braying mob outside its doors in Cairo was far more worthy of her condemnation, to the point where she compared Romney "attacking" the embassy to those who actually did.
"The whole reason there are domestic politics in this story at all is because while the US government was being physically attacked abroad," Maddow vented, "while the US consulate in Libya and the US embassy in Egypt were under siege, before the attacks were over, while they were still happening, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney put out a statement also attacking the US embassy in Cairo. There were already reports at that point that at least one American had been killed in Benghazi, he referenced that in his statement. But that did not stop him from attacking the other embassy, from waging a political attack at all. It did not give him pause that maybe he should wait to find out more about what was happening before he spoke. Not only did he not wait for more information, he did not wait until the attacks had even stopped before he added his own attack on the staff of the embassy in Egypt."
Mitt Romney ... just another jihadist!
Can there be anything resembling doubt that had Romney held off a day or two or whatever vague timeframe would have been acceptable on the left, that Maddow would have then condemned him for timidity while the Middle East was in flames?
No matter how much Maddow and her leftist cohorts try to misdirect, it wasn't Romney's remarks that got Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods murdered in Libya -- it was the Obama administration's negligence and myopia. As Maddow herself so powerfully, and inadvertently, showed in a rare example of her work providing a public service.