The party line from the Obama Administration is that the chaos in the Middle East is all about a cheap, crappy YouTube video. On Friday White House spokesperson Jay Carney said, “this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy, this is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims.”
Is the rioting and embassy-storming really just the product of Muslim rage at an incendiary video? Mounting evidence suggests that the Administration story line is just wishful thinking. The carefully coordinated, well-armed attack on the poorly defended U.S. consulate in Benghazi doesn’t seem like the spontaneous response of Libyans to a video, but rather a pre-planned terrorist act. A writer for the Jerusalem Post argues — persuasively, in my view — that much larger forces than offensive videos are at play and that American foreign policy seems to be based on imaginative fictions rather than reality.
The Obama Administration needs to take a careful look at what really happened in Benghazi and Cairo and what is really motivating the people who brought heavy weapons to the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and seemed to good intelligence about where the American Ambassador was staying and where he would be moved. Now is not a time for phony spin or false bravado. Foreign policy isn’t a game; the lives of American diplomats, their families, and their staff demand a clear-eyed, careful appraisal of reality. Perhaps it’s time to stop hunting for video makers and start looking for an effective way to deal with a so-called “Arab spring” that appears to have morphed into anti-American totalitarianism.