By Mark David Blum, Esq.
Propaganda is not about the use of media to control people’s thoughts. It is the use of the media to control the discussion. Everybody on the political right, from the Republican nominee to the blowhards on television and radio are jibberjabbering endlessly about an alleged 14 day coverup of a terrorist attack on the American embassy in Benghazi. I am fed up with being lied to and watching facts and circumstances get all twisted up to create the illusion of intentional government misdeeds. The other day, the word “Benghazi-gate” slogged its way into an essay.
First, let us understand how embassy security works. By international agreement, the host country provides for the security of the embassy compound. For example, if there was a mass uprising and march upon the Pakistani embassy in Washington D.C., it would be the responsibility of American police agencies to provide for the security of that property. Libya was not yet completely organized and police and military responsibility were at the time still clan oriented and not centralized. While I am confident American forces could put down an assault, Libya is obviously not yet capable of providing security. By the time Lybian heavy weapons and large forces arrived on sight, the firefight was over and embassy taken. American CIA officers stationed nearby did come running to the rescue and fought AK-47s and RPGs with pistols and did so valiantly.
Second, the role of the United States Marines at any American embassy is not to protect the Ambassador, the staff, American civilians or any other person; unless otherwise so tasked. The role of the marines is to safeguard the embassy secure materials. These soldiers are there to protect the security of the United States. They destroy documents, machinery, and information. Obviously too they have to protect themselves and I wouldn’t fault them for defending others. But the job of the marines on station is protecting American interests. Safeguarding the Ambassador and staff is the responsibility of private security guards hired by the State Department. It probably makes sense as a private security guard who shoots a local citizen would create less of a political problems than if a uniformed military were to have opened fire on the building crowd.
Finally, there is no upside to the White House misleading the American public out of malice or to cover up anything. Recall, this is the same president who was yukking it up at the Correspondents Dinner while Seal Team 6 was en route to Abbottabad. There may be valid reasons for disinformation or no information divulged by the White House in the immediate aftermath. This is especially so if, as it is now admitted, it was a true military attack. Intelligence services and military assets needed to identify and locate the attackers. Letting the world think the government was operating on a false conclusion and was misinformed could be seen as giving the attackers a false sense of security.
I don't know why the White House came up with their stupid talking points about the video and understating the level of assault. But unless the hoarse right stops beating this dead horse, we will never be able to get to the real issues needing attention. I don't care about why Susan Rice said what she did. Then Secretary Clinton said it best -- who cares? Rice's comments had NOTHING to do with what had previously happened.
So can we get the discussion off this propaganda and back onto what's important -- like which famous rich black person is going to buy the Clippers?*
* (they say that satire is not satire if you have to explain it).