Murder of an Idealist
November 5, 2012 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Murder of an Idealist. "For six hours on September 11, the American compounds in Benghazi, Libya, stood siege. When the attack was over, J. Christopher Stevens's body was pulled from the wreckage—the first U.S. ambassador killed by militants in over thirty years. Since then, his death has been politicized and the details of the attack distorted. Sean Flynn straightens out the story of Stevens's last days in Libya—and reveals the true believer we lost that day."
posted by homunculus (36 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
U.S. Commandos Were Too Late to Stop Libya Attack (But Might Avenge It)
posted by homunculus at 2:45 PM on November 5, 2012


Republicans tip world off to covert CIA Role in Libya - Juan Cole
posted by adamvasco at 2:49 PM on November 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Does anyone know when this story will be turned into a made for tv National Geographic film?
posted by Fizz at 2:55 PM on November 5, 2012


A terrible tragedy, that Stevens guy has sounded incredible every time I read something about him.

Also: More context for the Rose Garden "act of terror" quote?
posted by resurrexit at 3:10 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Intelligence Community Points Out Fox Was Kinda Lying About Benghazi This Whole Time
posted by homunculus at 3:16 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most republicans could not find Libya on a map, let alone Benghazi. They don't care about Chris Stevens or the other victims. It is all complete cynical bullshit, just like everything else they get worked up about.

I swear I wish one reporter somewhere would ask one right wing bloviating surrogate, in the midst of a "what about Benghazi?" rant, to point out the city on a fucking map. Like that Christianist moron whom Colbert once asked to recite the ten commandments and who got through about three before giving up. They are talking monkeys, the lot of them, without cute tails.
posted by spitbull at 3:49 PM on November 5, 2012 [23 favorites]


They, in fact, have done everything in their power to make the situation worse as part of their point scoring campaign. Benghazi is why Romney would be a disaster on the scale of or maybe in excess of Bush when it comes to foreign policy.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


What does finding Benghazi on a map have to do with anything? Or is that just a way to not actually talk directly about the allegations being leveled by people you happen to disagree with?
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:59 PM on November 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately, calling your political opponent dumb is more effective in an election than pointing out that he's actually wrong about something.
posted by The World Famous at 4:02 PM on November 5, 2012


My point is that the Benghazi attack is hypocritical and cynical, to sir.
posted by spitbull at 4:05 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The fucking links in this thread make the point that the GOP narrative is factually wrong. It is cynically wrong.
posted by spitbull at 4:06 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, calling your political opponent dumb is more effective in an election than pointing out that he's actually wrong about something.

Nobody has claimed Mitt Romney is dumb, but he certainly doesn't give a shit about Libya or the lives of Americans outside of scoring political point. I think even you would have trouble denying that.

(many Republicans who have followed his lead, however, are dumb as fuck.)
posted by Artw at 4:07 PM on November 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Nobody has claimed Mitt Romney is dumb, but he certainly doesn't give a shit about Libya or the lives of Americans outside of scoring political point. I think even you would have trouble denying that.

Even I? What do you mean? I certainly would not deny that Romney doesn't care about Libya. I think it's ridiculous to suggest that he doesn't care about the lives of Americans outside of scoring a political point, and I think that to suggest that - about either candidate - is pure political bullshit. I support President Obama. But come on.
posted by The World Famous at 4:12 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this seems like a case of pointing out wrong arguments and calling those making the arguments dumb at the same time.
posted by ndfine at 4:13 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yep. The arguments are both wrong and dumb. Whether the individual people are dumb is ridiculous to argue about.
posted by The World Famous at 4:14 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"He wielded American influence through respect rather than intimidation and swagger."

Amazing that so many would characterize this as a flaw.
posted by sswiller at 4:30 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The President made the ambassador's death political, immediately. He told us with certainty that the death was the work of an angry mob hell bent on avenging the ghost of the prophet because of a movie.

That narrative is less convincing now, given the organization the "mob" showed. So maybe the President didn't have all of the facts about the motivations of the attackers. Assuming that is the case, why blame a movie immediately? The President's motivations are of course obvious. The death of an ambassador by a random angry mob was perceived as being more acceptable to voters than a death at the hands of organized terrorists.
posted by otto42 at 4:38 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Before the President said anything about Benghazi, Romney was out criticizing him for apologizing for American values. The idea that *Obama* politicized Benghazi is such disingenuous nonsense.
posted by leopard at 4:45 PM on November 5, 2012 [11 favorites]


The death of an ambassador by a random angry mob was perceived as being more acceptable to voters than a death at the hands of organized terrorists.

It was a proximal cause - the attack was premeditated and preplanned, but the movie and the demonstrations against provided an opportunity.

So, Obama wasn't wrong; he just wasn't totally right. I can accept that - after all - SCIENCE! is like that.

Look, Obama's got lots of faults. The Benghazi thing isn't really one of them any more than the bombing of the USS Cole was Clinton's.

And can you just imagine what the right wing noise machine would have done with 9/11 if Gore had been president ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:45 PM on November 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


The attack may or may not be presaged by Obama quietly killing every Al Queda leader he can get a lead on, on the other hand it's not like Al Queda ever says "No excuse to attack America this week, let's not bother".
posted by Artw at 4:49 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


He told us with certainty that the death was the work of an angry mob hell bent on avenging the ghost of the prophet because of a movie.

This is a bald-faced lie.
posted by empath at 4:54 PM on November 5, 2012 [16 favorites]


The President made the ambassador's death political, immediately. He told us with certainty that the death was the work of an angry mob hell bent on avenging the ghost of the prophet because of a movie.

The attack occurred on Sept. 11th. This was the President's statement about the attack, made on Sept. 12th. It does not contain anything about an angry mob, avenging ghosts or a movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:28 PM on November 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


The President made the ambassador's death political, immediately.

The murder of an ambassador by anyone other than a family member is inherently political.
posted by gingerest at 5:57 PM on November 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


imagine a rusted steel billet dropping down with the word "busted" right here and now.
posted by boo_radley at 6:12 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


“Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!”
posted by homunculus at 6:19 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yup. Fuckwits.
posted by Artw at 6:34 PM on November 5, 2012


The President made the ambassador's death political, immediately.

It was Clinton who made the first statement which mentioned the video (factcheck.org). The President echoed her remarks in the Rose Garden the next day (whitehouse.gov) but without explicitly mentioning the video. Clinton then mentions the video twice the next day in statements to foreign diplomats. Meanwhile multiple officials, both named and unnamed, are saying "we don't know if it's related, we're still investigating".

I don't think the President had any specific agenda other than to hope this would go away, but he is responsible for letting it turn into such a shitshow when he could have been a little more hands-on in the initial few days and avoided a lot of trouble down the road.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:03 PM on November 5, 2012


An attack on an American facility in an Arab country on Sept 11. If this isn't terrorism, I don't know what is.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:36 PM on November 5, 2012


There's a very thoughtful, touching "audio wake" for Ambassador Chris Stevens by the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Seems like the lead folks there were childhood/ university friends with him.

Loads of touching bits, but this one particularly made me sad: they wanted him on the podcast even before he became Ambassador because, in their words, he was the embodiment of liberal arts education, as it were. Sad, extremely sad.
posted by the cydonian at 1:23 AM on November 6, 2012


he is responsible for letting it turn into such a shitshow

Look, the politicization of Benghazi isn't something that happened behind closed doors hundreds of years ago. It happened less than two months ago on TV.

The American embassy in Cairo, in response to demonstrators gathering in the streets of Cairo in response to an anti-Islamic movie, issued a statement: "The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."

After the attack on Libya, Secretary of State Clinton said "I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today... As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss."

Immediately afterwards, before President Obama had made any statement at all, before Obama even knew that Stevens had been killed (this was not confirmed until several hours later), Romney issued a statement saying "The Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."

Romney immediately received blowback for putting his foot in his mouth. Even Republican pundits criticized him for being hasty and careless with his remarks.

That's what happened. This nonsense about Obama making a big deal about the video, or not being forceful enough in calling it terrorism, or that he's responsible for this being a political issue, is the equivalent of George Lucas deciding that Greedo shot first. Except that real life isn't a movie that's being directed by Fox News.
posted by leopard at 5:02 AM on November 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


"What does finding Benghazi on a map have to do with anything? Or is that just a way to not actually talk directly about the allegations being leveled by people you happen to disagree with?"

If someone is trying to convince me they have the knowledge and skills to fix my car, I find I take them a lot more seriously if they know which one in the lot is mine.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:14 AM on November 6, 2012


You judge a mechanic's skill based not on whether he knows how to fix cars but based in whether he knows which car is yours without you telling him? That is really bizarre.
posted by The World Famous at 8:25 AM on November 6, 2012


I can't believe that, with how recently this happened and as much information that was reported and consolidated (especially here on MetaFilter), people still are misled about or ignorant of the facts surrounding the embassy attacks (especially here on MetaFilter). On preview, leopard's post is a nice basic recap. The plan was more or less to use the "outrage" related to that random movie clip (which many citizens had only heard about and not seen for themselves) as cover for coordinated terrorism. I'm still of the belief that this outrage was related to the general unrest that already existed in the region and someone just threw a scapegoat into the mix, so I can't be too surprised when a smokescreen does what it's supposed to. There was certainly more evidence of Al Qaeda in the Egypt attack than the Libya one, but there was never any confusion about labelling these acts as terrorism. Period.

Stevens was the definition of diplomacy and foreign policy in terms of immersing himself and caring about the people. It's sad and unbelievable that such a do-gooder would make the kind of enemies who would level a US embassy like that, but it's disgusting that people back in America didn't hesitate to try to capitalize off of this tragedy. It's like adding insult to injury by metaphorically levelling the ideological embassy that Stevens, Smith, and the others had worked so hard to build.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 9:31 AM on November 6, 2012


Let me rephrase : if someone swears they can fix my car, and wants me to let them do so, I am less apt to believe they can if they don't know what a Honda Civic looks like. Also, unlike my car, of which there are millions just like it, there is only one Benghazi, and some rudimentary knowledge of geography goes a long way towards credibility in geopolitics I find.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:19 AM on November 6, 2012


CNN - Official: Changes to Benghazi talking points made by intel community
posted by XMLicious at 6:39 PM on November 19, 2012


Clapper changed the talking points, but Rice still on the hot seat
posted by homunculus at 11:50 AM on November 21, 2012


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