Saturday, May 11, 2013

THE PRIMAL BLAME IMPULSE

We've all had problems with Glenn Kessler in the past, but his argument that the editing of the Benghazi talking points is the product of a turf battle between the State Department and the CIA makes a great deal of sense:
... This basically was a bureaucratic knife fight, pitting the State Department against the CIA.

In other words, the final version of the talking points may have been so wan because officials simply deleted everything that upset the two sides. So they were left with nothing....

First, some important context: Although the ambassador was killed, the Benghazi "consulate" was not a consulate at all but basically a secret CIA operation....

So, from the State Department perspective, this was an attack on a CIA operation....

The talking points were originally developed by the CIA....

The clear implication is that State screwed up, even though internally, it was known that this was a CIA operation. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland especially objects to the reference to previous warnings, saying it "could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings."...
And on and on.

Wee see this kind of infighting and blame-shifting all the time. Elsewhere, Boston's police department has grumbled that the FBI didn't share critical information regarding the Marathon bombing. Before that, it was the cops in New York complaining about lack of information sharing regarding the Tsarnaevs. The Cleveland cops are being blamed for failures in the Ariel Castro kidnapping case, and now there's grumbling (presumably from those cops) that an FBI suspect sketch wasn't shared for seven years (the sketch bears a close resemblance to Castro).

Finger-pointing is what people do in these circumstances. If you've ever worked at a big or even moderate-sized company or organization, you know that everyone's first impulse after any screw-up is to think, "Can I be blamed? Can my department be blamed? What evidence is there that this is some other department's fault?"

The key bit of supposedly politicized scrubbing is being blamed on Victoria Nuland -- who, yes, was a Hillary Clinton aide, but prior to that was, among other things, Dick Cheney's deputy national security adviser. Why would she cover up on behalf of the Obama campaign?

And please, explain to me why the alleged cover-up story would be more reassuring to the public than the truth.

Here's the alleged cover-up story: If someone makes a video that insults Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad, our diplomats in the Muslim world are at risk of being killed by spontaneous rioters. What ordinary American would find the possibility of that kind of violence less unsettling than the possibility of Al Qaeda launching an attack on a diplomatic (or CIA) outpost of exactly the same level of lethality?

Dave Weigel addresses the question of whether Benghazi could have gotten Mitt Romney elected in 2012 and says it couldn't have happened, because the American people care only about attacks on U.S. soil. But we've just had a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and President Obama's poll ratings haven't suffered at all. Even stateside, the American people don't believe 100% of all attacks can be prevented. Here are CNN poll numbers over the years:





So voters don't even count on 100% success here. Why would they expect 100% success against anyone, Al Qaeda or otherwise, overseas? Why would any rational campaign feel the need to defend an indefensible claim of abolute security that the public doesn't believe anyway?

3 comments:

Victor said...

Back when I was in the corporate world, what he describe as what happened between the State Department and the CIA, was called a "Silo" problem.

And that does sound exactly like the inhabitants of a particular silo, trying to fend off blame, while hoping to lay it on a different silo.

Another reason why the Benghazi attacks aren't resonating with the public as much as our Reich-wingers want - Sensory Overload.

When the Conservatives politicize EVERY SINGLE THING into some coming Armageddon, the public starts to get weary of it.

"The Whitey Tapes," were the first cry of, "WOLF!"

Then, it was Obamacare - "WOLF!!"

Then, it was withdrawal from Iraq - "WOLF!!!"

The entire year before the 2012 election, "WOLF! WOLF!! WOLF!!!"

By the time Benghazi happened, the public was "WOLFed" out.

Hint to Reich-wingers: When every thing is Armageddon, then nothing is Armageddon.

And now, there is a legitimate scandal, if the stories about the IRS focusing on right-wing pac's, are true.

But, since Congress took away a President's control of the IRS after Nixon used it for nefarious purposes, they can't lay this at President Obama's feet, so what's a real issue, is of no concern to them, because they can't use it politically.

If the Republicans can't blame something on Obama or the Democrats, and especially Hillary, because of her potential run for President, then they have no interest in it.

They still can't believe that their "two-fer" of Benghazi, where both Obama AND Hillary are involved, doesn't bring out all of the people.

So, all of the years of "Wolfing," the public doesn't see Benghazi as a real "wolf."
They know a dog when they see it.

Never Ben Better said...

Neatly punch-lined, Victor.

Sean Riley said...

Tsk, tsk! Using the word "rational" where Conservatards are involved!