You may be wondering why the Obama administration (in the guise of UN Ambassador Susan Rice) is claiming that last week’s protests and murders in the Middle East were spontaneous, ad hoc exhibitions of ire against an obscure anti-Islamic YouTube movie, despite the fact that the Libyan government itself is saying that the aforementioned murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and members of his staff was part of a “precalculated, preplanned attack” by a terrorist group. After all, not only is the latter explanation the more believable one (disorganized rioters rarely bring rocket-propelled grenade launchers to spontaneous demonstrations); it’s frankly the less insulting one, given that the administration is essentially taking the position that it’s reasonable to expect Muslims to bring rocket-propelled grenade launchers to spontaneous demonstrations. And yet there Ambassador Rice is there, busily embarrassing herself all over the television – and with the pitying disapproval of her peers, too.
What’s going on?
Sheer pragmatism. A clumsy lie beats admitting to eight years of hypocrisy, you see.
I won’t belabor this next point: the reason why ‘spontaneous demonstration’ is so appealing an answer for the Obama administration is because that answer absolves them of having to take most of the responsibility for letting the attacks succeed. A genuinely spontaneous reaction to something that the administration didn’t actually do would be legitimately impossible to predict and hard to defend against, and people do know that. On the other hand, if the attack was premeditated, then the questions become Why didn’t the Obama administration catch this ahead of time? and Why wasn’t the Obama administration prepared for trouble? And the reasons why those questions are problematical is because they’re the same questions that Democrats asked the Bush administration, in the aftermath of 9/11. And the Democrats were notably contemptuous of the Bush administration’s answers, back then.
Which is pretty much why Ambassador Rice did her best today to keep the Obama administration from being in the same boat. Better that the administration look like victims, instead of incompetents; and besides, who’s getting harme… err, who’s getting harmed in the Oval Office by that?
Moe Lane (crosspost)