Book of the Month

Team Romney is trying to score political points over the dead bodies of Americans, who is surprised, NYT on the incident:

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American Consulate worker in Benghazi,” Mr. Romney said in a statement. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks......Mr. Romney was making an apparent reference to a statement released by the American Embassy in Cairo condemning the trailer for the video, made by an Israel-American. The statement, which rejects “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,” was released before the protests started in an effort to cool tensions.”

The 'first response' Romney refers to was apparently from someone in the US embassy in Egypt criticizing the religious hatred in the film trailer, before the demonstrations in Egypt or Libya had erupted into violence, to try to cool off tensions.

Romney deceptively tries to imply it was the Obama 'first response' to the killings of the Americans. It wasn't. Obama's first response was to condemn the killings.

U.S. Suspects Libya Attack Was Planned, New York Times, "13 minutes ago":

Secretary Clinton's  statement:

For those interested in the larger issue of the US decision to get involved in the Libyan situation, I cannot recommend highly enough Michael Lewis' article on Obama for the October Vanity Fair, which I just finished reading:

Vanity Fair has been heavily promoting the story as a character piece on President Obama before releasing it, and Lewis does indeed spend a bit of time talking about Obama's daily life as president, his personality, and things like the basketball games the president organizes.

But in the end, you realize that it has all been about Obama's decision to go into Libya .

And it gives a lot of detail about the meetings about the decision, who was in them, who supported what and how he made the decision. (That's why it begins with the story of the downed navigator pilot in Libya, to which he returns through out the piece.)

Plus, it's a fantastic piece of writing, as usual from the author.

I just read the article and I have to say that I was very unimpressed. I have read several investigative pieces at Vanity Fair which I considered very good, very well done. In this case I did not find anything new or revealing that holds any importance for me.
 I did, as you say, learn the pre-operation opinions of a few people, only two of who's name I recognized, Hillary and Biden. Hillary had no strong opinion and so, in affect, no opinion, and Biden weighed whether we would actively start killing more people on a new front in another Muslim country solely on domestic political re-election considerations. No surprise to me in either case.
 So much emphasis on Obama's basketball competitiveness with much of that emphasis on how he wants to play against strong competition and is angered if someone plays down to him just like most anyone is insulted if they are talked down to. Most any person, and there are a hell of a lot of old farts in this category, who pursues athletic competition out of a love of competition and a love of the game they play would say, on hearing this: DUH!
 I expect that Obama, even after months of contact, was always very aware of the nature of the relationship with the author and his reason for being there and that the author was always very aware of what was expected of him and how his treatment would affect book sales as well as future access to future stars. Obama no doubt delegated someone to give a lot of study to various writers before giving that access. They found one who would write an affective puff piece. It is quite obvious that Dinesh D'Souza would never be on the short list of potential candidates because it is obvious that the exact same access would have yielded a very different story.


The author admits that the White House had quote approval over anything written in the article. Read about it or listen to it on the Terry Gross program on NPR. I do not believe anyone will call the resulting story 'journalism'. Great writing? Maybe, but not journalism.

For a typically harsh critique you can read Greenwald's latest here.


My wife works in international development and shared with me that Stephens was a rare ambassador--much loved, spoke the language, no bubble existence for him, he would and did go anywhere, cared a lot about the country and its people, was described as someone who seemed to believe in Libya more than most Libyans.

U.S. launching apparent terrorist hunt in Libya

(CBS/AP) WASHINGTON - The Obama administration, roiled by the first killing of a U.S. ambassador in more than 30 years, has begun what appears to be a terrorist hunt in Libya, as evidence mounts that the deaths of four diplomatic workers there were perpetrated by well-armed thugs and not an out-of-control crowd.

CBS News correspondent David Martin reports the FBI has opened an investigation into the deaths, and agents will be sent to sift through the wreckage for evidence. They will be accompanied by a second team sent just for their protection.

As part of the hunt for the attackers, officials say the U.S. will increase its surveillance over Libya, including the use of unmanned drones. In addition, the U.S. Navy is positioning two destroyers armed with cruise missiles off the coast of Libya.

One destroyer, the USS Laboon, moved to a position off the coast Wednesday, and the USS McFaul is en route and should be stationed off the coast within days. Officials said the ships, which carry Tomahawk cruise missiles, do not have a specific mission. But they give commanders flexibility to respond to any mission ordered by the president.

The investigation will focus on whether the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was a planned terrorist strike to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and not a spontaneous mob enraged over an anti-Islam YouTube video [....]

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