On Sept. 11, a mob -- some of whose members were armed with AK-47 automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades -- attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing Chris Stevens, our ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans.
Leaders of that mob, and of another that attacked the U.S. embassy in Cairo, said they were motivated by outrage over a video posted on YouTube that mocked the Prophet Muhammad.
That was just a pretext, said Noman Benotman, a Libyan-born analyst at a British think tank devoted to anti-terrorism research. The attack had been planned for months. It's purpose was to avenge Abu Yaya al-Libi, al-Qaida's No. 2, who was killed in a drone strike in June. Col. Wolfgang Pusztai, who until last month was the defense attache of Austria's mission to Libya, agreed.
The attack appeared planned because it was so extensive and because of the "proliferation" of small and medium weapons at the scene, Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy told members of Congress.
The protest in Egypt was planned well before news of the video circulated, Eric Trager of the Washington Center for Near East Policy told USA Today. Its purpose was to demand the release of Omar Abdel Rahman, the "blind sheikh," who is serving a life sentence for having masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
The attack on the consulate was a well-organized, two-part operation that used civilians protesting the video as cover, said Wanis el-Sharef, deputy interior minister for eastern Libya.
"It was planned, definitely," Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf told Bob Schieffer of CBS Sunday. "It was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago."
But last Friday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said: "This is not a case of protests directed at the United States, writ large, or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive and -- to Muslims."
"This was not a pre-planned, pre-meditated attack," U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said Sunday. "What happened initially was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video."
Why did Ms. Rice and Mr. Carney say what so obviously is false?
D-Day -- the June 6, 1944, invasion of Normandy -- succeeded in large part because the Allies convinced the Nazis the invasion would come at the Pas de Calais, on a different date.
"In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies," said Winston Churchill.
President Obama has had his own bodyguard of lies, which has kept his candidacy afloat. The president can't run for re-election on his record, because it's been so poor. So he's strived to make the campaign about Mitt Romney. The major media have done all they can to help.
"Over the past several months, there hasn't been one major political story line pushed by the mainstream press that hasn't been perfectly in sync with the Obama campaign's strategic messaging plan," said Investors' Business Daily in an editorial last Friday.
News that reflects poorly on the president is downplayed or ignored. Both the Congressional Budget Office and the Federal Reserve have warned that the massive increase in the national debt since Mr. Obama assumed office has put us at the edge of the fiscal cliff. But the broadcast and cable television networks have devoted more air time to Mitt Romney's tax returns.
The events of 9/11/12 make it plain President Obama's policy of outreach to Islamists is an epic fail. But for ABC, NBC and CBS, the big story last week wasn't the collapse of Mr. Obama's Mideast policy; it was Mitt Romney's criticism of it. The day after the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi, the broadcast networks devoted 20 times as many broadcast minutes to criticisms of Mr. Romney as to the consequences of the collapse of the administration's policy. No wonder Mr. Obama and his aides think they can lie with impunity.
But sometimes the truth is so important it can't be ignored, so obvious it can't be obfuscated. The powerful pictures coming out of the Middle East, and what they portend, will be hard for the president's bodyguard of liars to spin.jackkelly
Jack Kelly is a columnist for The Press and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio. firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1476.