Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Benghazi Disaster reduced to Definitions of Affiliation

The controversy ignited by the latest story emanating from the decaying carcass that is the New York Times and it's writer, David Kirkpatrick, playing the amateur philologist on NBC's "Meet the Press", magnifies the ludicrousness of political discourse in the second decade of this twenty first century. In one of the most nauseating displays of familial fawning to date, David Gregory all but kissed Kirkpatrick for the dubious conclusions drawn from his investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack.

The centerpiece of Kirkpatrick's report is his conclusion about whether or not Ansar Al Sharia was in fact affiliated with or led by Al Qaida agents. He draws his conclusion, which conflicts with standing testimony and conclusions in DC, from "months of interviews conducted by the New York Times". He also concluded that the attack itself, while conducted by a small disparate, unconnected militant group, was in fact launched in retaliation for the now famed YouTube video about Mohammed.

The two things which dissolve the credibility of his conclusions and NYT's investigation are the amount of time that had transpired between the date of the attack and the interviews and his counter claim about the effect of the video tape. Clearly the interviews had taken place some months after the attack and certainly far enough removed to give the interviewees an opportunity to fine tune their comments utilizing information gleaned from the internet and other venues thereby making the content of those interviews unreliable.

Second, the claim that the video was the reason for the attack, even hours after the attack was unbelievable given that the video had only been viewed by a particularly small number of people anywhere in the world, much less from the war torn wasteland that is Libya.

Predictably, Kirkpatrick launched into a diatribe on the practical use of the word affiliation saying that it can mean different things to different people. Of course he was trying to drive a spike in the heart of the allegation that the militants who attacked the Benghazi compound were "affiliated" with Al Qaida. What is so spectacularly unintelligible about this point is that it had been determined during Libya's revolution that Al Qaida agents were helping and coordinating efforts during that fight. To suggest they simply abandoned the effort after the fact defies logic; making this a focal point of his conclusions does nothing to bolster his credibility or that of those months of NYT interviews.

The more important indication of an apparent affiliation with Al Qaida was apparently not obvious to Kirkpatrick and it may well be because he has never sullied himself in a uniform and therefore has little practical understanding of military strategy, alliances and affiliations. He also seems to have missed the fact that anyone adhering to an established religious doctrine, at least academically, forges an unspoken alliance with likeminded adherents to include any divine exhortations to action. His dismissal of the affiliation charge clearly indicates his having discounted the years of investigation, messaging interception and ground reconnaissance which has placed Al Qaida in the midst of far more militant cells and specific attacks than any of us would like. His dismissal of Ansar Al Sharia as a first hand, trained, ideological affiliate, frankly, belies his political leanings more than his investigative gut about the likelihood of such an affiliation given the years of collective action by Al Qaida nearly everywhere in the world.

His assertions that Ansar Al Sharia was not "affiliated" with Al Qaida central simply because NYT's late-to-the-game interviews indicated so, puts the entirety of history on its head. Using his logic, The United States effort in the European Theater in WW II, was a unilateral act by virtue of our not being "of Britain". In addition he either doesn't understand the difference between a temporary, military alliance between member nations and an ideological coupling or, was determined to lose his audience in the fog of semantics for another purpose; I respectfully suggest the latter and David Gregory, was more than happy to accommodate him in this most dubious effort by not questioning him on anything tangential to the story.

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