Friday, May 10, 2013

Benghazi and the other presidential debate

Benghazi figured prominently in the second debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney. In that case, CNN’s Candy Crowley lied her ass off to blunt Romney’s attacks on the Administration’s lies and incompetence. It now turns out that Benghazi figured in the defining moment of the final debate, albeit more as subtext than explicit issue.

In that debate, Romney tried to make the case that the Obama administration was hollowing out America’s defenses:

Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917,” Romney said. “The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now at under 285. We're headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. That's unacceptable to me.”

“I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is a combination of the budget cuts the president has, as well as the sequestration cuts,” he added. “That, in my view, is making is making our future less certain and less secure.”
The president parried Romney’s attacks with a combination of snark and lies.


But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works,” Obama said. “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed.”
For the record, Obama was factually incorrect about the bayonets.

Obama is wrong. we have hundreds of thousands more bayonets now? than in 1916.

“First of all, the sequester is not something that I've proposed,” Obama said. “It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.
We now know, based on Bob Woodward’s reporting, that sequestration was something the president proposed.

I think the really interesting point is the statement made by Obama as part of his snark offensive:

“We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them,” Obama said. “We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”
In terms of Benghazi, the Joplin Globe understood the issue six months ago:

Recall the old question that presidents usually asked during times of international tensions: “Where are the carriers and Marines?”

We just had a national crisis in Benghazi. But we have no carriers in the entire Mediterranean Sea.
So, the president was right, we do have these things called aircraft carriers. We just did not have any where we needed them during the Benghazi attack. As the administration pleads their case that there was nothing they could do to save the Americans attacked by terrorists, they are also confessing that Romney was right that their policy had depleted American military forces to a dangerous level.

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