What for a month and more has seemed overwhelmingly likely has been established beyond all reasonable doubt: the decision not to allow American forces to come to the aid of the beleaguered Americans at the Benghazi consulate belongs exclusively to "President" Barack Hussein Obama.
The stunning thing about this isn't the factual substance, but that anyone, anywhere could be surprised by it. Nevertheless, here's my prediction for the ultimate outcome:
Whether or not Obama wins a second term, he will suffer no penalty for having abandoned four Americans in service to their country to death at the hands of a savage enemy.
Why not? For the president to withhold defensive resources from a collection of Foreign Service personnel in an American consulate under lethal threat does seem an impeachable offense, does it not? Indeed, I could make a good case that, as a form of aid and comfort rendered to America's enemies, it constitutes an act of treason.
But politicians don't often compel one another to account for their crimes in office. The closest we've come to that in recent years is the censuring of the Dishonorable Charles Rangel, who continues in office despite his multiple offenses.
I see it as an expression of "professional courtesy." It has a practical purpose, too: it protects quite a lot of "rice bowls." Consider:
- We have a "president" whose idea of "presiding" is lots of golf, fancy vacations, and nonstop campaigning, who habitually blames any unpleasant development on someone else, and who has repeatedly conciliated America's enemies while rebuffing its allies.
- We have a "vice president" whose behavior would get any individual not comfortably ensconced in high office swiftly certified and packed off to some pleasant institution where the suites all have soft walls.
- We have a Congress of 535 persons, half of whom are principally concerned about not admitting to error, half of whom think gentlemanly courtesy toward sworn enemies is more important than fidelity to their oaths of office, and virtually all of whom are, by Constitutional standards, corrupt to the very marrow of their bones.
- We have a judiciary that fears the displeasure of the executive and legislative branches too greatly to rule against even the most egregious crimes against the Constitution.
- We have a "permanent government" (i.e., the alphabet agencies) thoroughly imbued with the Government Uber Alles ideology, that presses on toward totalitarianism despite any and all attempts to restrain it (of which there have been damned few).
- We have a press corps that automatically leaps to the defense of any left-liberal officeholder -- that actually defended the late Edward Kennedy on the ground that Mary Jo Kopechne, had she lived, would have benefited from the policies Kennedy backed! -- straining to find an excuse for that "president's" imminent ejection from office that won't blemish the Sacred Ideology of Left-Liberal Social Fascism.
- With the exception of some of the members of the press corps, all the persons mentioned above are very, very rich.
With so many generously provisioned rice bowls to protect, what do the deaths of a few innocent Foreign Service members mean? We can't expect the above persons to care much about the loss of innocent lives -- lives they swore to protect -- when their futures of power, prestige, and pelf are endangered. That would require something like judgment according to a moral/ethical standard.
Something like a conscience.
It's actually worse than that. There were several military commanders between the president and the guys at the sharp end, any of whom could have chosen to ignore an order to stand down. They could have ordered the Spectre to engage the enemy, and any other assets near enough to the scene to take appropriate action. They would have had reason to be confident that in the aftermath, their actions in defense of American lives and property would be deemed fully justified, even against the press corps' efforts to paint them otherwise. Yet none of them did so; why?
Because our military has suffered a thorough Sovietization. Commanders are no longer evaluated on the basis of their competence as military men and leaders, but on the basis of their "reliability:" that is, their responsiveness to the desires of the political elite. A captain or major who aspires to command rank must never, ever be heard to say a word of criticism against the masters of the regime. A colonel who wants stars on his shoulders knows that he'll be scrutinized so closely that even to nod in response to an "inappropriate" statement of opinion would be death to his prospects. Thus, corruption in our political class becomes spinelessness among our military commanders.
Yes, there are exceptions. Unfortunately, there aren't enough.
Ann Barnhardt and others have stated outright that the Republic has fallen. They might be right, if by "the Republic" we mean the American political system and the organs of coercion that enforce its decisions. Certainly, a demonstration of spinelessness in the face of an implacable enemy, whose ideology is quite clear about its need to destroy us, is evidence to that effect. The incarceration of a filmmaker for having offended that enemy, despite the Constitution's protection of freedom of expression, is still more evidence.
Yes, we have national elections coming up in ten days. Yes, the tenor of the electorate is favorable to cleaning out at least some of the rot we see. Yes, among ordinary Americans the traditional virtues of honesty, fidelity to promises, and constructive fellow-feeling remain fairly strong...at least, in comparison to the political class. Yes, yes, yes.
But how much can we change with our votes, when the persons we raise to power are so hard to hold to their oaths of office? How reasonable is it to expect that a wholly new political class would diverge tomorrow from the patterns of today? How much weight can private citizens bring to bear against the institutional incentives that have produced such a horror of rapacity, mendacity, and irresponsibility?
I know: we have to try. We have no options. There's nowhere to run. But I'm not terribly hopeful.
Not for the first time, I find that I'm glad I won't live to see much more of this. We've let the liberty bequeathed to us by our forebears slip through our fingers. To reclaim it at a stroke is not within our powers. To reclaim it at all will be a labor of decades, if it can be done at all.
May God forgive us.