Noise and Nonsense on Benghazi Attack

Romney debates Obama

Over the past few weeks of the presidential campaign we’ve been hearing a lot–maybe too much–about the September 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. It’s been turned into a campaign issue by the Romney team, which has used the incident to charges that the Obama administration is unable to manage foreign affairs and so forth.  The intensity of the Republican pushback has made this into a major story. It was the lead issue in the vice presidential debate, and has been a regular subject on the Sunday […]


Meet the Press–But Skip the Libya Debate

There is growing Congressional opposition to the Libya war. Two House votes this month sought to challenge the White House policy– one of which passed by a wide margin. On Saturday (6/18/11) Charlie Savage reported in the New York Times that the Office of Legal Counsel’s advice to Obama was that he needed to comply with the War Powers Act. Obama rejected their advice, which as Savage reported is “extraordinarily rare.” Congress will be taking up more Libya debates this week, with a potential vote scheduled to stop the funding of the war. And the recent Republican presidential debate showed […]


Anonymous NATO: We Don’t Know Who Bombed That Tent

From the L.A. Times (6/9/11): A tattered tent, shreds of carpet and other scorched debris were all that were left of a favored retreat of Moammar Gadhafi just outside the Libyan capital, the aftermath of what appeared to be a NATO bombing run. Was the usually idyllic nature preserve a “command and control” center used by the Libyan military? Or was this an example of NATO attempting to assassinate the longtime Libyan dictator? A NATO official reached in Naples, Italy, late Wednesday emphasized that the Western alliance does not target people for killings, and the official would not confirm that […]


Libya’s Lousy PR

One theme of the coverage of the NATO bombing of Libya is that the Libyan government is lousy at propaganda. It was somewhat jarring, though, to see all of these headlines in the space of two days this week. It’s worth pointing out– as some of these stories (and others) do– that the NATO bombing has intensified over the past few days, making these ‘no dead civilians here’ pieces seem curiously timed. I guess this could be seen as a message to the Libyan government: This is how the professionals do it. New York Times (6/7/11): “Libya Stokes Its Machine […]


War to Protect Civilians Threatened by Killing Them

USA Today (3/23/11): WASHINGTON–The top commander of the allied air war to protect civilians in besieged Libyan cities said the forces of Moammar Gadhafi must pull out or face attack, a task analysts say is complicated by the risk of bombing in populated areas. The “war to protect civilians” could be “complicated” by the killing of civilians.


What Americans Want to Read

The gallery of covers for Time magazine this week. One stands out, obviously.