The Corner

The Superpower as Bystander

I would like to second what Andy McCarthy says about Bing West’s devastating post.

The attack on the Benghazi consulate began at 3:40 p.m. Eastern time.

It was known by 4:30 p.m. that the ambassador was missing.

Obama, Biden, and Panetta met in the Oval Office at 5 p.m. We know Charlene Lamb at the State Department was watching events in real time. It seems likely Panetta was, too — and perhaps even Obama.

When something bad happens at a consulate on the other side of the world, very few nations have the technological capability to watch it in real time.

Even fewer have fighter jets and special forces within less than 500 miles — or about the distance from Boston to Washington.

Yet the commander-in-chief chose to do nothing. He chose to let the enemy determine the course of events, how long the battle would last, how many Americans would die. The only choice he made was to hold a photo-op at their coffins.

That’s a metaphor for an enfeebled superpower: On 9/11/12, America had technological capability and military superiority, but no leadership. Instead, for eight hours, the most powerful men in Washington sat and watched but declined to act. And so in Benghazi as elsewhere in the Obama era, America is a spectator in its own fate.

The failure of leadership on 9/11 Round Two is pathetic, and the subsequent cover-up contemptible.

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist. That’s to say, his latest book, After America (2011), is a top-five bestseller in ...

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