“Us against al-Qaida”: This has been – still is – the narrowly conceived narrative among neoconservatives. As the politically provincial neoconservative foreign-policy paradigm has it, those were the forces that played out in the Benghazi affair, in which the American mission was left undefended, resulting in the slaughter of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans (who, given the pecking order in the Empire, generally go unnamed).

Hillary Clinton, the woman who cracked the whip at Foggy Bottom at the time, had clearly resolved to run the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, as one would an open community center. This was meant to signal that her war on Libya had been a success, when in fact Hillary’s adventure there had as much “host-nation support” as George Bush’s faith-based forays into Iraq and Afghanistan.

Indeed, “a central figure in the attack,” reports David D. Kirkpatrick of the New York Times, “was an eccentric, malcontent militia leader, Ahmed Abu Khattala.” Once persecuted and imprisoned by Gadhafi, Abu Khattala is a Libyan Islamist from the el-Leithi region, who considers “the United States not far behind Col. Gadhafi on his list of infidel enemies.”

Understandably, Fox-News neocons have been fuming over “A Deadly Mix in Benghazi,” Kirkpatrick’s exposé in the Times. In their focused blindness, Republicans believe religiously that, to quote Kirkpatrick, “Mr. Stevens died in a carefully planned assault by al-Qaida to mark the anniversary of its strike on the United States 11 years before.” Accordingly, the Obama administration has been “covering up evidence of al-Qaida’s role to avoid undermining the president’s claim that the group has been decimated, in part because of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.”

Uncovered by the Times’ investigation, however, was a very different reality in Benghazi – “murkier than either of those story lines suggests. Benghazi,” contends Kirkpatrick, “was not infiltrated by al-Qaida, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.”

In particular are neoconservatives fulminating over the findings that “turned up no evidence that al-Qaida or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault,” and that “the attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Col. Gadhafi.”

How can that be? Easily: The history of Libya is festooned with similar ransacking and burning of consulates by angry local mobs. Alas, in the ignorance it cultivates about the past, America is Cicero’s perpetual child. By the definition of the great Roman statesman, “Not to know what happened before one was born is to be always a child.”

Based on no more than the annals of U.S. intervention in the region, it is fair to say that, to the extent the American-made video lampooning Islam triggered the hatred harbored by the invaded Libyans for the invading Americans – to that extent it is true that the YouTube clip, more so than the mythical al-Qaida, was a catalyst for the attack on our embassy in Benghazi.

Still, the NYT has hardly been unsparingly honest. Rather, the Gray Eminence is as dishonest and politically provincial as the opposing faction.

Discounted in the Kirkpatrick essay is that al-Qaida has devolved into many decentralized operations that mirror the aspirations of the indigenous population to be free of meddling Westerners – unless of course said militia and tribesmen (the Ansar al-Shariah, for example) can get us to bankroll their Baksheesh economy.

Predictably, the double-crossing neoconservative and neoliberal entities cross-pollinate each other.

So wrong was the Times on Iraq that the reporter who piped lies straight from the Bush White House to her Times readers was recruited to Fox News: She is Judith “Chalabi” Miller. (Ahmed Chalabi was the Iraqi exile who agitated for American intervention in Iraq. In the ramp-up to war, Chalabi fed Ms. Miller, the New York Times’ birdbrain now perched at Fox News, with the pro-invasion “intelligence” she then presented to the public.)

The facts in the Benghazi affair have likewise been unwoven and retied into two contradictory narratives to suit the respective sides.

Think of lab rats racing through a maze, as you watch the sub-intelligent, dual-panel “dialogue” conducted on the teli. Hosts Stephanie Cutter (left-wing, social-democratic rat) or S. E. Cupp (right-wing, social-democratic rat): Each rat runs with a designated, neatly bifurcated (Republican or Democratic) political orthodoxy. Each is a “maze-bright” rat, and not the possessor and giver of any truth.

“Left” and “right” are bamboozling you on Benghazi.

Order lIana Mercer’s brilliant polemical work, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa”

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