I’m intrigued that Obama (and apparently Biden) spent 56 minutes on the phone with Bibi three hours into the crisis, and just as they learned Ambassador Stevens was missing and perhaps a hostage. Surely they discussed Benghazi, but to what end? The call took place from 6:30 to 7:26 Eastern [12:30-1:26 Benghazi time]. That’s a very long conversation on what should have been a busy night.
The conventional wisdom is that seven weeks ahead of the election, with Romney very close in the polls, Obama was merely paying a lengthy courtesy call to Bibi to bolster sagging support among American Jews while letting 42-year-old neophyte [then] Deputy National Security Denis McDonough handle the crisis.
As hands-off and distant as Obama often appears, could he have been that passive in this crisis?
Maybe Obama reached out to Bibi because Israel is closer to Benghazi than US bases in Italy? Maybe because unlike the US military, Israeli forces were actually on alert on 9/11/12? Maybe because Israel already had armed aircraft patrolling over the Med? Maybe Obama wanted Bibi to pull our chestnuts out of the fire, but then backed out because he didn’t want to pay the political price of relying on Israel? Or Bibi balked? Did the stand-down order go out because Israel was scrambling to pull our chestnuts out of the fire?
The one fun thing about this administration, apart from all the Hollywood parties, is the modified Twenty Questions game that just goes on and on. Or maybe the game should be called Twenty Thousand Questions.