How low can David Barton go? Lower than any responsible American could have imagined, apparently.
On his WallBuilders Live radio/Internet program today, Barton suggested that President Obama allowed last month’s attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to happen so that it would be easier to pass an international “anti-blasphemy” ban protecting Islam from criticism. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the September 11 attack.
Providing a partial transcript and audio clip from Barton’s repulsive broadcast, RightWingWatch.org reports that Barton told listeners that the United States had “signed on” to a United Nations resolution “to criminalize criticism of Islam, anti-blasphemy codes.” He also repeated charges promoted in right-wing media that the Obama administration had ordered American security forces to “stand down” rather than try to defend the Americans trapped in the Benghazi consulate during the attack. Then this:
“So we’re watching this thing develop, we watched four lives get lost and then what happens is we’re told ‘oh, it’s this video, we can’t be criticizing Islam, this video that criticized Islam, it cost four people [their lives.]’ This is the perfect set-up for the anti-blasphemy resolution that we joined on to and said we’re going to be a part of. I think it backfired; I really think that’s where they were headed.”
So Barton — former vice chair of the Texas Republican Party, a key national GOP figure and a member of the committee that drafted the party platform at the Republican National Convention this past summer — is suggesting that the president of the United States deliberately allowed an attack that led to the murder of four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya. And, Barton claims, President Obama did so because he was more interested in protecting Islam from criticism.
In making this monstrously vile charge, Barton repeats things that are simply not true. First, the New York Times just today published a lengthy piece debunking the claim that the Obama administration kept American help from reaching the consulate during the attack. Intelligence officials said C.I.A. officers raced to the consulate within minutes of being alerted to the attack, and other security personnel followed:
“The officers on the ground in Benghazi responded to the situation on the night of 11 and 12 September as quickly and as effectively as possible,” one of the senior intelligence officials told reporters.
Thursday’s briefing for reporters was intended to refute reports, including one by Fox News last Friday, that the C.I.A.’s chain of command had blocked the officers on the ground from responding to the mission’s calls for help.
“There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of continuing investigations by the State Department and the F.B.I.
Two of the Americans killed in the attack were among those who had rushed to defend the consulate.
Second, the United States didn’t “sign on” to a proposed “anti-blasphemy” ban. In fact, the United States and European nations have blocked such a ban, arguing that “religious dignity is best protected where there is free speech.” Just two weeks ago Reuters reported that a top Islamic diplomat said U.S. and European opposition had made passage of the anti-blasphemy ban impossible.
But none of that stops Barton from launching such a disgraceful attack against the president of the United States.
Barton owes President Obama, the families of those murdered in Benghazi and all Americans an apology for his despicable rant today.