Friday, October 12, 2012

call everything terrorism until we learn otherwise

over the last few weeks the right has been trying desperately to whip up outrage over the fact that the obama administration did not initially refer to the attack on the consulate in benghazi as a terrorist attack.. as paul ryan said in last night's debate:
When you take a look at what has happened just in the last few weeks, they sent the U.N. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a YouTube video.
It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack. He went to the U.N. and in his speech at the U.N. he said six times -- he talked about the YouTube video.

Look, if we're hit by terrorists we're going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack.
first, that's not really accurate. obama's very first remarks about the attack on september 12th referred to it as an "act[] of terror."

but putting that aside, why is it a bad thing for the administration to wait to be sure what the attack was before calling it "terrorism"? the attack came in the midst of numerous protests relating to the youtube video. when it happened most people immediately assumed the two were related. eventually, we learned otherwise and the administration stopped referencing the youtube video when it talked about the attack. why is that so terrible? facts emerge over time, the narrative changes, as it should, as more information comes to light. maybe the administration could have ditched the youtube theory more quickly, but i personally would rather have them be sure rather than running half-cocked with the "terrorism" label. a two week delay, even if that is what it was, really doesn't matter. it's not like they hid the terrorism angle until after the election or anything like that.

i just don't see how the criticism adds up to all that much. (that's aside from the "not enough security" criticism, which is really a separate, more substantive IMHO, issue. the right is also going with that, but the question of this post is why are they pouring so much outrage into the "not calling it 'terrorism'" charge when there seem to be so little to it?)