A recent Senate report confirms two key things about the deadly Islamic assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012: First, the U.S. government failed to adequately protect the mission; second, the assault was perpetrated by Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic militants.

Not surprisingly, the report has not precipitated significant change in U.S. policy toward Islamic governments and organizations that threaten America. For such a change to occur, U.S. officials and the intellectuals who influence them need not only to recognize the facts about this attack and other such attacks; they need also to recognize the essential facts about the ideology motivating those who perpetrate such attacks—including those on 9/11.

One indication of the unwillingness of American political and intellectual leaders to confront the essential nature of the Islamic threat is their continued claims that the Benghazi attack was somehow a consequence of an American-made video that mocked Islam. The Senate report states that the attack was “opportunistic,” perhaps partly in response to “that day’s violent protests in Cairo against an inflammatory video.” The New York Times claims that “anger over the video had played a significant role in precipitating the Benghazi attack.”

But, as I argued in 2012, at most the video served as a convenient excuse for Muslims to attack the mission:

The pretext for this latest round of violence was the posting on the internet of a video critical of Mohammed. The actual reason for the violence is that Islamists are motivated by a barbaric ideology that demands obedience to a murderer’s creed, and they were looking for any excuse to assault Americans.

Why have American political and intellectual leaders been so eager to blame a video for the violence perpetrated by Islamic terrorists? Why did the Obama administration initially lie about the causes of the attack? And why do Al-Qaeda and related organizations—along with their state sponsors—continue to organize military forces around the world that threaten the United States?

The broad answer to these questions is that American leaders fail to recognize the actual nature of Islam and of those who genuinely embrace it. As Craig Biddle explains:

Many Muslims around the world aim seriously to “live” and die by Islamic law—and to force everyone else to do so too. This is the explicit goal of Muslims who take their religion seriously—because it is the central commandment of Islam: Muslims must submit to Allah, spread Islam, and, ultimately, make the whole world submit to Allah.

As to why many Americans fail to recognize these facts and thus fail to demand that our government recognize them, see Biddle’s article. That many Americans do fail to recognize the facts is evident in the frequent headlines about Islamic attacks on and threats against America and Americans—including the attack in Benghazi. May life-loving Americans seek to change that.


Image: Wikimedia Commons

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