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Why Team Obama used 'blame- the-video' tactic after Libya attack

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A riot policeman passes burning vehicles during clashes outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, early Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Hussein Tallal) (AP2012)

Perhaps the most under-examined aspect of the blame-the-video story spun by President Obama’s administration following the Benghazi terror attacks is how easy the White House presumed it would be to sell. 

An acquiescent mainstream media has for years encouraged an arrogant administration to expect its full support, even it has been forced to acknowledge that the administration has erred, if not lied when it comes to the deadly attack in Libya. 

It is equally critical, however, that we the people begin to understand our contribution to this tragedy and how suggestible and easily exploitable we are.

It is clear that the White House did not want to tell us the truth about the Benghazi assassinations -- that Al Qaeda is far from dead or “mission accomplished,” that there were no protests before the attack, and that the State Department and intelligence agencies had quickly concluded it was a highly coordinated terrorist attack. 

Is the administration so incompetent that any peek inside would spell immediate disaster for Obama’s reelection campaign? Could some analysts’ suspicions that Ambassador Christopher Stevens had been assigned with originally arming the Libyan rebels and was on a doomed mission to retrieve such weapons be the underlying revelation that must be covered up at all costs -- "Fast and Furious" Libyan Style? These issues will hopefully soon be investigated. But of all the substitute explanations available, why the one which cites a barely viewed video?

The overwhelming tendency for the American mind to accept itself as cause for Islamic rage and violence is easily exploited. When the White House needed a true channel changer, it went right to what it knew best.

Certainly there are political objectives underlying the choice. The Muslim Brotherhood has allies situated into virtually all US government functions that involve Islam and the Islamic world, from Muslim “outreach” to law enforcement to policy development. I believe that much of Obama’s domestic and Middle East policy can be characterized as aligned with the Brotherhood and its now institutionalized objectives.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the Blame-the-Video tactic would be fully Brotherhood compliant. The Brotherhood, along with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (the largest Islamic body in the world), has for years sought to bring about a change in US free speech laws so as to criminalize speech that is blasphemous or otherwise critical of Islam or the Prophet Muhammad. Part of the strategy involves demonstrating that such speech is uniquely inciting to Muslims and certain to result in violence: the narrative of the “Fragile Muslim” requiring special treatment for Muslims and Islam. Incremental acceptance of the notion that insults to Islam “cause” violence will “evolve” into banning such speech on the theory that violence becomes, a priori, “imminent.”

Furthermore, UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 sets out to enforce a ban on such speech by treaty rather than through our traditional domestic legislative process. That Hillary Clinton co-sponsored this resolution speaks volumes as to where the Obama administration sits.

Nonetheless, the blame-the-video tactic would not exist without our willing collusion. It is natural, of course, for us to try to minimize escalation following an unprovoked violent attack. Yet more insidious, there is the tendency of much of the modern Western mindset to accept responsibility for the hatred and anger practiced throughout much of the Islamic world. Whether illegally occupying Muslim lands, supporting un-Islamic leaders in Muslim territories, violating Shariah laws in our own land, or insulting the Prophet in cartoons, films, and novels, the critical maneuver is to place the West as the “cause” of Muslim behavior.

At core, there is a profound relationship between the West and the Islamic world that, albeit oversimplified, resembles that between an addict and its enablers. For the addict, the goal is to continue unacceptable behavior without end or restriction and much of his world view is centered upon victimhood; others cause him to be outraged and consequently violent. The addict will rant and rave for so long as he is allowed to get away with it rather than take responsibility for and change his behavior.

The corollary to the addict’s anger is the enabler’s extreme fear -- fear of what the enraged addict might do if left unaddressed. 

With respect to our modern Islamic enemy, the threat posed is so terrifying that the Western mind does all it can to change its perceptions so as to blind itself to the true reality it faces. The most ubiquitous enabler technique to keep stability is to accept the narrative that he is responsible for the addict’s behavior. 

The dirty secret is that if one is the cause, he can find a way to change the outcome. The dirty reality, however, is that the only way to change this threat is to eliminate it in total; something that even today remains politically unacceptable to much of the West.

Obama must be fully familiar with this relationship as those he surrounds himself with are fully identified with it. 

The overwhelming tendency for the American mind to accept itself as cause for Islamic rage and violence is easily exploited. When the White House needed a true channel changer, it went right to what it knew best. 

Hopefully, the American mind is beginning to tire of the enabler role and is beginning to seek more accurate perceptions of what is truly going on.

Bill Siegel is the author of "The Control Factor -- Our Struggle to See the True Threat" published by Hamilton Books.