COMMENTARY | Well, here we go again. While the Associated Press reported Sunday that Taliban militants killed a 25-year-old female diplomat from Chicago named Anne Smedinghoff and six other Americans on Saturday in a suicide car explosion while traveling in a convoy of vehicles to donate books to students, a local Chicago ABC affiliate reported Thursday that Smedinghoff “was on foot when she was killed.”
On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the official story being handed out by American and Afghan officials was that a suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle on a road in Zabul Province as an American convoy passed by.
Killed in the blast were Smedinghoff, three soldiers, two U.S. civilians and an Afghan doctor. Four other State Department employees were wounded, one critically.
American and Afghan officials also said that Smedinghoff and the other Americans were in an armored vehicle, in the same convoy as Gov. Mohammad Ashraf Nasery of Zabul Province, as they accompanied him on his trip to the school.
ABC reported the same thing.
So did CBS, Fox News and CNN.
But a report of the interviews of witnesses and U.S. officials by McClatchy on Wednesday, a report cited by the Chicago ABC affiliate on Thursday, revealed that revealed Smedinghoff and the others weren’t even with Nasry’s convoy.
The group of about a dozen had gotten lost on the 200-yard walk from the base to the school and doubled back. Just as it arrived at the base, a few feet from the street where Nasery’s convoy was passing the school, the bomb went off.
The story about how the “doctor” died isn’t panning out, either.
The New York Times reported that Muhammad Jan Rasoolyar, the deputy governor, said the Afghan doctor was accompanying Nasery.
But McClatchy reported that local officials said the doctor was “also on foot,” outside the hospital when the car bomb was detonated.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We were waiting for one of them,” USA Today quoted Ahmadi bragging. “It was our good luck that both appeared at the same time.”
In other words, just like in Benghazi, this was a planned attack.
This attack also resurrects the same serious questions that remain unanswered since Benghazi.
Is the Obama administration, and those he has chosen to protect the lives of American representatives abroad, capable of protecting American lives abroad? Are they even interested?
Moreover, why has the administration developed a habit of hiding the truth when its incompetence results in the loss of American lives?
Immediately after the story broke that Chris Stevens and three other Americans were murdered in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, Obama , Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other administration officials blamed the attack on an anti-Islam video.
So what if an Islamic militant group called Ansar Al-Sharia claimed credit for the attack?
Even after emails obtained by Reuters in late October confirmed that the White House and State Department knew it was a planned terrorist attack, Clinton dismissed the emails as irrelevant, and everyone kept blaming the video.
As McClatchy noted, Zabul province “is hardly safe.”
In fact, more U.S. soldiers were killed or wounded during Obama’s first term in office than the entire eight years President George W. Bush was in office. And the numbers keep rising.
The Associated Press quoted Secretary of State John Kerry saying that “America does not and will not cower before terrorism.” He said nothing about bringing those responsible for the deaths of more Americans “to justice.”
It’s been seven months since Benghazi. Despite numerous vows by Obama and Clinton, no one has been brought “to justice.”
On Saturday — the day Smedinghoff and five other Americans were killed, Obama was golfing. He said nothing.
On Sunday, although Obama’s White House schedule was largely empty, he said nothing.
He did talk to Afghan President Hamid Karzai three days after a NATO air strike killed 11 Afghan children. There are no reports of a mention of Smedinghoff and the other Americans killed the same day.
Six days have passed since Smedighoff and five other Americans died. But even as reports begin to conflict with the “official version” of what happened, Obama has yet to issue a statement or to even acknowledge that the attack took place.