As President Obama increasingly trails in the polls in his attempt at re-election, conservatives aroused to ferocious anger over the comically inadequate security arrangements at the Benghazi compound where Ambassador Stephens and three other American citizens were slain may be falling for a trick.
Right wingers almost universally are assuming that the Obama administration put our people in Benghazi in such a horribly exposed and vulnerable post because the White House and the State Department were possessed by the thought that al Qaida has been vanquished and was no longer capable of doing much in the world, not even on the anniversary of 9/11.
But let us examine an even more radical and extreme theory than that. Suppose, for a moment, that the Obama team knew that there was an active, militant group of Islamic fighters in or near Benghazi. Suppose someone on team Obama had the brilliant thought: well, if the al Qaida wannabees can be baited into an attack on sufficiently defenceless Americans, then we could play dumb and let the outrage build over that for awhile until all Americans (even urged on by Romney) are fired up and angry about the tragedy.
Then, at the penultimate moment, at the very pinnacle of exploitable political intensity on the issue, the White House unleashes the American military in a furious reprisal attack to destroy the guilty militia that American intelligence knew about all along?
Yes, that is an outrageous suggestion, that an American president could possibly be so callous and so calculating, all on the chance that vengeance, timefully and dramatically realized, would rescue the incumbent's foundering campaign and sweep himself (the hero who killed Osama, never forget) gloriously into a come-from-behind election triumph.