Friday, January 03, 2014

Respect for Journalists and Historians: Knowing What Happened is Hard

So I kind of want to post this on my science site because this is really about evidence again and "how do we know."  On the other hand, in this case it's about Benghazi, and if I write about it at all, it's probably a good idea to keep it separate from my views on science and society, even if some of the philosophical elements are the same...

Yes, Benghazi.  I have already spent an hour on this article from the Sunday Times called A Deadly Mix in Benghazi by David Kirkpatrick.  It's hard.  I'm still reading it.  I recommend it, though.  

I decided to read it because right off the bat it's focused on what actually happened rather than the spin in Washington.
Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.