He was highly cognizant of the consequences of a failed U.S. military operation in Libya, including, I suspect, the electoral consequences in an election that he believed on September 11 he was winning fairly handily.
Let’s also remember that, although Obama decided to approve the raid that killed bin Laden, his team apparently considered this (and his campaign has promoted it as) a difficult decision. Bill Clinton and Joe Biden praise Obama’s alleged courage on this occasion, pointing to the adverse consequences to Obama of a failed mission against bin Laden.
If the decision to kill an unsuspecting and poorly defended bin Laden – America’s enemy number 1 for a decade – was difficult for the Obama administration to make, then the odds were always against a decision to fly our military blind into harm’s way in Benghazi in response to situation whose precise contours weren’t well known. Obama’s decision not to intervene was likely less about “the fog of war” than about fear of the fog of war.