Benghazi was a black day for our State Department, no two ways about it. Each of the four Americans who died at our fledgling outpost in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 was a tragic loss.
The greater tragedy, though may have been our political system turning those deaths into a match up of expediency and ambition, cheapening the value of those lives. Both parties share responsibility for the gamesmanship in the aftermath of Benghazi.
A lot of folks are angry about Hillary Clinton because of Benghazi. When you ask them exactly what it is they're angry about and what, exactly is it they think she did, 99% of the time you will get an answer like, "She lied." Or, "It was criminal."
If you press on to find out exactly what she lied about or what criminal act was committed, it is unlikely that you will get any further clarification. Their answers are as vague as Donald Trump's campaign promises.
Benghazi was a Temporary Mission Facility of the U.S. embassy in Libya, set up to explore the feasibility of opening a consulate in the region. Upon his arrival in in Benghazi in May of 2012 and for the next several months, Ambassador Christopher Stevens made several requests for security upgrades of that facility.
From all reports, all of Ambassador Steven's requests were agreed and acted upon, including increased personnel and security gates.
When the attack on the facility at Benghazi began at about 9:30 PM that night, it seemed to coincide with the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Those attacks in Cairo, as you may remember were instigated by a release of a video satirizing the Muslim prophet, Muhammad.
Remember, it's OK to chop off people's heads, rape and kill women and maim children, but never make fun of the Prophet.
That entire area is a tinder box and with the Arab Spring in full bloom, sparks were leaping across continents. It was a logical first supposition that a bunch of nutty Muslims had their panties all bunched up over another of their imaginary slights.
In the aftermath of the attack, an al-Qaeda-friendly group called Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility, but their self accreditation was quickly discredited. Even without a clear perpetrator, though most in the intelligence community arrived at the conclusion that it was not a spontaneous demonstration, but rather a planned, targeted attack.
Predictably, everyone from the White House to the CIA to the State Department went into cover-your-ass mode. It's noteworthy that Hillary Clinton, in uncensored conversations told Libya, Egypt and her family that the attack in Benghazi was, indeed a terrorist attack.
We call them terrorists, they just call themselves Muslims.
While Clinton's admissions were used against her in all the subsequent hearings, it was apparent that she was trying to tell the truth. That's just not the way it works in Washington and, like all employees she owed her allegiance to her boss and whatever version of the truth the powers that be deemed appropriate.
In her first public statement, Clinton said that some people believed that the attack in Benghazi was an offshoot of the spontaneous demonstrations in Cairo, but she did not say that that was what she believed. She also said it with enough skepticism in her voice and facial expressions that anyone paying attention would know that that was not what she believed.
When Susan Rice, our Ambassador to the United Nations appeared on Mace the Nation and Beat the Press, it was assumed that her comments about Benghazi were the State Departments version of events. They were, however talking points based on several revisions of the CIA's report on Benghazi.
After a 2-year investigation, the final report by the House Intelligence Committee concluded that the CIA did their job and no specific failure led to the deaths of those 4 Americans.
It was determined that neither the CIA nor the Secretary of State did anything before, during or after the attack on Benghazi to contribute to those deaths or inhibit the security of that facility.
$5 Million and 7 or 8 eight committees later, we still have no new information. The most recent committee, the "select" committee that Kevin McCarthy said was convened to crush Hillary Clinton's poll numbers wrapped up its hearings last week.
You may remember McCarthy as the guy who dropped out of contention for the job of Speaker of the House because of his inadvertent admission.
You may also remember that Trey Gowdy, the chairman of that select committee immediately assured the American public that the committee was not politically motivated, that they were only after the truth.
What you may not know is that 12 senior government officials in various capacities were scheduled to appear before that select committee, which might have, indeed help shine a light in any dark corners. Not surprisingly, though, all 12 of those appearances were cancelled.
The committee obviously felt that an 11-hour appearance (inquisition?) by Mrs. Clinton was all they needed to arrive at the truth. 11 hours of questions crafted to destroy Hillary Clinton's campaign were OK, but asking GOP presidential hopefuls tough questions is "gotcha" journalism.
If you want to play the game, you have to learn the rules.
The Secretary of State is responsible for an attack that occurred halfway around the world, but the President isn't responsible for an attack in New York City because he'd only been on the job for 8 months.
Besides, Bush only got a handful of warnings about an imminent attack by Muslim extremists, bin Laden mentioned by name in at least one of those warnings. How could the "decider" be expected to know that the World Trade Center was a target. There hadn't been an attempt to take it down since 1993.
3,000 Americans died in that "surprise" attack on 9/11.
In 1983, 241 Marines died in an attack in Beirut during one the many civil wars Lebanon has experienced. Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the GOP was president at the time, George Shultz his Secretary of State.
Neither was blamed for the attack.
Benghazi pales in the shadow of Iraq. The administration was either woefully ignorant or deliberately lied to the world about weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration was so committed to invading Iraq that anyone who presented an obstacle to their goal was punished.
When former Ambassador Joe Wilson presented evidence that Saddam Hussein was not trying to buy nuclear material in Africa as alleged by the Bush administration, Dick Cheney committed a treasonable act to punish him.
Cheney leaked to the press that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. Scooter Libby took the fall for that, but only until President Bush had a chance to pardon him.
4,500 American soldiers died in Iraq at a financial cost to America of about $6 TRILLION.
During that time (the Bush administration) 66 Americans died at U.S. embassies. If any of that doesn't make you wonder why the hell we're talking about Benghazi for 37 straight months, I can probably guess your favorite (only) news channel.
You may, though be wondering about that headline: Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, Istanbul. Orange you glad I didn't say Benghazi again?
It's a take off on that old knock-knock joke. You keep saying "Knock, knock" and when they say, "Who's there?" you keep answering "Banana."
At some point, you answer "Orange" and when they say, "Orange who?" you say, "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?"
So, orange you going to be glad when they stop saying, "Benghazi?"
Happy Halloweenie, everyone. Don't take any unwrapped candy. Or anyone's word for what's really going on in the world.
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