Vail Daily column: Benghazi really about us
May 16, 2013
Jonah Goldberg's "Bad Faith and Benghazi" commentary that appeared in the Vail Daily on Saturday was the most reasoned and non-partisan opinion I've read since this Benghazi business began, and I commend Don Rogers for printing it.
Make no mistake, Goldberg is a bonafide conservative, and as with all things political, those who disagree with him and value partisanship above truth will find fault with Goldberg's opinion regardless of how cogently he laid out the facts.
But thanks to two congressional hearings, including the sworn testimony of Gregory Hicks, former deputy chief of our Libya mission, and previous testimony by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former Director of the CIA David Patraeus, we now know with certainty that shortly after the Benghazi attacks began, both the White House and the State Department were advised the attacks that were being carried out by terrorists with suspected links to al Qaeda.
Nonetheless, on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, when President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met the Air Force transport at Joint Base Andrews (formerly Edwards Air Force Base) that carried the bodies of the four Americans murdered in Benghazi, they continued their fabricated narrative that the genesis of the attacks was the result of an anti-Islamic video.
The next day, Sunday, Sept. 16, Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, appeared on every Sunday morning news show blanketing the TV airways and continued to reinforce the Obama administration's position that the deadly violence at the American consulate in Benghazi was the result of this video. Rice stated clearly to all who would listen: "What sparked the violence was a very hateful video on the Internet."
Nine days later, appearing before the U.N. General Assembly, Obama continued the fictitious narrative and referenced the anti-Islamic video six more times.
Meanwhile, apologists for the administration and advocates of Clinton continue to obfuscate the matter by conflating the security issues prior to the attacks with the actions of the president and the secretary of state after the attacks, and then calling the matter partisan politics.
Of course it's a partisan matter. It involves the president of the United States and his former secretary of state, who happens to be the likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.
However, partisanship doesn't alter reality or diminish the fact that for weeks, both the president and Hillary Clinton knowingly misled the American people about the nature of the attacks that killed four Americans.
We can debate whether the consulate had adequate security, if and when additional security was requested, if it was denied and by whom, or if budget cuts prevented the State Department from providing additional security, etc. Taking the inquiry a step further, we should question why our Rapid Response Team was ordered to stand down, who gave that order and why the president and Hillary flew off to Las Vegas and Venezuela respectively, instead of being in the White House Situation Room (as they were during the bin Laden raid.) But what is not debatable and what constitutes the epicenter of the issue is the fact that the American people were given disinformation by this administration.
What motivated the White House and State Department to mislead the nation is subject to speculation. Those on the right insist the Obama administration did not want another "Black Hawk Down" incident or successful terrorist attack after the president told us al Qaeda was on the run just weeks before the election. The left contends this is much ado about nothing and a thinly disguised attack on Hillary.
Both positions are understandably (and regrettably) partisan, but it's not partisan to want to hold government officials of either party accountable for their actions. And when the issue involves four dead Americans including an ambassador to a foreign state and an attack on our consulate, the American people should have been given full and accurate information in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
The ultimate consequences of the Benghazi investigations are anyone's guess. But regardless of the outcome, this matter speaks as much about us as a nation as it does about the politicians who deceived us.
Will we demand accountability as we did with Richard Nixon over Watergate, or will we let this slide with an attitude of indifference? Nixon committed the crime of burglary and then covered it up. This administration knowingly misled the American people about an attack on our consulate. Which is more egregious? Your opinion is as good as mine.
But since most of the media have downplayed the story, it's left to us, we the people, to demand the transparency in government that was promised by this administration back in 2008.
Quote of the day: "It is wrong and immoral to escape the consequences of one's acts" — Mahatma Ghandi.
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.