Vail Daily letter: Wild assumptions about Benghazi
Shortly after the attack on the U.S consulate in Benghazi and after Susan Rice’s appearance on multiple Sunday TV news talk shows, a news story appeared with the explanation that the “talking points” placed into publication by the administration had been edited by the CIA so as not to compromise a covert CIA operation in Libya.
This news story quickly vanished but reappeared in the many emails made public recently by the Obama administration. What those emails reveal is that finalization of the talking points turned into a food fight between the CIA and State Department, with Gen. David Petraeus, then head of the CIA, demanding that words/phrases such as terrorist, terrorism, pre-planned attack, etc., be struck from any public pronouncements.
Benghazi has become the cover-up that wasn’t. Being the good soldier, Susan Rice went public multiple times repeating the script approved by the CIA. For her troubles, she was excoriated by the Republican Party, which is not interested in loyalty to country but very vested in loyalty to party.
Since the role of Ms. Rice is now understood, has any Republican offered an apology or at least an understanding of the role she was asked to play? Nope. Has any Republican criticized Petraeus for his role in staging the talking points? Nope, and don’t hold your breath.
Although the Benghazi “cover-up” is blowing away in the wind, Republicans cannot give up the story line. Republicans in Congress have discovered something — how to show up for work, do nothing, and get paid for it with lots of nice benefits included. However, they have discovered something that they really like doing. Conducting investigations.
Nothing like keeping the base riled up. Little did Romney know that the 47 percent he identified included his party’s members in Congress.
Various Republican pundits (including several who submit commentaries to the Vail Daily) have adopted a style of scripting that keeps a scandal alive long after the facts have turned against them. The trick is to ask leading questions as if question content itself has validity. Then you supply your choice of answers, none of which can be verified, but all choices of answers supply only negative motives for those they are attacking.
Here are some examples. One writer wondered if Hilary Clinton would put her election hopes in front of saving the lives of the four Americans killed in Benghazi. Note that there are two premises here that have to be delivered in sequence. First, don’t question the possibility that Clinton won’t run for president. Your statement is that it is a done deal. Next, raise the possibility that Clinton would rather sacrifice four American lives, including the U.S. ambassador who she knew well, rather than show evidence that the State Department may have been ill prepared for the attack. A supposition based upon another supposition — neither factual or provable. The writer concludes that if her/his presumptions are correct, “then that isn’t merely incompetent, it is criminal … and you have traded blood for votes.”
This writer goes on to criticize the administration for not immediately sending whatever U.S. security forces that were in Tripoli to Benghazi that was just an “hour away.” Just for clarification, Tripoli and Benghazi are 600 miles apart as a crow flies. By the account of several State Department official based in Libya, they asked for help and did not receive any timely support.
Our writer creates a web of incompetence in responding to these requests. She asks whether the administration is evil or or just stupid. What! Just two response possibilities that fit your strategy? Maybe the CIA was concerned that a subsequent attack might occur on the embassy in Tripoli. Maybe the CIA was concerned that loading a jet and flying out of the Tripoli airport might be met with enemy fire that would down the plane and all CIA operatives with it. Maybe the CIA was concerned that the rebels in Benghazi would anticipate the plane and plan to attack it on landing. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
Rather than assuming answers to questions to which you don’t know the answers, why don’t you send your inquiries to Petraeus or whoever is running the CIA these days or maybe someone in that amorphous mass of bureaucracy called the Department of Defense. I’m sure there is a bounty of conspiracy theories you could uncover in those inquiries and blame on Obama.