President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, at ceremony for the victims of the Benghazi attack.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: By U.S. Department of State from United States [Public domain].
It is a year today, since the tragic events in Benghazi unfolded, and four people lost their lives in a senseless terrorist attack. Since that day, Republicans seeking to undermine and attack the Obama Administration by any means, and using the memories of anyone they can find, have used the Benghazi attack for what is quite obviously political point scoring and nothing more. A year of hearings on the subject, and with no scandal to be found anywhere, this hasn’t deterred the Benghazi obsessives. Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz on Hannity accused the President, over Benghazi, of trying to:
“…trying to personally disparage the people that are trying to get at the truth”
– This is the same Republican Congressman who – whilst doing the rounds on TV in 2012 to register his disgust at the Administration for not providing necessary security for the embassy in Benghazi – admitted that he had voted to cut funds for embassy security. In October 2012, Chaffetz said:
“Look, we have to make priorities and choices in this country. We have — think about this — 15,000 contractors in Iraq. We have more than 6,000 contractors, private army there for President Obama in Baghdad.
And we’re talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces? When you’re in tough economic times, you have to make difficult choices how to prioritize this.”
– On a side note, Chaffetz told Fox News that the Administration was intimidating witnesses to keep them silent. When pressed for evidence and examples, he couldn’t offer any. When asked what the cover-up was covering up, he had no answer.
The Republican controlled House cut funding for embassy security by $128 million in 2011, and $331 million in 2012. For 2013, the Obama administration asked for $2.15 billion for embassy security, House Republicans agreed to $300,000,000 less than that. At the time, Hillary Clinton insisted that cuts to embassy security would be:
“…detrimental to America’s national security”
– House Republicans rejected this, despite the fact that between the Islamabad US Embassy burning in 1979, to the Benghazi attack in 2012, over 20+ US Diplomatic personnel in the US Foreign Service had died. Nine embassy staff were killed in the 1998 bombing of the embassy in Nairobi. 13 on the Hezbollah attack on the Beirut US Embassy in 1983. Laurence Foley was an American diplomat assassinated in 2002. Add those to the list of attacks on embassies between the inauguration of George Bush Jr and Barack Obama; Indian US Consulate in 2002, US Consulate in Bali in 2002, two attacks on US Embassy in Karachi in the space of just one year in 2002-2003, 9 Americans killed in attack on U.S. Compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, attack U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2004, a third attack on Karachi U.S. Consulate in which US Diplomat David Foy was killed. All under Bush, and none receiving the intense right-winged media & Congress storm whipped up after Benghazi. Despite past attacks, and despite Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and despite uprisings across the Middle East making the lives of diplomatics far more at risk, in some of the most dangerous parts of the World; the House Republicans still voted in favour of cutting funding for embassy security.
According to the Citizens for Tax Justice:
“In fact, under Ryan’s plan taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million in 2014 would receive an average net tax decrease of over $200,000 that year even if they had to give up all of their tax expenditures.”
– A tax cut for the wealthiest, partly paid for by defunding embassies in the most dangerous parts of the World, for which they then attempt to spark up a non-scandal aimed at the Obama Administration when the inevitable occurs.
But it isn’t just House Republicans digging in a haystack for a needle that doesn’t exist. Special Operation Speaks – a group dedicated to uncovering what they call:
“… the deadliest scandal in American history.”
– Apparently choosing to ignore the reasons given for an invasion of Iraq. And, well, the entire Reagan administration and the countless convicts over Iran-Contra. It is of course no surprise that the chief funder of Special Operation Speaks, is a man dedicated to bringing down the President by any-means-necessary, he’s known for this, and not just for Benghazi. The names and the families of those killed in Benghazi are simply a means to an end for Larry Bailey. He really has a hatred for President Obama, and will happily invent scandal everywhere. Bailey once said:
“If there were a jury of 12 good men and women and the evidence were placed before them, there would be absolutely no question Barack Obama was not born where he said he was and is not who he says he is.”
– He of course, has never provided evidence for this assertion, or any evidence for who he believes Barack Obama really is.
The call for the establishment of a House Select Committee to investigate Benghazi, has been put into Bill form, by Representative from Virgina, Frank Wolf. And a credible man he is too, what with having voted for military action in Iraq based on the intelligence for which he’s never asked for a committee be set up to investigate, and for restricted Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations. So far, Boehner has not allowed the bill to enter the House floor. Which, naturally, prompts the conspiracy obsessed Republicans to insist that Boehner must be part of the evil cover up, rather than coming to the realisation that the empty result of hearing after hearing, is proof enough that there is no big scandal. It must be incredibly embarrassing to be a Republican these days.
In fact, a House Republican Report contradicts many of the claims made by those purportedly searching for the “truth”. For example, on the often repeated claim that the President refused to offer forces to help those being attacked in Benghazi, the House Republican Report says:
“The progress report finds that officials at the Defense Department were monitoring the situation throughout and kept the forces that were initially deployed flowing into the region. No evidence has been provided to suggest these officials refused to deploy resources because they thought the situation had been sufficiently resolved.”
– Republicans discrediting Republican complaints.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas weighed in shamelessly with:
“One of the problems with all of this focus on Syria is it’s missing the ball from what we should be focused on, which is the grave threat from radical Islamic terrorism. Just this week is the one year anniversary of the attack on Benghazi. In Benghazi, four Americans were killed, including the first ambassador since 1979. When it happened, the President promised to hunt down the wrongdoers, and yet a few months later, the issue has disappeared. You don’t hear the President mention it. Now it’s a phony scandal, we ought to be defending U.S. national security and going after radical Islamic terrorists.”
– Three issues here. Firstly, Yes. You should be defending U.S National Security. How about you start by adequately funding security for embassies, with money you’d otherwise give away in tax breaks for your donors?
Secondly, Cruz seems to flippantly brush off the urgent need for a response to the crisis in Syria. It is as if he’s choosing to ignore the 600,000 dead, the 3,000,000 displaced, the hundreds of thousands of children facing forced prostitution and poverty, instead choosing to focus on a non-scandal, discredited even by House Republican Reports.
And thirdly, the issue hasn’t “disappeared” with regards hunting down those responsible. In August of this year, the US filed charges against Militia chief Ahmed Abu Khattala, among others, for the attack in Benghazi.
Where was the outrage for the lives of those killed in attacks during Bush’s years? Where was the outrage for the three attacks on the US Embassy in Karachi, resulting in the death of US Diplomat David Foy? Where was the demand for select committee investigations? There wasn’t any, because it wasn’t perceived as politically valuable for House Republicans to shine a light on those attacks.
The real scandal of Benghazi is two fold. Firstly, could the deaths have been prevented if the funding hadn’t been so drastically reduced by House Republicans over the past three years, and secondly, the shameful use of the victims of the attack on the embassy, for political purposes. The longer Republicans insist on focusing on trying to expose a scandal that doesn’t exist, the more the attention is turned on their own lack of principles with regard funding for embassy security and the lengths they’re willing to go to, the names and the families of the victimes they’re willing to insult and degrade, just for political point scoring. This is a Republican-made scandal and nothing less.