Sunday, May 12, 2013

What Do You Understand about the Benghazi Controversy?

Do you believe, as former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Administration would have you believe, that the whole Benghazi affair is so old that it is not any longer significant? Do you believe the possibility that the attack on the Benghazi compound was a terrorist attack is an insignificant part of the story? Do you believe that the Obama Administration was doing its best to protect the interests of the American republic? Do you believe that the President and his Administration had no political interest in this affair from the beginning—they were only interested in protecting America’s interests?

If you believe the things above, think, again. There is another side to the story that you need to consider. Conservatives are being castigated for politicizing this story about Benghazi for their own benefit. You should consider the possibility that President Obama and his Administration had significant political goals in mind when the decisions about protecting the Benghazi compound were being considered.

Much has been made of conservative voices claiming that the Benghazi attack was a planned terrorist attack. And…nobody now believes, as the Administration said in the beginning, that the attack was a simple protest cooked up at the time as a response to a video tape criticizing Islam. But what is the importance of the idea that the attack was a planned and organized terrorist operation?

One answer to that is that if the attack was planned in advance, there had to be some significant defect in American intelligence to have missed their plans. Maybe that is significant; but maybe it is not, because American intelligence cannot be held responsible for knowing everything that goes on in the world.

But there is a more ominous implication to the question about a planned terrorist scheme: Ever since the killing of Osama bin Laden, the President had been touting the idea that al Qaeda was on the run, severely disabled, and no longer a significant threat to the free nations of the world.

If that idea were true, then, there would certainly not be any point in spending American efforts to counter their supposedly dangerous but insignificant functions in the Middle East. In other words, if you have a non-problem, then that indicates a non-response (which we saw at Benghazi). IF THE PRESIDENT WERE TO MAKE A STRONG RESPONSE TO THE BENGHAZI ATTACK, IT WOULD INDICATE THAT HE HAD MISLED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN THE FIRST PLACE BY TELLING THEM THAT THERE WAS NO PROBLEM WITH AL QAEDA.

All the President’s bluster about how America had defeated al Qaeda before the election would have brought into question his foreign policy in the Middle East. That would have been devastating to his campaign. Therefore, the “smart” political response to the phone calls for help from Benghazi was to treat the situation as an aberration of local and insignificant civil unrest caused by an offensive video tape. Thus…no significant military response and the ensuing death of the ambassador and his three body guards. This happened even though American forces in Tripoli were within easy striking range. In fact they should have been in Benghazi all along protecting an embassy in a turbulent location.

I think that if anyone is guilty of politicizing the Benghazi debacle, it is the President, not the Republicans. Benghazi was a terrible mistake and a disaster for the American people—caused by a president more concerned with his appearance before the election than for the safety of America and its interests in the Middle East. If conservative critics prove right on this issue, the action of the President and his Administration should be considered treasonous to the American people.



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