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The Benghazi Reader

It is not surprising the the Benghazi controversy is reduced to mindless partisan gamesmanship.The sycophants on the left deflect every criticism not with real answers but with criticism of the right.There were 13 Benghazis under Bush we are told and Fox raised not a single alarm.They pretend that the attack itself is the whole issue.  The lying or intentional misleading information is besides the point.

There are those will try to deflect blame no matter what. Some ridiculously claim that it was because of Republican led budget cuts that left our embassy’s defenseless.  I guess the order to stand down was issued only after a careful review of the budget to see if there was money available for such an emergency.    Such mindless defenses are akin to a religious fanatic’s response to a non believer; belief always trumps facts.

From PJ Media, 7 Things We Learned from the Benghazi Whistleblower Hearing by Bryan Preston

Most of the Democrats who followed him failed to ask many questions of the witnesses. Instead, they delivered speeches or blamed budget cuts, an argument that has already been debunked by the State Department itself. One sadly hilarious moment came during Rep. William Clay’s questioning. The Missouri Democrat blamed the repeated denials to enhance security at Benghazi on budget cuts. Issa reminded him that the State Department has debunked that line, in the person of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb. She testified last fall that budget cuts had not impacted the decisions not to enhance security at Benghazi. Clay claimed not to remember Lamb’s testimony, then moved quickly to cite the ARB, which backed his side. His selective memory proved politically, if not factually, reliable.

The frat house hijinks (by comparison)  of Abu Graib, of course, was indicative of of the rotten core of the military under George Bush.  It was serious enough to call for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld.  Imagine the outrage of humiliating a few Muslim prisoners if Rumsfeld’s response was “what difference does it make?”.

In The National Review Mark Steyn writes The Benghazi Lie:

Excerpts:

Throughout the all-night firefight in Benghazi, Washington’s priority seems to have been to do everything possible to deny that what was actually happening was happening at all. To send “soldiers” on a “mission” to “fight” the “enemy” was at odds with the entire Obama narrative of the Arab Spring and the broader post-Bush Muslim world. And so the entire U.S. military was stood down in support of the commander-in-chief’s fiction.

We hear what we want to hear.  Perhaps the administration proposed a narrative that while sounding like a fantasy, so fitted what they wanted to hear that it sounded like the truth and they rolled it out like the truth.

Also from The National Review Jonah Goldberg writes Bad Faith and Benghazi:

Excerpts:

Clinton’s fans, in and out of the press, loved her defiant response, and they should be ashamed of themselves for it.

What Clinton was really doing there was deflecting attention away from the fact that she had lied. We now know, thanks to Wednesday’s congressional hearings and reporting by The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes, that administration officials knew from the outset the video had nothing to do with it. Intelligence sources on the ground in Libya and officials in Washington knew it was a terrorist attack from the beginning. The video was a “non-event in Libya,” according to Gregory Hicks, the man who inherited Stevens’s duties after the ambassador was killed by al-Qaeda-linked militants. The false video story was simply imposed from above by Clinton, President Obama, and their subalterns.

But we do know they deceived the public. Which brings us back to the lies over the video. In the wake of Benghazi, the country endured an intense debate over how much free speech we could afford because of the savage intolerance of rioters half a world away. Obama and Clinton fueled this debate by incessantly blaming the video — as if the First Amendment were the problem.

Clinton and Obama both swore oaths to support and defend the Constitution. But after failing to support and defend Americans left to die, they blamed the Constitution for their failure. That’s what difference it makes.

A true liberal would be outraged that free speech was so quickly abandoned to promote such a  lie for pure political gain.  The film maker is still in prison.  Bob Beckel, the token liberal at Fox is outraged at this. Few others, what I call the liberal posers, who repeat whatever banal taking points they like on Facebook, seem to share Bob Beckel’s outrage.

Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal,The Inconvenient Truth About Benghazi.

Excerpts:

Was all this incompetence? Or was it politics disguised as the fog of war? Who called these shots and made these decisions? Who decided to do nothing?

From the day of the attack until this week, the White House spin was too clever by half. In the weeks and months after the attack White House spokesmen said they were investigating the story, an internal review was under way. When the story blew open again, last week, they said it was too far in the past: “Benghazi happened a long time ago.” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, really said that.

Think of that. They can’t give answers when the story’s fresh because it just happened, they’re looking into it. Eight months later they don’t have anything to say because it all happened so long ago.

Think of how low your opinion of the American people has to be to think you can get away, forever, with that.

from The National Review again, Heinlein’s Razor in Benghazi by Daniel Foster,

Excerpts:

This brings to mind the cliché about Washington scandals: It’s not the crime that brings you down, but the cover-up. And it’s in the political aftermath of the attacks that we find things we can’t dismiss as mere stupidity. The most flagrant example comes from Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff and fixer (and Bill’s lawyer during his impeachment), who instructed Hicks to break State Department protocol and refuse to talk to Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) without State lawyers present, and who chewed Hicks out when he said lawyers were excluded from one meeting because they lacked security clearance. That’s pure political damage control that, depending on whether ethical or legal boundaries were transgressed, could rise to the level of cover-up.

More insidious, and more nebulous, than this is the administration’s increasingly strained and pathetic effort to blame the deaths of four Americans on a YouTube video. Here Hicks’s testimony is unequivocal and damning. The video “was a non-event in Libya,” he said, and there was no report from Tripoli, either during the attack or after it, that indicated it might have been a “spontaneous” demonstration gone awry, rather than a jihadist attack. This is why Susan Rice’s tour of shame on the Sunday shows “shocked” and “embarrassed” Hicks, who asked Clinton’s Near East deputy why Rice would say such things and was promptly told to discontinue that line of questioning.

It is hard to blame such behavior on budget cuts.

Elliot Abrams writes Benghazi Truths vs. Washington Politics in The Wall Street Journal.

Excerpts:

Mrs. Clinton’s role in this matter remains obscure, in part because the State Department’s Accountability Review Board did not interview her, amazingly enough. The review board protected all of the department’s higher-ups and blamed career officials down the ladder. The board is now itself under investigation by State’s inspector general, and Wednesday’s testimony revealed the sore feelings of career officers about the review board’s conduct.

It is now widely known that the “annex” in Tripoli was a CIA location, but the whole story of Benghazi makes little sense unless the CIA role in the affair can be clarified. There were very few security officers at the consulate, and this seems like a huge error by the State Department. But is this because the whole Benghazi set-up was mostly a CIA operation?

So much for any value from any internal investigation.

Politics becomes most dangerous when its practitioners use the ends to justify any means.  What may have seems like harmless spin to protect the president from any negatives during the campaign degenerated into larger efforts to hide the truth and intimidate those who did not play along. Such action is nothing new in politics and mistakes in the broad and complex world of foreign affairs are hard to avoid.  This does not justify remaining blind to facts that tarnish your view.  It does not justify accepting lies and cover up by pointing out that the other side has also done it. It does not strengthen your position by hiding behind false narratives, by gagging dissent, and by blaming the messengers.  If speaking truth to power is to have value then it must also be valued when you are the one in power.

Category: Politics

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