As I mentioned yesterday, the Republicans, in the wake of last week’s crushing defeat at the polls, are desperately looking for something to cling to. They’re looking for an opportunity to delay introspection, come across to the American people once again as forceful, and, most importantly, weaken the President as he attempts to make the case that wealthy Americans need to give up the irresponsible tax cuts that were given to them by Bush. And, the only thing they have to work with, it would seem, is the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans died. It’s not an easy task, but they’re putting all of their resources behind it, in hopes of turning it into a full-fledged scandal. Their argument thus far, as I understand it, is three-fold. First, they believe that we were attacked because our President projects weakness. Second, they claim that Obama wasn’t initially truthful with us concerning what happened. He was reluctant, Republicans say, to call it an act of terrorism, suggesting initially that the uprising developed organically, in response to a film which portrayed Mohammed as a homosexual child molester. And, third, they say that the Obama administration was warned that an attack on this consulate was imminent, and yet they chose to do nothing.
Based on the evidence, however, I think it’s safe to say that this is nothing more than a disgraceful attempt to capitalize on tragedy.
Let’s start with the fact that, contrary to what the Republicans in Congress would have you believe, American embassies and consulates are attacked quite frequently. During the Bush administration, for instance, seven American embassies were attacked. These attacks took place in Saudi Arabia (2004), Uzbekistan (2004), and Athens (2007), among other places. The bloodiest attacks took place in Karachi, Pakistan, where ten people were killed and fifty-one were injured in 2002, and in Yemen, where ten people lost their lives in 2008. To my knowledge, none of the people now calling for a formal investigation into what happened in Benghazi so much raised a single question about Bush’s role relative to embassy security in the wake of any of these attacks.
To be honest, I can’t even recall the Republicans being this aggressive in response to the 9/11 attacks on our country, in which 2,996 individuals were murdered. And, in that case, we actually had solid evidence demonstrating that the President had disregarded warnings of an imminent attack on American soil. I mean, among other things, the man was actually handed a national security briefing document by a CIA official on August 6, 2001 entitled Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US, and yet, by all accounts, did nothing. But, yet it’s the Benghazi attack that has Republicans talking about impeachment. I can’t be the only one that finds that a little odd, right?
If any of you doubt what this is really about, I’d encourage you to look into the actions of Senator John McCain this morning. After days of demanding that a special select committee be formed to investigate what happened in Bengazi, and making the case that it’s critically important that we understand exactly what happened, John McCain chose to skip a closed-door briefing about the deadly Benghazi attack this morning, opting instead to go on television, demanding immediate answers. And, when the irony of this was pointed out to him, he wasn’t happy. The following comes from CNN.
…”I have no comment about my schedule and I’m not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media,” McCain said.
Asked why he wouldn’t comment, McCain grew agitated: “Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”
When CNN noted that McCain had missed a key meeting on a subject the senator has been intensely upset about, McCain said, “I’m upset that you keep badgering me.”…
Oh, and then there was this absolutely bewildering exchange between CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien and Congressman Joe Heck of Nevada, which took place this morning. O’Brien, as you’ll see, had to ask Heck three times to explain why he and his fellow conservatives plan to fight U-N Ambassador Susan Rice’s expected nomination as Secretary of State, on the grounds that she had incomplete knowledge of the events which transpired in Benghazi upon first addressing reporters after the siege of the embassy, when many of these same Republicans supported the nomination of Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State during the Bush administration, even though she’d shared false information concerning the presence of WMDs in Iraq.
And, as long as we’re on the subject, here’s a little more on McCain, who was one of those Republicans that supported Condoleezza Rice, but now says that Susan Rice is unqualified for having inaccurately attributed the Libyan attacks to an offensive portrayal of Mohammed. Here’s a clip from Think Progress.
President Obama has yet to nominate anyone to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, but Republicans are already lining up in opposition to potential replacement U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, citing her complicity in the administration’s alleged failures in responding to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promised to filibuster Rice’s nomination and “do whatever to block the nomination that is within our power.” “She’s not qualified,” McCain explained, arguing that she misled the public by initially attributing the September 11 Benghazi attack to protests over an anti-Islam video. He claimed that at a minimum, Rice is guilty of “not being very bright, because it was obvious that this was not a ‘flash mob’ and there was additional information by the time she went on every news show…in America.”
But interestingly, McCain took a far different approach to another Rice in 2005. When President George W. Bush nominated National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to the post, McCain defended the nomination, despite Rice’s central role in spreading the false intelligence that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. The Democrats held hours of hearing and ultimately confirmed Rice, but not before McCain accused the opposition of using politics to delay her confirmation and challenging her “integrity”…
Seven years later, there is no evidence that Susan Rice mislead the public, yet McCain is leading the charge to oppose her. Rice was “speaking from a set of talking points provided by the U.S. intelligence community, which was also provided to Congress. The video has also been cited by those on the ground as being an impetus for the attack in recent weeks, challenging the Republican narrative.”…
But this isn’t anything new. The Republicans, who apparently have no shame whatsoever, have been attempting to politicize the deaths of these four Americans since the night of the attack, when Romney violated his pledge not to make partisan comments on the anniversary of 9/11, called a press conference, and proceeded to lie to the American people, saying that “the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” It wasn’t true then, and it wasn’t true several weeks later, when, during the second presidential debate, Romney went back to the issue, claiming falsely that Obama had failed to call the attack an act of terrorism, only to be fact-checked in real time. And it’s certainly not true now… This was a horrific event, and we should mourn the loss of the four American men who died there that night, while serving their country, not use their deaths to further our own political agendas. And, with that, I’ll leave you with these words from Barbara Doherty, the mother of US Navy Seal Glen Doherty, who was among those that died at the consulate in Benghazi.
“(Romney) shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”