Many Americans have been monitoring the controversial Benghazi
controversy in total amazement. Put a different way, they are totally confused
about what exactly this controversy is all about.
A brief and sterile review of events is probably in order to put things into perspective. On Sept 11, a sophomoric and ludicrous video insulting Islam was released on the internet; Muslims from Egypt to Pakistan to Indonesia went ballistic, and some of the protests grew quite violent. In Benghazi the American consulate and CIA annex a mile away came under attack and four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, was killed. On Sept. 16 our ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows attempting to explain to Americans what happened with unclassified material provided her from U.S. intelligence agencies with the supervision of the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) headed by Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper. On Sept. 21, pro-government demonstrators riled by the killing of the popular Stevens stormed the headquarters of the Islamist Ansar al-Sharia militia in Benghazi and destroyed their base. Americans learned of this that very same day. The perpetrators of Stevens' murder and three other Americans became known to the American public. In late September, after FBI and CIA investigators sent by Obama revealed their preliminary results, the American public pretty much knew what had happened. On Nov. 9, David Petraeus, CIA director, resigned due to a self-admitted tryst with his mistress, Paula Broadwell. No one had revealed Petraeus' indiscretions, not the FBI, not anyone, only Petraeus himself.
A reasonable observer would think that would be the end of it. A tragedy occurred, all of it publicly revealed, and steps are being taken to prevent this from happening again. All the facts have been revealed and they are not all pretty. Our leaders urged us to move on and learn from them, the logical approach to the Benghazi File.
It was not to be. This was an election year, and some saw an opportunity, a chink in Obama's armor. The neocons wanted control of that White House so bad it hurt. They were tired of being on the outside looking in. Four Americans killed, my God, a tragedy that imperils our nation's very survival. The slings and arrows of accusations quickly followed from Republican lawmakers and conservative pundits. According to them, the CIA refused to help the vulnerable Americans. The military, which had no presence in Libya, refused to help the hapless Americans. One conservative pundit expressed his angst that armed drones (from somewhere, he didn't know where) were not dispatched to deal with the offenders of our national pride. One conservative moron suggested that the Pentagon should have sent the Spectre gunship from Italy to assist the Americans, which only goes to prove this idiot needs lessons in geography, flying time, and what the Spectre actually does or could do to an urban area. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1nFtbizRlM
What bothers many is what all this is doing to our national security. To be blunt, terrorist organizations have to be laughing their fool heads off at the United States. Let us look at this situation from the Islamic extremists' point of view. An obscure terrorist organization no one had heard of before called Ansar al-Sharia that were sympathetic to, but not affiliated with, Al-Qaeda attacks an American consulate and a CIA annex, killing four Americans. This militant group was so pathetic that Libyan protesters, angered by their assault on an American friend, destroyed their base. What happens next? American politicians vilified the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The attacks by these politicians are so virulent they have reached the White House and the American President, himself, questioning his leadership on foreign matters. It doesn't end there. In the midst of this American "crisis" created by American politicians the CIA director resigned. Yes, of course, everyone knows the stated reason in the media why he resigned, but the reader is reminded Petraeus revealed his indiscretions. No one else did. Islamic terrorists are as good as anyone at connecting the dots. Ergo, Patraeus resigned because of the Benghazi raid they could readily conclude.
What could real and far more powerful affiliates of Al-Qaeda, terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or the Islamic State of Iraq militant group, which is linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq, be thinking? Well, one could easily guess based on the Benghazi file. We attack Americans and American politicians will proceed to attack the American government, undermining its will to fight. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. Hopefully, the reader will understand this threat to our national security caused entirely by purely domestic politics, which I now will attempt to show.
But first, an observation. Republicans who are attacking Rice, the President's first choice to replace Hillary Clinton as SecState, and the President's foreign-policy agenda must ask themselves a question. Are today's Republicans Americans first or are they Republicans first?
The low point of the controversial Benghazi controversy occurred in mid-November in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that would rival the best of reality T.V., the actors being our Representatives in Congress. Tempers flared over trivia and our terrorist enemies enjoyed every minute of it.
"This administration has lied to the American people about this tragedy," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said. "The arrogance and dishonesty in all of this is breathtaking. Let's not stonewall this issue and cover up mistakes which seem to be what is going on today." Rohrabacker's accusations prompted counter-attacks claiming "McCarthyism" on the part of Republicans. The hearing escalated when Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) joined in with Rohrabacker in accusing the Obama administration of lying. Democrats started to respond with attacks of their own -- this time on Republicans for cutting spending, and on former President George W. Bush. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) unloaded, first sarcastically: "Let's just hang the guilty parties." He wasn't finished. "The stench of hypocrisy that hangs over this city today emanates from this room," Ackerman said. "I've listened to my colleagues talk about the President of the United States and others in the administration using [the] terms 'deliberate', 'lies', 'unmitigated gall', 'malfeasance,' which is malicious and knowing evil-doing, 'disgust', 'coverups'. If you want to know who is responsible in this town, buy yourself a mirror!" Ackerman went on to say that Republicans had "the audacity to come here when the administration requested, for worldwide security, $440 million more than you guys wanted to provide. And the answer is that you damn didn't provide it! You REDUCED what the administration asked for to protect these people. Ask not who the guilty party is, it's you! It is us. It is this committee."
I told you it was juicy, trumps reality T.V. every time. These are our Representatives in Congress.
It only gets better. Ex-CIA director David Petraeus told lawmakers that the CIA's draft talking points referred to terrorists. But Petraeus said some federal agency changed it to "extremists." This seems to be a big deal with the administration's detractors, influencing Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. to defend the administration. "The assessment that was publicly shared in unclassified talking points went through a process of editing," Udall said. "The extremist description was put in because in an unclassified document you want to be careful who you identify as being involved." Did anyone notice that in a paragraph above the terms "terrorists" and "extremists" were used interchangeably? Reporters and pundits have been doing this for years. Essentially, in today's world, there is no difference between Islamic terrorists and Islamic extremists or any other radical groups. Both terms apply to such groups.
So, what do we have here? A disgraced former CIA director brings up a trivial point. This prompts a United States Senator to reply to a trivial, nearly senseless, point to defend the administration. This is not reality T.V. This is a prime-time comedy filled with laughs. Does this not illustrate clearly the contrived nature of this GOP-manufactured controversy?
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., stated, "The fact is, the reference to Al Qaeda was taken out somewhere along the line by someone outside the intelligence community," King said. "We need to find out who did it and why." Why? Is that something really important or is that, too, a relatively minor point that the GOP is imagining to be of gigantic proportions? King should be reminded that Al-Qaeda involvement was revealed to the American public in late September, long before the elections, and long before he made this statement on Nov. 16th. Nevertheless, King's query will be dealt with.
We now come to the heart of the matter, or the GOP heart of the matter at any rate. It is revealed in a CNN report, but there are many sources. Ambassador Rice met with GOP lawmakers in a closed session to explain her position. It did not go well for Ms. Rice because the GOP lawmakers had a higher purpose than simply dealing with Ambassador Rice's "indiscretions." They were after bigger game. They wanted to destroy the President's foreign-policy initiatives beginning with his first choice to replace Secretary Clinton, who expressed her desire to resign after a replacement had been confirmed. Rice was simply caught in the middle.
According to the CNN report, http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/27/ambassador-rice-to-meet-with-lawmakers-on-libya/?hpt=hp_bn3, Republican lawmakers met with Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and the acting CIA director, Michael Morell, and left with more unanswered questions about her remarks on Sept. 16th. I have scoured every source available to me and I have never discovered what those "unanswered questions" are. Due to what follows, it also appears that the Republicans did not question Morell. Perhaps they were afraid of what Morell would say, damaging their attack on the administration. According to CNN, three Senators were "significantly troubled" by Rice's explanation. There has never been an explanation as to what troubled the Senators. Is it mere rhetoric?
One might surmise that some of those "unanswered questions" might deal with Rice's talking points, but that is only a guess because the lawmakers involved, Sen. John McCain and his fellow Republican Senators, Kelly Ayotte and Lindsey Graham, are keeping their questions in the realm of a big secret. I have it on good authority where those talking points came from.