Doing the Benghazi Shuffle
As informed voters know, Mitt Romney is no foreign policy guru. His European trip this summer was a gaffe-fest which, while providing entertaining reading here at home, irritated citizens and leaders of several allied nations. Rumor has it that Romney was stung so badly in last week's debate by his Benghazi blunder, that he is now actually checking news sources outside of the Fox bubble, cramming for this week's foreign policy debate. Expect another round of major policy reversals.
In the Daily Republic article, Romney sees Libya from his kitchen, I wrote "Gov. Mitt Romney, either confused about the details and timeline or not caring and simply wishing to score cheap political points, blasted President Barack Obama, saying, "An apology for America's values is never the right course.' "By Wednesday, major newswires had explained the timeline clearly and as facts were compared with statements, both Republican and Democratic Party leaders condemned Romney's appalling lack of judgment." Well, Republican strategists have successfully buried Romney's "appalling lack of judgment" under a mountain of editorials condemning President Obama for the terrorist attack in Benghazi, including one by this paper. I asked last week: "Does it make sense for congressional Republicans to cut U.S. embassy funding by $500 million annually and then complain about inadequate security in Benghazi?" Apparently it's "Yes," if you can convince voters the attack was Obama's fault and distract them from Romney's blunders and malarkey.
When Republicans voted to slash $1.2 billion from State Department operations in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that reducing the State Department budget would be "detrimental to America's national security." Mitt blusters he will increase the Defense spending $2 trillion, but you can expect deep State Department cuts with Romney/Ryan budgets. It is truly naïve to believe the State Department and preventing wars are not essential factors determining our security.
Question: Should U.S. embassy deaths be used as a football, kicked around to score cheap political points? In the Libya column, I said, "Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed by terrorists, grew up right next door to us, in Davis. You have to wonder how his family feels about this crass politicization of his death." Well, now we know. Chris Stevens' father said it was "abhorrent" that his son's death has been politicized. "It does not belong in the campaign arena." Barbara Doherty, mother of a Navy SEAL killed in the attack also asked Mitt Romney to stop mentioning her son's name while campaigning. "I don't trust Romney. He shouldn't make my son's death part of his political agenda."
Now, l et's see where Benghazi fits into the Big Picture; here's a list of U.S. Embassy attacks under the last five presidents: Ronald Reagan: 1983, Beirut and Kuwait. 1984, Beirut and Bogota. 1986, Jakarta. 1987, Rome. George H.W. Bush: 1989, Bogota, Panama, Bolivia, and Santiago. 1990, Tel Aviv. Bill Clinton: 1993, Lima. 1995, Moscow. 1998, Beirut, Kenya, Tanzania. George W. Bush: 2002, Calcutta, Pakistan, and Indonesia. 2003, Pakistan. 2004, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia. 2006, Pakistan and Syria. 2007, Athens. 2008, Yemen and Serbia. President Obama: 2010, Pakistan. 2012, Cairo and Benghazi. Terrorists don't really care which political party is in power and obviously no previous president had the god-like, omnipotent qualities Republicans are now demanding of President Obama. Republican strategists don't want you to dig too deep into this matter; just accept their spin at face value. But now you know, so let's move beyond their artificial distraction and discuss Romney's bogus budget math, bipolar policy swings, the blatant lies that permeate his campaign, and real issues affecting Americans.