Archived Story

Is there dirt in Benghazi sand?

Published 9:07am Friday, May 10, 2013

The Republican Party had not had a great deal of success lately, but perhaps the parties’ most unified accomplishment since late 2012 is the attack on the Obama administration over the Benghazi events of last September 11th.

Everyone is on board from Fox News, to conservative talk show hosts, to several Republican senators and most of the republican House.R

Catching quotes from any and all about the horror of the administration and Benghazi is about as easy as gulping sir for breathing.

The Arab Spring has made many parts of the Middle East more dangerous than ever before. And Libya, like Egypt, and now Syria, has become a dangerous place for Americans.

Last year, on the anniversary of 9/11, Libyan ambassador Chris Stevens left the embassy in Tripoli to travel to a consulate in Benghazi. His security detail was small and supplemented by local mercenaries of uncertain commitment.

The compound was attacked and ambassador Stevens and three other patriotic Americans died. While attacks on U.S. embassy facilities have declined over the past few years, this was, in hindsight, the perfect storm.

The republican House had demanded budget cuts in the State Department security budget, and State made poor choices where to make those cuts, underestimating the potential risk in Libya.

The locals hired to provide security took off when the attack occurred, leaving the small security team facing as many as 150 armed enemies. From the beginning, there was virtually no hope to save the mission.

After the deaths in Benghazi the politics of a presidential election, and the general political rivalry in American politics took over what should have been a united front against enemies who killed Americans.

The Romney campaign thought Benghazi might show weakness in Obama’s foreign policy, so they immediately attacked, before even the Intel reports came into the White House.

The Romney attack got some help in their argument when Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, oddly was selected to explain Benghazi to America. Rice was the most unlikely candidate, not being part of State or Intel communities. And her initial report was challenged almost immediately for its veracity.

Rice indicated that, at that time, U.S. intel viewed the Benghazi attack as motivated by a movie that offended the Muslim faith. But already other reports were claiming it was an organized attack by the franchise now labeled Al Qaeda.

Lost in all of this was the unity that America has shown when attacked by our enemies, and that loss was, in many ways, as damaging as the loss of lives.

Since then the State Department commissioned an independent review of Benghazi and the review presented a scathing critique of mistakes made. But what the report did not conclude was any intentional failures on the part of anyone involved in protecting Stevens and his team.

Separately, congress also held hearings and interviewed people familiar with the events of Benghazi, continuing as recently as this week with hearings held by the Republican House.

The summary is that, while some have offered opinions about how differences in response may have helped, not surprisingly, there is no evidence of intent to see U.S. patriots harmed.

There is no evidence that any resource could have reached Benghazi, or that any effort could have saved the life of the ambassador.

There is no dirt in the sands of Benghazi, and Republicans would serve the nation better by giving their attention to stimulating the economy for jobs and economic growth.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.

 

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