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Republicans chasing their own tails on Benghazi

dog-chasing-tail

At this writing, a U.S. House committee hearing on the Benghazi tragedy has yet to live up to the breathless hype with which it was promoted in advance by Republicans.

Joe Klein’s PERSPECTIVE on the matter seems as valid as any:

The Republicans, apparently with nothing better to do, are still chasing their tails over the tragic events in Benghazi on September 11.

Actually, no. That’s not true. They’re chasing their tails over what happened after the tragic events of September 11. They’re mostly concerned that the Obama Administration tried to cover up the fact that this was a terrorist attack by a local militia (translation: local street gang) which aspired toward bad-butt Al Qaeda status. This is a pretty hard sell since, the day after the attack, the President called it an “act of terror.”

It does seem that the Administration’s talking points were massaged a bit after the President’s candor. This may have been attributable to the presidential campaign and the Administration’s desire to low-ball the Al Qaeda threat. If so, this was a venial, not a mortal, sin. It affected not one life. More likely, though, the wording was scrubbed as a result of the nature of the investigation going on at the time–it may have been deemed premature to announce that it was a pre-meditated act of terror. Perhaps the local militia lucked into a situation where they showed up at the consulate and found very little security protection. Hard to say. There were protests all over the middle east that night, ginned up by jihadis using the excuse of a near-unseen anti-Muslim You Tube video.

But let’s say the street gang had been casing the joint in advance. Who’s to blame  for  the lax security? This is the real substance of the case. Could it have been the Secretary of State? Undoubtedly, no. This sort of question is well below her pay grade. Could it have been the person in charge of embassy security issues? More likely, and that person resigned after the subsequent investigations…and even that might have been unfair for two reasons. Security was up to the Ambassador and Chris Stevens was well known for erring on the side of greater public access to U.S. facilities. Or, more plausibly, reason number two…

Could it have been the Republicans who consistently voted against funds for increased embassy security? Hmmm…that makes their current carping seem awfully political, doesn’t it? Again, sins of politics are not mortal. But one does wonder why the Republicans tend to fix on issues like this, which are defined by their absence of substance. (I haven’t noticed the Republicans clamoring to spend more on embassy security–which would be a matter of substance, happily embraced by the Administration.But that would require a budget deal, which would give the President a win.)

——-

And then there’s THIS:

The GOP’s star witness at today’s hearings is the former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya, Gregory Hicks, who the right-wing has labeled the main Benghazi “whistle-blower.” Hicks is expected to give testimony before the panel detailing what he believes could have done above and beyond the efforts the administration expended the night of the attack, actions he claims could have saved lives…

Republicans are latching onto Hicks’ testimony about the lack of military response during the attack as evidence of the administration’s negligence in protecting diplomats overseas and a resulting cover-up to avoid scrutiny. “We were certainly misled at every step of the way,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), one of the loudest voices on Benghazi, said on Monday to a surprisingly skeptical  panel on Fox News.

The military has repeatedly said, however, that there were simply no air assets close enough to Benghazi that would have arrived in time to make a difference. Hicks himself admitted during his pre-hearing testimony that the nearest fighter jets were at Aviano Air Base in southern Italy, hours away from Libya with no tanker assets available for refueling purposes.

And while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) during the Senate’s last hearing on the military’s response to Benghazi scolded the Pentagon for not having assets available at the Souda Bay naval base in Crete, Greece, the fact remains that even the hour and a half from the island to Benghazi would have been too late to save Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens and communications specialist Sean Smith. Both died during the first wave of the attack, less than an hour after the Pentagon was first notified.

Likewise, despite what Fox News reports have said, U.S. forces based in Europe as part of U.S. Africa Command would not have arrived until after the second wave of attacks, which took place at the CIA annex in Benghazi hours after the first, had finished.

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25 Comments

  1. Steverino

    Issa who is one of the wealthiest in Congress with an ego to match will not quit until he comes up with something on this alleged scandal. He works out of his own personal office micromanaging his electronic and property business for fear that someone just may discover his many conflicts of interest. What a turd ball.

  2. Robert

    Nothing will come out of this just as nothing did when they had the 911 hearings.

  3. Chuck Sweeny

    The right and left spin machines are working overtime today. The situation is worse than the Dems say it is, and not as bad as the GOP says it is. As usual, it’s in the middle somewhere. But because we only have partisan news outlets nowadays, it’s up to you, the reader, to read between the lines, if you care to try.

  4. The true shame in the Far Right’s obsession with this tragedy is the effect on the families of the victims. This entire process is being instrumented as a ruse to attempt to shame Hillary Clinton and our President. Our Republican Congressmen spend their days trying to Bamboozle Obama instead of doing what they are paid for by representing their constituents. See what kind of job they’ve done applying the blackface to the POTUS at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/10/bamboozling-obama.html Their hands are sticking to this tar baby as the public is becoming increasing impatient with the nonsense and waste of taxpayer money.

  5. Neftali

    Watergate dragged on for years thanks to the Democrats…and no one died there. Can’t say as much about the Benghazi attacks.

  6. Steverino

    Mission Accomplished is still dragging on and thousands have died.

  7. Robert

    The Republicans have never got over the impeachment of Richard Nixon. That, coupled with the courting of the religious right by Reagan, and their inability to accept the south lost the civil war, has destroyed politics in the USA.

    The only way we will return to a more civil compromising legislature is to elect a Republican president who tells the far right to get lost for several terms. I think Chris Cristi might be that candidate, or would like to think he is. I’ve never voted for a Republican in any capacity, but I would like to see one with integrity and who is authentic come to bat.

    In all honesty, I’m not so sure the politicians of either party are in place to do anything for the people that isn’t approved by the corporations that own them. Medicare Part D is a good example. We the tax payers are being screwed by that program. We should be getting bulk rate discounts. And what about those cost plus contracts for the military industrial complex campaign donors, to support endless wars for endless profits.

    This is the kind of things our legislators should be correcting. We give Brazil hundreds of millions of dollars each year to subsidize their cotton farmers because Brazil believes the USA farmers have an unfair advantage, because of the subsidies they get from our government. This kind of waste to foreign countries should be what our politicians are remedying, not this Darryl Issa vengeful crap. I’d like to know who was behind this payout to Brazil in the first place.

    Note, the politician introducing this legislation is a Democrat.

    http://blumenauer.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2198:reps-kind-and-blumenauer-re-introduce-bill-to-end-wasteful-brazil-cotton-payout-&catid=66:2013-press-releases

  8. Brian Opsahl

    Nef, how come you never complain about the over 60 Embassy employees that were killed when Bush was President…but yet only 4 are killed in Benghazi and you have been freaking out ever since trying to get anybody who will listen to you and Fox liars that there is a conspiracy brewing somewhere somehow someway……not one word of concern about those 60 just the Obama 4…..hhhmmm

  9. Craig Knauss

    Brian,

    Have you noticed how Nef will never mention how many died in Beirut when Reagan was president? The Marine barracks being blown up and hundreds killed. Not a word from the rightwingers. Or the new U.S. embassy being occupied before security was finished and then blown up with more deaths. Again, not a word from rightwingers.

    And let us not forget our great Grenada invasion, with 19 Marines killed, to deflect attention from the Beirut fiasco.

    Where was the accountability for those incidents?

  10. expdoc

    Craig nailed it.

    Politicians are corrupt and self-serving.

    Government is in inept and overbearing.

    Anyone who thinks that government will be an effective solution for most any problem and puts their trust in a politician is either hopelessly confused or just plain stupid.

  11. Craig: By sheer coincidence, I was researching the Beirut barracks bombing when you submitted your comment above.

    Here’s the result:

    http://blogs.e-rockford.com/applesauce/2013/05/09/what-would-republicans-say-if-a-terrorist-bombing-killed-220-marines-on-obamas-watch/

  12. Robert

    expdoc, used to be a time when government worked and did things in the best of the people and the business’s they ran. That was before the Republican Party was hijacked by a group of ideologues, whose main mission was to break government and then point to those failures to prove government is no good.

    The Republican Party has become a cancer that destroys the very body it takes succor from.

  13. expdoc

    Robert,

    And you don’t think the Democrats do the same exact thing?

  14. The same exact thing doc? Such a ludicrous assertion. Most Republicans these days get elected to lead a government that they insist is, by definition, the root of all problems.

    Sort of like hiring a babysitter who claims the best thing for your children is to starve them to death. Or consulting Dr. Kevorkian for diabetes.

    How about being an actual leader and finding ways for government to work well for the 99%.

  15. expdoc

    How ludicrous of you to suggest that the only way for the government to “work well” for the 99% is the liberal/progressive ideal.

  16. expdoc

    Read this Luke. It’ll make your head explode. I will give you a very small excerpt.

    http://www.aei.org/speech/society-and-culture/rep-paul-ryan-irving-kristol-award-speech-conservatism-and-community/

    But we might lose it. Today the Left runs Washington. They want to replace the American Idea with the progressive state. They want to replace equal opportunity with equal outcomes. And they’re well intentioned, I might add. They’re trying to do good as they see it. Hard as it might be to admit, they’re speaking to a need—a need for security in a world of growing complexity. Before conservatives can win, we have to understand what we’re doing wrong.

    The fact is, we also have to speak to this need. We have to explain how too much government will weaken security—and how our agenda will increase security. We have to reclaim the center of our politics. And we can. It’s not too late.

    My predecessors on this stage discussed why we should save the American Idea. Tonight, I want to discuss how we can save it. It’s a big project. It goes beyond politics. But I’ll stick to the political side—with a due sense of humility in a crowd like this. Here’s the CliffsNotes version: Both the Left and the Right too often split the world into two halves: the individual and the government. They forget a key part of life—the part that gives real security. They forget society—that space in between. We can save the American Idea by saving that space for society.

    *snip*

    Progressivism is well-intentioned. But it is also—in my humble opinion—arrogant and condescending. Instead of helping people make their own decisions, it makes those decisions for them. It makes Washington the center of power—and politicians the center of attention. Here’s one reason Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive. His daughter once said he wanted to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.

    But this vision proved compelling. It drew thousands of people into government: the New Dealers, the whiz kids, the poverty warriors. Confident in their cause, they seized the moral high ground. They said they were the heirs of the Founders—when in reality, they were the replacements. They said they were for the people. And their opponents? They were for the rich. They were selfish. When we were debating the health-care bill in the House, one Democrat described the Republican position this way: “Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.” Funny, I don’t remember that part.

    The progressives hijacked our rhetoric too. They knew the appeal of our founding principles. They masked their novel ideas in the Founders’ language. As president, Woodrow Wilson started new federal agencies and created a new income tax. And what did he call his agenda? The New Freedom.

    Behind all this talk is the same idea—the same idea behind the health-care law. The Left thinks they can make health care more rational. And they don’t mind stepping on a few toes to do it. The law puts new burdens on doctors. It adds new coverage mandates—including those that violate some people’s religious beliefs. So doctors talk of closing their offices. And Catholic bishops are thinking of closing their hospitals. Government is pushing out all those providers who don’t agree with it. It’s clearing out the space between itself and each person. It’s invading deeply personal relationships—and in some cases, ending them.

    Yet the Left keeps winning elections. Why? Well, you can see the appeal. In uncertain times, people look for security. Progressives seem to have an answer. We may not be leaving the farms anymore. But we are moving into an information-driven economy, where change is rapid. “Creative destruction” sounds a lot better than it feels. Change dislocates and disrupts. The hardships are real. And the progressive state offers a sense of security.

    But it’s a false sense of security—because government can’t keep all its promises. We’re learning this the hard way. For years, we’ve talked about big government in theory. Now, we’re seeing it in practice. Again, look at the health-care law. We were told if you liked your insurance plan, you could keep it. But companies are expected to drop coverage. We were told if you liked your doctor, you could keep her. But your doctor might not keep you. We were told premiums would fall. But they’re going up—dramatically.

    The health-care law will collapse under its own weight. But we have to offer something better in its place. This is our opportunity to take back the initiative. And our goal isn’t just to win an election. It’s to improve people’s lives. Politics is a means to an end. And the end is for all people to be able to pursue happiness.

    So our job isn’t to make even more empty promises. It’s to revive the American Idea. We have to show the American Idea is superior to the progressive state—both in our time and for all time. We have to show the American Idea offers true security—because unlike the progressive state, it offers true community. Its promise is real.

    Here’s what the Left got right: The American Idea needs a strong government to secure it. But a government is effective only when it is limited. And a massive government can stifle the American Idea. Government can’t replace our local communities. And it shouldn’t even try. Instead, it should reinforce our communities. Government should expand the space where a free society can thrive.

  17. doc: Why don’t you quote Paul Ryan’s speech of 2005 when he worshiped at the altar of Ayn Rand?

    In that speech, Ryan said, “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”

    He went on to say that “the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”

    Ryan threw Rand under the proverbial bus only when her atheism and her overall kookiness were an embarrassment to his campaign for vice president. But he’s still Randian to the core.

    How come you never quote that stuff, doc?

  18. Robert

    expdoc, No I don’t think the democrats do the exact same thing.

  19. Craig Knauss

    Doc,

    Do you think quoting a very partisan speech is valid proof of anything? If so, then you should quote the Black Panthers. Or Greenpeace. Or the Flat Earth Society.

    All a partisan speech proves is that the speaker is partisan.

  20. expdoc

    “How come you never quote that stuff, doc?”

    Classic response.

    In other words, I assume you think Ryan nailed it.

    This week.

  21. Craig Knauss

    Yep, Pat, “great” minds do think alike. But the part I thought was telling was that after Reagan’s screw-ups, instead of admitting failure and finding a solution, the Reagan administration instead sought to deflect public intention by invading an obscure island nation using false pretenses – that students there were in danger and the airport under construction would be used to launch Cuban fighters to attack the U.S.

    Neither, of course, was even remotely true.

  22. expdoc

    OK Robert. Let me replace a few key words from you comment.

    That was before the Democrat Party was hijacked by a group of ideologues, whose main mission was to break business and then point to those failures to prove business is no good.

  23. expdoc

    Uh Craig,

    It was a response to Luke’s assertion that because a Republican wants to reform government (Paul Ryan) or improve government (Scott Walker) that means they don’t want to give the “99%” government that actually works for the people.

    And it was a tailor made home run.

  24. Robert

    expdoc, “That was before the Democrat Party was hijacked by a group of ideologues, whose main mission was to break business and then point to those failures to prove business is no good.”

    Yup doc, that damn Bill Clinton and his signing off of the legislation that did away with Glass – Stegal and allowed the modernization of the banking rules with the help of Robert Rubin Larry Summers and Timmy Geinther… that relaxing of regulations, at the behest of the Republican congress of that time, is what allowed the complete and utter fraud that occurred in the banking industry and has caused the current situation the stock market now finds itself in, where the Fed must pump trillions and trillions of dollars made out of a press of a button, to cover all those bogus derivatives that FDR made illegal, because they caused the last depression.

    Fortunately, those ideologue Democrats in place now are at least keeping the economy afloat, so we don’t have a complete breakdown in civility because of depression type circumstances, those Democrat ideologues have averted so far.

    So yes, Bill Clinton started it by sucking up to the Republican congress and giving into relaxing the laws, rules and regulations (such horrible things in the mindset of Republicans) that made the banks create value, not the worthless home loan products we saw during the Bush years and to my knowledge, haven’t changed much. Except now the borrower has to prove his/her income. Regulations bad, let the buyer beware type economy, good.

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