I understand the political reasons to keep drumming up the Benghazi incident – or even the commercial reasons for certain news as entertainment outlets who pander to the same political target audience. It seems pretty clear that Obamacare will not be the red herring this November that GOP strategists had hoped, and Benghazi is a twofer in that it also takes aim at the presumed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. What I don't understand is the straight face worn by regular Joes and Janes who claim to be so incensed by the scandal, even though they shrugged off things that occurred up to and after the other 9/11, incidents far worse than even what is being claimed to have happened two years ago in Libya.
I realize that I've lost most of the hardline ideologues in the opening paragraph, and that they've already written this off as another cover-up by the Evil Liberal Media. Nonetheless, I'll again point out that I'm an independent, and that I've called out Democrats for their similar hypocrisy on things like the kill list and the unwarranted wiretapping that had they been implemented by the Bush/Cheney administration, would have driven them into the streets in seething protest. If you find your heroes in Washington and believe that the people running the show there – regardless of the D or R after their name – make decisions based on what is best for average Americans and not their political sponsors, then we have a fundamental disagreement.
A lot of people on both sides understand this, even if they play along with the ruse. They realize that their personal fortune is somewhat or even vastly improved if the people on one side or the other are in power. They understand that political narratives are important in that they can help to perpetuate the status quo which benefits them. But then you have a whole class of voters who tune into the argument with all the illusion of grown-ups who still believe that pro wrestling is a competitive sport.
This is by far the bigger group, since the bulk of benefits delivered by either political party are generally doled out to a very small clique – the same folks who stroke the checks that keep the Beltway Boys in business. Not surprisingly, this is where nearly all of the reaction to the Benghazi stories have been coming from. So my question to those people who I continuously get forwarded chain emails from about this terrific scandal, or see sporting Facebook postings and memes declaring their outrage, embarrassment and unwillingness to endure even one more moment of this shameful cover-up is: where have you been for the last decade and a half?
Despite no less than 13 Congressional hearings, 50 member and staff briefings and more than 25,000 pages of documents on Benghazi, the most that one can say with proof is that security – though somewhat typical under the circumstances – could have been better, the response from the CIA (which took about 25 minutes to be set in motion) could have been faster, and that the initial public response might have been spun by the administration in a way that would cast them in the best light headed into an election.
To put the incident itself in perspective, there were 13 attacks on U.S Embassies during President Bush's administration. 11 Americans were killed. In fact, there were more attacks on U.S. embassies under every President going back to Nixon than there have been under the current administration. As unfortunate as it is, embassy attacks are rather common, especially against global powers who project force throughout the world and especially at times of war. I'm not giving President Obama credit for his low number, anymore than I'm blaming him for the people who didn't want us there launching an attack. My point is, the attack was not a rare or isolated incident.
So, unless you watch Faux News, who made at least 85 prime-time references to a debunked “stand down” order supposedly given by the White House to troops on alert in Tripoli, or caught hack journalist Lara Logan's shocking exposé, but missed CBS's embarrassing acknowledgment that it was almost entirely bogus, it seems the most damning argument to even attempt to make is that the administration tried to spin the narrative in order to play down or even dismiss the idea that it was an organized terrorist attack.
If you're outraged by this possibility, I'm not going to argue that you shouldn't be. But if you're outraged at the White House PR after the event, but said nothing when the Bush administration knowingly shoved all kinds of sham propaganda down your throat before the 2003 invasion of Iraq – a debunked report of the sale of yellow cake uranium from Niger to Saddam, General Powell's farcical testimony to the UN, the Downing Street Memo and six other leaked British government documents, the outing of a CIA operative whose husband wouldn't falsely validate one of the tales, etc., etc. etc. – then you need to wipe the egg off of your face.
Dennis Maley's column appears every Thursday and Sunday in The Bradenton Times. He can be reached at email@example.com. Click here to visit his column archive. Click here to go to his bio page. You can also follow Dennis on Facebook.