What Hurts the Most about Benghazi
I can't look my old liberal friends in the eye after Benghazi. Most partisan disagreements are forgivable, and I try hard not to lose dear friends over politics. Benghazi is different. Benghazi isn't political for me. Benghazi is about Americans fighting jihadis for their lives and being abandoned to die by politicians. It is about Obama and Clinton calculating what the headlines would look like if they tried to save them or if they did nothing. They chose nothing, and they almost got away with it.
David Gelernter points out on Powerlineblog.com that,
It was the radically partisan Edward Kennedy who proposed that a senate select committee investigate Watergate-but in February 1973, the Senate voted unanimously to create that committee. Republican Senator Howard Baker was vice chairman, and asked the key question: "What did the president know and when did he know it?" Which Democratic senator will ask that question today...?
So how do I look my friends in the eye?
This is the question that haunts me. Do Democrats - not the party leaders, not mainstream journalists whose job depends on Democratic Party loyalty - would ordinary, real people, all those regular Democrat voters - would they care if they did pay attention? That is the heart of my curiosity. Because I care so viscerally about Americans serving our country being betrayed for political gain. There's something truly awful about Obama and Hillary sacrificing men's lives because attempting to protect them would be inconvenient to his election campaign, to her political ambition.
Surely ordinary Democrats understand that underlings don't decide to withhold military or emergency assistance to 34 Americans under attack from jihadis on 9/11?
I'd like to understand. Do Democrat voters truly think these actions by a President and Secretary of State are not important? I know we are different on many questions of war and peace and diplomacy. But this is a small, human story. A handful of men, attacked by Islamists, fighting for their lives, abandoned for election politics. We don't do that in America and pretend it's okay, do we?
This isn't about differences of opinion on the war on terror. It's about pure, raw, election politics, and calculus about headlines, and counting votes, and the fear it will look bad if Osama bin Laden's death didn't solve very much at all.
There is no politician in America who has the right to sacrifice another man's life to avoid a difficult headline.
There is nothing confusing about what happened that night and in the following weeks. We don't need all the gritty and ugly details, easily available on the internet. It is obvious that Obama and Hillary had to issue the directives. The CIA or the military would not ignore a terrorist attack on a U.S. embassy on 9/11. Both CIA chief, General Petraeus, and AFRICOM'S commander, General Ham, said they did not issue orders to not intervene. The directive could only come from our Commander in Chief. Can you imagine if no one asked President George Bush how to respond to 9/11 because he was busy talking to elementary school children? President Obama was not even busy. He just retired for the night, we are told. He was told about what was happening and he did...nothing.
There was no meeting of the national security team in the situation room, so familiar to us all from the President's Bin Laden photo op. Obama did not talk again with his Secretary of Defense. American military forces stationed 600 miles away in Sicily - one hour and fourteen minutes away by a commercial airliner - were not sent. We didn't send medical personnel. After the first attack, we didn't send men to secure the annex. Pleas for help were ignored. Special operating forces in Libya were ordered twice to not go to the rescue. The men in Benghazi were left on their own to fight and die.
Obvious lies were issued by Obama and Hillary in the days that followed. They were stupid lies, already belied by the events - blaming a video, denying it had anything to do with 9/11. Asked by a campaign reporter if requests for help were denied, Obama said he ordered "Number one, make sure we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to." But far from 'whatever we need to' Obama's administration and military did nothing at all.
Asked why the U.S. military did not do more, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday the first rule in such a situation is not to deploy troops into harm's way ...
Clearly no orders reached Panetta to "do whatever we need to" to secure personnel. Obama's and Clinton's lies were offensively transparent the moment they uttered them.
Those men in Benghazi, beloved by their families, brave, patriotic men serving their country, were abandoned to die because the attack on an embassy didn't match the campaign talking points about the brilliance of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy. There wasn't supposed to be a 9/11 attack after killing bin Laden and Clinton's signature policy, the Arab Spring.
Apparently it was deemed less politically damaging for Obama to withhold rescuers, go to bed, go to Las Vegas the next day, and then lie about what happened. Obama's calculus was right. He understood our media's unbridled and corrupt support for him. He understood how Romney could be bullied by the press into silence. He understood how willing and motivated Democrat voters were to accept his lies about Benghazi.
Obama calculated he could get away with it before the election, and he did. Clinton calculated her supporters would care less, and she is still right. She knew that the interviews of the family members, their pleas for justice, would not touch the hearts of her followers - and she was right. The abandonment of those men was condoned and covered up and excused with alacrity by the entire Democrat political apparatus, including the Democrat media.
They got away with it because Democrat followers don't care.
That is as immoral as it comes for me.
The author served in the Peace Corps in Senegal, is a retired psychotherapist and a regular contributor to American Thinker.