Obama Pegs Benghazi Miles Behind Boston Marathon In Importance

Imagine the outrage among Americans if, after over a year, the Boston bomber(s) had not been identified and apprehended?  There would certainly be charges of gross governmental incompetence. There could be marches and protests, not just in Boston but sympathetically across the nation. Maybe even riots. 

Well, it has been almost two years since the deadly assaults on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi, killing four Americans, among them our young and dedicated U.S. ambassador. Yet not only has this administration failed to do what it so solemnly promised –- to find the guilty attackers and bring them to justice –- it now appears to be stonewalling any investigation into that unsolved tragedy. Nor is it a matter anymore of shoving it onto the back burner. The object, in yet another election year, is to consider it over and done with –- and to “move on.” 

“Moving on” is a phrase Democrats use when they can’t solve a dilemma or shake it off in any other way. Perhaps that is why an important “arm” of the party is called moveon.org.  It has little to do with a sense of progress or of marching hopefully forward. Instead, it has become a euphemism for the less pleasant “sweeping it under the rug.” And in this administration, the accumulation of sequestered “dirt” has not made for much of a magic carpet ride. 

Instead of seeking the truth, Democrats have decided that the truth no longer matters. “What difference does it make?” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pronounced at a Congressional hearing, her ferocity as keen as a Wonderland queen shouting, “Off with her head!”

Just suppose our clueless government had said that about the tragedy at the Boston marathon? What if it had hinted that really didn’t matter if the deadly bombs were put together by radical Islamic terrorists – keeping in mind that not all Muslims are – or by some right-wing nut group?  The damage had been done. Move on. Such an attitude would have been intolerable.

I have a brother and sister-in-law who were career foreign service officers, both serving stints as U.S. ambassadors at South Asia embassies. They sometimes referred to these as “hardship posts,” lacking the luxuries of less remote and more developed parts of the world. And they always presumed a certain degree of danger attached to the jobs they had chosen as their life’s work. 

At the same time, the assumption held that the United States government was also aware of these dangers. That is why it complements our Foreign Service with other less visible agencies, such as the CIA. Certainly, a key reason for any official presence in other countries altogether is to be aware of what is going on and how it impacts American interests. 

When President Obama was interviewed by a talking head about the Benghazi situation, he sadly shook his own head and remarked that the world is becoming a more dangerous place. Is that supposed to be the ultimate explanation of why bad things happen?  And if he recognizes the dangers, why didn’t his administration respond to the pleas of Ambassador Stevens for greater safety measures around the Benghazi compound on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, especially since our intelligence was aware of Al Qaeda affiliates in the region? 

Perhaps Americans do not understand that an ambassadorial post, no matter where it is located, is traditionally intended to be recognized immune “sacred ground” that, in essence  “belongs” to the representative country. An attack on our diplomatic mission in Benghazi should be considered an attack on America. But we obviously do not feel either the anger or the sense of vulnerability over that incident as we did about the mayhem in Boston or, one thousandfold, the tragedy at the World Trade Center and other targets on 9/11/01.

The Benghazi attack happened, after all, in a faraway land. With our citizenry growing more and more isolationist, and content to “lead from behind” in international trouble-spots, there may be a feeling that we should not have been in chaotic Libya in the first place! Recognizing the increased danger and decreased benefits of such interventions, some may ask why we bother putting our diplomats, like our military, in harm’s way.

The United States spends a healthy chunk of its budget on intelligence activities. The National Intelligence Program (NIP), one of the governmental pots from which such funds are allocated, had a budget just short of $53 billion in 2013.  But that’s far less than our country actually commits to funding intelligence in order to keep us safe. Are we getting our money’s worth? Or are we just moving on in ignorance and shame?