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GOP goes overboard on Benghazi issue

May. 24, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Enough is enough! I can no longer ignore the inaccuracies, the lying and the irony of congressional right-wingers and their co-conspirators harassing the Obama administration.

I didn't want to write about Benghazi. Far more competent voices can discuss foreign affairs; but unfortunately, Benghazi has been handed over to FOX News spinners, conspiracy theorists and those who refuse to accept facts. Not to mention a bevy of low-level wannabes who seize every opportunity to question the effectiveness of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Taylor Armerding, an "independent" columnist with the CNHHI News Service, for example, wants us to believe, with regard to Benghazi, the administration put out "lies, designed to protect the president's re-election campaign," that an FBI investigative team's arrival in Benghazi was delayed for 18 days, while the crime scene was not secure, and "there is little outrage over it, thanks to press poodles who don't mention it the way they would if the president was a Republican."

Armerding misleads on all counts. The president called the Benghazi tragedy a "terrorist" attack the morning after it occurred. The president's campaign got all the help it needed from the ineptness of his opponent. "FBI investigative teams" could enter only with Syria's consent and the presence of adequate security. What was to be investigated? The whole world knew what happened. The security of the U.S. Consulate was breached and four Americans were killed. Only Ambassador Chris Stevens had a name, however. The others were merely "three other Americans."

Apparently, "if the president was a Republican" not much would be said about the incident at all. Republicans conveniently disregarded 13 similar embassy attacks under Bush's watch when over 30 Americans, native security guards and countless civilians were slaughtered. (See accounts/pictures at www.policymic.com.)

As to the basic charge that Obama downplayed the Benghazi attack for political purposes, Associated Press Donna Cassata reported: "(President Obama) dismissed the GOP focus on the talking points as a politically driven 'sideshow.'" It is! The "talking points" parallel the daily presidential briefing Obama received. The administration clearly acted on the available information.

The on-site investigation is a moot point. The director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack with potential links to al-Qaida (as did everyone else) within three days of (Susan) Rice's appearance on Sunday talk shows? Muslims throughout the region were, in fact, agitated by an anti-Muslim video, just as Rice reported.

Clinton's response "What difference, at this point, does it make?" to the inane questioning of Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was entirely appropriate. In the final analysis the congressional committee hearings deliberately used the tragedy solely to pummel the administration and the State Department. The hearing employed the "political purposes" argument against the administration, while its questions were unmistakably politically motivated.

Why has U.S. Rep. Isse's (R-Calif,) congressional hearing concentrated only on the Benghazi incident, which pales in light of all the others? The "R" following his name says it all!

Milt Hankins of Ashland, Ky., is a retired minister, theologian and freelance writer.

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