In the Arena

Benghazi Again

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

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Esam Al-Fetori / REUTERS

A protester in front of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, on Sept. 11, 2012.

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.)

In fact, the Republicans are now, according to the Washington Post, back in their standard dilatory mode when it comes to producing a budget agreement because–wait for it–things are going pretty well in the deficit department. With recovery, there are higher tax revenues (up 16%) and lower government payouts for services to the unemployed, and the deficits are melting away. So the Republicans believe that they’ve lost their leverage to reduce government spending.

Reducing government spending–rather than speeding a recovery–was always the Republican intent. The evidence was just too overwhelming that reducing spending in a recession retarded, rather than speeded, a recovery. What the current, intellectually limited GOP really care about is: government spending=wasting money on the poor. Everything else is flummery and encrustation.

The sad thing here is that the Republicans are right, in part, about government spending. It is wasteful. There are far more efficient ways to do Medicare that would produce a better health care system for the elderly. Social Security disability is slouching toward scamdom. The Veterans Administration is a 19th century bureaucratic disaster. Unemployment benefits and food stamps should require some sort of return service from recipients. The list goes on…But rather than address the substance of those problems–problems that Democrats don’t seem very interested in solving–they obsess on the stupid: fixing on more-or-less budget debates, federal dictatorship fantasies and meaningless political ploys like Benghazi.

I suspect they won’t be a viable political party until they begin to focus on substance rather than emptiness.

2491 comments
TPTP
TPTP

I'm still waiting for the outrage at THOUSANDS of our military people who had to die in Iraq. Benghazi? Really? This is why these guys get absolutely nothing done.

brucel59
brucel59

as always, klein is on the money

gheyward
gheyward

What gripes me more than  anything is the scolding Obama gave us about why the  Libyan consulate in Benghazi  was attacked.

Remember,  it  was  our  fault.

---' a  shadowy character released a video making fun of Muhammad  which  caused  great offense in the muslim world ---

and now,  to  learn that they just  made this up.



SnakeEater71
SnakeEater71

Wow, I gotta go... I have things to do like track down Al Qaeda and kill bad guys...  Lot's of people on here talking about things they don't really know anything about.  mantisdragon91, great to talk to another old CAV guy even if I think you are wrong.  ClemKadoodlehopper, keep the birds in the air but keep an eye out for my GLINT... Don't want any unexpected surprises.  Everybody else, just remember that at the end of the day, left or right they are still politicians and prone to lying.  Yes, even Obama and Bush...  Don't put these people on a pedestal and don't give them a pass.  Now be very, very quiet... I'm hunting baddies.

Rpdranc
Rpdranc

Oh Joe you silly little man, it is truly amazing you are still able to find work.Have you no journalistic integrity? Do your job! So are you encouraging a sitting President to lie to the American people? Here is a fun exercise, let's say this occurred under a Sitting Republican President, oh I don't know lets say George Bush, ok little Joe. Now use the same storyline and write your drivel, golly I suspect it would take a markedly different tone...hack. Oh and 1980 called, they want their really cheesy bad facial hair back. Come on pal razors are readily available, you are a public figure, well kinda, sorta...?

Rpdranc
Rpdranc

Oh Joe you silly little man, it is truly amazing you are still able to find work.

Have you no journalistic integrity? Do your job! So are you encouraging a sitting President to lie to the American people? Here is a fun exercise, let's say this occurred under a Sitting Republican President, oh I don't know lets say George Bush, ok little Joe. Now use the same storyline and write your drivel, golly I suspect it would take a markedly different tone...hack. Oh and 1980 called, they want their really cheesy bad facial hair back. Come on pal razors are readily available, you are a public figure, well kinda, sorta...?

Billradman
Billradman

I love reading Joe Klein's articles in retrospect.  Because I enjoy seeing  how wrong are his views as tainted by his progressive tinted lenses. Joe maybe you should have waited until after the CIA had its say in how the talking points were originally..before Obama and company twisted them 12 different times before they came up with a version that would take blame off of the administration...before writing your article.  I guess, using your analogy, Woodward and Bernstein were also "chasing their tails" during the Watergate case.  Keep dreaming Joe...maybe one day your take on things will represent the truth!

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Dano_E What does Obama attending a fund raiser days after have to do with Benghazi? Was he supposed to resign there and then and give Romney the presidency?

aztecian
aztecian

@Rpdranc please...it is not like this occurred yesterday.  this resurrection is purely motivated by the politics on the right.  give it up...go dig somewhere else.  go find those WMDs.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Rpdranc Amusingly it did occur under Bush and it cost thousands of Americans their lives. Perhaps a better comparison is in order. Thank you for playing. Try again.

gheyward
gheyward

@Billradman Very well said....  I  too, think that Joe Klein is a JOKE, incapable of unbiased journalism.  It is really  insulting

that  he  calls Obama's twisting (lying,obfuscating) the truth to the  voting public as  'venial sin'.  Thanks to the testimony

of Hicks and others, we  realize how deliberate the  misrepresentations were.   

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Billradman And I love seeing the same GOP members and right wing pundits who screamed that it was unpatriotic to question a sitting president during wartime after 9/11 and the lack of WMDs fiasco now scrutinize every step of Benghazi. Keep dreamingg Bill... maybe on day you won't be a hypocrite!

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @Dano_E Obama attending a lavish fundraiser shortly after the attack speaks  to  his decidely dismissive concern about  providing  american citizens with anything  resembling the truth about the  terrorist attack on our  consulate in  benghazi.    Obama deliberately invented the story about  the  cause of the  attack so that the  voting  public would  be ignorant.   Pointing out that  he  was  more  interested in fundraising with Jay and Bey than speaking the truth to us  is  a  very  relevant post and I appreciate Dano_E for  bringing this to our  attention.

SnakeEater71
SnakeEater71

@mantisdragon91 @SnakeEater71 As an attachment from 24th ID, we were directly behind 2 ACR as it advanced on 73 Easting, joined the battle as it progressed, then performed a passage of lines toward 74 Easting.  It was a mess, hard to see anything and the only time I wished my Brad had thermals like the M1s...  A positive pressure system would have been nice too.  When all was said and done, my nomex, the interior, and exterior of the vehicle were all the same color.  We were real happy to see the rest of the corps when they arrived.  I felt like all my nerve-endings were on fire and started smoking that evening.  Took me 15 years to quit!

Rpdranc
Rpdranc

Sweet screen name, are you like 11 or 40 living in your parents basement, I'm sure your gamer friends fear 'mantis dragon' at like 3:am when u r heavy into dungeons and dragons or whatever it is u folks do online in the wee hours...sweet!

Rpdranc
Rpdranc

Sorry genius Hillary voted in favor of that war as well as countless other democrats, gee there's a novel idea, utilizing the appropriate branch of government prior to war, vs oh I don't know drone strikes on Americans ...hmmm

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@gheyward @Billradman Care to provide some examples of unbiased journalism from the Right after it became clear we invaded a country that never attacked us and that didn't possess WMDs?

Billradman
Billradman

@mantisdragon91 @Billradman Why must progressives resort to name calling and lashing out with absolutely no fact to back up their arguments?  Notice how mantisdragon makes no mention of the CIA's version of Benghazi.  But why should progressives let facts get in the way of a good argument, right?  And to think the truth about what happened on Sept 11, 2012 is the result of whistleblowers who got the right to report government corruption and wrongdoing safely by a law Obama signed last year.  Yet those whistleblowers say Obama's administration was trying to shut them up.  Who's the real hypocrite mantisdragon...sounds like Obama is!

wotoe
wotoe

@mantisdragon91 @Billradman It isn't a right left paradigm, and the sooner people get over pointing fingers at opposing sides the better. We're all in this boat together, and I think we can all agree that government should not be allowed to so easily lie to the public, regardless of whether or not they are a republican or democrat. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Dano_E @mantisdragon91 Seeing as that night there were violent protests happening from Morocco to Pakistan, it seemed more than likely that it either a primary or secondary driver of the attack.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@gheyward @mantisdragon91 @Dano_E Remind me again in 2004 as the insurgency in Iraq was gaining steam and hundreds of US troops and contractors were dying, how many fundraisers and campaign stops did Bush cancel?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SnakeEater71 @mantisdragon91 A glorious mess. My troop got stuck in at the edge of it and I took a small piece of shrapnel in the right shoulder, but it was amazing to see all those T-72 burn.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Rpdranc Actually since you asked the 91 in my name came from the fact that I served with the 3rd Armored Cavalry in the 91 war against Iraq. The war where we could have toppled Saddam but wisely chose not to, knowing that the chaos caused by his death would be far worse than leaving him alive. But thanks for attacking my name instead of my points and showing everyone what an insecure fool you really are.

SnakeEater71
SnakeEater71

@mantisdragon91 @SnakeEater71 You and I must be talking to different Intel weenies... And you and I both know that no one in Congress or the White House is vetted in the same way as the troopies and that they release info for political purposes all the time, secret or not.  As far as committing troops in unknown situations, we'll that is exactly what I get paid to do so, yep, I'll take a piece of that pie!  But I agree that most conventional force commanders will not.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SnakeEater71 @mantisdragon91 But yet again? Who exactly left anyone at the mercy of Al Queda? The first attack that killed the Ambassador and another man was over in minutes.  CIA operatives who are former special forces arrived along with local Militia and drove off the attackers. The second attack was a Mortar shell on a machine gun post guarding the second facility. It was a lucky hit that came out of nowhere. As a military man how many men would it require to make a big enough perimeter to keep the second building out of mortar range? And how many of those men would have made even better targets and ended up dead, if they were trying to secure a hostile urban environment at night?

And for the record I consider myself a centrist as well. However I have family and friends who work for the US and Israeli intelligence services and they have filled me in on what happened that night. Unfortunately once the attacks started nothing could have been done to save the first two men, the second two we can quibble about, but you should know how reluctant military commanders are to commit resources into an unknown situation at night especially in an urban environment with conflicting reports.

 Last but not least how do you feel about the fact that the guy leading this investigation Darrell Issa has committed possible treason by posting unredacted State Department documents online and exposing the names of Libyans withing the local government and militias who were providing us with information?

SnakeEater71
SnakeEater71

@mantisdragon91 @SnakeEater71 For the record, I was also in the push into Iraq in 1991 in the gunner's seat of an M3 Bradley under 2-4 CAV.  T-72s pop like popcorn and the combat I saw there was nothing compared to what I saw later.  Apple's and Orange's brother... However, I do agree with you on some points but I caution you that just as you wouldn't follow a GOP man blindly, you should not follow a Dem blindly.  In fact you shouldn't praise any of these a**-holes.  A politician is just like a quarter, heads or tails it is still 25 cents;  Left or right, liberal or conservative, it is still a politician and it will still lie, steal, and cheat.  I consider myself to be in the "far center" and I don't believe either side cares about the little guy.  For God's sake, Obama is no better or any worse than Bush but this Benghazi stuff is a pack of lies wrapped in a**-covering and no one should get let off the hook for leaving American's at the mercy of Al Qaeda. You don't believe the right... I don't understand why you give the left a pass.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SnakeEater71 @mantisdragon91 The point is, that no one stood in front of the UN security council and claimed that they had 500 Ib bombs. I believe they were talking about Yellow Cake and mushroom clouds. As I said I am sorry about your friends, I still had friends serving as well, and lost one of them with a couple more coming back critically injured. This is why I am so angry about why we were there in the first place. Cheney himself said after the first Gulf War that it would have been stupid to topple Saddam since we had no idea who would take his place. What also makes me angry is that these idiots sent guys like you into combat with no idea of what to do afterwards, and with inadequately armored Humvees and not enough body armor. Then they decided to disband the Iraqi army sending thousands of angry, armed men with no way to feed their families into the streets. How many American deaths do you think were caused by these men, who were needlessly turned into our enemies?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SnakeEater71 @mantisdragon91 Sorry to disappoint you pal, but I did my time in the first gulf war, where I actually had to deal with battle tanks. And while I am sorry about you friends a 500 Ib bomb is not the WMDs they were trying to frighten us when they pushed the invasion of Iraq. If that was the standard every country in the world would have WMDs. Should we go around invading all of them?

SnakeEater71
SnakeEater71

@mantisdragon91 4 of my friends were killed by a "non-existent" WMD just outside of ECP7 at BIAP in Iraq in the spring of 2006.  I went to the site of the non-existent explosion and picked up the pieces.  Easy to talk bull when you were most likely here sitting around hitting the hash pipe while some of us were to what was necessary.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

So where are the WMDs that were in Iraq? And when will we be having hearings about why all the CIA warnings of impending attacks on the US pre-9/11 were ignored? I mean the GOP is all fired up about an attack on a consulate( actually a CIA base) that killed 4 Americans. When will they have the same concern about attacks on NYC and the Pentagon that killed 3000? And before you start screaming coverup to win re election, remember that the 9/11 Commission report and the CIA memos showing that Bush, Cheney and Condi were warned of possible attacks were kept classified until after the 2004 election.



mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@gheyward @mantisdragon91 @Billradman Yet again do you actually have anything from after the Invasion. You know when Fox News and the GOP were screaming that you are a traitor to this country if you question a war time president.

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @gheyward @Billradman MY LAST POST ON THIS......  Although there are  numbers of similar quotes 

“As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.” — Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @gheyward @Billradman“Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States.” — Joe Lieberman, August, 2002

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @gheyward @Billradman“We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandates of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.” — Carl Levin, Sept 19, 2002

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @gheyward @Billradman“The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation.” — John Kerry, October 9, 2002

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @Billradman“I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons…I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out.” — Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @Billradman“Saddam Hussein’s regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal.” — John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @Billradman“Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people.” — Tom Daschle in 1998

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @Billradman“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.” — Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @Billradman“The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.” — Bill Clinton in 1998

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @gheyward @Billradman“What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad’s regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs.” — Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@gheyward @mantisdragon91 @Billradman Yet again how does that address the coverage from the right wing press after it was painfully apparent there were no WMDs in Iraq? How many articles did you see going after Bush from Fox News, how many congressional hearings?

gheyward
gheyward

@mantisdragon91 @gheyward @Billradman“The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability.” — Robert Byrd, October 2002

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@jctt @mantisdragon91 @Billradman Give a well thought a response? When I hear one from you I will consider it. Do you realize the only thing around Benghazi that has needlessly endangered American lives has been Darell Issa's actions. So when will we be having a hearing around that?

jctt
jctt

@mantisdragon91 @jctt @Billradman I'm gonna have to quote you in there "And you have the temerity to claim BS while providing no facts of your own" 

Somewhat that even makes more sense if we were talking about you sir... anyway... try not to reply with nonsense and give a real and well though out response... (sigh)...

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@jctt@mantisdragon91@BillradmanAnd you have the temerity to claim BS while providing no facts of your own. So Darrell Issa did not expose our Libyan Allies to the world by posting Unredacted State Department files online?

ww.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/20/darrell-issa-libya_n_1991064.html

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Billradman @mantisdragon91 And I'm talking about possible treason committed by Darrel Issa. I could care less about the initial memo. I care about whether those 4 deaths could have been prevented(not likely) and what are we doing to help the CIA recover the missiles before they are used on us or are allies( at the moment it seems all the GOP is doing is hampering them by tying up assets in hearings and exposing their native intelligence sources)

Billradman
Billradman

@mantisdragon91 @Billradman Again you obfuscate the issue with unrelated blather!  I'm referring to the CIA's response to the Benghazi talking points.  Get caught up on the news...when you're not wasting time on this page...then we'll talk.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Billradman @mantisdragon91 Why should progressives resort to name calling? Perhaps you may want to scroll down and look at some of the choice initial posts from Conservatices such as Obozo, Bamster, Obummer, and those are just the ones that haven't been scrubbed by the moderators.

By all means lets talk about the CIA- This was and is a confidential CIA investigation to recover missiles looted from Libyan armories during the revolt. This is why more information isn't forthcoming and why there seems to be so much ambiguity. The CIA would rather not show their dirty laundry to the world and hamper their efforts just to satisfy some Chicken Hawk Congressmen, one of which has already cost them native assets in Eastern Libya by posting Unredacted State documents online that showed who many of their sources are within the Libyan government and militias.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@wotoe @mantisdragon91 @Billradman Agreed. I just have an issue with the people leading the charge, since they went out of their way to call anyone who questioned the much greater travesties of the previous administration as unpatriotic.