By JD Rhoades
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion
Another month, another Benghazi fizzle.
It seems that the Raging Republican Right is trying once again to create an administration-destroying scandal by politicizing the tragic deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, during an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
Problem is, every new “bombshell revelation” they come up with turns out to be a dud.
The most famous one was the “60 Minutes” story by correspondent Lara Logan, in which a supposed eyewitness with a tale of personal derring-do and betrayal on that night was revealed within days to have been a fraud who’d told an entirely different story to his employers.
After that, you’d think the Benghazi Cult would be too embarrassed to even bring it up again. But that would assume that these people have the capacity for embarrassment. Caught spreading a lie, their reflex is to just yell the lie louder and look for a new one to spread.
They thought they’d found another “smoking gun” in the testimony of retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Lovell, who testified before Rep. Darrell Issa’s Kangaroo Court (aka the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee) that we “should have done more” to rescue the embattled ambassador and his staffers.
When questioned about what forces exactly were in place that could have reached the scene in time to save lives, Lovell took the Way of the Weasel: “The discussion is not in the ‘could or could not’ in relation to time, space and capability; the point is we should have tried.”
In other words, we should have tried something, even if we knew it wouldn’t work.
Nevertheless, Fox News immediately touted Lovell’s testimony as “incredibly damning.” At least until later in the day, when Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, specifically asked if Lovell was saying that “we could have, should have done a lot more than we did because we had capabilities we simply didn’t utilize.”
At that point, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, a California Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, had to try to save the “Obama left them to die” narrative by throwing Lovell under the bus and impeaching the Republicans’ own witness.
“General Lovell did not serve in a capacity that gave him reliable insight into operational options available to commanders during the attack, nor did he offer specific courses of action not taken,” McKeon said.
On the heels of that failure came another supposed bombshell, an email released by the White House from Ben Rhodes (no relation), whose job title is “deputy national security adviser for strategic communication.” In other words, he’s a spin doctor.
His job, like the job of such PR guys in every single administration, is to try to put the most positive face on things for the president he works for. So his email suggested doing just that. He suggested several goals for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s upcoming appearances on Sunday morning talk shows, one of which was “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
We now know that this assessment of the attacker’s motivations was incorrect, or at least incomplete. But we also know that the “attack as a reaction to the video” theory was based on actual assessments the CIA had sent the White House nine hours before the Rhodes memo. It wasn’t just made up out of whole cloth. It was wrong, but that’s the information they had at the time.
If your idea of a Great Scandal That Will Bring Down the Mighty is the revelation that a mid-level White House PR guy tried to do PR for Sunday morning shows that almost nobody watches anymore, using the information available at the time that came from the CIA — well, then, scandals just ain’t what they used to be.
What’s truly baffling and infuriating about all this that there’s plenty to criticize about what led to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. There are legitimate criticisms about our lack of preparation and our failure to have more assets within striking distance to deal with a sudden attack in a volatile region. There’s also the excellent question of whether we should have even been in Libya in the first place (something, you may remember, that I wasn’t in favor of).
But that’s not sexy or dramatic enough for the Benghazi Cult. They’re twisting themselves in knots trying to find some kind of base betrayal on the night of the attacks themselves or some kind of cover-up afterward.
Once again, their Obama Derangement Syndrome blinds them to a legitimate problem, which is why their Benghazi narrative never gains any traction outside the right-wing bubble.
Via: J.D. Rhoades