Op-Ed: GOP Hypocrisy on Benghazi

Posted Nov 19, 2012 by Sadiq Green
Republicans simply cannot admit that they are more to blame for the lack of security at America’s overseas embassies. Instead the only way to rid themselves of their guilty consciences is to project blame on President Obama and UN Ambassador Susan Rice.
An exterior view of the U.S. consulate  which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen
An exterior view of the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen
REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori
The obstructionist 112th Congress is on record denying the State Department’s request for more money to secure America's overseas embassies. Democrats really need to remind the public of this each and every time one of these Republican hypocrites stand in from of a camera and attack the Obama administration. Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” - a charge Republicans rejected at the time.
Clearly Republicans were warned to stop playing games regarding funding Libya to little avail. They were told that they were putting American diplomats’ security at risk, but the possibility of socking it to Obama was paramount. It turns out that while they were playing juvenile games of “gotcha”, lives were indeed on the line, just as Clinton warned Republicans. House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012
Now that the results of their obstruction are staring them all in the face, instead of owning up to it, they are projecting the blame to President Obama and calling him a liar. It is straight out of the old Karl Rove campaign playbook of accusing the other side of what you did in order to wear down the impact of the truth when it finally comes out. It is meant to discredit anything the opposition says before it can take root that yes, indeed, Republicans denied this funding just to say no to Obama. This method of distraction worked well for Republicans in the past, as the media follows their pointing fingers where they want them to look and forgets to go look up just who denied that funding. Republicans are trying to avoid that discovery by pointing the fingers first.
Why was UN Ambassador Rice, who had nothing to do with Benghazi, chosen to deliver the message? Because anyone in the national security wing of the administration would have been in a tenuous position. Ambassador Rice was deployed because she was outside that inner circle so she could deliver the publicly approved story as all that was known at the time.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) serves on the House Intelligence Committee. After being briefed in a closed-door session, Schiff reported that Rice delivered the same 'talking points' that had been provided to Congress at that time, and that it was as accurate as could be conveyed without compromising national security. To be clear: In order to protect national security assets (most likely, its sources in Libya, and the existence of CIA personnel on the ground), the security agencies provided a version of events that was sufficiently murky so as to obscure what they might have learned from these sources, why this attack occurred in the first place.
Republicans in Congress are downright disgusting in attacking President Obama on what recently happened at the Benghazi consulate and the four American deaths, but they forgot there were twelve terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities during George W. Bush’s tenure, the most under any administration. 12 attacks and 53 deaths, but not one single call for an investigation. Proper patriotic behavior would have been to mourn the deaths, rally behind the president and seek a closed-hearing to determine what remedial actions were required. Yet Republicans, as they did in the outing of Valerie Plame, have prioritized political gain over national security.
Instead the GOPers, led by 2008 party nominee John McCain are calling this an intelligence failure of epic proportion, and has equated it with Watergate implying it as an impeachable offence. If the faulty intelligence in the run up to the Iraq invasion and occupation did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense, who in their right minds thinks that the Benghazi attack does? Only Republicans and we know the vast majority of them are NOT in their right minds.
At a House Foreign Affairs hearing last week Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said the President had “lied” to the American people about the attack. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) joined Rohrabacher in accusing Obama of lying. There is of course no valid reason for this accusation. Other Republicans spent their time orating instead of asking questions of the witness, suggesting that this is really more about manufacturing a narrative than getting to the truth.
The truth is Republican VP candidate and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) along with other House Republicans, voted for an amendment in 2009 to cut $1.2 billion from State operations, including funds for 300 more diplomatic security positions. Under Ryan’s budget, non-defense discretionary spending, which includes State Department funding, would be slashed nearly 20 percent in 2014, which would translate to more than $400 million in additional cuts to embassy security. Yet Issa is leading the charge into “investigating” just who is responsible for the lack of security. Perhaps there needs to be an investigation into Issa and Chaffetz for revealing national security secrets.
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) apparently had enough of the Republican games and said of Republicans on the committee, “The stench of hypocrisy that hangs over this city today emanates from this room. I’ve listened to my colleagues talk about the President of the United States and others in the administration using terms ‘deliberate’, ‘lies’, ‘unmitigated gall’, ‘malfeasance,’ which is malicious and knowing evil-doing, ‘disgust’, ‘cover-ups’. If you want to know who is responsible in this town, buy yourself a mirror!”
He accused the Republicans of having, “the audacity to come here” when the administration requested, for worldwide security, “$440 million more than you guys wanted to provide. And the answer is that you damn didn’t provide it! You REDUCED what the administration asked for to protect these people. Ask not who the guilty party is, it’s you! It is us. It is this committee, and the things that we insist that we need have to cost money.” He added, “Could you tell me which of my colleagues on this committee was as bodacious in their insistence that we provide more money for American security in the State Department budget. I would appreciate it.” Ackerman then asked them to raise their hands and gave them a count of five to do so. Of course none did.
Clearly there were mistakes made with regards to the attack in Benghazi and the dissemination of the information about the attacks. But Republicans have no ground to stand on in blaming a lack of security on the administration and they make themselves look foolish in attempting to do so.