The Benghazi Affair and Selective Amnesia


by Dean Hansen

[Editor’s note: Dean Hansen is responding to a post by Gil Bailie on The Cornerstone Forum, dated 5/10/13. I have included a copy of Mr. Bailie’s post following Mr. Hansen’s response.]

I find it more than passably interesting that your own church decided to honor Saul Alinsky by awarding him the Pacem In Terris, an award given in commemoration of the 1963 encyclical letter “Peace on Earth” by Pope John XXIII. It was given in 1969 by a number of Catholic archdioceses and organizations that apparently had the bad taste to overlook the ogre-like qualities you have associated with Alinsky in your bid to demonize anyone who was ever associated with Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Short term selective amnesia is not a good thing when you’re on the offensive against lies, deceptions and “failures of character.”

Different-strokes-for-different-folks-106812717617I would guess that these deficits are operating at full speed to repress memories of the lies told by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush. You know—using the IRS, the FBI, the CIA, and the Secret Service to go after opponents; stealing the Presidential election in 2000; lying to the American people about weapons of mass destruction; suggesting that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to send unmanned aircraft to the U.S. carrying everything from chemical weapons to nuclear bombs;  Ignoring the U.N. and launching a war when the Security Council refused to do so; pressuring Colin Powell to present false evidence to the U.N.; and launching the second Iraq war, leading to hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and more than a million refugees as a years of sectarian violence took hold on Iraq. Compare the four killed at Benghazi to the nearly 6,700 U.S. soldiers that have died in the Iraq and Afghan wars as a result of Bush and his lies.  Unlike Clinton’s “mawkish” performance at Ambassador Stevens’ funeral, Bush never attended any soldier’s funerals but did manage a bit of phony stage craft with his premature “Mission Accomplished” boondoggle. (This from a guy who used his father’s influence to avoid the military draft.) The Bush White House created the offshore military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as secret detention sites in eastern Europe to evade domestic and military justice systems. The Iraq war created the federal debt crisis that we are still trying to dig our way out from. The total costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars will reach between four and six trillion dollars, when the long-term medical costs are added in for wounded veterans, a March 2013 report by a Harvard researcher has estimated. Earlier reports said the wars cost $2 billion a week.

Of course when you have tunnel vision, you only acknowledge the side of the equation that favors your own tortured view of reality. You of course would never have that view of reality orchestrated by anyone but the most trusted news agency in the world. Here’s a tip from the “evil” Saul Alinsky and those who are mentored by him:  “…One of the most important things in life is what judge Learned Hand described as “that ever-gnawing inner doubt as to whether you’re right. If you don’t have that, if you think you’ve got an inside track to absolute truth, you become doctrinaire, humorless and intellectually constipated.” That sounds pretty subversive to me all right, but not in the way you might imagine. Perhaps both you and Mark Steyn can ruminate on failures of character by starting where it’s most noticeable. Mainly in yourselves.

If obstinacy, dereliction of duty and simple ignorance are any clue, then the Senate’s prime mouthpiece for global warming denialism shows an equal adaptability at conflating, avoiding or misinterpreting facts everywhere else he looks. When it comes to weaving grand narratives of duplicity and purposeful wrongdoing that happen to involve Benghazi and our current President—who just happens to be a secret Muslim shapeshifting alien from Kenya—Senator James Inhofe marches in goose-step with the paleo-orthodoxy of the current G.O.P. via incessant promptings of Fox “news.”  Could anything be more transparent?  The “I-word” that Inhofe injects so coyly into his conversation does not mean Idiot, because he wasn’t talking about himself. He is of course invoking the neo-con’s favorite talking point in their poorly nuanced contempt for the President by suggesting he should be removed from office via impeachment.

This of course is a secondary rather than a primary goal. The real emphasis is on Hillary Clinton and the fact that the Republicans have no one they can mount as a challenge who can generate anything approaching the wattage she can muster if she decides to run for office in 2016.  Witness stankmeister Karl Rove’s feeble demonization attempt at everything Clinton in a preemptive knee jerk ad. This is premature campaign propaganda aimed three years in the future at best. If the unbelievably low approval ratings of the present Congress are any clue, midterm congressional elections will deflate Republican hopes even further come the next presidential election.  If Benghazi catches fire politically, and stains Clinton’s reputation sufficiently to ruin her chances, they will all clamor to crawl as far up the collective asses of Roger Ailes, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, John Boehner, Lindsey Graham, and Dick Cheney as is humanly possible. Without Benghazi as a souped-up narrative for malfeasance, there may not be a Republican party by 2016, so in that sense, it’s extremely important to them to win one for the Gipper, or Ayn Rand or whoever the hell is in their lineup.

Rabid scandal-mongering and conspiratorial hatchet jobs are nothing new with the Republican party.  But when you consider issues such as drone warfare, environmental and species collapse, drug abuse, thuggery from the IRS, rampant gun violence, predatory lending, bank fraud, the energy crisis, the Israeli Palestinian conflict, Iran’s nuclear program, North Korea, the India/Pakistan conflict, and Afghanistan—all of them real and damning issues confronting us in the 21st Century—Benghazi by comparison is a feeble joke.

The irony of this overblown attempt at scandal is that the administration knew full well that the GOP would attempt to spin events related to acts of terrorism in their own favor, especially before the last election. The catch-22 is that what looked like an attempt to cover a dispute between two government agencies eager to exonerate themselves from blame for events seemingly beyond their control was heightened by the expectation of blowback that would shine a negative light on them. The relentless contempt for the president combined with the pressure to find something impeachable in his actions led in no small measure to the events as they played out.  The truth remains that it was a terrorist attack, and that both the President and the Secretary of State have acknowledged that and knew it from the start. Was this incompetence not to call it what it was straight out? Yes and no. When you’re working day in and day out with people whose modus operandi is to undermine everything you do for political leverage, it’s no less understandable. No one in their right mind would dare to argue that the President is “soft” on terrorism.  The greater frailty of this administration is its apparent willingness to leave in place legal mechanisms initiated by George W. Bush, which raise serious constitutional issues about the use of torture, the suspension of habeas corpus and the intensifying militarization of U.S. policy both at home and abroad through the use of drone strikes, surveillance here and abroad, and continuous boots on the ground in numerous countries.

The Republican leadership in Congress, obsessed with high crimes and misdemeanors, meanwhile seems intent on ignoring every mandate for useful change demanded by the public who voted them in to office. In their collective attempt to derail the president’s executive power, they have made countless attempts to either sequester, gerrymander, filibuster, obstruct, or foul every important piece of legislation that has come their way. Forget for a moment that there were 64 attacks on American diplomatic targets during President George W. Bush’s administration. If you narrow it down to between January 2002, and September 2008 there were 60 people killed and numerous wounded at 13 different U.S. consulates, compounds and embassies. Where is the uproar about those events? American diplomatic facilities have been targets of anti-American sentiment for decades. When embassy officials are being fired on by enemy combatants and are in imminent danger of being overwhelmed,  you had better have in place a system to protect them. That means first and foremost a hot line connected directly to battle-ready military resources that can act quickly, make snap decisions independent of bureaucratic misdirection, and not be deterred by conflicting orders from multiple sources.  Clinton accepted complete blame for the failures at Benghazi, but the fault certainly does not rest with her alone. It is the system itself that needs fixing. In spite of that, the Republican aisle of Congress has been reducing diplomatic security budgets in recent years. Between fiscal years 2011 and 2012, the Republican-led House of Representatives sought to cut more than $450 million from President Obama’s budget request for embassy security funding. Although the Senate was able to restore some of this critical funding, it was not enough. All of this creates a nice self-fulfilling prophecy if you don’t mind shooting yourself in the foot in the process while blaming those who must live (and die) with the actual fallout.

The ugly downside of all this is that for voters who think Benghazi is the biggest political scandal in American history, 39% of them don’t even know where it is. Ten percent think it’s in Egypt, 9% in Iran, 6% in Cuba, 5% in Syria, 4% in Iraq, and 1% each in North Korea and Liberia with 4% not willing to venture a guess.

The-Good-Ship-GOPVoters trust Hillary Clinton over Congressional Republicans on the issue of Benghazi by a 49/39 margin and Clinton’s +8 net favorability rating at 52/44 is identical to what it was in a national poll conducted in late March. The moment that Fox declared “everyone was waiting for” and that was ginned up by the likes of Sean Hannity, Lindsey “Butters” Graham, Steve King, Gretta Van Susteren, Megyn Kelly, and the other squeek boxes at Ailes clown cafeteria of the air, may yet be in the works.  That is, if they don’t mind singing a collective dirge on the deck of  the S.S. Republican Party as it takes down the media rats with the sinking ship.

On 5/10/13, Gil Bailie links to a National Review article by Mark Steyn and writes:

To conjure up obfuscations in order to defeat a bill before the Illinois legislature that would outlaw infanticide is to lie—to others and, arguably, to oneself. Mr. Obama’s response to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright scandal in 2008 was a tissue of lies, as was his response to questions about his close association with terrorist William Ayers, in whose home Obama launched his political career. Lies always require more lies. The most egregious lies in the Benghazi affair are Ambassador Susan Rice’s lies to the five networks on September 16; the President’s UN speech, during which he mentioned the YouTube video six times; and Secretary Clinton’s shameless words to [the] grieving family of Tyrone Woods that “we’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.”

Lies always beget more lies, and when almost every news media outlet can be counted on to look the other way, the temptation to keep on lying must be hard to resist.

We have elected a president about whom much could be said, but about whom it can be said without equivocation that he is a liar. He is, after all, a disciple of Saul Alinsky (about whom Hillary Clinton wrote her fawning senior thesis in college). Obama taught Alinsky’s “community organizing” tactics. That’s what the euphemism “community organizing” means to those in the know. It’s a synonym for using Alinsky’s tactics to achieve Alinsky’s subversive goals. In his writings and teachings, Alinsky encouraged lying as a strategy for advancing a radical agenda that most would resist if they saw it for what it is.

All of this has been hiding in plain sight for years, and the Liberal press has not only ignored it, but actively covered it up. The Benghazi story has a history. One day the whole shameful story will be told.


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