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House Benghazi Committee: Fact-Finding Mission Or Partisan Witch Hunt?

Benghazi-Consulate

Marc Ambinder thinks that the recent announcement of a House Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi attack and the Obama Administration’s response to it might end up being a good idea:

Select committees are Congress’ equivalent of loud, attention-getting whistles. The words evoke serious investigations into the Kennedy assassination, trading arms for hostages, the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the Church Committee’s probe into U.S. intelligence practices. Often, they produce solid legislation. At their best, select committee reports tell definitive stories of major policy failures, stories that guide politicians for generations to come.

If the Benghazi committee decides to focus on policy, then there’s a chance that, despite its partisan origins, it could produce a meaningful critique about President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, especially the series of events and assumptions that led the U.S. government to locate a large CIA outpost in Benghazi in the first place.

Ambinder goes on to list some questions he’d like to see the Committee deal with:

A good Benghazi probe could look at the Obama/NATO strategy for Libya. Was there really a humanitarian crisis that compelled an intervention? Was the intervention complicated by factors that should have been foreseen?

Should the U.S. have sent arms to Libyan rebels? With al Qaeda remnants and insurgents so easily mixing with opposition forces, was there any way to prevent guns and instruments of war from falling into the wrong hands?

Did the CIA have enough people to complete the Benghazi mission? Should the CIA be deployed so globally without appropriate counter-intelligence resources?

When the U.S. decides to intervene in countries even without “boots on the ground,” how many actual boots need to be on the ground? How wide a footprint is no footprint equivalent to?

Are the State Department and Department of Defense stretched too thin for counter-proliferation missions of this sort?

These are all excellent questions, of course. What stands out, though, is that they are mostly completely unrelated to the attack itself, and certainly not related to the areas that Republicans have been obsessing over for the past twenty months. For the GOP, the only areas of inquiry that seem to be relevant involve the issue of State Department responses to requests for additional security for the embassy in Tripoli, the Ambassador’s decision to travel to Benghazi without a full security detail, and, of course, the aftermath of the attack when, at least initially, the Administration’s comments on the attack concentrated on protests over an anti-Muslim video on YouTube. Indeed, the entire controversy that led to announcement that Speaker Boehner would seek a Select Committee was rooted in the release of an email regarding those famous Susan Rice Talking Points about the attack, which formed the basis for her comments on the Sunday morning shows on September 16th. While the House hasn’t voted on the Speaker’s request yet, meaning that we don’t know the precise boundaries of the investigation that the Select Committee will be asked to undertake, it seems obvious from the start that the primary focus of any investigation will be on these issues and not on the areas that Ambinder mentions.

The main reason for that, of course, is that it seems quite apparent that this investigation, along with the previous ones conducted into the Benghazi attack seems to be clearly more concerned with scoring political points than a serious inquiry into what’s really at the heart of the Benghazi story. As Ambinder’s questions point out, that is the entire history of the Obama Administration’s decision to intervene in the Libyan civil war, our relationship with the various rebel groups, and our actions in the country in the year between the downfall of Gadhaffi and the Benghazi attack. These are important questions, but they aren’t the ones that are “sexy” to the conservative base, which is more interested in attempting to find proof for its underlying belief that the Obama Administration cheated its way to re-election, and that “covering up” the Benghazi attack was part of that effort. Hence the common refrain from the right that Benghazi is worse than Watergate because “nobody died in Watergate.”

If this partisan take on the Benghazi story ends up being what drives the Select Committee’s investigation, then its hearings will be just as useless as that have been help up until now. Given the fact that Republicans seem to think that they’re still going to find a ‘smoking gun’ in the story that will harm the President politically and that they are convinced that it will aid them in an anticipated 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton, it seems likely to me that that this is exactly what will happen. As Ambinder points out, there are plenty of questions arising out of what happened in Benghazi that ought to be answered. I just have no confidence that the House GOP will spend any time asking them.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Let’s see: 2 years of investigation have yielded nothing that Republicans felt could be used to impeach the president, and now they want to take one more pass at this? Oh I’m pretty sure this is a “fact-finding mission”.

    I wonder if they’ll take the time to re-investigate the 1983 terrorist bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon, the one that resulted in the death of 241 Marines? If a second investigation of the tragic death of 4 Americans in Libya is needed, why not a second investigation of the 1983 bombing in Beirut that took the lives of 241?

    I’m sure that Darrell Issa agrees with me.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 2

  2. anjin-san says:

    Four dead in Benghazi – worst scandal ever

    Four thousand dead in Iraq – crickets

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 2

  3. C. Clavin says:

    We’ve seen two years of what this Committee investigation will be like…and it bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to Ambinder’s fantasy for what would be smart government oversight.
    The idea that this requires a select committee is made ridiculous by Ambinder’s own list:

    the Kennedy assassination, trading arms for hostages, the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the Church Committee’s probe into U.S. intelligence practices.

    Someone tell me how, even in the worst case, Libya rises to the level of that list?
    Here’s the reality; In spite of an intransigent opposition party Obama has had an amazingly productive Presidency. That fact, combined with their own complete ineffectiveness, is killing the Republicans. This select commitee falls under the “something, anything” category.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 2

  4. walt moffett says:

    Witch hunts always rally the faithful.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    Comment deleted for violating commenting policies.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 39

  6. Paul L. says:

    @al-Ameda:

    September 11, 2012 was not over 2 years ago, So how could it have been “2 years of investigation “? But it is not like the Obama regime to stonewall or just not turn over emails.

    Oh Wait.

    “re-investigate the 1983 terrorist bombing’
    Did Reagan say that Marine Barracks in Lebanon murders were a justified reaction by Muslim crowds to an offensive video?

    Of course when the Democrats take back Congress in 2016, they can do just that.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 40

  7. cd6 says:

    I think this spells the end of Hillary 2016, and Obama’s presidency. They’ll both be in jail by election day, hopefully the guards will let them watch Ted Cruz’s inaugeration.

    Let’s review the timeline, shall we:

    6000 years ago:
    Earth created by baby Jesus

    1776:
    Declaration of Independance, giving birth to the greatest nation in the history of the world, and paving the way for….

    1981-1989:Reign of Ronald Reagan, greatest living individual in the history of time, cutter of taxes, crusher of unions, destroyer of regulations, first of his name

    September 11th, 2001
    Terrorists attack, killing 3000 Americans. This is in no way the fault of our president or his secretary of state, despite the fact that Bush had just spent a month on vacation, and ignored vague, clearly easily misinterrupted memos like “Al Quada determined to strike in US”

    September 11th, 2012
    Terrorists attack a consulate in a remote, war torn part of the world. 4 Americans die, their blood directly on the hands of Obama and Hillary, who connived to ensure lax security and they basically mailed guns to the jihadis and said “have at em, boys” because they hate freedom and republicans and capitalism

    3 am, morning after the attack
    Our brave troops were ready and willing to go save the embattled consulate via teleportation machines and that instant respawn thing you can do in Call of Duty, but Obama and Hillary personally issued a stand down order, cackling at the destruction, and offering praise to Satan

    9/12/12
    Somebody sent some emails, or something. Listen, this part isn’t really that important. Just assume Obama and Killery did something wrong here. Also #smokinggun #benghazi #thisisagoodtimetocuttaxes

    Sunday morning after the attack, I can’t be bothered to look up the calendar date, look it up yourself
    Susan Rice goes on the teevee and lies to the American public, saying “we are investigating what happened” and clearly not admitting Obama/Killery, gave the “STAND DOWN” order. As we all know, lying to Bob Sheiffer’s ambulatory corpse on face the nation is the greatest possible sin, its basically 9/11 (except thats not a scandal) times fast and furious times the IRS scandal times watergate (not that big a deal) times infinity plus one

    Last Friday
    Boehner FINALLY announces a select committee on Beghazi, to get to the bottom of this. Luckily nobody in the media criticizes the fact that he did so via an instragram looking tweet graphic that would look more at home from a 16 year old celebrating her 4 month dating anniversary with Brad from the tennis team

    See? The truth will get out, and then what, libtards?
    Cruz/Palin ’16

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 60 Thumb down 3

  8. Tillman says:

    They could expand the committee’s investigation into the Obama administration’s conduct during the Libyan revolution, such as their bypassing of Congress’s consent and not getting an authorization for use of military force. Just do an investigation in general of the administration’s agency in Libya. That’d be effective government oversight.

    But I’m with you, Doug. Nothing in the past gives credence to this being something other than a witch hunt. I really wish we’d get Ambinder’s committee, but we probably won’t.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  9. Tillman says:

    @Paul L.:

    September 11, 2012 was not over 2 years ago, So how could it have been “2 years of investigation “?

    Rounding? Oh no, he left out 4 months, or 4/7ths of the time Democrats had a Congressional majority.

    Did Reagan say that Marine Barracks in Lebanon murders were a justified reaction by Muslim crowds to an offensive video?

    Did Rice say the Muslim reaction was justified?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  10. Paul L. says:

    @anjin-san:
    News to Me.
    The Democrats never held hearing, investigated or campaigned on Iraqi War?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @cd6:

    See? The truth will get out, and then what, libtards?
    Cruz/Palin ’16

    “libtards”? I’m pretty sure that your mom did not venture into the basement to help you out with that one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    September 11, 2012 was not over 2 years ago, So how could it have been “2 years of investigation “? But it is not like the Obama regime to stonewall or just not turn over emails.

    Thanks for the correction, I must have been think of some other sham investigation.

    Did Reagan say that Marine Barracks in Lebanon murders were a justified reaction by Muslim crowds to an offensive video?

    I see what you’re doing there – Did anyone in the Administration say that that the events of Benghazi were a “justifiable reaction” by Muslim crowds?

    Of course when the Democrats take back Congress in 2016, they can do just that.

    Why would they emulate the current malevolent Republican majority?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  13. anjin-san says:

    Did Reagan say that Marine Barracks in Lebanon murders were a justified reaction by Muslim crowds to an offensive video?

    Did Obama say anything was “justified” – no he did not.

    When you have to make things up to support your argument, you don’t really have an argument.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  14. anjin-san says:

    @ Paul L.

    The Democrats never held hearing, investigated or campaigned on Iraqi War?

    I am referring to the collective shrug from the right over the Iraq war.

    But, if you are good with 4K+ American KIA in an elective war with a country that did not threaten us (and the war profiteering that went with it), well, that’s you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  15. stonetools says:

    @al-Ameda:

    its parody.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  16. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda: The Beirrut bombing wasn’t immediately blamed on an accidental fart in the days after the bombing. That’s why.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 24

  17. Jack says:

    @anjin-san: Crickets? The media were counting up the numbers daily…at least until someone with a D after their name became president.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 20

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @al-Ameda: Umm, check your snark detector, plz….(unless this is a snark-to-the-snark?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  19. Tillman says:

    @Jack: Actually, the majority of the 4,000 deaths occurred before Obama’s election. 41 troops were killed in 2009, and troop deaths under Operation New Dawn in 2010-2011 totaled around 66.

    So the media was counting daily because there were more deaths to count in earlier phases of the war. Nothing partisan there. So when people throw the 4,000 figure at you, they are speaking of the Bush years.

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  20. Smooth Jazz says:

    “I just have no confidence that the House GOP will spend any time asking them.”

    Yes, we know that is the far left view being hived up on a far left platform. I think the question is: Is the Admin hiding anything else, similar to the ben Rhodes memo? If you have no confidence the House GOP is going to be impartial that works to your benefit as a Liberal, then this will benefit the left if they think the House is going overboard.

    To be sure, I think the dynamics and the country’s appetite to get to the bottom of this once and for all has changed now that the country has turned against the Dems, at least according to recent generic ballots. Moreover, now that Barack “You Can Keep You Plan” Obama has been revealed as a Liar and the country (notwithstanding pliant sycophants on blogs like this) no longer trusts him, I think the country is more open to seeing this coordinated & investigated thoroughly, and that the full story gets an airing once and for all. If Dems are right that there is no there, there, they should welcome a comprehensive investigation where are the players are deposed and notes compared for consistency.

    If there is nothing there, it may even work to Dems advantage to paint the House as overtly partisan. But if the investigations and depositions turn up more documents that prove Barack & Co were lying all along, Dems in tight races this fall & MSM covering for him better watch out below. Should be fun watching you Liberals squirm hoping the investigators don’t find anything else..

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 24

  21. Tillman says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    I think the question is: Is the Admin hiding anything else, similar to the ben Rhodes memo?

    Yes, let’s dig up all the bureaucratic memoranda on talking points and gesture in triumph at our cleverness in organizing a select committee to uncover so much mishegoss. You can’t be so crazy as to honestly hope for more like the Ben Rhodes email, can you? Shouldn’t your insane hopes be for something of substance at least, like Obama ordering the terrorists to kill his own Ambassador?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  22. Tillman says:

    @Paul L.:

    The Democrats never held hearing, investigated or campaigned on Iraqi War?

    Dude, I’m with you a hundred percent. There should have been hearings, jailings, public shamings, the whole lot.

    Though I want to point out that the conventional wisdom behind why some voters flocked to Obama in the primaries is because of his stated aversion to the Iraq war, and how he signaled he would have voted against it if he’d been in the Senate in 2003. So you could plausibly claim he “campaigned on the Iraq war,” since Hillary Clinton’s vote for it was a wedge issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  23. Paul L. says:

    @al-Ameda:
    Sure she shouldn’t have been raped but did you see what she was wearing?
    I was hoping progressives would push back at the justified part. About time.
    Narrative Fail: The Libs on Libya and Egypt

    The libs have been carefully putting out the story that the attacks on our diplomats in Libya and Egypt while, of course, “unjustified”–perish any other thought!–are, in fact, “justified” by the apparently to-be-expected “outrage” by Muslims over some mysterious video made in July by some “right-wing” nobody who “insulted” the Muslim faith.

    ” I must have been think of some other sham investigation.”
    Must be why Judicial Watch had to sue in court to get the White House Email Stating That Primary Goal of Susan Rice Appearances Were to Establish That Benghazi Attack Was Due to “Internet Video” and Not “Failure of Policy”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 26

  24. Jack says:

    @Tillman: The media stopped counting altogether after Obama became president. Obama surged in Afghanistan, yet no numbers. Libya…no numbers, other non-conventional wars that the president has waged that will remain uclassified/unreported…no numbers. To have the media tell it, with the exception of the 4 citizens killed in Benghazi, zero service members have been killed during the WHOLE Obama presidency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  25. Jack says:

    @Tillman: Seventy-three percent of all U.S. deaths in Afghanistan have taken place since 2009. In the first seven plus years of war in Afghanistan, 2,638 U.S. soldiers were wounded in action. In the next forty-five months (2009 – 2012) an additional 15,036 suffered the same fate.

    Why is this not being talked about in MSM? It doesn’t fit the narrative, that’s why. No different than why the MSM sides with Obama on Benghazi. Once the media picks a favorite (Obama) and begins outwardly supporting that person with with decisions to support or suppress certain narratives, can we really call them media?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 19

  26. anjin-san says:

    @ Jack

    Perhaps I need to make it clearer so you can keep up. Crickets from the right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  27. mantis says:

    @Paul L.:

    I was hoping progressives would push back at the justified part. About time.

    Yeah, it’s about time you guys pushed back on some shit Paul just made up! What were you waiting for, libtards?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  28. Tillman says:

    @Paul L.: You and your source need to learn the definition of “justify.” Note: the words “justify” and “cause” don’t have the same definition. Also, I love how you haven’t pointed to an administration figure using the word “justify” yet, but first to a right-wing media figure using it in quotes.

    @Jack: As has been lamented in plenty of corners, Afghanistan became the forgotten war despite Obama’s surge debatably causing more American casualties. You were responding to anjin talking about Iraq though, so I concentrated on Iraq’s casualties specifically.

    Also, the media was too busy talking about debt ceiling standoffs and government shutdowns. (Had to throw in a partisan rejoinder somewhere.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  29. anjin-san says:

    @ Jack

    Obama surged in Afghanistan, yet no numbers.

    Still having trouble keeping up? The point is, we had no reason to be in Iraq. None. Well, except for PNAC wet dreams and war profiteering.

    We did have a reason to be in Afghanistan. Granted, we should have left after 18 months. By the time Obama took office, the war was lost. Obama can be faulted to a degree for throwing good money after bad, so to speak.

    But I don’t see a politically possible why that he could have ended the Iraq and Afghanistan wars at the same time. So he made the best of one of the many terrible cards that Bush dealt him.

    Oh, and the media spent more than a little time on casualties in the Obama era. It’s not his fault you have selective vision (a necessary skill for proper victimhood)

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  30. Scott says:

    @Jack: Absolutely not true. Our newspaper published every fatality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  31. Paul L. says:

    @mantis:
    @Tillman:
    However the violence at the Cairo protest was justified because of the Youtube video?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 23

  32. stonetools says:

    Low information and willfully blind voters like Jack is the reason why Republicans won’t let Benghazi go, and are also the reason why they won’t pursue the questions Ambinder is interested in-because such voters aren’t interested in those questions either. Ambinder like many pundits pines for a paralell universe where the Republicans play the part of a rational loyal opposition party, instead of what they currently are-the stupid right wing nutjob party.

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  33. jukeboxgrad says:

    Doug:

    … when, at least initially, the Administration’s comments on the attack concentrated on protests over an anti-Muslim video on YouTube

    Obama blamed the video because the video was to blame. There was and is plenty of evidence to support this claim, and virtually no evidence to contradict this claim. The role of the video in the Benghazi attack was clear at the time, and it’s even more clear now. The right-wing claim that “the video had nothing to do with it,” said in those exact words by Jonah Goldberg, Rush Limbaugh and many others, is a classic example of a Big Lie. Many people do not understand this even though the evidence is overwhelming and clear. Link.

    the release of an email regarding those famous Susan Rice Talking Points about the attack, which formed the basis for her comments on the Sunday morning shows

    Mischaracterizing the Rhodes email is another Big Lie. It is wrong for you to suggest that Rice got her fundamental guidance from Rhodes and not from CIA. The original CIA memo said this (pdf; 9/14/12, 11:15 am):

    We believe based on currently available information that the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo

    “The protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” is an obvious reference to the video, because those protests were undoubtedly about the video. At the time, the video had caused riots in about 30 countries, causing about 30 deaths. The Cairo events were part of this wave of outrage.

    The Rhodes email said this (pdf, 9/14/12, 8:09 pm):

    The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US Consulate

    The key words in both documents (“were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo”) are 100% identical. And unless you believe in time travel, those words originated with CIA, not Rhodes.

    The difference between “attacks” and “demonstrations” is both trivial and understandable. At the time it was reasonable to assume that the events in Benghazi were similar to the events elsewhere, especially since there were eyewitness reports of demonstrators present at roughly the same time as the attack. Witnesses have stated they didn’t notice a protest prior to the attack. They did not deny the presence of protesters later, and there actually were protesters later. Link. This is something else that few people understand.

    The Rhodes email shows that the White House expected Rice to tell the truth: that the video was to blame. She said that because it’s true. And the original CIA memo said essentially the same thing.

    The GOP narrative relies entirely on a simple and glaring fallacy. The heart of the GOP argument is this: ‘they knew right away that it was a terrorist attack, so it was wrong to blame the video.’ This is a nice example of the fallacy of bifurcation. The two things they are treating as mutually exclusive are not mutually exclusive.

    Both things are true: it was terrorism, and the motivation was the video. These two things are not mutually exclusive; we do not have to choose between one or the other. The GOP narrative is built on this incredibly stupid idea: that a terrorist attack could not possibly be motivated by an anti-Muslim video. That’s nonsense, and a terrorist attack motivated by the video is precisely what happened. And that’s also what Obama et al told us at the time (or, at worst, soon after): that it was terrorism, and that the video was the motivation.

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  34. anjin-san says:

    @ Jack

    To have the media tell it, with the exception of the 4 citizens killed in Benghazi, zero service members have been killed during the WHOLE Obama presidency.

    You are a liar. And what’s worse is you are dancing on the graves of the troops as you lie.

    At War: Calculating the Human Cost of the War in Afghanistan (August 21, 2012)

    Todd Heisler/The New York Times

    His war was almost over. Or so Marina Buckley thought when her son Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley Jr. told her that he would be returning from southern Afghanistan to his Marine Corps base in Hawaii in late August, three months early.

    Gregory Buckley Sr. and Marina Buckley gripped the flags on Saturday at the burial of their son Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley Jr. of the Marines, on Long Island. He was the 1,990th service member killed as the death toll made its way to 2,000.
    Instead, Lance Corporal Buckley became the 1,990th American service member to die in the war when, on Aug. 10, he and two other Marines were shot inside their base in Helmand Province

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/us/war-in-afghanistan-claims-2000th-american-life.html?_r=0

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  35. anjin-san says:

    @ Paul L.

    However the violence at the Cairo protest was justified because of the Youtube video?

    If you think the violence was justified, you are entitled to your opinion.

    Certainly no Democrats think this is true.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  36. stonetools says:

    @anjin-san:

    I know that librul National People’s Republic PBS Newshour regularly features photographs of the fallen ( soldiers who died in Aghanistan) at the end of its newscasts, so I’m not sure what Jack is talking about. I guess facts are optional in the wingnut world view.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  37. mantis says:

    @Paul L.:

    However the violence at the Cairo protest was justified because of the Youtube video?

    In the same way your idiocy is justified by your desire to paint the left as terrorist-sympathizers. In other words, not at all justified, but explained.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  38. Jack says:

    @anjin-san: You can pick and choose your data as you like, but during the little Bush administration, CNN had a daily tally. NBC, CBS nightly news would trumpet every death. THAT is not happening now, nor since 2009. To say otherwise is hypocritical.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 25

  39. anjin-san says:

    Sorry Jack, one lie per thread is all you get. Adios.

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  40. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    I really hate it when people confuse “caused”, “understandable” and “justified”. There are reasons we have so many words for things, people.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  41. Jack says:

    @anjin-san: Awwww, cupcake. Who appointed you supreme ruler of the internets? You don’t have to like the facts, but you do have to accept them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  42. anjin-san says:

    @ Jack

    cupcake

    Fact is, guys who talk like this are generally very insecure about their manhood.

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  43. stonetools says:

    I think Jack is projecting that the librul MSM does the same thing that Fox News did during the Bush Administration: unapologetically champion “their” Administration. In reality, of course, you can find plenty liberal criticism of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy, including on this very website. Almost every liberal on this site, for example, thinks the Aghan surge was a big mistake. Sorry, Jack, that’s not how the so called librul media works.

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  44. mantis says:

    @Jack:

    CNN had a daily tally. NBC, CBS nightly news would trumpet every death. THAT is not happening now, nor since 2009.

    That level of coverage died long before Bush left office. The news media got tired of those wars. Or it’s a giant conspiracy, as everything is, always.

    Anyway, actual facts (as opposed to those you pull from your ass):

    The three broadcast networks’ nightly newscasts devoted more than 4,100 minutes to Iraq in 2003 and 3,000 in 2004. That leveled off to 2,000 annually. By late 2007, it was half that

    If Bush wanted to saddle the next president with wars the media obsessed over, he should have started them later.

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  45. dazedandconfused says:

    I’m shocked that you would call Hillary Clinton a witch, Doug. ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  46. Tillman says:

    @anjin-san: Look, dude, I’m on your side here, he’s crazy, but insulting his manhood by riffing on his word choice kinda misses the issue. It’d be like if people insinuated I was a degenerate stoner because I kept using the word “dude” to dismiss my pseudo-intellectual arguments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  47. Lenoxus says:

    The point about an increase in Afghanistan casualties touches on one element of the GOP’s scandal-search problems — most of the Obama administration’s real negatives are too easy for voters to mentally connect with conservative policymaking and ideas.

    Sure. the GOP could harp on Afghanistan casualties, but the unavoidable implication would be that Obama should have withdrawn, or to use Republicans’ terms, “cut and run”, upon entering office. (Either that or… that he should have killed all the bad guys, somehow?)

    They could talk about how ATF gunwalking lead to the death of a border guard, but this would imply that the line of blame for gun deaths can be traced further back than the person who fired the trigger (ie, that Brian Terry would be alive if only certain guns weren’t so easy to obtain, because guns do kill people).

    The NSA scandal would be a gift that kept on giving if it weren’t for the Republicans’ Patriot Act that enabled it. Likewise the use of drone strikes, which I’ve only seen liberals and libertarians criticize.

    These things don’t fit their narratives of Obama as too weak and/or foreign to keep us safe from evildoers (with whom he might even secretly sympathize). Benghazi (as they envision it) does fit, so they’re stuck with it.

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  48. anjin-san says:

    @ Tillman

    Jack repeatedly refers to guys he disagrees with as “cupcake” and “sweetheart” – when I was coming up, that was a chickenshit way of caling a guy a fag. So what he is doing is wrong on a number of levels. He knows what he is doing, its not just a figure of speech.

    Guys that do this tend to be overcompensating for something.

    It was boorish in 1968. In 2014, its just BS.

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  49. Tillman says:

    @anjin-san: I don’t disagree on any particular. Though I will note that several threads over several months of pointing this out to him hasn’t kept him from using it, and I don’t believe regulars or new readers are in the dark about how he’s using it.

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  50. David in KC says:

    I think this thread has answered Doug’s question.

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  51. Tyrell says:

    They need to hear from the victims’ families and listen to their opinions about all of this.
    And that picture – again! They have a good photo of one of the terrorists. Now why can’t they round this thug up and put him on trial ? Why all the foot dragging ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  52. mantis says:

    @Tyrell:

    Now why can’t they round this thug up and put him on trial ?

    How about you go to Libya and find them? Let us know how that works out for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  53. anjin-san says:

    @ Tyrell

    Why all the foot dragging ?

    Please present actual evidence that the Obama administration is not being diligent about hunting for those responsible. Keep in mind that Bush never did find Bin Laden, in fact he publicly stated that finding him was not very important and he broke up the team that was hunting Bin Laden.

    I don’t recall and rage from the right when Bin Laden got a pass so the we could concentrate on making the world safe for Halliburton profits in Iraq.

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  54. wr says:

    @Paul L.: Shorter Paul: “If you dare to try to understand anything, you’re actually justifying it. That is why we proud Republicans seek to never understand anything.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  55. wr says:

    @Tillman: ” Though I will note that several threads over several months of pointing this out to him hasn’t kept him from using it, ”

    Well, for the most part he’s switched back to using the “Jenos” persona, although I guess he’s in a jackhole mood today…

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  56. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “They need to hear from the victims’ families and listen to their opinions about all of this.”

    Why? I’m pretty sure I can imagine the opinions of the victims’ families. How would this impact the debate on any side?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  57. Grewgills says:

    @Tyrell:

    They need to hear from the victims’ families and listen to their opinions about all of this.

    It has been over a year and a half, I think anything the victims families wanted to share has been shared. Why drag the pain of their loss out for them more?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  58. mantis says:

    Family members of the victims gave testimony last September.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  59. Tillman says:

    @wr:

    Well, for the most part he’s switched back to using the “Jenos” persona, although I guess he’s in a jackhole mood today…

    You do realize that not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll using multiple online identities, right? You (or someone else) have made the same accusation about Jenos and bithead.

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  60. jukeboxgrad says:

    They need to hear from the victims’ families and listen to their opinions about all of this.

    Via Jim Ward (an excellent commenter who pops up in various places):

    You should try actually listening to Ambassador Stevens’ and other family members.

    His sister, Anne Stevens said, “Chris was not focused on revenge. He wanted the Libyan people to have a free and democratic society.” She wrote that she told Secretary Clinton, “I hope this will not prevent us from continuing to support the Libyan people, from moving ahead.”

    Try listening to Ambassador Stevens’ father who declared that it would be “abhorrent” to politicise his son’s death. Or Barbara Doherty, whose son, Glen was one of the responding soldiers killed in Benghazi, who said. “It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”

    Ambassador Stevens’ mother, Mary Commanday said, “I don’t think it’s productive to lay blame on people.”

    “Chris was not willing to be the kind of diplomat who would strut around in fortified compounds. He amazed and impressed the Libyans by walking the streets with the lightest of escorts, sitting in sidewalk cafes, chatting with passers-by. There was a risk to being accessible. He knew it, and he accepted it.”

    “What Chris never would have accepted was the idea that his death would be used for political purposes.”

    Regarding Hillary Clinton, Stevens’ stepfather Bob Commanday said, “We’re very aware of her sympathy because of our contact with her and the way she has connected with us.” “We don’t think it should be politicized,” he said.

    Stevens’ father, Jan Stevens told CNN that “the ambassador never said anything critical of the State Department and felt Hillary Clinton was ‘an extremely able person.’ Stevens said the State Department is giving him updates on the progress of the investigation.”

    Jan Stevens also wrote:

    “So rather than engage in endless recriminations, his family is working to continue building the bridges he so successfully began.”
    “Chris would not have wanted to be remembered as a victim. Chris knew, and accepted, that he was working under dangerous circumstances. He did so — just as so many of our diplomatic and development professionals do every day — because he believed the work was vitally important. He would have wanted the critical work he was doing to build bridges of mutual understanding and respect — the kind of work that made him literally thousands of friends and admirers across the broader Middle East — to continue.”

    So, if you are really concerned about both the victims and their families, here is how you can contribute:

    “The Stevens family has established the J. Christopher Stevens Fund, with an aim to promote intercultural understanding between Americans and the people of the Middle East. The fund will support educational programs, including student exchanges, libraries and the Peace Corps.”

    As Glen Doherty’s sister, Kate said, “My favorite quote came from my brother, Greg Doherty, who said ‘why don’t we blame the terrorists?’ That’s who’s at fault here.”

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  61. al-Ameda says:

    As Glen Doherty’s sister, Kate said, “My favorite quote came from my brother, Greg Doherty, who said ‘why don’t we blame the terrorists?’ That’s who’s at fault here.”

    Republicans would rather blame the President and Hillary Clinton.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  62. bk says:

    @Jack:

    To have the media tell it, with the exception of the 4 citizens killed in Benghazi, zero service members have been killed during the WHOLE Obama presidency.

    You are, of course, absolutely lying about this.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  63. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    You can pick and choose your data as you like, but during the little Bush administration, CNN had a daily tally. NBC, CBS nightly news would trumpet every death. THAT is not happening now, nor since 2009. To say otherwise is hypocritical.

    You’re right, the Obama Administration has effectively embargoed all reports of the death of American citizens and military personnel since Inauguration Day in 2009.

    In fact, the Administration’s news embargo is not restricted to black out coverage of Iran and Afghanistan, until a few days ago no Americans had even heard of Benghazi, “Fast and Furious” the “IRS Scandal” the Government Shutdown, the botched rollout of the Government’s ACA Exchange Website, two Fort Hood shootings, and so much more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  64. wr says:

    @Tillman: Nope, not Jenos and Bit, who are clearly different, if equally unpleasant, people. Jenos and Hoot Gibson, definitely, and occasionally another one of his sock puppets.

    And whether or not they’re the same “person,” “Jack” is not “someone I disagree with.” He’s an obvious troll who. like Jenos, posts here in hopes of disrupting conversation, getting people to pay attention to him, and pissing people off.

    Here’s a hint — whenever he’s busted on his complete lack of knowledge, he resorts to the “cupcake” thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  65. An Interested Party says:

    So, in the end, this attempt to smear the President and Hillary Clinton will fail as miserably as the attempt to remove Bill Clinton from office…if conservative heads are exploding over this issue, what will happen to them when Hillary Clinton actually does become our next president…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  66. humanoid.panda says:

    @Tyrell: With all due respect, what unique insight into the workings of the US military and intellegence mechanisms the victims’ families have? What exactly would their appearance in front of an investigative comittee achieve, besides good moments for TV?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  67. Tillman says:

    @wr: Aww, I don’t think I ever saw Hoot Gibson. What a name!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  68. jukeboxgrad says:

    Watching the next chapter will be fun, because Gowdy seems to be even more of a liar than Issa. Link. Amazing, I know.

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  69. Susan says:

    Only no one issued a stand down order. We sent our Delta Force lead by Master Sgt. David R. Halbruner who received the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross for his bravery and saving many lives. Why are you lying and belittling our military? Shame on you!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  70. Susan says:

    Only no one issued a stand down order. We sent our Delta Force lead by Master Sgt. David R. Halbruner who received the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross for his bravery and saving many lives. Why are you lying and belittling our military? Shame on you!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  71. Susan says:

    The truth is we sent our Delta Force from Tripoli. These people are lying and insulting our military for some sick reason.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  72. Susan says:

    They are using the deaths of four Americans for political gain. Despicable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  73. Lenoxus says:

    @Susan: To be fair, it wouldn’t be despicable if they had a case. For example, if it came out that someone in the State Department had literally ordered some assassinations of their own people, then Republicans would rightfully “use” those deaths for “political gain”.

    But insofar as they’re just looking for “something, anything”, they are indeed being scum.

    (I suppose I’m just wary of the argument, which I’ve heard used against both sides of the gun debate after every shooting; it ignores the point that the other side may take their position out of a genuine desire to prevent suffering and hold wrongdoers accountable. I don’t think that applies here, of course.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  74. Rob in CT says:

    I was against intervention in Libya. To date, it has indirectly cost 4 American lives. This is sad. Then again, during the previous administration there were numerous deadly attacks on US diplomatic posts. There were also ~4k KIA in a war sold by piles of steaming bullshit. This was apparently A-OK by our Republican friends.

    This whole “scandal” is over the withertos and whyfores of how the Administration characterized the attack in the ~72 hours following it. I think their initial characterization was understandable – it was entirely plausible that the video was the spark that set things off, as it was in numerous other cities that day. To say that does not rule out terrorism, and it turns out that terrorists took the opportunity to attack. The Administration characterized it was a terror attack within a few days.

    That’s what this whole thing is allegedly about. But that’s not what it’s really about. It’s really about a desire to pin some sort of scandal on Obama for political gain, and the rage that resulted from the GOP’s inability to gain traction on this one during the 2012 campaign.
    Romney’s initial attack, for reference:

    I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

    Why, oh why didn’t this result in a Romneyslide? Wingnuts still cry bitter, bitter tears over this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  75. Rob in CT says:

    By the way, Ambinder’s questions are fine, but that’s not what the GOP’s investigations have been and will be about. The modern day GOP is Paul and Jack, not the fairy tales Marc Ambinder has in his head.

    Also, didn’t the State Department do an investigation and write up a report that answered the last question (at least with regard to the Benghanzi mission specifically)? 4 people resigned from the State Dept. as a result of that investigation, if I recall correctly.

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  76. Lenoxus says:

    Going solely by their Benghazi-fying, it occurs to me that Republicans should be glad that mischaracterizing something isn’t an impeachable offense.

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  77. jukeboxgrad says:

    I think their initial characterization was understandable – it was entirely plausible that the video was the spark that set things off

    I hope you don’t mind my saying so, but that statement is much too weak. Blaming the video was not just plausible; it was and is indisputable. Link. And your “initial characterization” implies that the case for blaming the video has become weaker over time; the exact opposite has happened.

    Daniel Pipes has been described by Breitbart as one of “the most respected Islam watchers in conservative circles.” Pipes blamed the video on 9/12/12, in National Review, and then he reiterated his claim recently, based on new “hard evidence” found by another conservative. You can’t ask for more. If the evidence is good enough for Pipes, then it’s time to say case closed. This is what’s known as ‘admission against interest.’

    If I was a Democrat on the Gowdy panel, my first witness would be Pipes. But this won’t happen, because what he has said has been drastically under-reported.

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