Friday, October 23, 2015


A few thoughts on this whole Benghazi thing. Let's start with a comment from conservative Byron York, writing in the conservative organ the Washington Examiner. He summarizes the Benghazi "scandal."
"At this point, there is really only one angle on Benghazi: Americans were in danger in a very dangerous country, security was deteriorating, and the State Department and Secretary of State did little, and in some cases nothing, to protect them."

Indeed. The reason Benghazi looms so large in the conservative imagination is that it is one of the few foreign-policy events that both 1) went sideways, and 2) isn't an indictment of the foreign policy adventures Republicans love. (A critique of Obama's failures--Libya, Syria, ongoing drone strikes--would have to come from the left, non-neocon side.) And as failures go, it is small and routine--the kind of failure that is part and parcel of any complex activity. 

What is (pick one: alarming, outrageous, dispiriting) to me is that we exited a presidency in which gross errors of judgment and competence WERE committed--ones that were anything but routine--and there was no reckoning. Like:
  1. 9/11 
  2. Iraq
  3. Halliburton et al
  4. Torture
  5. Katrina 
  6. The financial crisis
  7. Allowing N Korea to develop nukes
  8. And so on
So on the one hand we had a grossly incompetent and likely corrupt administration that was never subjected to political repercussions while on the other the GOP used the levers of official government power to politically attack routine activity. As a Dem this is somewhat frustrating, but as an American, it is shocking. When even conservatives acknowledge that the Benghazi committee is a political hit job and that the event in question was no scandal, the entire country and every media organization should be outraged. Mostly, though, we're treating it as a normal game of politics.

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