The Republican Party refuses to let go of their manufactured Benghazi scandal narrative. We saw just the other day that a Benghazi “witness” featured on 60 Minutes was in fact nowhere near the U.S. compound when terrorists attacked.
Yet the GOP insists the testimony of this non-existent witness justifies further hearings on the subject.
Have we had enough yet? Can we get back to governing this country and providing for its citizens? Can the House of Representatives actually do what it was elected to do?
If you’re as fed up as I am, if you want to know what happened after Benghazi and why, if you want to be able to contribute meaningfully to conversations with conservative coworkers and misguided friends, you will want to take a look at The Benghazi Hoax, by David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt.
The Benghazi Hoax deals with the Republican obsession with the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
The attack was terrible enough, though hardly to be compared to the attacks on the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush was celebrated by conservatives when this attack, which cost 3,000 lives, took place on his watch. Yet the deaths of just four American personnel on President Obama’s watch, not even on America soil but a distant diplomatic compound was said to be cause for his impeachment.
This first thing you will need to know is who the guilty parties are. No, we are not talking about what the authors call the “Benghazi of right-wing legend” and their “cartoon version of [a] President Obama who “left Americans to die” or even about former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. We are talking about the conservatives who are inventing and perpetuating the hoax and wasting the time and money of the American taxpayer in trying to destroy a sitting president in what is, by their own account, a time of war.
Fortunately, the authors provide such a list, a hall of shame, at the very outset, and it is worth repeating here:
Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH
Ambassador John Bolton, Fox News Contributor, Foreign Policy Advisor Romney/Ryan 2012
Gretchen Carlson, Host, Fox News Channel
Representative Jason Chaffetz, R-UT
Lanhee Chen, Foreign Policy Advisor, Romney/Ryan 2012
Joseph diGenova, Attorney
Steve Doocy, Host, Fox News Channel
Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC
Sean Hannity, Host, Fox News Channel
Representative Darrell Issa, R-CA, Chairman House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Brian Kilmeade, Host, Fox News Channel
Senator John McCain, R-AZ
Mitt Romney, Former Governor of Massachusetts, 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee
Stuart Stevens, Senior Advisor, Romney/Ryan 2012
Victoria Toensing, Attorney
Ambassador Richard Williamson, Foreign Policy Advisor, Romney/Ryan 2012
There had been 157 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities over a 15-year period, nine of them resulting in U.S. fatalities. Why was Benghazi so special? The answer is because of its timing. It was a godsend for a party that had no ideas, a party that was running on a platform dedicated only to destroying America’s first black president.
As the authors of The Benghazi Hoax point out, the terrorist attack was quickly politicized “by a hungry right-wing leviathan of savage punditry and pseudo-journalism.” Out of thin air charges quickly manufactured to attack not only the president but Hilary Clinton, who is certain to beat any Republican challenger in 2016 should she choose to run. Thus the manufactured scandal has been a means of saving a floundering Romney/Ryan campaign and, when that failed, destroying the presidency of Barack Obama, but also preempting a Democratic victory in the next presidential election.
It has nothing to do with uncovering the truth but everything to do with perpetuating a lie.
It is clear that Republicans hope to keep this already many-times-over debunked scandal alive until the 2016 presidential election. In fact, just a few days ago, as part of this narrative, we saw Hilary Clinton heckled in Buffalo, NY.
The problem was and is that there is no scandal to be investigated. What ought to be investigated is the hoax and those perpetrating it.
The Benghazi attack was an opportunity by Republicans renew the attack on Obama as a “Muslim sympathizer” who as not really an American – in other words, another attempt to delegitimize the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama.
The Republican goal, as the authors put it, was to tap “into the absurd subconscious notion that America’s commander-in-chief sympathized with America’s enemies.” This decision was made even before the administration was certain what had happened in Benghazi, at the hands of who, and why it had happened. The fighting in Benghazi wasn’t even over. Lost was a tale of heroism as the surviving Americans were evacuated and saved. The GOP didn’t care about any of this. They just wanted to destroy the president by any means possible.
After setting the stage, the authors go on to describe the various hoaxes in order, beginning with Mitt Romney’s statement that very night, in violation of a promise to forego negative campaigning on the anniversary of 9/11. What is remarkable is that mainstream media outlets, far from endorsing Romney’s undignified attack, condemned it.
Compounding the egregiousness of his actions, even as the facts began to come in, Romney stuck by his false message. But if the mainstream media called Romney out, the right-wing embraced because it fit so well with their narrative of the past three years, that Obama was not a real American and worse than that, a terrorist sympathizer. This hoax, as the authors say, crashed and burned with President Obama’s words, “Please proceed, Governor.”
There was great rejoicing on the left, but our troubles were far from over.
As we all know now, the Republicans next insisted that President Obama’s use of “an act of terror” in his Rose Garden speech did not equate to “a terrorist attack.” This, the author’s identify as the second Benghazi hoax. As they say, “it was almost comical, this notion that an ‘act of terror’ was somehow substantively different than ‘a terrorist attack.” This proves that their real issue was “not with the words but with the mouth they were coming out of.”
The authors point to the fact that Darrell Issa developed scandal storylines in order to advance his own political career. Of course, GOP-led hearings “kept coming in waves” and have repeatedly failed to implicate Obama or his administration, despite what many conservatives think. In fact, they can’t implicate Obama because they’re making it up as they go – the authors refer to the GOP scandal “Twister wheel ” – merely to score points with their base and cast doubt on the president.
Worse from a security standpoint, Republicans condemn Edward Snowden’s actions but Darrell Issa himself recklessly exposed state secrets repeatedly during his anti-Obama crusade, saying that “Anything below ‘Secret” is in fact just a piece of paper” and that “If you have seen papers that say ‘for official use only,’ State Department sensitive,’ that is crap” – a claim which is itself crap. The sensitivity of government documents are rated by classifications we are all by now familiar with, Top Secret, Secret, Confidential, and Unclassified, For Official Use Only (FOUO), and Unclassified but Sensitive. FOUO in fact includes information that, while unclassified, cannot be released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
This book is well-written, easy to follow, and scrupulously footnoted – something the right-wing celebrates when the footnotes are meaningless, as in a David Barton manifesto, but here, certainly, right wingers will ignore the footnotes and claim the tale the book tells is a fabrication.
The fabrication, however, is not the creation of these authors but of the right wing itself. It is a sad state of affairs when books have to be written to refute works of fiction. It isn’t supposed to work that way. But that is what America has come to at the hands of an intellectually and morally bankrupt Republican Party. And because that is where we are as a nation, it is imperative that Democrats and especially Independents read this book.
You can buy The Benghazi Hoax at Amazon.com for just .99 cents in Kindle format. You don’t need a Kindle to read it; just a computer. With a free Kindle app, you can be reading it, and informing yourself and your friends, in just minutes. Get it now, and in a short 100 pages, learn the truth about this senseless and damaging Republican attack on America.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.