Finally, Trey Gowdy’s witch-hunt has ended. The Republicans released their “report” on the Benghazi attacks. The Republicans said at the beginning that this would be the “final, end-of-case investigation” into the attacks. From first reports, I wouldn’t take money on that “promise”.
Naturally, I have not seen or read the complete report as it has just been released. But, reports indicate that there is “no smoking gun” proving that Hillary Clinton or anyone else in the Administration did anything “wrong” in the incident.
Oh, from what I have read, there are a lot of innuendos about how DOD mishandled the incident. At one point they complain that DOD didn’t respond. DOD has said they couldn’t have gotten there in time. But as one committee aide said “they should have tried anyway because they didn’t know when the last attacks would end.” Isn’t it wonderful to have such great 20-20 hindsight?
The report also says that the President and Secretary of Defense told the DOD to do whatever it could. That contradicts all of those “stand down” orders that Republicans have latched onto. Now instead of hearing about “stand down” orders, we are hearing DOD did not meet deployment times.
Then there is a part on a teleconference call the President had with several members of the administration, including Hillary Clinton. They claim that the “urgency” of saving American lives was not discussed. Yet, Adm. Kurt Tidd, director for operations at the joint staff at the Pentagon, said they “went down the list of the types of forces that are potentially available. [W]e came out of that meeting with basically: send everything.”
So, why would the Republican report say they didn’t discuss it? Well, they say that because according to GOP sources, half of the action items that conference participants wrote down in their notes had nothing to do with rescuing Americans. I guess they never thought that they weren’t written down because everyone believed DOD was taking action.
Then of course at the end of the report, Gowdy blames the Administration for “stonewalling” his investigation. And, here’s where they open the door for yet another baseless investigation. They claim the Administration “made it impossible for committee investigators to say with certainty that they have reviewed all the facts surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.”
Then, there are Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Pompeo (R-Kans.) who don’t feel the report goes far enough to criticize Clinton and the administration. They released their own addition to the report on Tuesday morning that said specifically Clinton “failed to lead” and the administration “misled the public”.
I lost count of how many investigations have been held on this matter. The simple fact is that nothing indicates, from any of the investigations including this one, that says anything different. Four Americans, including our Ambassador to Libya were killed in an attack at a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. Those are the facts.
Ever since the attacks took place, fingers have been pointed by Republicans that the Administration allowed them to be killed. They further claim that was due to the upcoming Presidential election at the time.
We also know for certain that the State Department had requested over $300 million in budget increases in order to beef up security at all of our overseas outposts and embassies. That money was turned down by Republicans in Congress. I don’t know if would have helped that night, but the fact is it was turned down.
Our foreign service employees face dangerous assignments all of the time. Our military personnel are not the only one’s who risk their lives for this country. That night four years ago, four of our people were killed. There were a lot of reasons for those deaths. The State Department, since that night, has done everything it can to help prevent it from happening again. But, as with all security matters, there will be flaws and it will probably happen again. There is no “fool-proof” security measure.
We have lost State Department personnel before. The odds are we will probably lose some others. That is a danger they face, and they accept. As the saying goes, “it is part of the job”. However, from my stand point, this is the first time that a political party has tried so desperately to make political points from tragic deaths.
Just about every President has seen embassies attacked and people killed. Neither party tried to make political hay out of those attacks, until now. In the next several days and weeks the right-wing will be howling about Benghazi again. They will hurl innuendos about the Administration and especially about Clinton.
They will probably call for another investigation citing nothing new was found so there must be more dirt to dig up. However, the bottom line from this report is that when multiple agencies are required to respond to incidents like this, things can go wrong. According to initial reports, the CIA and DOD are the two biggest “culprits” in this.
But, as usual, this investigation served no purpose at all. It did not “uncover the smoking gun” to doom Hillary Clinton. It did not “uncover the smoking gun” to indict President Obama for any failure to do something. On the contrary. It reports that the President wanted to send in troops.
So the report is finally out there. Innuendos have been hurled at just about everyone. No facts indicate that there would have been any different outcome. As a result of that, at least in my mind, the investigation was a total waste of two years and $7 million taxpayer dollars.
If the Republicans want to have another waste of time investigation, maybe they should investigate where Donald Trump got that dead Tribble he wears as hair on his head. At least that investigation would be more entertaining.
Can we now put this bullshit to rest and begin to focus on how to better protect our diplomats? Isn’t that the point in all of this? If not, then those four brave Americans died for nothing. We owe them more than using them for political points. We owe them our gratitude and assurance we will do our best so no others join them.