Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Non-Smoking Gun

This week, Republican leaders in the House revealed that they will be forming yet another committee to investigate the terrorist attacks in Benghazi. This marks the 5th committee that the Republicans have formed since the attacks took place.

Since Fox News has now decided to abandon their lost cause of defending Cliven Bundy in order to save face, they now have to return to their regularly scheduled programming, pushing the idea that there is some kind of scandal behind the attacks that took the lives of 4 Americans. The problem is, neither Fox News or the Republicans that make up the majority of these committees know exactly what the scandal is, or who may be behind it. Despite four previous committees, thousands of documents delivered, numerous subpoenas and testimonies, they still have no evidence of the “smoking gun” they are looking for. 

What is that saying about doing something over and over, getting the same results, yet continuing to do that same thing over and over, expecting different results?

Let’s not forget that the party of “fiscal responsibility” has spent millions upon millions of dollars on these committees that have produced no results.

Let’s not forget that while there is actual work to be done in governing our country, one party has done very little to govern. They have passed no jobs bills, no immigration reform, think little of equal pay for equal work, nor proposed any fixes or alternatives to the Affordable Care Act. Instead of doing the jobs they were elected to do, they would rather spend their time pretending to be in some episode of Law and Order.

Let’s not forget that while Republicans are looking to pin wrongdoing on the Obama administration, it was the House Republicans that voted to cut $296 million from the embassy security budget between 2011 and 2012.

Let’s not forget that while 4 families lost a loved one on that day, Republicans seem to have no problem politicizing their deaths in the hopes to secure their own jobs and use images of the burning embassy to raise some money.

Seriously…right now, the National Republican Congressional Committee are sending out fundraising emails that encourage contributors to become Benghazi Watchdogs by supplying a link for them to donate a minimum of $25, all the way up to $500. On May 2nd, Speaker Boehner tweeted “RT to share the news: The House will vote to establish a new #SelectCommittee on #Benghazi,” which included a photo of the burning embassy in the background. Maybe it's just me, but I find this to be done in very poor taste. 

But what I really feel that we should not forget is that we have thousands of men and women who serve in over 260 embassies and consulates in 180 different countries. These people deserve our respect because they knowingly place their lives on the line every day to truly serve people in some of the most war-torn and chaotic places on the planet. To use them to gain political points is disgusting…to spend the millions of dollars in forming committees so that certain politicians can talk on the Sunday morning shows, and primary conservative media outlets, instead of allocating those funds to actually put resources in place to help secure those men and women serving is revolting.

Also, Republicans seem to have a real problem with remembering history in regards to tragedies that have happened at our embassies over the years.

Since the burning of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and leading up to the attacks in Benghazi, there have been a total of 88 diplomats that have died in service. There have been a variety of causes, such as traffic accidents and disease, but the majority have died as a result of bombings or attacks.

13 died in the attack on the embassy in Beirut in 1983, under President Reagan.
2 died in that same embassy only a year later, under President Reagan.
1 more died in that same year, after a bombing in Oshakati, under President Reagan.
4 Marines were gunned down in San Salvador in 1985, under President Reagan.
9 died in the embassy bombing in Nairobi in 1998, under President Clinton.
1 died in the attack in Pakistan in 2002, under President George W. Bush.
1 more died that same year in an attack in Jordan, under President George W. Bush.
9 more people died in attacks between 2004 to 2008, under President George W. Bush.

These tragedies happen, and yes, the details of why often gets lost in the chaos that follows. We know this happens…look at the tragedies that took place in the Newtown school shooting, or the bombings of the Boston Marathon. The first batch of information that follows this kind of chaos is not always the best representative of what took place. Circumstances are usually unclear in the direct aftermath. But buying into conspiracy theories to push results that are self-serving, are not viable ways to find the truth. Yes, perhaps committees need to be formed to find out the facts (we have historical precedents for this, like the 9/11 Commission, the Warren Commission, etc.), but forming more committees just because your party doesn't like the results and the facts that follow an investigation, does not make you a truth-seeker. It makes you a crazy and selfish asshole. And this is what the intellectually bankrupt Republican party has been doing for nearly two years.

Look at what happened to CBS’ Lara Logan, when she bought into the fictional account of the attacks that contractor Dylan Davies told in order to sell his book…perpetuating a conspiracy did not lead to any new truths and she ended up being suspended. She was being hoodwinked so some guy could make a buck off of the death of 4 people.

Frankly, I think the Republicans leading this futile fishing expedition have very little credibility when it comes to foreign policy. Look at the regular contributors on Fox News who constantly talk about this as a conspiracy…these are the same folks who sold us the lie that Saddam Hussein was ready to use weapons of mass destruction, launching us into a war that cost us the lives of thousands of American soldiers, even more lives of the Iraqi people, and cost trillions of dollars. Where are the committees to investigate their talking points?

By looking for a scandal that doesn't exist, we see the true nature of some of the Republicans currently in office. They aren't interested in truth or justice, but they are interested in fame, notoriety, and doing anything to win a vote.

And that is the real scandal.