Friday, May 9, 2014

In the Wilderness on Benghazi

Rich Lowry is doing his best to carry water for people who don't care about anything other than getting re-elected this fall. The results are tragically hypocritical.

Doesn't anyone get that Benghazi has become a joke on the national stage? As in, there is no scandal and they're overreaching? That no one seriously believes that the Republicans are going to be able to manufacture a scandal out of something that happened on September 11, 2012 and then use that to impeach the President?

I mean, talk about delusional:
The deniers evidently believe:
An administration should be able to make erroneous statements about a terror attack that killed a U.S. ambassador in the weeks before a presidential election and expect everyone to accept its good intentions afterward.
Does Lowry forget the years 2001-2009? And the entirety of the Bush Administration? Apparently so.
An administration should be able to withhold a bombshell White House email from congressional investigators and expect everyone to greet its long-delayed release with a yawn.
See the thing I just said and imagine Dick Cheney snarling at the idea that the White House should just let everyone see the E-mail any time they wish.
An administration should be able to send out its press secretary to abase himself with absurd denials of the obvious and expect everyone to consider its credibility solidly intact.
Wow. See above again and again. Then, imagine a Dana Perino press conference from said era.
No opposition party would ever accept these propositions, and of course Republicans (and a few intrepid reporters and organizations) haven’t. We presumably would never have learned of the email from White House national security official Ben Rhodes to then-ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice prior to her notorious Sunday show appearances if the Benghazi “obsessives” at Judicial Watch hadn’t zealously pursued records through a lawsuit.
The bombshell that wasn't did not ignite this scandal--a phony effort to make it relevant put it on the front pages. The difference of course being that Benghazi was proof that we don't have adequate troops in Africa and the ability to project force into unstable war zones on the African continent at a moment's notice. We don't have those things because America's vital interests are not threatened. The Iraq War was proof that you can lie to the American people, stubbornly refuse to change course, get thousands of Americans killed, and still enjoy the legitimacy of the mainstream media's inability to hold anyone accountable.

Rarely will you find a more unethical attempt to politicize American foreign policy. I don't recall any of Walter Mondale's extensive remarks on the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut being proof that the Reagan Administration was negligent, criminally incompetent and responsible for deaths of hundreds of Americans, but maybe I missed that.

No, I did not miss it:
In the debate with the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee, Mr. [George H. W.] Bush termed the bombing of the United States Embassy in Beirut ''a wanton terrorist action'' and said American troops had helped bring about a ''government of reconciliation.''
He added: ''For somebody to suggest, as our opponents have, that these men died in shame, they had better not tell the parents of those young marines.''
A total of 241 marines and other Americans died in the explosion at the marine barracks on Oct. 23, 1983.
Earlier, with Mrs. Ferraro seated behind him on the State Capital steps in Madison, Mr. Mondale said, ''Now we all make mistakes in campaigns but that one is unpardonable.Mr. Bush, we love this country as much as you do. And, Mr. Bush, we honor our men and women who die in the service of our country, and we grieve for their families as much as you do.
''Mr. Bush, apologize today for that remark,'' said Mr. Mondale to thunderous applause.
Later in Chicago, Mrs. Ferraro herself called on Mr. Bush to apologize, saying she was more concerned about receiving an apology for that statement than for an unflattering predebate description of her by Mr. Bush's press secretary. The aide, Peter Teeley, told The Wall Street Journal that she was ''too bitchy.''
In Minneapolis, Mr. Mondale said, ''I decided to spend the night to see if I would cool off, and I'm getting more angry every time. There's no excuse for this.
''He should be ashamed of himself,'' said Mr. Mondale. ''If Mr. Bush thinks as Vice President of the United States he can tell the American people that I either stated or implied that our marines in Lebanon lost their lives - lost as a result of shame, when he knows utterly and absolutely that's an appalling and atrocious misstatement of the facts and won't apologize, he ought to be ashamed of himself.
If that's not a history lesson about who prefers to politicize American foreign policy, what is? By the way, Michael Tomasky, who is always reliably great, misses this fact in his piece here. The Reagan Administration knew--knew--they were vulnerable when it came to foreign policy decisions regarding the use of military force (Grenada? Hello?) and that's why then-Vice President Bush went on the offensive with those remarks. He was actively trying to prevent the Democrats from making an issue out of what happened. Walter Mondale, bless his heart, never missed a chance to tell the truth and take the high road on the way to defeat.

There seems to be only one reality--if something bad happens when a Republican is in office, it's because Democrats were weak. If something happens when a Democrat is in office, we have to conclude that Democrats are pussies and we need to put the Daddy Party back in charge.

Scale is important. If a handful of Americans die when a Democrat is in charge, it's game on for scandal mongering. When hundreds or thousands die, it means we went to war with the army we had, not the one that would survive all of the roadside bombings we refused to acknowledge.

It stings these people that Obama's orders were responsible for killing Osama bin Laden. That absolutely drives them crazy, by the way. It destroys every narrative they cling to.

But, of course, we're just going to have to wait for Rich Lowry to turn on the Republicans once again:
In recent weeks, many conservatives have started to turn against the Iraq war, but few have gone so far as admit that perhaps the allegedly biased (liberal and anti-Bush) media may actually have been right about the conflict all along. But in his latest King Features column today, Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, takes that bold step.

He's certainly not changing his political stripes, as the following sentence reveals: "The mainstream media is biased, arrogant, prone to stultifying group-think and much more fallible than its exalted self-image allows it to admit." But then he adds: "It also, however, can be right, and this is most confounding to conservatives. In Iraq, the media’s biases happen to fit the circumstances."

Lowry explains: "Most of the pessimistic warnings from the mainstream media have turned out to be right — that the initial invasion would be the easy part, that seeming turning points (the capture of Saddam, the elections, the killing of Zarqawi) were illusory, that the country was dissolving into a civil war.....Conservatives need to realize that something is not dubious just because it’s reported by the New York Times...."
He even tweaks Laura Bush for her hit at media coverage in Iraq last week, when she complained that “there are a lot of good things happening that aren’t covered.” Lowry asks: "What are those things, one wonders?"

There's more: "In their distrust of the mainstream media, their defensiveness over President Bush and the war, and their understandable urge to buck up the nation’s will, many conservatives lost touch with reality on Iraq. They thought that they were contributing to our success, but they were only helping to forestall a cold look at conditions there and the change in strategy and tactics that would be dictated by it."
So, when all is said and done, it will be the media's fault unless it is impossible to prove that they were wrong. Then it will be the fault of whoever Rich Lowry wants it to be. We won't have any kind of accountability moment because shut up, that's why.

[...] the question of responsibility remains a searing issue in Washington, framed by two contradictory story lines.
One has it that the video, which was posted on YouTube, inspired spontaneous street protests that got out of hand. This version, based on early intelligence reports, was initially offered publicly by Susan E. Rice, who is now Mr. Obama’s national security adviser.
The other, favored by Republicans, holds that Mr. Stevens died in a carefully planned assault by Al Qaeda to mark the anniversary of its strike on the United States 11 years before. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of covering up evidence of Al Qaeda’s role to avoid undermining the president’s claim that the group has been decimated, in part because of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
The investigation by The Times shows that the reality in Benghazi was different, and murkier, than either of those story lines suggests. Benghazi was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.
Clap louder to make a scandal out of nothing.

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