Libya may not technically be part of the Middle East, but its neighbor, Egypt, and all the other countries that stretch around the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea are. Libya was included in the original definition of Middle East when the Eisenhower administration coined the phrase. It shares many maladies with the more recognized Middle Eastern countries. So, for now, Libya will be lumped into that cache of nations.
Specifically, the Benghazi terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012 in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed, holds mirror-like images to many other attacks in years prior. The violence in Benghazi is indeed tragic and the root of the problem should be sought so that other instances will not reoccur.
How do we know that additional attacks will likely happen? There have been 13 similar strikes on American consulates, Embassies, and diplomatic offices in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, and others since the September 11, 2001 disaster. So, the likelihood of more is a pretty safe bet.
In all, these 13 attacks killed 96 people and injured a few hundred more. The figures do not include several deadly assaults on the Baghdad Embassy during the Iraq War.
Embassies are considered United States soil, so these are all attacks on our country!
Many of the 96 dead are Americans including administrative officer David Foy who was killed in the Karachi, Pakistan U. S. Consulate along with three others on March 2, 2006. This was four years after another al Qaeda linked suicide bomber killed 12 and injured 51 in the very same building.
Another pair of attacks to note are those carried out by Islamic Jihad of Yemen, al Qaeda linked terrorists on the U. S. Embassy in San’a, Yemen. The first was on March 18, 2008 and the second a whopping six months later on September 17, only days before President George W. Bush was scheduled to visit the Embassy. Two were killed in the first attack and 16 in the second including at least two Americans.
From the January 22, 2002 assault on the U. S. Consulate in Calcutta, India that killed five, through the attack in September 2008 in Yemen, Americans doing American diplomatic business in American buildings located in the Middle East were often under siege.
Why is the Benghazi, Libya attack so different from the prior 13 plus examples? It isn’t–except that all the others happened on President Bush’s watch and this buck stops on President Obama’s desk.
With all this
evidence and data to study, Conservative elected officials and Conservative media are skipping that Bush-era information and taking on Benghazi and Benghazi alone as a Watergate-like stain on Barack Obama’s presidency.
Right-wing talk show guy and former presidential hopeful, Mike Huckabee has taken time away from reporting about gay therapy and an Obama Nazi-like gun plot to predict that Benghazi will cause Obama to abandon his second term. Carl Rove and his Super PAC, American Crossroads, have started a negative (what else) ad campaign on an unspecified Obama cover-up on which Arizona’s John McCain also harps.
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe calls the White House handling an impeachable offense. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is using his oft-repeated catch phrase–His/her actions render (fill in the name) unqualified to hold public office–on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Those aren’t Paul’s exact words, but pretty close. He’s used that phrase on a variety of Obama appointees including Chuck Hagel and the president himself.
The real culprit, however, is South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. It seems that instead of legislating, doing both President Obama and former Secretary Clinton irreparable political harm is his mission during the 113th Congress.
Note that Graham, Inhofe, McCain, Paul, Huckabee, Rove, any other conservative of any persuasion, nor any liberal for that matter–no one–has ever brought up even one question or challenge to the competency of the Bush administration about the 13 plus Benghazi style attacks during his reign. The Republican mantra is that President Bush’s legacy is that he kept the U.S.A. completely safety from terrorist attacks–but for that pesky Sept. 11, 2001.
The 13 attacks, 96 dead, and hundreds injured from 2002 to 2008 don’t count for some reason.
Of course I’d like someone to get to the bottom, figure out a solution, save lives, and ultimately let peace prevail. But, Benghazi alone isn’t enough. If we are to do a full investigation, the Bush era terrorist attacks on Americans in the Middle East must be studied too.
Most likely the answer is one we don’t want to hear–maybe we just can’t stop attacks on our property and fellow citizens in those volatile countries. Every American foreign-service worker knows the danger of working in the Middle East. There has been ongoing war in that area for a thousand years–since the first Crusades. The problems are so embedded that getting to root causes would be easier if we were investigating the Hatfields and the McCoys.
This single issue is both a conundrum for the State and Defense Departments and total Republican fantasy if they think there is a political goldmine in Benghazi.