After creating the strawman that is Solyndra and using it repeatedly as a platform from which to assault America’s solar energy industry, it should be no surprise that Republican Darrell Issa is at it again. This time, he is calling a hearing on ‘security failures’ during the Benghazi attacks on the US-Libyan diplomatic mission. Darrell’s current witch hunt draws conclusions before collecting evidence and operates under the presumptuous title ‘Security Failures of Benghazi.’
As ever, the Issa committee seems less interested in identifying actual problems that, if removed, may help make future diplomatic missions in the Middle East safer. Instead, it continues to myopically dig for any shred of evidence it can use to politically damn the Obama Administration during a time leading up to a presidential election. Security officer, Eric Nordstrom, when repeatedly asked the question ‘was security at the site adequate?’ has responded by noting that no additional level of security for a usual diplomatic mission would have prevented an attack of this kind.
“Having an extra foot of wall, or an extra half-dozen guards or agents would not have enabled us to respond to that kind of assault,” said Nordstrom.
During the hearing, Republicans were quick to add their own assertions. “I believe, personally, with more assets, more resources, just meeting the minimum standards, we could have and should have saved the life of Ambassador Stevens and the other people who were there,” asserted Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
But what Rep Chaffetz conveniently overlooked was that the Republican Congress failed to honor President Barack Obama’s request for additional security funds both this year and last year. According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel:
House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” — a charge Republicans rejected.
So this conjecture raises a few questions. First, was security inadequate at Benghazi? And if so, how much did Republican efforts to hamstring Obama by de-funding critical programs contribute to lack of security at the US embassy in Libya? And was Hillary Clinton correct in her assertion that Republican de-funding of security for diplomatic missions was ‘detrimental to America’s national security?’
It would seem the conclusions are quite obvious. As with the Republican wreckage of the US economy, it appears Republicans have again created a problem for which they are now attempting to blame the Obama Administration. This political profiteering is even more heinous due to the fact that they were warned that their cuts to diplomatic security may be harmful. But they decided to ignore those warnings. Now, after numerous incidents at US diplomatic missions where additional security may have helped, Republicans attempt to blame the Obama administration for a situation they helped make worse. Not only is this disingenuous. It is rank underhandedness and betrayal. The Republicans should both be ashamed of their witch hunt and of their past efforts to cut US diplomatic security during a time of danger.
In a related instance of political profiteering, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney attempted to use his brief acquaintance with Navy Seal Glen Doherty, who was killed in the 9/11 attacks in Libya, as a prop for advancing his political agenda. Romney repeatedly told a ‘teary eyed story’ about his meeting the young Glen, comparing his own political efforts to Glen’s heroism. But Glen’s mother has asked Romney to stop using her son’s name in speeches:
“I don’t trust Romney. He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda,” Barbara Doherty said in a statement broadcast Wednesday on WHDH-TV in Boston. “It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”
In another interview with a Seattle radio station Doherty’s friend, Elf Ellefsen, recalled hearing Doherty talk about his encounter with Romney.
“He said it was very comical,” Ellefsen said in an interview with radio station KIRO. “Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale.”
“Honestly it does make me sick,” Ellefsen said in the interview with KIRO’s Libby Denkmann. “Glen would definitely not approve of it. He probably wouldn’t do much about it. He probably wouldn’t say a whole lot about it. I think Glen would feel, more than anything, almost embarrassed for Romney. I think he would feel pity for him.”
So on the one hand you have Republicans in Congress trying to profit politically from a ‘security failure’ they abetted and on the other you have the Republican Presidential candidate transparently using this brave Seal’s death at the consulate whose security was de-funded by Republicans as a means to advance his political fortunes. In microcosm, this is a perfect illustration of why Republican policies fail. They are short-sighted, self-serving, and profit from harm caused to the American people. People like Glen who served selflessly, at great personal risk, and at little prospect for personal profit. One of the very public servants that Republicans demonize in euphemism at every turn, but who serve as nice ornaments now and then once election time crops up.
I agree with Ellefsen. It’s pitiful. Gollum-esque even.