CALIFORNIA April 23, 2013 — The horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon once more exposed our national heart to tragedy. Whether the perpetrators were radicalized by outside Muslim militants or were extremist, lone-wolf operatives makes little difference. This disregard for human life is evidence of a heart and mind that rejects the common grace conscience God has given to mankind (Romans 2:14-15).
In the shadow of this tragedy, however, our real strength as a people was clearly apparent to everyone watching the drama unfold. The local community and law enforcement response illustrated the best of our national character, consistent with our cultural heritage of compassion and belief in justice so clearly taught in Matthew 22:39 and Luke 10:25-37.
Unfortunately, the Boston attack brings back memories of Benghazi, both the individual heroism as well as the gross incompetence by our national leadership. Consider the following:
In Boston, by-standers did everything they could to bandage and care for victims without concern for their personal safety. Local first responders and law enforcement quickly arrived to provide life-saving aid and to secure the area. This same self-sacrificing action was shown by former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty as they evacuated personnel from diplomatic facilities in Benghazi. As we all know, they gave their lives defending against a prolonged terrorist attack that also took the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith.
But this is where the similarities between the Boston and Benghazi terrorist attacks come to an end.
In Boston, local police and federal law enforcement immediately secured the crime scene to gather as much forensic evidence as possible. In Benghazi, the FBI didn’t secure the “crime scene” until weeks later, practically ensuring that key evidence would be destroyed or lost.
In Boston, every security camera in the surrounding area was accessed to find evidence of who the perpetrators were. In addition, anyone with potentially relevant video or camera images was asked to contact authorities. In Benghazi, even though the Intelligence Community, State Department, and Administration observed the attack with real time video, it was months later that members of Congressional Intelligence Committees were allowed to see a few selected portions in closed hearings. Meanwhile, the general public still remains in the dark.
In Boston, eye witnesses were found and interviewed as quickly as possible, with results used to support the manhunt and also inform the public. In Benghazi, the thirty of so evacuees from the Consulate have never been publicly identified or allowed to be interviewed about the events of that tragic night.
In Boston, when the perpetrators were identified, photos were immediately released to the media for both the safety of the public and to assist law enforcement in apprehending the terrorists. In Benghazi, no compelling effort was taken to contain the terrorists in Libya, or apply national pressure to countries where several attackers eventually fled. Seven months have passed and still none have been apprehended (see Ecclesiastes 8:11 for consequences of delayed justice).
In Boston, the attackers were quickly identified as radicalized Muslims conducting a terrorist attack. Not only that, but detailed information is surfacing daily about their background and potential links to foreign operatives. In Benghazi, the Administration perpetuated for weeks the false narrative that a crude film incited the violence not organized terrorists.
Why the different reaction in Boston compared to Benghazi? It’s much more than domestic verses foreign soil; it’s moral courage verses political cowardice.
In Boston, immediate action came from the grassroots community of people, first responders, and law enforcement. It was swift, focused, and effective. There wasn’t time or incentive to be driven by political expediency, correctness, or someone’s public image.
In Benghazi, President Obama commanded the most capable military and intelligence gathering agencies in the world. Yet no security was provided after numerous requests for help; no assistance was sent once the attack began even though resources were available; no record of Obama’s activities during the attack is publically available; and no credible effort has been made to track down those responsible. If anything, this national tragedy has been dismissed as no longer of any relevance.
The brave men who sacrificed themselves to evacuate our citizens from Benghazi reflect what we cherish as a nation: self-sacrifice and doing what’s right. This strength was also on display in Boston. As an American, I’m proud of our courage in the face of evil and our willingness to do what’s right in spite of personal consequences.
But as a citizen sensitive to my responsibility towards government (1 Peter 2:13-17; Romans 13:7), I’m ashamed of our national leadership. The Benghazi fiasco is symptomatic of a president and administration consumed by political expediency and incompetent to be trusted in times of crisis.
Fortunately for those in Boston, aggressive local action was taken before the Obama Administration could assume complete control of the situation. Otherwise, who knows what politically convenient agenda this attack could have been used to promote. Unfortunately, that possibility still exists.
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