SALT LAKE CITY, May 10, 2013 — Some liberals want to damn conservatives for their outrage over the Benghazi attacks, contrasting it to their unconcern about waging war in Iraq.
There is no comparison. The argument, for sake of entertainment, is that Republican hawks took the US to war against Iraq under false pretenses, where thousands of Americans died. They never came clean about the motives for war, and even lied to American people to justify the invasion.
But the Obama administration has mislead to a degree far more dangerous than most in the media are willing to admit.
Those same liberals say that President Obama and members of his administration didn’t lie about the events in Benghazi last September 11; rather, they simply didn’t not have information about why the attacks on the American consulate compound had been launched. They revealed the truth as they learned it. There is no more to discuss.
Conservative anger over the Benghazi affair, they maintain, is feigned. If they were so nonchalant about war in 2003 and onward, and didn’t see any deception, then their indignation over Benghazi is manufactured for political theater.
But several things make the latter affair a huge scandal. For the sake of argument, suppose that all the reasons expressed for launching Operation Iraqi Freedom were based on deception. Then the Clinton administration and a majority of both houses of Congress were in on it, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her successor, John Kerry.
In Iraq, a quasi-state of war was in effect ever since 1991, since it had repeatedly violated terms of the cease fire after Desert Storm. In 2002, the UN affirmed that military action was possible. The distinction means everything.
In Benghazi, a state of normal diplomatic relations was in force when para-military forces attacked our diplomats and murdered the US Ambassador, Chris Stevens. The administration immediately told a story of the attack that controverted what they knew. In common parlance, that’s a lie.
Even if the war was unjustified, nobody lied. Nobody covered anything up. Quite the opposite — the Iraq war was debated for many months in Congress, in the media, and in international bodies. Liberals would prefer to ignore the fact that Congress voted 77 – 23 in the Senate and 297 – 133 in the House. Even after the invasion commenced, the Left continued the debate. Who can forget, Joe Wilson, who made the rounds ad nauseum trying to convince Americans that the war was based on falsehoods.
After the murders in Libya, the administration acted hastily to establish a storyline. It is not as if a junior diplomat simply gave her best guess to queries about the cause of the attack in Libya. To the contrary, UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on a whirlwind tour of five talk shows in one day to sell the story and prematurely cut off any questions about the attack.
It was a highly choreographed and well planned public relations mission that she executed like a pro.
As members of the media, the opposition party, and the public began asking questions, the Obama administration shut down all debate. No Joe Wilson would make rounds trying to expose the truth. No extended congressional debate would be forthcoming.
The bottom line in Iraq was, “we went to war for reasons x, y, and z. We believed the totality of the evidence supported our decision.”
In Libya it has been “our diplomats were killed, and the details surrounding those murders are inconvenient for us. Now stop asking questions.”
If the left-wing media showed even a fraction of the curiosity to this that they have displayed regarding supposed lies by Republicans, we’d get to the bottom of the Benghazi affair quickly.
In the meantime, the failure of the Obama administration represents misdeeds far worse than anything related to the Iraq War. Susan Rice, it appears, knowingly told as many people as she could something that simply wasn’t true. Hillary Clinton tried to dismiss any questions because, after the Ambassador was killed, it didn’t make any difference to her. And the president himself seems painfully unaware and unconcerned about basic breakdowns in communication and protocol in the Defense and State Departments.
If all this is possible during normal, peaceful relations with a country, then what might happen during war?
So those liberals who still harbor resentment about Iraq over a decade ago, how about a little curiosity about the terrible events of last fall?
Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the “Rich Like Me” political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic Training; Tunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative.
He also blogs at http://my-public-affairs.blogspot.com/
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