Meadville Tribune

Local News

December 1, 2012

SUNDAY ISSUE: Benghazi attack



Benghazi wasn’t a tragedy. It was a crime and an act of terrorism against the United States that Obama and his surrogates originally tried to blame on a YouTube video. Understanding what happened and why is important.

Four State Department employees are dead, including the first U.S. ambassador to be killed on the job since the Jimmy Carter era, and all the Obama administration and most of the media can do is scold Republicans for asking too many questions.

How best to explain the remarkable lack of curiosity from Democrats over the Benghazi attacks? It’s certainly odd to hear people such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sound so adamant in his opposition to a congressional investigation.

Reid struck a much different tone over an arguably far less significant Washington “scandal” that captured the national media’s imaginations for months in 2007: the Bush administration’s dismissal of seven U.S. attorneys.

Never mind that U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president.

The firings were “political.” The ensuing chorus of outrage from Congress and the press led Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign on Aug. 27, 2007.

Reid wasn’t satisfied. “This resignation is not the end of the story,” he said. “Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House.”

The facts led nowhere in particular in 2007. The entire congressional investigation was a political dog and pony show intended only to embarrass the White House. And double standards are nothing new in Washington.

Would an investigation of the Obama administration’s response to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi be different? Maybe not. Is the question of whether the White House shaped its talking points to fit a campaign agenda beyond the pale simply because the election is over? Will the CIA and the State Department ever get their stories straight? Who gave that “stand down” order anyway? We may never know.

Will the media ever rediscover their curiosity? Definitely -- just as soon as another Republican is elected president. What a pity.

(Ben Boychuk is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’ s City Journal. Joel Mathis is a writer in Philadelphia. Email or


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