Now that the truth has finally surfaced by way of the January 15, 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report, we see that al Qaeda affiliated networks were indeed responsible for the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The finding stands in stark contrast to the yarns fed to us by President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the administration at large, suggesting a video, not al Qaeda, inspired those attacks.
The Obama administration should be held accountable, as Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a January 15 press release, because "high-ranking administration officials, including the President himself, repeatedly cast doubt on the nature of the attack, at times attributing it to the reaction to an anti-Islamic video and to a spontaneous demonstration that escalated into violence."
So close to the 2012 elections, it is no surprise that Obama and Hillary would steer clear of any mention of the "approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ [al Qaeda} training camps within Benghazi" mentioned in the Senate report because it didn't fit into Democrat talking points. CNS News reports after the Benghazi attacks, Obama offered some variation of either al Qaeda was decimated or it was on the path to defeat at least 32 times. No wonder then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton caught what former Rep. Allen West called the "Benghazi Flu," which caused her to faint prior to her scheduled testimony.
In truth, al Qaeda, which Obama claimed was "decimated," is more powerful today than "any time in its history," according to a recent CNN report. Experts now agree Obama's speedy withdrawal from Iraq contributed to al Qaeda's resurgence along with the Iraqi government's repression of Sunnis.
Democrats have long-hailed leaving Iraq as one of Obama's top foreign policy accomplishments. For them, ending the war "responsibly" equated to packing up war toys and going home. Quitting was foolish, heartless and terribly shortsighted, seeing that our absence seems to have inspired al Qaeda et al to spread like a kudzu vine, creeping across the region and choking out life along the way, including in Benghazi. Like kudzu or cancer, the only solution for al Qaeda is total eradication.
And yes, we could have stayed in Iraq. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recently told NPR top Iraqi officials say we left Iraq because "Obama did not want to stay in Iraq." More damning is a New York Times (NYT) October 21, 2011 article claiming unnamed American officials privately told NYT the administration made "a severe tactical mistake" that botched the status of forces agreement process, "ending any possibility of keeping American troops in Iraq." It also claims "two White House officials" opinions "prevailed over those of the military," and decisions were made based on intelligence assessments "that Iraq was not at great risk of slipping into chaos in the absence of American forces."
And two short years later, chaos reigns in Iraq and much of the Middle East. Last year in Iraq alone, upwards of 8800 died. Last week, militants took control of the government buildings in Fallujah and Ramadi that American blood and treasure helped to liberate years back and just a few days ago, 65 people were killed and 80 were wounded.
As al Qaeda's black flag rises across Iraq and the Middle East, we come to understand what happens when an American president abdicates his leadership role in world affairs. Evil gains a foothold and the world becomes a much more dangerous place.
From prematurely pulling out troops in Iraq to explosive events in Benghazi, this administration views everything through a political lens. But more than politics is required from an American president. Telling the truth would be a good start. And yes, Hillary, the truth about Benghazi really does matter. With that in mind, you may want to get another flu shot.
Susan Stamper Brown is an opinion page columnist who writes about politics, the economy and culture. Email Susan at [email protected] or her website at susanstamperbrown.com Be the first to join the conversation at her newly created Facebook page.
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