Today while perusing my Facebook I stumbled upon a little image of Hillary Clinton’s face, photo-shopped onto a mans body in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, stating in big bold letters that Hillary Clinton should “be a convict, not a candidate!” Implying that she should be imprisoned for the Benghazi incident instead of considering a run for President in 2016. I then made the mistake of reading through the vitriolic comments that went along with the picture; comments like “Never forget Benghazi!” and “Her and Pelosi and Obama should all be in prison!” and “That bitch should burn in hell!” These are some of the nicer comments too… (I will leave out the racist rants about Obama living in the “Black” house… Their words, not mine…)
It seems whenever I stumble upon some sort of Conservative / Republican propaganda piece like this, the comments section is inevitably filled with beyond hateful comments, along with strange racist ravings. But what struck me is how many times Benghazi was brought up by these people, with no actual explanation as to why they are mad. To them, it was simply a rallying call. It truly makes me wonder if these lunatics (I am no longer going to refrain from calling them what they are) even know what Benghazi was all about? I hear them quote Hillary saying “It doesn’t matter!” as if she actually said that in some attempt to make light of the 4 American citizens that died in that horrendous attack. Obviously they have no regard or care for context, which is typical from the Fox News types.
I will be the first to admit that I didn’t really pay much attention to Benghazi when it happened. It was just another horrible event happening in the Middle East bundled together with many other horrible events happening in the Middle East. However I did notice that the Republicans were making quite a stink over it. It wasn’t until today however, after reading the insane ramblings of the Right, that I finally decided to do a little research into the subject.
What Happened in Benghazi?
I won’t go into an extreme amount of detail regarding the situation, however I will describe it a bit. This incident was apparently an organized terrorist attack on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya (obviously…) by armed militants. The attack on the main Embassy lasted around an hour and a half, and adding in the attack on the CIA annex afterward, the entire attack lasted about 2 hours. During this attack, 4 United States citizens were killed, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone S. Woods. Yes, it was a horrible event. Yes, there were mistakes made regarding increasing security. But does this mean that Hillary Clinton and the entire Obama administration are criminally responsible for this terrorist attack? The truth, is that Republicans HAVE to latch onto Benghazi, because it’s all they have. They have no other way to attack Democrats except for bogus scandals and false information about the Affordable Care Act, which is why, after more than a year, they are still screaming and yelling about Benghazi. Yes, it was a terrible tragedy, but give me a break.
Now let’s take a look at similar incidents that happened while George W. Bush was president. Have we already forgotten the most devastating attack to ever happen on American soil? On 9/11 not only were two skyscrapers demolished with the people inside, but the center of our country’s military and intelligence, the Pentagon, was attacked right under our government’s noses. Do the Republicans honestly expect anyone to believe that they had no idea that terrorists were planning an attack of such a scale on American soil? And they say Hillary Clinton dropped the ball with Benghazi??? If that’s true, then they must have dropped the entire bucket of balls! Almost 3,000 people were killed on 9/11 with 10,000 injured, and the Republicans want to latch onto an attack that killed 4 people?
Anyway, let’s pretend that 9/11 was a fluke and that our government had absolutely no idea that an attack of that scale was being planned. With the rhetoric being spouted by the Republicans about Benghazi, surely there were never any attacks on our Embassies during Bush’s presidency… Unfortunately, it just isn’t so. There were a total of 13 Embassy attacks similar or worse than Benghazi under Bush’s reign.
January 22, 2002 – Calcutta, India: Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.
June 14, 2002 – Karachi, Pakistan: Suicide bomber connected with al Qaeda attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.
October 12, 2002 – Denpasar, Indonesia: U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of “Bali Bombings.” No fatalities.
February 28, 2003 – Islamabad, Pakistan: Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.
May 12, 2003 – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Armed al Qaeda terrorists storm the diplomatic compound, killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.
July 30, 2004 – Tashkent, Uzbekistan: A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.
December 6, 2004 – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Al Qaeda terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.
March 2, 2006 – Karachi, Pakistan:A suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers.
September 12, 2006 – Damascus, Syria: Four armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.
January 12, 2007 – Athens, Greece: Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.
March 18, 2008 – Sana’a, Yemen: Members of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.
July 9, 2008 – Istanbul, Turkey:Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.
September 17, 2008 – Sana’a, Yemen: Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.
Tell me, where was the Republican outrage after these attacks? Was anyone on the Republican side even aware of these attacks? They certainly don’t seem to be aware of them when they are ranting and raving about Benghazi. For all of the “never forget” stickers that you see being touted on cars for the Republican side about 9/11, their memories certainly seem to get a bit cloudy when they have a Democrat of some esteem in their sites. Let’s not forget the bogus war on Iraq (with an astronomical death toll), who, it turns out, didn’t have any WMDs after all!
“It doesn’t matter!” – Hillary Clinton?
One other thing regarding this issue that I keep hearing, and that I really have to address, is the assertion that Hillary Clinton supposedly said “It doesn’t matter!” regarding Benghazi. Again, the truth, is that these words never even left her lips. Let’s take a look at the actual statement, (gasp) in context:
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information.”
So… Seeing the actual statement in context makes a huge different. While the Republicans were busy trying to spin it so Hillary Clinton looks like a war-monger who didn’t care about American lives, what she actually said, was that the terrorist’s reasons for attacking the Benghazi facility didn’t matter. She didn’t even say “it doesn’t matter” she said “what difference does it make?” They can’t even get their quotes right! And really, what difference DOES it make why the terrorists attacked? They are terrorists for Christ’s sake! If they said they were attacking for political reasons or because of some Youtube video, would it really have made a difference? Either way, a problem was presented with Benghazi that needed to be addressed, no matter what the terrorist’s reasoning behind the attack was. Nothing Hillary Clinton said in that phrase gave even a slight impression that she didn’t care about the American citizens that were killed in Benghazi. But does it matter to Republicans? Not in the least… They have a (mis)quote and they aren’t letting go of it unless you “pry it from their cold, dead, hands!” (to quote another belligerent Republican.)
So does Hillary Clinton share any blame for Benghazi? Sure she does! She, herself, has claimed responsibility several times. She’s stated multiple times that she should have been given the reports about security issues in Benghazi, which is more than any Republican has done for 9/11 or the 13 Benghazi-like attacks that happened under Republican watch. Does this mean she deserves to be crucified like many Republicans are calling for? To any Republican saying that I’ll ask; Does George W. Bush deserve to be imprisoned for 9/11? How about the whole WMD debacle? How about the 13 Embassy attacks that happened under his watch? Does Dick Cheney? Does Condoleezza Rice? If not, then why does Hillary Clinton when the loss of lives for her mistake were far, far, less than the loss of lives because of theirs? Why has this been turned into a lynching rather than a chance to fix lapses in security and to fix administration holes that we are now aware of? The answer: Because Republicans know that if Hillary Clinton runs in 2016 she will win, and it terrifies them. Because Republicans need something to latch on to. Today, I was asked why I would support Hillary Clinton in 2016, I’ll give three of the main reasons that speak to me:
- She was the most active Secretary of State in U.S. History, repairing relationships with several foreign countries that were damaged under the Bush administration. She visited Myanmar, which no Secretary of State has done in 50 years, and some say even helped to avert an all-out war with Arab militants in the area surrounding Israel.
- She is a staunch supporter of equality for women
- She is a staunch supporter of equality for members of the LGBT community
Besides all of that, she is a strong, intelligent, woman who can stand toe-to-toe in the American political system and isn’t afraid to share her opinion. Maybe, deep down, this is why the Republicans are so afraid of her? As for me, I think it goes without saying that if Hillary runs in 2016, she’ll have my vote, as will any Democrat that runs for the House and Senate in 2014. It’s time to get rid of the Republican trash that has been clogging up the system since the Bush era, and to finally get our nation and our economy back on track.
(Written By: James Garcia 11/6/2013)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/13-benghazis-that-occurre_b_3246847.html (Huffpost article on Embassy attacks similar to Benghazi)
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/may/08/context-hillary-clintons-what-difference-does-it-m/ (transcript of the senate hearing concerning Hillary’s “it doesn’t matter” quote)