Yes, Libya needs to be part of the debate in the next presidential election. No, Benghazi isn’t the issue

REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Sen. Rand Paul’s applause lines at a candidate forum in New Hampshire on Saturday included his argument that Clinton’s actions in protecting Ambassador Stevens and other Americans in Benghazi amounted to dereliction of duty that disqualifies her from the presidency.

It’s coming.

With Hillary Clinton officially in the race for the White House, we’ll be hearing even more from Republicans about Benghazi, the Libyan city where U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed in 2012 on Clinton’s watch as secretary of state.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s applause lines at a candidate forum in New Hampshire on Saturday included his argument that Clinton’s actions in protecting Stevens and other Americans amounted to dereliction of duty that disqualifies her from the presidency.

Events in Libya do deserve a full airing. But Benghazi, already the subject of endless investigation, is not the issue. Rather, the questions that should be debated by those who would be president are: When should the United States intervene in another country? And if it does, how? We have plenty of recent examples, most of them bad. Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Two decades ago, it was Rwanda and Bosnia. 

Then there’s Libya.

While the Republican presidential hopefuls were gathered in New Hampshire, a boat carrying perhaps 700 refugees set off from the Libyan coast, bound for the southern islands of European Union member Italy. It capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, and it appears that most of them died. A week earlier, another boat carrying about 400 people went down in the Mediterranean, and most of them died, too. Already this year, about 1,500 are estimated to have died trying to make the crossing.

Also on Sunday, the Islamic State terror group released a new video Sunday showing what it said was the shooting or beheading of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. This follows a similar video released in February showing the beheading of Egyptian Christians.

Libya has virtually no capacity to stop such brutal executions, or the flood of refugees using it as a transit point to reach Europe. It’s not that Libya doesn’t have a government. It has two — but neither actually functions. Together with a bewildering array of militias, they spend most of their energy fighting each other. If Libya isn’t already a failed state, it’s awfully close.

This almost makes Muammar Gaddafi look good by comparison.

When Gaddafi started cracking down on protesters during the most dramatic days of  the Arab Spring four years ago, he quickly became a target. President Obama authorized airstrikes on an armored column to prevent Gaddafi’s military from retaking rebellious Benghazi and launching a massacre. The U.S. handed control over the air campaign to NATO, and the bombing continued until fall, when rebels captured Gaddafi and killed him. No foreign ground troops were used. 

At the time, it seemed like a promising way to get rid of tyrants — a careful “intervention lite” in which the U.S. and its allies could prevent the most egregious abuses without losing soldiers or billions of dollars in cash.

In the words of former Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller quoted here, Obama’s approach amounted to the following: “If we can, if there’s a moral case, if we have allies, and if we can transition out and not get stuck, we’ll move to help. The Obama doctrine is the ‘hedge your bets and make sure you have a way out’ doctrine. He learned from Afghanistan and Iraq.” 

But the intervention in Libya is now widely regarded as a failure. Even Obama regards the way he went about it as a mistake. 

Libyans were mostly left on their own to rebuild a political system that had revolved around Gaddafi for more than 40 years. While the U.S. was reacting to events in Libya rather than instigating them, Washington more or less expected Libyans to do what neo-cons expected of Iraqis after the fall of Saddam Hussein — pick up the pieces, sell a lot of oil, and build a democratic society.

That didn’t work in Iraq, and it didn’t work in Libya.

Obama told New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman last year that he still thinks it was right to intervene in Libya. But if he had it to do over again, he would opt for a more robust intervention that also would have helped put Libya back together.

That’s what the U.S. ultimately did in Iraq and Afghanistan, with results that are all too familiar. On the other hand, the lessons probably inform Obama’s decision not to intervene in Syria. 

In a speech last month, the former head of Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency traced Libya’s current problems to the decision not to get further involved early on. “Libya had no institutions,” said Sir John Sawers. “Who or what would take over? The answer? Those with the weapons. Result? Growing chaos, exploited by fanatics.“

Then, there is this analysis, that the mistake was intervening in Libya at all because the civilian deaths had been limited, the violence was coming to an end, and Gaddafi already was on his way out.

In focusing on Benghazi, Rand Paul was probably throwing red meat to the party faithful. But the libertarian-leaning Kentucky senator at least acknowledged a bigger question. If only to draw a contrast with some of his Republican rivals, he charged that they shared Clinton’s eagerness for foreign interventions.

When and how, in a world full of trouble, does an uneasy superpower intervene? Amidst the noise of a political campaign, that is a real question worthy of serious debate.

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Comments (50)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/20/2015 - 10:40 am.

    Benghazi is still an issue

    Because she lied. It not only goes to a pattern of behavior of Mrs. Clinton’s distant relationship with the truth, but she’s admitted that any emails regarding the Benghazi incident were on her personal mail server and were subsequently destroyed. Destroying evidence to cover up a crime involving national security is a felony. If it’s a serious enough offense for General Petraeus to be prosecuted, she should be.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/20/2015 - 11:20 am.

      Benghazi is still an ‘issue’ because Republicans will use any tragedy committed against Americans for any quantum of political or personal gain. Don’t forget, three thousand Americans were killed in their places of work under your guy’s watch, AND his “distant relationship with the truth.” Double-standards abound for the true believers.

  2. Submitted by Dick Virden on 04/20/2015 - 11:18 am.


    Mr. Porubcansky raises an important point. Unfortunately, Mr. Tester ignores it in favor of furthering an anti-Hillary crusade.

  3. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/20/2015 - 02:06 pm.

    Help me out here….

    If we rule out that Hillary called the Muslim terrorists and told them when to attack (I know this is hard for some out there to rule out) and instead we call her guilty on spinning the whole story for best PR: making up a bunch of “truthy like” talking points, not having the courage to spill them herself and instead pushing Susan Rice into going on all of the Sunday shows to cover up bad intelligence and poor execution with those talking points. If all that is true, is that not essentially the same thing that Colin Powell did for the Bush administration in front of the UN? I know, I know, we’re not allowed to historically compare post Obama with pre Obama; but, we have spent more time and resources investigating Benghazi than we did on any investigation into entire Iraq incursion. Again, is not the likely worst case Benghazi scenario essentially equivalent to the actual Powell UN speech, that we did not investigate in anyway?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/20/2015 - 02:43 pm.

      Biggest difference

      Albeit a subtle one is the difference between “spin” and “outright lies.” Secretary Powell passed on false intelligence when he spoke at the UN.

      There is also the bigger question of whose lies (or spin) killed more people.

  4. Submitted by joe smith on 04/20/2015 - 02:43 pm.

    There are a trail of Emails to State Dept asking for more security for Benghazi. It was Clinton’s job to evaluate those Emails and decide whether to add security, close or move operations. 4 American’s died on her decision. That is an issue.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/20/2015 - 03:49 pm.


      I agree that if the State Department did not provide proper resources for our delegation in Libya and 4 people died that is an issue to investigate. Would you agree that known false information was passed from the State Department to the UN and the rest of the world and this false information was used to justify an invasion that resulted in 4000 American deaths, 100,000 Iraqi deaths and 2 trillion dollars lost in the fight and that should also be investigated? Which investigation should we pursue with greatest urgency? I would suggest we should undertake investigations to help prevent future repetitions. If you had to prioritize, would you try to prevent 4000 deaths or 4? Republican investigations have nothing to do with accountability and/or learning to prevent repetition. They solely are political attack vehicles and their sponsors care far more about party politics than the welfare of our country

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/20/2015 - 04:07 pm.

      There is a lack of money

      Congress has consistently failed to fund security at diplomatic missions. The State Department under both the Bush and Obama administrations has always asked for more money than Congress is willing to spend.

      It is unclear how farup the chain of command the requests for more security went.

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 04/20/2015 - 10:56 pm.


      The use of an apostrophe when you are just trying to make something plural is an issue.

  5. Submitted by joe smith on 04/20/2015 - 05:06 pm.

    If the money wasn’t available for proper protection pull our people of of Benghazi. Clinton was in charge of State Dept who was in charge of embassy security, it was her call. There is no doubt they sent out Rice with talking points that were not truthful, that is not a big issue with me, 4 Americans dying is!

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 04/20/2015 - 10:53 pm.

      Embassy security

      If your concern is embassy security, you should be praising Clinton and the Obama administration. Under Bush, there were 13 embassy attacks resulting in 60 deaths! And that’s nothing compared to the hundreds killed under the grossly incompetent Reagan administration.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/22/2015 - 02:46 pm.

        Zero instances where Bush ignored documented, desperate requests for increased security.
        Bush never sent a minion out on the Sunday talk show circuit to tell a ridiculous lie.
        Under Bush, there was no ISIS, and Al Queda had no combat capability after Desert Storm.
        Bush never ordered reinforcements to stand down.
        Reinforcements never had to pay for their transportation to the fight out of their own pockets.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/22/2015 - 03:08 pm.


          “Zero instances where Bush ignored documented, desperate requests for increased security.”

          Osama Bin Laden determined to Strike in US

          The 2nd sentence made me laugh.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/22/2015 - 03:29 pm.

          Zero instances where Bush ignored

          What was it President Bush said to the CIA briefer who warned him that Bin Laden was determined to strike in the US? That was sometime in August of 2001, wasn’t it? He said something about covering something?

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/22/2015 - 03:45 pm.

            Well, I wasn’t there (neither were you), but maybe this had something to do with that


            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/22/2015 - 04:04 pm.

              I can easily imagine you using Mr. Ijaz as a club to beat Hillary with, given his connections to her AND his connections to the Muslim world.

              Regardless, your 14 year-old op-ed from a civilian hedge-fund manager doesn’t hold water in light of:

              “Capturing bin Laden had been an objective of the U.S. government from the presidency of Bill Clinton until his death in 2011.[55] Ijaz asserted that in 1996, prior to bin Laden’s expulsion from Sudan, the Sudanese government allegedly offered to arrest and extradite him to the United States. Khartoum’s offer included detailed intelligence about the growing militancy of Hezbollah, Hamas, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, among other groups operating in the region. Ijaz further asserted that U.S. authorities allegedly rejected each offer despite knowing of bin Laden’s involvement in training terrorists in Somalia, some of whom were allegedly involved in supporting militia members that downed U.S. Black Hawk helicopters in Mogadishu in October 1993.[36] Any evidence of bin Laden’s involvement in criminal activity against U.S. interests, such as training militia members who attacked U.S. troops in 1993, could have been grounds for indicting him far before Sudan expelled the Saudi fugitive in May 1996.

              However, the 9/11 Commission found that although “former Sudanese officials claim that Sudan offered to expel bin Laden to the United States”, “… we have not found any reliable evidence to support the Sudanese claim.”[56] Amb. Carney reportedly had instructions only to press the Sudanese to expel bin Laden because the U.S. government had no legal basis (i.e., no indictment outstanding) to ask the Sudanese for further action.[57] In August 1998, two years after the warnings, the U.S. launched cruise missile strikes against Khartoum in retaliation for the East Africa embassy bombings.[58]”

  6. Submitted by Doug Gray on 04/20/2015 - 06:48 pm.

    the bottom line

    By the time anyone in the military or Washington, DC knew anything about Benghazi it was too late to do much about it except send in the paramedics. As long as the US has interests it wants to protect in dangerous parts of the world, US diplomats are going to die and be killed. I knew some of those whose names are now on the memorial wall at Foggy Bottom.

    Between executive, intelligence community and Congressional CYA and the relative insanity of the last few weeks of a Presidential election, a lot of manure was set in motion. Naturally it flowed downhill, costing several mid-level officials their careers. That is no more forgivable than is disgracefully using the latest tragic deaths of dedicated US diplomats for partisan political ends.

    I certainly don’t recall any similar hoopla over the deaths of US diplomats and Marines in Beirut, for instance.

  7. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/20/2015 - 08:00 pm.

    Oh, the outrage!

    Let’s put Benghazi outrage into a little perspective. The estimated annual deaths in the US due to radon gas is estimated at 21,000 per year. An investigative report in Stars and Stripes pointed out that military housing has a much higher rate of radon, mold and mildew contamination than civilian housing. The math on this shows we are just standing by as nearly 100 members of the military die every year because of sub standard housing conditions. How many politicians have been seen railing on cable TV over these 100 dead soldiers? How many congressional investigations been undertaken to get to the bottom of this problem? ZERO, NADA, ZIP. Both parties share in this; but, the Republican Benghazi investigation is this problem on steroids: why fix dull real problems when you can preen on TV over much less impactful, sensational problems.

  8. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/20/2015 - 08:19 pm.

    To call the outpost in Benghazi a State Department operation is an exceedingly ignorant.

    What do you think they were doing there–issuing visas and handing out brochures?

    It was a largely CIA post with dozens of agents in Benghazi.

    Reportedly rounding up weapons for Syrian rebels–denied by teh CIA.

    But it WAS a CIA operation.

    Now who protects the CIA agents?

    Do they will want a high-profile.

  9. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/20/2015 - 08:35 pm.

    A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

    The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

    The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

  10. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/20/2015 - 08:45 pm.


    What’s a bigger issue: flunking a test or lying to one’s parents about it? I don’t know and I don’t care; the main thing I wouldn’t want that person to be my president.

    Mr. Ecklund, Mr. Blaise, Mr. Holbrook, where is the evidence that Bush and Powell lied (meaning knowingly telling the untruth)?

    But Mr. Porubcansky’s case for calling Libya a failure and a disaster is compelling (if obvious) – it is for sure a much bigger deal than Benghazi itself since it was so easy to predict. And it led to Benghazi.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/21/2015 - 09:34 am.

      Evidence aplenty

      We know that in the first months of Bush’s first term, prior to 9/11, Bush was looking for a reason to invade Iraq, which he later denied. The Bush administration repeatedly claimed that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, even though they were repeatedly briefed that Saddam Hussein and Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. The Bush administration repeatedly claimed that Iraq had a secret and widespread WMD program, including a nuclear program. Cheney also stated on live television that Iraq “is actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time.” Cheney also states “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends…and against us.” Powell directly presented false information to the UN security council when he claimed Iraq was attempting to obtain yellowcake from niger (similar claims about the attempted purchase of aluminium tubes used in fuel enrichment are also debunked). The yellowcake lie also made it into the SOTU address. This affair led to Dick Cheney publicly outing an undercover CIA operative as revenge. They also emphatically told everyone the war be over in weeks, maybe months.

      This is just between 01 and 02. Don’t forget that the administration was advised and comprised of such trustworthy folk as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Ken Lay, Scooter Libby, George Tennet, Paul Wolfowitz, Alberto Gonzalez, etc etc etc.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/22/2015 - 02:27 pm.

        “C.I.A. Is Said to Have Bought and Destroyed Iraqi Chemical Weapons”

        And those were the ones that weren’t moved out of the country.

        Bush was right.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/22/2015 - 02:44 pm.

          Of course he was right!

          The Iraqis bought yellowcake uranium to make chemical weapons that were useless years before the uranium was purchased. It all makes sense now.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/22/2015 - 03:05 pm.

          We’ve been over this already.

          You posted this exact same link back in February, in the comments section of:

          Subsequently, Eric Paul Jacobsen makes an excellent reply. I highly recommend reading it:
          “I checked out that article you linked to.
          Here’s a key paragraph:

          ‘These munitions were remnants of an Iraqi special weapons program that was abandoned long before the 2003 invasion, and they turned up sporadically during the American occupation in buried caches, as part of improvised bombs or on black markets.”

          The article refers back to an earlier article, published in 2014. This article provides more detail, so here’s a link:

          And here are some more key paragraphs:

          “The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.

          After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Bush insisted that Mr. Hussein was hiding an active weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of international will and at the world’s risk. United Nations inspectors said they could not find evidence for these claims.

          Then, during the long occupation, American troops began encountering old chemical munitions in hidden caches and roadside bombs. Typically 155-millimeter artillery shells or 122-millimeter rockets, they were remnants of an arms program Iraq had rushed into production in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.

          All had been manufactured before 1991, participants said. Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all. Some were empty, though many of them still contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin. Most could not have been used as designed, and when they ruptured dispersed the chemical agents over a limited area, according to those who collected the majority of them.

          In case after case, participants said, analysis of these warheads and shells reaffirmed intelligence failures. First, the American government did not find what it had been looking for at the war’s outset, then it failed to prepare its troops and medical corps for the aged weapons it did find.

          During the Iraq war, at least 17 American service members and seven Iraqi police officers were exposed to aging chemical weapons abandoned years earlier.

          These weapons were not part of an active arsenal. They were remnants from Iraq’s arms program in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.”

          These were not “weapons of mass destruction.” They were, in fact, heaps of dangerous junk filled with highly poisonous hazardous waste. The fact that Saddam never used these weapons against our troops should have been a tip-off.”

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/22/2015 - 03:54 pm.

            Sometimes, three times a charm.

            From the article I’ve linked two twice:

            “Many rockets were in poor condition and some were empty or held a nonlethal liquid, the officials said. But others contained the nerve agent sarin, which analysis showed to be purer than the intelligence community had expected given the age of the stock.”

            I’m not sure that “Oh, those were old WMD” qualifies as a defense.

            It’s been speculated (we’ll never know now) that Saddam moved much of his WMD arsenal to Syria. Oddly enough, Sarin has been showing up there recently, in, wait for it, acts of mass destruction.


            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/22/2015 - 04:09 pm.

              Sometimes, but not this time.

              The article references the 2013 chemical weapons attack that the Assad regime allegedly (I believe it was them, obviously) made against it’s own citizens and rebels. This is what led to Vladimir Putin negotiating the removal of chemical weapons from Syria. Since then, it’s the ‘barrel bombs’ that the Assad regime has been deploying that have grabbed much of the headlines.

              Iraq isn’t even mentioned in the article.

        • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 04/23/2015 - 12:45 pm.


          If this proved Bush right, he would have made that argument himself. But as dishonest as he was, Bush knew that no one with even a basic understanding of the situation would take him seriously.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/21/2015 - 09:38 am.

      A few I forgot

      During the presidential debates with Gore, Bush claimed that American troops should not be used for nation building.

      Bush also emphatically stated “We Do Not Torture.” (we do).

      The administration also claimed they had no advance warning of the attacks, despite increased intel chatter prior to 9/11 and the “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US” brief presented to President Bush 36 days prior to 9/11.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/21/2015 - 01:04 pm.

      Words fail me

      Honestly, they do. Mr. Gutman, if you still don’t understand that Secretary Powell was not telling the truth when he spoke to the UN, then there is nothing anyone can say.

      Except, perhaps, to tell you that the dictionary definition of “lie” is “to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive,” or “to create a false or misleading impression.”

    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/22/2015 - 07:24 am.


      Is this performance art?

  11. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/21/2015 - 07:56 am.

    Under the Obama administration the Middle East has exploded. Iran is on the move in Yemen and Iraq. Syria is a free fire zone. Libya is in ruins.

    It may well be that Hillary is never called to account for the loss of our Embassy, Ambassador and his security team, but another self-serving incompetent in the White House is clearly the last thing we need.

    • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 04/21/2015 - 01:01 pm.

      “another self-serving incompetent in the White House is clearly the last thing we need”

      Well that eliminates the entire Republican field.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/21/2015 - 05:10 pm.

      What “Embassy?”

      There was no “embassy” in Benghazi. Embassies are in national capitals (in this case, Tripoli).

      Hillary Clinton has taken personal responsibility for the attack. No, she hasn’t been dragged into the street and lynched, so that is probably not sufficient for you. On the other hand, yet another hearing held by Rep. Issa, the King of the Self- Serving Incompetents, isn’t going to prove anything else.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/22/2015 - 02:33 pm.

        Consulate.I’m confused, RB.


        I’m confused, RB. How, exactly, does “At this point, what does it matter?” constitute “taking personal responsibility”?

        Her conduct vis-a-vis her email pretty much discounts any credibility she might have ever had regarding her behavior as SOS, the plundering she and Bill did through their “Foundation” is simply more evidence of unfitness we didn’t even need.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/22/2015 - 02:43 pm.

          Lashing out

          She took responsibility before a Congressional hearing.

          Did someone once tell you “if you like your talking points, you can keep your talking points?”

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/22/2015 - 02:58 pm.

            Just so I understand your position, RB.

            When asked directly if she knew from the beginning the attack was not a “protest”, but a deliberate terrorist attack, “At this point, what difference does it make?” was not uttered by Hillary Clinton, at a Congressional hearing.

            And that, to you, constitutes taking responsibility.

            Please correct me where I’ve gotten it wrong.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/22/2015 - 03:17 pm.

              Where you’ve gotten it wrong

              You are ignoring 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. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/22/2015 - 07:21 am.

      Hyperbole much?

      Do you want to count how many times in history that the Middle East has exploded? It would be easier to count how many years it’s been peaceful. Honest to god, you people act like prior to January 209, the world was just a peaceful sunny glade on a warm summers day.
      By the way, Hillary already testified…5 investigations, thousands of emails, millions of dollars and still no smoking gun…which is the ONLY thing you people are interested in.
      So, when do the investigations of the following start?

      2002 – U.S Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan attacked 10 killed.
      2004- U.S. Embassy Bombed in Uzbekistan 2 killed, 9 injured.
      2004- Gunmen stormed U.S. Consulate in Saudi Arabia 8 killed.
      2006 Armed Men attacked U.S. Embassy in Syria 1 killed.
      2007- Grenade launched into U.S. Embassy in Athens.
      2008 Rioters set fire to U.S. Embassy in Serbia.
      2008- Bombings at U.S. Embassy in Yemen 10 killed.

      Yeah, Swift…the Middle East was a garden spot prior to Obama.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/22/2015 - 02:18 pm.

        The butcher’s bill from all those years does not equal 1 ISIS mass murder. Syria, Yemen and Iraq no longer exist for all intents and purposes. Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy war that is escalating.

        All of that has occurred under Obama.

        Clinton proved she couldn’t even handle a violent riot, and completely botched her responsibility to deal with Russia. She’s a recipe for disaster.

        It’s so bad, even you can’t shovel enough sand to bury it, Myron.

        Sorry, but there it is.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 04/24/2015 - 07:42 pm.

        Let’s get some perspective here

        Seventeen Americans killed on April 18, 1983, when terrorists rammed a truck bomb into the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, followed by the October 23, 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, which killed over 200 Marines.

        Each by itself was a more serious disaster than Benghazi, and taken together, they were catastrophic.

        This was during the Reagan administration. I was already an adult at that time, and while Democrats criticized Reagan and Secretary of State George Schultz, they did not harp on the incidents year after year after year and hold committee meeting after committee meeting. This was during Reagan’s first term, and I don’t even remember them bringing these incidents up during the 1984 campaign.

        My grandmother had an Old Country proverb: “If you want to beat a dog, you can always find a stick.” Benghazi is the stick that the Republicans have chosen to beat up on Hillary Clinton.

        I don’t even like Hillary Clinton (she would be my last choice for the Democratic nomination), but I sense desperation in the continual Republican efforts to make a mountain out of this incident.

        With the obvious exception of the relatives of the victims, no one in the general public cares about the Benghazi incident except the Fox News/AM radio crowd, who have been relentlessly propagandized to think of it as the worst thing since 9/11.

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 04/23/2015 - 12:48 pm.


      ISIS is the natural consequence of Bush’s Iraq invasion and the power vacuum it left. The consequences of Bush’s incompetent foreign policy will be felt for decades. Obama is just the first guy cleaning up the mess

  12. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/21/2015 - 06:51 pm.

    What is a lie and what is not

    Mr. Ecklund, Mr. Holbrook, all you are stating as facts are either not facts but someone’s opinion or there is no proof that it was done deliberately and knowingly. If I read a weather forecast for tomorrow and then tell you that it will be sunny and, surprise, surprise, it rains all next day, I did not lie to you – I told you the truth to the best of my knowledge. When Powell was presenting the evidence to the UN, that was what he believed to be the truth (and actually, most others, including Clinton, Biden, and Kerry) believed it as well, since most intelligence services in the world estimated that Saddam did have a WMD program) so he cannot be accused of telling lies.

    Mr. Huntley, I wonder if you consider Syria, Libya, and Yemen success stories competently accomplished by the current President..

  13. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/22/2015 - 09:07 pm.

    Bush bashing

    It looks like blaming Bush is a liberal obsession (of course they can say the same about Obama and Republicans but the difference is that the last time Bush made any decisions for a country was more than 6 years ago). Anyway, the security briefing about Osama determined to strike the US was absolutely useless at that time without specific information. Interestingly, even if it said that Osama is determined to strike by hijacking airplanes with the use of box cutters, it would have been equally useless because no one would have tolerated taking away all sharp objects from all passengers with no apparent reason and liberals would have been the first to scream “discrimination” if Bush ordered profiling Muslims in airports.

    Mr. Gray, Mr. Blaise, it is very difficult to determine whether it was possible to do something to prevent the Benghazi tragedy. But it is very easy to see a cover up Susan Rice was sent on…

    Mr. Holbrook, the definition of lie is, as you said, “is “to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive,” or “to create a false or misleading impression.” But if one believes what he is saying, he does not have“intent to deceive” or “to create a false impression.” All I am saying is that Powell believed what he was saying at that time and, therefore, was not telling a lie. I also wonder what, in your opinion, Ms. Clinton meant when she said that she had taken personal responsibility for the attack… It’s like “I am responsible and now I want to be your president…”

    Mr. Ecklund, I wish I could see your posts that were not allowed… but to sum up what I was saying, there is no proof that Bush (or anyone in his administration) KNOWINGLY said something that they knew was wrong. They might have said what they believed was true or what they hoped would be true but that does not constitute a lie by definition.

    Mr. Willemssen, are you paying attention to how Obama and Clinton are being defended here no matter what?

  14. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 04/27/2015 - 10:41 pm.

    Here Here

    Has anyone asked why we went into Libya? Obama apologizes for breaking the country, but it was necessary. Why? Was any legitimate reason ever given? Hillary sayz “We came. We saw. He died.” ISIS of current infamy and excuse for warmongering much derived from said rebels supported by Obama, Europe, pretty much all republicons at the time.

    Prevailing theory, Qadaffi was advocating for an all African currency based on gold, the Dinar. Same reason we blew up Ukraine, to hobble Russia with sanctions, and BRICS nations esp China from forming an alternative currency. The Dollar reigns supreme.

    Except for all that debt and ecological blowback. Oops.

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