Friday, May 10, 2013

On Benghazi, Truth, and Accountability

There are noisy calls for action on Benghazi coming from some groups. The knee-jerk reaction to this from opposing groups is to point out the Bush era parallels. I admit, this was my own first though, but before hitting "post" I thought better of it. Countering the Benghazi truth demanders with "et tu quoque" does nothing to advance either one's argument or the truth. Instead, each group has a responsibility to ignore fallacies and actually examine what lies beyond.

Those calling for the truth about Benghazi and for those reponsible for any sort of coverup (or for denying the calls for protection) to be held accountable must realize that throughout almost 8 years of the Bush presidency, truth and accountability were woefully lacking. Thankfully, with almost 12 years of hindsight, we can realize that the hue and cry about (1) WMD and (2) Iraqi support of Al Qaeda were at best bad intelligence and at worst purposefully doctored intelligence that served the purpose of convincing the American people to go to war in Iraq. Add torture and the ignoring (a nice term that could be construed as "breaking") of international law to the mix, and you've got probable cause for charging many in the military and Bush's cabinet/advisors with crimes against humanity. For those calling for truth in Bengazi, they simply cannot ignore this.

For the defenders of the Obama administration's response to Benghazi, however, they cannot simply reply with "well look at Bush!" There is ample evidence of at least a coverup of the "talking points" to downplay the role of terrorism in Benghazi. This should not be swept under the rug by deflecting back to the Bush years. Anyone truly interested in the truth and holding people accountable must agree that both instances and both administrations should be placed under the lens.

While Benghazi and Iraq may be qualitatively comparable, they are certainly not quantitatively comparable. To echo Reinhold Niebuhr, all are sinful, but some are more responsible for the effects of their sin than others. Four people killed and ten injured in Bengazi (while undeniably tragic for the families and friends), pales in comparison to the tens of thousands killed and even more injured in the invasion of Iraq. So yes, let's demand the truth from our government and force the responsible to answer either to the public or to the courts.

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