Find a loose thread on a cheap sweater, yank on it, and what happens? The garment starts to unravel. That may well be what is going to happen to conservatives’ ginned up scandal over the tragic deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, during the attack on our consulate in Benghazi in the fall of 2012. Your blogger covered this story in some depth back on May 13th in “Benghazi: Before During and After”, and in “Still Afloat in the Ether-Space” (5-22-14). More recently, there have been some new developments that could result in a significant “yank” on that loose thread. We turn to those next.
First, recall that soon after the attack, our UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, went on the Sunday talk shows and advanced the idea that the hostility may have been provoked by a US-made anti-Islamic video that had surfaced. Conservatives railed against this notion and found justification for doing so in some e-mails the contents of which are at worst, ambiguous. This past week, US Special Ops forces, in concert with our FBI, scooped up one of the alleged ringleaders of the aforementioned attack; a man by the name of Ahmed Abu Khallala, an event that got wide media notice. But there was more; a single report In the New York Times by David D. Kirkpatrick on 6-17-14 (“Brazen Figure May Hold Key to Mysteries”) noted that the suspect had openly bragged about his role in the attack, admitting that it was inspired by the aforementioned US-made anti-Islamic video that had already triggered uprisings in other parts of the Arab world; notably Cairo. If this reportage can be confirmed (1), then Amb. Rice spoke truthfully, and conservatives will have lost one of their last best hopes of turning this faux scandal into something real. Yank? Maybe…
Next, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, long the prime target of conservatives over Benghazi, made herself available for a televised interview on Fox News. Grilled by two members of the cable channel’s team, Ms. Clinton’s responses were concise, consistent with what she had said earlier and elsewhere, and failed to produce a “smoking gun” in the form of a “gotcha moment” (2). Convinced of the woman’s guilt by the right-wing media’s prejudicial invective against her, and fully expecting her to be unmasked, Fox viewers turned to Twitter to go ballistic at the interviewers for failing to produce what was so surely going to happen. Yank? Definitely!!!
Finally, desperate for something, anything to pin their fast-fading hopes to, conservatives wondered with disdain over why it took the Obama administration almost two years to grab Khattala. Turns out that, as reported by Erika Eichelberger in MotherJones.com, our people on the ground in Libya were tracking the suspect and building a case against him that would stand up in court (see footnote 1). This made perfect sense since to do otherwise would have left the president with no option but to detain the terrorist in Guantanimo, the facility that Obama had promised to close. Obviously, one cannot keep that pledge by adding to the residual population of detainees there. Yank? Again, maybe.
In the face of all this very recent history, House Republicans still seem Hell-bent on following through with their Benghazi investigation by a select committee. Their fire-breathing, grassroots constituents will not allow them to do anything less, so convinced are they in their hatred that criminal wrongdoing remains to be revealed and only congressional Republicans can get that job done. This puts enormous pressure on those same representatives to come up with something that confirms what their constituents have already decided is true. It is likely then that the forthcoming hearings will be marked by outrageous posturing, unproven accusations, thorough politicizing, a disregard for existing facts and evidence, and an attempt to contrive a sliver of culpability that can be assigned to the president and/or Hillary Clinton. Either guilt is “found” or those Republican committee members are going to lose a whole lot of face.
1. It is good journalistic practice to seek independent verification (a second source) for what is initially reported. Such should be the case with the articles by Kirkpatrick and Eichelberger, both of which have yet to be corroborated.
2. A “gotcha moment” usually involves catching a person in a lie, a mis-statement, the omission of significant information, and/or a glaring inconsistency. As noted, none materialized during the Fox interview with Ms. Clinton.