For 16 months the American people have been subjected to a chorus of scorn, squealed by the likes of Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican. It went something like this: “Benghazi. Benghazi. Benghazi.”
Translation: The Obama administration screwed up, and we’re warning you, Hillary Clinton, we’ll sing this tune all through your inevitable presidential campaign.
Clinton, of course, was President Barack Obama’s secretary of state on Sept. 11, 2012, when chaos beset the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya — her bailiwick — and a series of nighttime attacks led to the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The loudest members of the GOP chorus wanted us to believe that the attacks were planned by al-Qaida terrorists and that Obama, who had trumpeted the decimation of al-Qaida, was covering up a horrendous intelligence failure with a flimsy story about an American-made anti-Islam video that was causing upset in the Middle East.
The fog of war never provides easy or quick answers. But, thanks to David D. Kirkpatrick of The New York Times, who spent many months reporting in Libya, we are now reasonably informed about what really happened on that tragic night. His investigation “turned up no evidence that al-Qaida or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.” And furthermore the attacks were “fueled in large part by anger” over that video.
Yes, it’s much murkier than that, and indeed there was an intelligence failure, relating to how much the CIA knew about the extent of anti-American hostility among Benghazi militants.
Another sad part of the story: GOP critics don’t believe it, and the opposition chorus continues.