Lions, Tigers and Benghazi, Oh My

The evolution of this Benghazi story has been pretty remarkable. From the very beginning of the story, I commented on several things. First of all, I said it was an incredible tragedy. Secondly, I wasn’t entirely clear on why our ambassador was in a place that was deemed so hostile. Thirdly, I commented that it didn’t make much sense that an obscure video would have set off this kind of violence.

Since very early in this story, Republicans have held up Benghazi as an example of Democratic weakness. Democrats just cannot keep this country safe. As a matter fact, Democrats do not understand terrorism and they never have. For two and a half months, we’ve heard this almost every day. The fact that the president has taken out top terrorist leaders means nothing. The fact that the president put the resources and his personal reputation/presidency on the line in order to take out Osama bin Laden doesn’t count. Instead, Republicans have decided to draw a line in the sand (pun intended) in Benghazi.

Republicans have tried just about every tactic they can think of to gain traction on the story. First they tried to attack the president, but that just didn’t work. Secondly, they tried to attack Democrats in general and that didn’t really work either. Next, it was time to attack the intelligence community. That didn’t work either. Over the last several weeks, they have focused their wrath on UN Ambassador Susan Rice. I have no idea where Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator John McCain think they’re going to go with their crusade.

Rachel Maddow (see video above) has her own opinion on why Senators Graham and McCain have decided to go on this crusade. All I can tell you is this – there is actually something in the story that we, as Americans and not partisan morons, need to focus on. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with what Senator Graham or Senator McCain or, for the most part, any Republican is talking about. What are our security procedures at our embassies? Did the late Ambassador Stevens ask for additional security in Benghazi? Was protocol followed? If not, why not? To date, the best explanation of the Benghazi attacks was compiled by Kevin Drum.

I believe the following things are true about Benghazi:

The attacks were spontaneous.
The attacks were carried out by a group affiliated with Al Qaeda.
The situation in Benghazi had been deteriorating in the previous six to nine months.

I think that’s all we really know at this time. Whether Lindsey Graham and John McCain are trying to blow up a potential Secretary of State appointment for Susan Rice is unclear to me. The fact that neither of these two long-term Senators seems to be interested in what actually went on is probably the most disturbing twist in this sordid Benghazi tale.