We need to bring Donald Trump to South Dakota so he can debate Joe Lowe.
My favorite state party vice-chair checks in with this instructive comparison of the Benghazi attack that the GOP is using to question Hillary Clinton’s Presidential credentials and the two(!) much worse assaults on American soldiers in Beirut in 1983 and other terrorist attacks on Americans overseas that happened on President Reagan’s watch:
The GOP’s Convenient Short Term Memory About Embassy Attacks
The attack on our US Embassy in Benghazi was a horrific tragedy and American Lives were lost. To families who lost loved ones, my heartfelt condolences go out to you. I understand what it feels like to lose a loved one. My dad was killed in action as well as my favorite uncle.
The goal of any After Action Review is to find what happened and improve performance and not make the same mistakes again. If you compare the Congressional investigations that were done during the embassy bombings in Beirut, Lebanon to the Benghazi Investigation you can see where politics have come into play. It is a shame that scoring political points has become more important than taking care of our Americans working abroad.
Consider the numbers around the GOP Benghazi hearings, the longest Congressional investigation in U.S. History:
- 33: the number of hearings held in Congressional investigations into the tragedy.
- 253: approximate number of witnesses called to testify.
- 3194: the number of questions asked in public hearings.
- 10: number of Congressional Committees that have participated in the hearings.
- 103: the number of witnesses brought in for interviews with the Benghazi Select Committee.
- $2.5 million: Cost of the Benghazi Select Committee in the first 10 months.
- $8000.00: Daily cost of the Benghazi Select Committee investigation.
- 0: Number of investigations to find evidence of a stand down order.
- 0: Number of investigations to find evidence of an intelligence failure leading to the Benghazi tragedy.
- 0: Number of investigations that have found any administrative wrongdoing related to the Benghazi tragedy [Correct the Record pro-Clinton superPAC, “Benghazi by the Numbers,” downloaded 2016.06.22].
Now let’s examine Ronald Reagan’s Benghazis:
April 18, 1983: United States embassy in Beirut, Labanon was attacked by a suicide bomber The attack killed 63 people, mostly embassy and CIA staff members, several soldiers and one Marine. 17 of the dead were Americans. Many claim the attack was the beginning of anti-US attacks by Islamist groups. President Reagan took no action after the attack.
Oct. 23, 1983 —6 months after the attack on the US embassy, a U.S. Marine barracks at Beirut Airport was bombed. 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and 3 soldiers* were killed and more than 100 others wounded. The French and Americans launched airstrikes on the camp where the bombing was planned. The US did not launch any further retaliatory strikes.
Dec.12, 1983- 2 months after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, 6 key foreign and Kuwaiti installations were attacked by terrorists. This included 2 embassies, the main airport, and a petroleum plant. 6 people were killed. The US Military did not respond.
Sept. 20, 1984 —So now we move into a new year. Terrorists exploded a truck bomb outside our embassy in Beirut; 24 people were killed, including two U.S. military personnel. No military response was mounted against the terrorists.
Dec. 3, 1984 —The terrorist activity continues- This time, hijackers diverted a Kuwait Airlines Flight 422 and killed two U.S. officials. Iran allowed the hijackers to leave the country. Again no military action by the administration [information compiled from Wikipedia (also here) and from Darryl Dickey, letter to the editor, Eugene Register Guard, 2016.06.08].
What is different now? As Jane Meyer explained in The New Yorker over two years ago, under President Reagan, Congress pointed fingers at those who committed these terrorist acts that killed many Americans. Tip O’Neill was the Democratic Speaker of the House at the time. Today the GOP is pointing the fingers at political rivals. Congress actually undertook useful bipartisan investigations 30 years ago. The investigations, into the embassy attacks in Beirut, and the report findings found very serious errors in judgment by on-the-ground officers. During those hearings, there were no calls for impeachment of the President. No subpoenas were sent to cabinet members.
If you compare the security failures during the Reagan Administration to Benghazi, it is clear that a GOP-lead congress wants to point fingers at the Obama Administration and Democratic Presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. This behavior is repulsive.
It is time the GOP lead Congress to do their job quit playing politics at the expense of the American public. It is also time to tell our South Dakota Congressional Delegation to stop playing politics and act responsibility. This Congressional witch hunt is the longest Congressional Investigation in US History. So for you Republicans with a short memory, take a look at history. Do the people of the United States a favor and end the witch hunt.
It is time to move on [Joe Lowe, 2016.06.21].
ABC News describes Donald Trump’s dire characterization of Secretary Clinton’s role in the Benghazi incident, given in his speech today, “entirely erroneous.” Politico offers this summary of what Clinton wrote about Benghazi in her 2014 memoir Hard Choices. FactCheck.org catalogs claims about Benghazi here.
*Correction 2016.06.23 09:07 CDT: Death toll corrected per commenter advice and Wikipedia.