Lowe: GOP Treats Benghazi Far Differently from Reagan-Era Beirut Bombings

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:

Joe Lowe, SDDP Vice-Chair
Joe Lowe, SDDP Vice-Chair

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.

25 Responses to Lowe: GOP Treats Benghazi Far Differently from Reagan-Era Beirut Bombings

  1. Nick Nemec

    Joe’s numbers are a bit off, 220 Marines and 21 members of other services were killed in the Beirut bombing. I knew many of the Marines who died there and as executive officer of my battery signed the transfer orders for several Marines from our battery to our sister battery that was deployed to Beirut at the time of the bombing. Some of the Marines whose orders I authorized were killed in the bombing.


  2. Darin Larson

    Thanks Nick, I thought it was over 200 people killed.

  3. Douglas Wiken

    The GOP hypocrisy and deception on issues is almost worse and more disgusting than their retrograde ignorant issue positions on behalf of their money-driven supporters.

  4. No go, Joe Lowe.

  5. owen reitzel

    what it comes down to it was a witch hunt trying to bring down Hillary and the time and the money spent on this was a joke. No matter how much they want it the Republicans could find no wrong doing because there was NO wrong doing.
    The only good thing was that after 11 hours of testimony Clinton came out smelling like a rose and Trey Gowdy looked like the moron he is..

  6. thx Joe.

    “ABC News describes Donald Trump’s … characterization … Clinton’s role in … Benghazi incident’… today, ‘ENTIRELY ERRONIOUS'”.

    You’ll be hearing me repeat that a lot thru November 2016 to know it all spin agents of the GOP that come here to distract, distort and abet theft of yet another election.

    that about takes care of that male “billionaire idiot’s” bid for GOP presidency for 2017. what a dope, eh grudz. no go Grand OOOOld…Party

  7. trey gowdy is willing to carry water for the GOP despite truth, just like Thune and Noem, in hopes having their present life-styles taken care of for the rest of their lives by the GOP.

  8. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    After Benghazi, the Democrats also did not immediately go shopping for an island to invade to change the political news cycle as the Reagan White House did with the Grenada invasion within hours of the Beirut bombing that killed hundreds of Marines back in ’84…

  9. Darin Larson

    Maybe I have forgotten or just missed it, but where was the huge investigation into the trumped up allegations of WMD’s in Iraq which resulted in the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and the maiming of tens of thousands when we went to war for no good reason? Couple the loss of life with the trillion dollar costs and we could have a Benghazi incident every day for the next three years before it would be comparable.

  10. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    Darin my friend, you did not forget or miss anything. Instead, our Republican friends would rather investigate the circumstances surrounding a blue dress bought at the GAP over a war and its unnecessary death and destruction which was caused by a premeditated lie.

  11. Roger Cornelius

    Trey Gowdy has not been serving his congressional district very well.

    In the end, Trey Gowdy will be like Senator Joe McCarthy after his commie with hunt, talking into a bunch of microphones with nobody listening or caring.

  12. Darrell Reifenrath

    Whoa! October ’83 bomb attack in Beirut killed over 240 Marines. They were sent with no clear mission, did not establish a defensive perimeter and were housed in decrepit hotel without services. One of Americas’ greatest military blunders.

  13. STEALING ELECTIONS THAT THE GOP CANNOT WIN ON ITS MERITS….that is GOP’s M.O. and voters for the GOP know it. Democrats don’t drag the nation thru “hardball” machinations to “swift boat” distinguished combat veterans.

  14. Joe offers an important comparison illustrating how ludicrous the GOP has become. It’s time the people told them, “You’re fired!”.

  15. Be careful bringing up the Iraq fiasco (still being perpetuated) and those who sent the troops there in the first place for these weapons of mass distraction, you may find blow back as to who currently wants to send in more.

  16. Joe Lowe should have been the Democratic nominee for the office of governor, he has fire in the belly. That is something desperately needed here in South Dakota.

  17. mike from iowa

    The U.S. military command, which regarded the Marines’ presence as a non-combative, “peace-keeping mission,” had left a vehicle gate wide open, and ordered the sentries to keep their weapons unloaded.

    From Ronnie Rayguns Benghazi.

    The minority report from Iran-Contra hearings has wingnuts blaming congress(Dems) for Rayguns misdeeds. https://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_Affair/h-thereport.php

    Wingnuts accused Dems of micro-managing Raygun’s foreign policy all the while Raygun and friends trashed the constitution and went on their merry way.

  18. Dems kept their mugs shut during the Carter years and allowed the Republicans to run roughshod over them in very critical ways. This was the beginning of the partisanship we still witness today and it has gotten worse. While Dems were marginalized, Republicans found their voice and their marching orders, stay on topic, wash rinse and repeat. Watch them work, they come up with a bumper sticker slogan and then they all repeat it to their corporate media. Pretty slick and the public, along with the Dems seems mesmerized by this and cower away from confrontation.

    Joe Lowe is a wordsmith that gets his point across. He is exactly the voice needed to win elections in South Dakota that should have a job that is higher than his position right now.

  19. Thanks, Nick! I’ve corrected the October 1983 death toll. I wish Joe’s undercount were correct.

  20. [Send Joe to Philadelphia; I’m busy winning Aberdeen. ;-) ]

  21. Jerry, I agree that we need to hear more from Joe Lowe on the campaign trail.

  22. Nick,
    Thanks for the correction. When I was working on all the incidents that happened during the Reagan Administration, I must have misread the number KIA at the Marine Barracks attack. As you know, I am getting so tired of the GOP game playing. Elections should be about the people of this country and not to gain political power for your party. Also, thanks for your service. See you at the State Convention.

  23. Nick Nemec

    Cory, oh how I wish Joe’s numbers were correct. In 2012 I returned to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for the first time since I left the Marine Corps. I visited the Marine Beirut Memorial there and sat on a stone bench and openly wept as I read the names carved in the wall of the young Marines I knew. I can still see some of their faces and will until the day I die. They are forever in their 20s while I have been able to enjoy the 33 years since and hope to enjoy many more years.

  24. Don Coyote

    Still waiting for Obama and Hillary to take responsibility for Benghazi like Reagan did for the Beirut bombing. Should happen about the time Hell freezes over

  25. coyote-there are two things deeply wrong about your post.

    do you really wanna make a point to point comparison, little doggie, or are you gonna bite? yawn