Letter to the editor

Benghazi tragedy small compared with Iraq

February 22, 2013 

Re Feb. 21 editorial, “More Publicity Than Public Concern”

The editorial regarding Sen. Lindsey Graham’s self-righteous crusade for answers to what happened in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed in an assault on a state department outpost, could not have been better stated. Has anyone ever seen either Graham or his pompous Benghazi sidekick, Sen. John McCain, demand detailed answers to the trumped-up “intelligence” and manipulated evidence that led to our invasion of Iraq, which had, as of Jan. 31, 2012, cost us 4,487 Americans dead and 32,223 seriously wounded?

For McCain and Graham to describe former Senator Chuck Hagel as “unqualified” to be secretary of defense while those two senators know they played significant roles in the Iraq fiasco and a resulting American death toll 1,000 times that of Benghazi doesn’t take hubris. It takes intellectual and moral dishonesty. McCain has long nursed a grudge against Hagel over the latter’s refusal to support an Iraq strategy designed to further cover up the imbecility of that war.

Graham is using Benghazi as a political fundraiser. If you Google Graham, the first thing that comes up is a website encouraging people to sign an online petition demanding answers to unspecified questions about Benghazi. Coincidentally, that sign-up process gives Graham a whole new database for future fundraising. If that isn’t crass opportunism, I don’t know what is.

Like the “Pentagon Papers” bombshell that exposed all the lies surrounding our war in Vietnam, the truth will ultimately come out about how the key advisers surrounding George Bush persuaded him to swallow a rationale for invading Iraq that was, to put it charitably, a mountain of misrepresentations built one upon the other.

We already know what happened at Benghazi. The U.S. ambassador, despite his own stated concerns about the lack of security, decided to go to an outpost that was immediately made target-rich by his presence there. Terrorists on the lookout for target-rich opportunities were handed a golden one by the ambassador’s decision, and they took it.

Three other Americans were killed and the same bad U.S. “intelligence” apparatus that conjured up the Iraq WMD fabrications churned out an initial assessment that the killings were connected to some fourth-rate video. When that didn’t float, they came up with another – and yet another – version of events. It’s what they do, those little geniuses in the CIA, NSA and all the other acronyms for incompetence.

If it is transparency about government manipulations McCain and Graham want, here’s hoping they get it on a subject they might not be so enthusiastic about. Iraq.

The writer lives in Georgetown

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