Friday, October 23, 2015

Hillary vs. Congress: There's Something About Benghazi

A picture paints a thousand words. Hillary Clinton and Trey Gowdy.
On Thursday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endured an eleven hour grilling before a Congressional committee. It was the umpteenth inquiry into the Benghazi attack by Republicans, in a quest to discredit and politically ruin the president or Mrs. Clinton (they'd be happy with either). It's long been obvious that the Benghazi investigations have been far more political in nature, than any real effort at fact finding or future safety. Several Republicans have even said so, whether purposefully or not. Regardless, Clinton fared very well, and Republicans left pretty much empty handed.

In Mrs. Clinton's previous appearance before a Congressional panel, she famously uttered the phrase, ". . .what difference, at this point, does it make?" It was in response to the repeated insistence that the administration initially pointed to an anti-Islamic video as a spark for the attack. At the time she said it, I stood up an cheered, because I agreed: what difference does it make? I still don't really know. But it is perhaps the single biggest "outrage" left in the whole deflated Benghazi outrage balloon.

In fact, if there is one thing I'd like answered about Benghazi, it would be precisely that. Why does Right Wing World have such a woody for the video? Seriously, can somebody tell me? I mean, from yesterday's grilling, I gather that they think Hillary Clinton and/or Barack Obama and/or Susan Rice was trying to minimize damage to the 2012 election prospects of Obama's re-election effort, by downplaying the events at Benghazi. So?

Really, so what? I'm not being flip here. Every administration does the very same thing about virtually every single event and situation. Everything is spun to the advantage of whatever candidate is doing the spinning. It's normal.  Every member of Congress grilling Hillary Clinton yesterday has paid staff that does it for them. Beyond that, it is also common for there to be an "official" story for the public that ends up having slightly or even vastly different elements once the facts come out. There are also things withheld from the public for national security reasons. Is there a single "breaking story" that we get the 100% unvarnished truth on, right as it happens? Virtually never. Moreover--though even today, the video may have played a part however small--remarks about the video were in the initial hours and days after the attack. It is no longer five days after the attack, and they are not still pointing to the video! It would seem Right Wing World is stuck in a time warp.

I keep seeing that Clinton "lied over the caskets of the Benghazi dead, and blamed the attack on the video." The phrasing is suspect, but the lie is. . .pointless. Let's say she did, she straight up lied, knew it wasn't the video. What then? Does it change the death, the grieving, the sacrifice, does it change anything? Does it somehow belittle or diminish the lives of the dead? I don't see how. I still don't see the relevance. What difference does it make?

Inside Hillary's thought balloon. . .
If the aim on Thursday was to cement the idea that Hillary Clinton is a "liar," then the committee lied about their aims, and all of the time and money spent was also done by lying. If the aim was to prove that "lie," and use it to prove it had something to do with the deaths of the four diplomats, or that their deaths could have been prevented absent the lie, they failed. And if their aim was to hurt Hillary's 2016 run, they failed at that too. They didn't land a single punch. Video or no video.

Incidentally, I thought the aftermath of all the questioning was very telling. FOX "News" hosted a few of the Republican Congresscritters afterward, each very proud of their lines of questioning, as though they'd been brilliant. The Drudge Report focused on the fact that Clinton had a coughing fit at almost 11 hours in (even though they had to admit that she put a lozenge in her mouth, and soldiered on). And virtually every other source everywhere short of the Right Wing blogosphere hailed Hillary as the victor.

Even Conservatives Realize Hillary Clinton's Benghazi Committee Hearing Was Ridiculous

Republicans and Democrats have long been divided on the purpose of the House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. GOP lawmakers, particularly the committee's chair, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), have insisted the panel is focused on investigating potential wrongdoing leading up to the attack, while Democrats have alleged that the GOP-led committee is a political stunt targeting Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

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