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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Benghazi vs. the Iraq Invasion and the 9/11 warnings

I honestly don't know the facts about Benghazi -- nobody does yet -- but I will say this.  Even if one could, with hindsight, somehow point to a course of action that might have saved the lives of the four Americans killed at Benghazi (without risking losing significantly more lives), and even if someone could prove (without hindsight) that at the time of the attack, it would have been obvious to any reasonable person that the decisions made were "wrong," this whole thing pales in comparison to the decision to invade Iraq.

Likewise, even if one could prove that a reasonable person would have handled the requests for increased security differently, that pales in comparison to the Bush administration's failure to heed intelligence warnings about 9/11.

And yet somehow, Bush won reelection in 2004.

Iraq:  All the time in the world to make the "right" decision.
Benghazi:  Not so much.

Iraq:  Premeditated decision.
Benghazi:  A spontaneous reaction.

Iraq:   Deliberately ignored or distorted information and intelligence gathered over a period of many months.
Benghazi:  Incomplete and unreliable information on the night of the attack.

Iraq:  Thousands of Americans dead, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
Benghazi:  Four Americans, a few of the other guys.

Iraq:  Over a trillion dollars and counting
Benghazi:  Not so much.

Iraq aftermath:  Rampant corruption on US side, billions of dollars disappear, Abu Ghraib scandal, widespread dissatisfaction with US occupation.
Benghazi aftermath:  Not so much

Whatever the Obama Administration's "culpability" for split-second decisions made on the night of  Benghazi, it simply can't compare with the Republican-planned-and-run invasion of Iraq.  The fact is, it's easy to find someone to blame in any organization when something goes wrong.  And yes, the leader always bears "ultimate responsibility."  In the Navy, the Commanding Officer is relieved if the ship runs aground, no matter who was at the helm.  But that's not the way politics works -- just because something went wrong on Obama's watch, you don't just hand over the reigns of power to the next guy asking for it.

Especially when the next guy won't even show you his tax returns.


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