All Points: How far should Benghazi inquiry go?

Posted Sunday, May. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings have thrust the Sept 11 terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi, Libya, back into the spotlight.

Diplomat Gregory Hicks, who was in the Libyan capital of Tripoli that night, told the committee he raised questions shortly afterward and was “effectively demoted” for speaking up.

As details continue to unfold, does it seem to you like this was a series of tragic but unstoppable events, or was it blundering at the highest levels of government followed by politically inspired cover-up?

Transparent government

Four Americans are dead. President Obama described their sacrifice as “not optimal” and the investigation into it a “sideshow.” According to testimony, his political operatives edited talking points in order to downplay the terrorism behind the attack and lessen the political fallout. Yet, people are outraged that Congress is trying to get to the bottom of it.

Government only works when it is transparent. We have the right to know what our elected officials are up to so we can evaluate their performance. Sometimes, that involves answering uncomfortable questions. We have a right to hear those answers.

Americans were riveted by a murder trial in Phoenix that lasted four months. We know far more about Jodi Arias than we do about what happened in Benghazi. And that is a sad statement.

— Rob Paulukaitis, Hudson Oaks

Double standard

Every time there is an American killed, it is a tragedy. And there were four Americans killed in Benghazi.

Then we have the politically motivated Benghazi hearings in Congress.

But when there were 3,542 American soldiers killed in Iraq from 2003 until 2011, there were no hearings.

Even though it has been proven that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq, there were never any politically motivated hearings in Congress on why we went to war with Iraq on faulty intelligence.

Seems to me like a double standard. And I am not a Republican or Democrat.

— Jan M. Verrijcke, Arlington

Stoppable events

Were deaths of Chris Stevens and others results of tragic but unstoppable events or blundering at the highest levels of government followed by a politically inspired cover-up?

I don’t believe this to be a blunder, which is a stupid mistake because of ignorance or confusion. Neither Obama nor Clinton is ignorant or confused. Both are leaders and should have been engaged in the dramatic, disastrous events that took place.

A tragedy oftentimes occurs when a leader engages in a “morally significant struggle” ending in ruin or profound disappointment. Their lack of involvement was not caused by confusion or ignorance.

Leaders should be bold and discerning, and neither demonstrated these qualities. The events were stoppable. Perhaps “morally significant struggle” is notable here since upcoming elections were foremost in their minds. Obama slept and went to a fundraiser. Hillary probably slept and dreamed of becoming president, thus the politically inspired cover-up.

— Janie Taylor Corbett,

North Richland Hills

More hearings needed

The response of the administration to the incident in Benghazi was not a “blunder.” There were decisions made by high officials to let the personnel sway in the wind, telling those anxious to help to “stand down,” which resulted in the deaths of four Americans. There was certainly time to send reinforcements since they didn’t know how long the attack would last.

The excuses and lies since then have been shameful and outrageous. There needs to be further hearings with subpoenas issued to everyone who was responsible for the lack of support for these brave men.

— Clista Hancock, Arlington

Selective outrage

It is my understanding that the following U.S. embassies/consulates were attacked (with loss of life) during the administration of President George W. Bush:

Kolkata, Karachi (twice), Islamabad, Tashkent, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen (twice), and Istanbul.

Where was the Republican outrage? Was it not this same Republican administration that was on duty Sept. 11, 2001, when more than 3,000 American lives were lost — after receiving warnings from both our anti-terrorism chief and CIA that al Qaeda was determined to strike the U.S.?

These warnings were ignored to dither with the “Star Wars” missile defense shield.

Bush/Cheney made up for these shortcomings by going to war with Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9-11), producing thousands more military and civilian deaths.

— David M. Sanderford, Granbury

High-level blundering

Was Benghazi a tragic but unstoppable event?

It certainly does not seem to have been an unexpected event for those close to the scene. Other countries had removed their personnel from Benghazi, deeming it too dangerous. Our people had asked for additional security many times. Security basically was put in the hands of local people, not U.S. personnel.

Washington ignored the seriousness of the situation. Was this blundering at the highest levels? Absolutely!

— Phyllis Worrell, Fort Worth

Tragedy and cover-up

It was a series of tragic, unpreventable events, followed by a cover-up by those who wanted to duck the unfair blame they knew would be directed at them for political reasons.

Moreover, it was a cover-up of a cover-up. I distinctly remember that when it was first revealed that the incident was not a spontaneous demonstration that escalated, but rather a terrorist attack, we were told that the original lie had been tactical: Our side didn’t want the terrorists to know we were onto them; the American people had to be deceived in order to also deceive the terrorists.

No one is saying that now.

— George Michael Sherry, Fort Worth

No lack of missteps

How high this ranks compared to other U.S. government cover-ups remains to be seen.

The president called congressional hearings about Benghazi a “political circus.” At this point, one might be inclined to think that the president himself is the ringmaster. There is no lack of blunders in this unfortunate and tragic affair.

— Drake Bush, Fort Worth

Full accountability

No amount of investigation will bring back the four people who lost their lives in the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Why keep up the investigation?

Did the Obama administration lie to the public and the press to prevent potential fallout from a terrorist attack being reported when they were telling the voters al Qaeda had been marginalized?

Was Hillary Clinton not interviewed in the internal investigation to protect her from any potential fallout in a 2016 presidential campaign?

Who authorized the 12 sets of changes to the infamous “talking points” before Susan Rice went on the Sunday news programs?

The administration should not be allowed to throw a few low-level government employees under the bus to avoid further embarrassment. We should demand full accountability no matter how high this goes.

— Troy Worthy, Hurst

Washington routine

Benghazi brings up some past claims. Supposedly, the State Department put out false information. The CIA lied. The secretary of state lied and the president lied. Hard to distinguish if we are talking about the Iraq invasion or Benghazi. The claims, counter-claims and finger-pointing remind us that it is all business as usual.

— Jim Sanderson, Fort Worth

Domestic violence

No one wanted harm to come to Ambassador Stevens and the three others killed in Benghazi. However this partisan political witch hunt needs a little perspective.

This tragedy occurred in a distant war-torn foreign land, a risky place to be. Compare that to how many U.S. citizens die at the point of a gun every night in each of the investigating Congress members’ districts. Are these unstoppable tragic events or blundering? I suppose the loss of so many John Doe citizens is not worthy of investigation.

We have become too accustomed to violence in our midst.

— Larry E. Cotten, Fort Worth

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