Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
There has been a remarkable amount of bad journalism this week from the corporate "lamestream" media, taking its cue from the hysterical conspiracy mongering conservative media entertainment complex cult on "Benghazi! Benghazi!! Benghazi!!!". This is the right-wing noise machine's business model, as Jonathan Bernstein pointed out in The real lesson of Benghazi:
Part of what’s happening is, as Jamelle Bouie pointed out today, the strong demand within the conservative marketplace for scandal.
But there’s more than that; it’s not just a demand for scandal, but how
easily the customers accept anything presented to them. The result —
and Alex Pareene is very good on this today — is that they don’t bother putting together a “coherent or convincing narrative.”
Pareene usefully contrasts Benghazi and other Obama scandals to the Bill Clinton scandals of the 1990s . . . With Obama, there’s no need for these scandals to make sense; the
conservative press will run with them either way. And there might even
be an advantage to incoherence. After all, if the accusations are
gibberish, the neutral reporters will tend to ignore them — and then
conservatives can go on conservative talk radio and Fox News and charge
the rest of the press of ignoring these extremely important charges.
Andrew Sabl asks the right questions that the lazy good for nothing Beltway media villagers are not asking. On Benghazi—An honest plea for specific charges:
Look, I’m not a Benghazi expert. I’m willing to entertain the
possibility that there’s something here that the media aren’t telling
me. But before I evaluate the case, I need to see some concrete charges.
My challenge to conservatives is to tell me, very simply, the
(1) What, in your view, was the crime? Who did what and which law did it break? No crime, no cover-up (in the usual sense).
But the idea seems to be that what was “covered up” was not crime but
incompetence. (That stretches the former meaning of “cover-up,” but
never mind.) So:
(2) Who failed competently to perform his or her job, in which concrete ways?
Which decisions are we talking about, by whom, at what time, and on
what grounds should we believe that a competent person in the job in
question would have had to make a different decision? Again, failure to
devote unlimited resources to guarding every consulate at all times does
not constitute an incompetent decision but rather precisely a
competent one. And a judgment (apparently held by the diplomats on the
ground at the time) that there was a tradeoff between high security and
diplomatic effectiveness is also, absent conclusive arguments to the
contrary, quite defensible. We need more.
(3) What information was covered up, and how? What facts do we (a) now know to be the case that (b) were previously concealed from view by (c) illegitimate threats or undue influence
(as opposed to agency politics as usual, whereby those higher up would
rather sweep mistakes under the rug but grudgingly tolerate subordinates
who air them)?
Unless all three of these elements in (3) are
present, there was no cover-up—at most a halfhearted attempt at a
cover-up, or an honest difference of opinion about facts. And unless
number (1) or (2) is present, there was nothing to cover up.
At this point in the career of a scandal, or attempted scandal, there
are often disagreements over whether the charges are true. But I can’t
remember the last time I’ve seen a scandal where I don’t even know what
they are. I know that this blog has a fair number of conservative
readers. And perhaps other sites will pick this up. I hope so, and if
so: answers, please. Specific ones, point by point. Then we’ll at least
have something we can argue about.
* * *
I’d like to stress that I’m engaged in an exercise in arguendum: even if the conservative slant on Benghazi is accurate, there has been no “cover up” that I can see.
The hyperbolic rhetoric from the right-wing claiming that their "Benghazi! Benghazi!! Benghazi!!!" scandal is worse than the Pentagon papers, Watergate, iran-Contra, and Monica Lewinski all rolled up into a great big ball is quite literally insane. They have no sense of perspective or history.
The sainted Ronnie Reagan left the Marine baracks in Beirut, Lebanon inadequately protected in 1983, resulting in 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three American civilians killed and
another 60 injured as a result of a terrorist suicide truck bomb that destroyed the Marine barracks at
the airport in Beirut, Lebanon. It was the largest one-day death toll for Marines since the Battle for Iwo Jima in 1945.
Earlier that same year, a suicide bombing in Beirut, Lebanon killed 63 people, mostly embassy and CIA staff members, several soldiers and one Marine. 17 of the dead were Americans. It was the deadliest attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission up to that point in time.
The iran-Contra Affair, the investigation of which was impeded when copious volumes of documents relating to
the arms for hostages scandal were destroyed or withheld from investigators by Reagan
administration officials, resulted in fourteen administration officials indicted, and eleven convictions. President Reagan and Vice President Bush, who were deeply involved, avoided prosecution and impeachment for their crimes. Thwarting justice even further, those indicted or convicted were all pardoned in the final days of his presidency by George H. W. Bush.
George W. Bush ignored repeated warnings about al Qaida plans to attack America, resulting in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Almost 3,000 Americans lost their lives due to intelligence failures and incompetence by the Bush-Cheney administration. There was the escape at Tora Bora and the incompetent prosecution of the war in Afghanistan as well.
To make matters worse, the Bush-Cheney administration fabricated intelligence and engaged in political propaganda to engage in an illegal, unnecessary and unjustified war in Iraq — a war crime. Further war crimes included illegal torture of prisoners, and their rendition to black site prisons and indefinite detention. 4,486 American soldiers lost their lives in Iraq, with thousands more permanently disabled by injuries. Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians lost their lives, and millions of iraqis were displaced as refugees. None of this had to happen.
Not one member of the Bush-Cheney administration has been held accountable for their war crimes to date. Not one. When I get my Nuremberg Tribunal-styled investigation and prosecution of the war crimes of the Bush-Cheney administration, then I am willing to entertain the possibility of the conspiracy theories of the right-wing on "Benghazi! Benghazi!! Benghazi!!!" Until then, based upon all the available evidence, "it is a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."