The Obama administration and Benghazi: A case study in conservative hyperbole
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The Obama administration and Benghazi: A case study in conservative hyperbole

Atlanta : GA : USA | Oct 17, 2012 at 10:27 PM PDT
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ATLANTA - The second round of debates for the 2012 presidential election are in the books.

The consensus?

President Obama showed some teeth this time around in addressing the many accusations of the well-meaning Mittens Romney and that candidate's increasingly conservative and adversarial consituency.

Despite the prominence of the debate coverage, and the prevailing sentiment regarding President Obama's performance, some have chosen to focus their attention on "Benghazigate."

A term which itself denotes the disproportionate amount of attention that Obama detractors have placed on the tragedy.

First, the facts.

On Sept. 12, 2012 in a speech given at the Rose Garden, President Barack Obama referenced the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi as a terrorist attack. A fact often overlooked, or even outright lied about, by many of his detractors.

"Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe," President Obama said the day after the attacks. "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done."

What's remembered is this; that for weeks following the incident, US Ambassador Susan Rice went to any public outlet that would listen and speculated that the attacks were the result of the Muslim world's dissatisfaction with a six -month old video posted by a tasteless "artist".

What she didn't say was that they weren't an attack whose origins were rooted in a minority groups misunderstanding of the Islamic faith.

Or that President Obama was personally deflecting blame or absolving himself of responsibility regarding US consulates.

Or that the administration was inept in handling security requests.

At the time, with people dead and no real answers forthcoming, something had to be said. Is that an excuse? Never. Only a request to remain reasonable in the face of unreasonable circumstances.

The president had already admitted (though again this has been lost in the annals of Internet history for some reason) that the attack was terroristic in nature, it takes time then to discern why the terrorists decided to attack then and in the chosen manner.

In hindsight, as is often the case, this explanation looks ridiculous. As well it should. Rice was charged with the thankless task of damage control, following a security misstep that cost lives. A proverbial damned-if-you do, damned-if-you-don't situation. Nothing she said would've satisifed those who cried for Obama's political head.

These same detractors say that Obama should have immediately stepped in and proclaimed his mea culpa. Because, you know, he's personally responsible for tasks that are delegated to other professional adults.

That's what I find so very interesting about this whole situation, really. Conservatives, and some liberals, expected President Obama to more or less offer himself up for castration out of some misguided sense of punitive retribution.

Did "W" do so when we found out that Iraq had absolutely no "weapons of mass destruction," as the dysphemism went, way back in the early 2000s?

No, of course not. To do so would have only further tarnished his already questionable record as decider-in-chief.

In fact,if memory serves, he was elected to a second term.

I'm not saying that that was the right thing to do, but, it happened. And nobody batted an eye; at least not immediately.

In the weeks following the Benghazi tragedy, conservatives have questioned President Obama's resolve and indeed, his character, though, to no end.

"No man of conscience would lie about such an event," they say. No, no he wouldn't. And indeed, the president did not. Just check the transcripts.

Or perhaps they put on a semblance of reasonableness and say something along the lines of, "He's commander-in-chief. The buck stops at the White House."

Well, one things for sure, that's a fine-sounding euphemism, while at the same time being absurdly childish in it's claim.

The president is indeed the commander-in-chief of these United States. However, he is also only one part of a very complicated and bureaucratic machine, a machine that at times show it's mechanical nature and inevitable ineptitude.

After all, he and anyone he commands, are only human.

In fact, during the most recent presidential debate, the president did something many on the right have been needlessly berating him for not doing sooner. He took responsibility for the Benghazi tragedy and deaths of Ambassador Stevens and his aides. In a response to debate moderator Candy Crowley, regarding the " buck" and where it stops, President Obama had this to say:

"Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. I'm the president and I'm always responsible, and that's why nobody's more interested in finding out exactly what happened than I do.

"The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime."

That you did, Mr. President, that you did.

If you like writing about US politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.

Written by Benjamin Burton Jr.

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Benjamin Burton Jr. is based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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