Blame should not be a game in Benghazi

Illustration by Sarah Nehring

Illustration by Sarah Nehring

The most recent hearings concerning the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, last year have created an increasingly large rift in Washington.

Recent testimonies from three State Department officials who were stationed in Libya at the time of the attack have contradicted statements from the Obama administration as to what actually happened. The testimonies draw attention to inaccurate talking points about the Benghazi attack that UN Ambassador Susan Rice gave on Sunday talk shows in the days following the event.

Naturally, Republicans claim the talking points were intentionally manipulated to cover up an embarrassing failure during an election year, while the president and the Democrats argue that Republicans want nothing more than to politicize a tragedy. Unfortunately, this means the American people are further subjected to a serious matter becoming trivialized by our leaders.

As we wait for more information to be released, journalists and politicians are already coming to their own foregone conclusions without all the facts.

Fox News has already called the whole situation “Benghazi-gate,” likening it to the Watergate scandal, while columnists from the Boston Herald have called this one of the worst cover-ups in the U.S. government in decades.

Conservative journalists are not alone, as Rep. Rand Paul accused Hillary Clinton during a political rally May 10 for the deaths of the four Americans in Benghazi, according to NBC. Others are following Rep. Michele Bachmann’s lead and have started to mention impeachment as a possible course of action against President Obama in the future, according to the Huffington Post.

Let’s stop there and take that into perspective for a second: Impeachment is no small thing, and to be discussing it now before blame has been established, if there is true blame to be had, is tantamount to presuming guilty before proven guilty.

This is not to say, however, that there is no cover-up or conspiracy. The fact that the talking points were, for the most part, completely off the mark (a fact that the Obama Administration publicly apologized for in October), as well as the new testimonies would suggest that the events in Benghazi are still woefully unclear in the minds of both Congress and the American public.

Despite the suspicious nature of the situation, those that have already made up their minds about Clinton’s, Obama’s or the entire administration’s guilt should conduct themselves as many of their peers do: remaining unbiased but professionally skeptical until all facts have been laid out.

Seeing as new documented evidence, such as the 100 pages of declassified emails concerning the Benghazi situation, were released as recently as Wednesday, it’s safe to say that the investigation is ongoing.

As the investigation continues, both the Obama administration and Democrats need to be supportive of the hearings.

According to CNN, in a public address May 13, President Obama said the GOP was creating a political “side show” out of Benghazi. Other Democrats

have echoed the president’s words, believing that this is all an attempt to slander Hillary Clinton, who many believe will run for president in 2016. According to ABC News, Clinton, in a testimony given in October before a congressional hearing, said that it makes no difference why the attacks happened, but that we need to worry about what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

Unfortunately for Democracts, this may only be half true at best.

While it is likely members of the GOP are politicizing a tragic event, the public still does not have a clear picture of everything that happened in Benghazi. Attacking the GOP in order to change the subject, or a red-herring argument, doesn’t clear up the confusion  and only serves to draw out the matter.

If we want there to be any sense of closure to this case, we need to know with a surety what happened and if there are any facts to back up the accusations being made. For this to happen, the White House, the State Department and the CIA need to stand back, shut up and cooperate with the hearings 100 percent.

If possibly damning information is being withheld, the Obama administration is only hurting itself and any hope of bipartisanship by continuing to keep it a secret. If they have nothing to be ashamed of, then simple, concise, answers to the accusations will likely move the process along. We the American people deserve to know the whole story, but we also deserve to have our party leaders act more like adults and less like bickering children trying to pass blame onto one another.

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