Why the GOP’s “Benghazi” rallying cry isn’t working

While it’s clear to me and a few others that the 11 September 2012 deadly attack on a US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi was a rather direct consequence of the US-backed 2011 regime-change, it is a connection that that practically no one in the American media or political arena is making today. Instead of criticizing Obama for involving the US in yet another unnecessary foreign adventure that destabilized an already inflammatory region in a way that ended up biting us in the ass, the Republicans are making increasingly contorted allegations concerning the way the Obama administration described the attack after it happened. The latest iteration of this involves accusations that the White House edited talking points. Needless to say, this is not very exciting stuff. Nor is it very convincing.

The problem is this: the Republican Party is still hopelessly intertwined with neoconservative interventionists as the Democratic Party is in bed with liberal interventionists. Despite the often purported “isolationism” of the Tea Party movement, very little has changed in the GOP’s promotion of a militarized and fundamentally interventionist foreign policy. This is true even among Tea Party favorites. Sarah Palin–who built her media persona as being a “renegade” against the GOP establishment–largely endorsed the overthrow of Gaddafi while expressing some reservation over the Obama administration’s “mixed messages.” Mark Levin, a firebrand talk show host who is notorious for berating the alleged anti-Tea Party stance of the GOP, went as far as defending the Obama administration against claims it overstepped its Constitutional bounds by intervening without Congressional approval. While it is true that Michelle Bachmann and Allen West made statements against the Libya intervention, this opposition was rarely voiced and–in the case of West–inconsistent with an eagerness to get rid of Gaddafi.

And don’t even get me started on the man who the GOP nominated to run against Obama.

Because the GOP finds itself incapable of condemning the regime change that took place in Libya, it is significantly hampered in the range of criticisms it can throw at Obama over Benghazi.

Also worth considering is this 2006 story:

Syrian guards foiled an attempt by suspected al-Qaida-linked militants to blow up the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday, exchanging fire outside the compound’s walls with gunmen who shouted “God is great” and tried to storm in with automatic weapons and hand grenades.
[…]
The rapid response by Syrian guards won rare praise from the United States, which accuses President Bashar Assad’s government of supporting terrorism in its backing of Hezbollah guerrillas and Palestinian militants.

“I do think that the Syrians reacted to this attack in a way that helped to secure our people, and we very much appreciate that,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said. No Americans were hurt, and the embassy was not damaged.

White House spokesman Tony Snow also thanked Syrian officials and called for Damascus to “become an ally and make the choice of fighting against terrorists” (AP, 12 Sep. 2006)

Perhaps the Republicans could do US embassy workers more of a favor by keeping tabs on Obama’s regime change policy in Syria than by grandstanding over edited talking points.

Take it away Mr. Kucinich:

Advertisements