Everything old is new again. Congressional Republicans issued a report on the 2012 Benghazi consulate attacks yesterday that basically blames then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for everything—and calls her a liar to boot.
"Reductions of security levels prior to the attacks in Benghazi were approved at the highest levels of the State Department, up to and including Secretary Clinton," the report—which is embedded below—states in the first bullet point on its first inside page. "This fact contradicts her testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 23, 2013."
The report "could dog Mrs. Clinton if she returns to politics," the conservative Washington Times crowed this morning. Yep, House Republicans think they can take down a popular politician by the name of Clinton by throwing a dishonesty flag. Because that worked out so well for them last time.
The Benghazi report is typical right-wing dogmatic bullshit. As the Washington Post points out, the GOP's entire case against Clinton rests on an April 19th, 2012, diplomatic cable in which the State Department declined to extend the tour of a bunch of Marines who'd been stationed in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, and were scheduled to return home. Like virtually every cable from Foggy Bottom, it carries the secretary of state's name at the bottom. And the House Foreign Affairs Committee never even asked her about the cable in that January testimony.
Even if the Marines had been extended through to the following September 11, they'd have been posted 630 miles from Benghazi, leaving them unable to prevent the ambush on the consulate there that killed four Americans.
But those are facts, and facts are immaterial to the House Republicans' main aim: to energize a knuckle-dragging, conspiracy-minded base for a possible presidential fight against Clinton in 2016. And if there's anything that energizes them, it's the horrible deaths of two intrepid diplomats and two mercenaries on a fluid frontier in the middle of a civil war—not, say, the deaths of two-dozen elementary schoolers in suburban Connecticut and a dozen more moviegoers in Colorado, all killed on the homeland by a semi-automatic version of the same rifle those Tripoli Marines carried, the same rifle House Republicans consider a birthright for Americans like Adam Lanza and James Eagan Holmes.
In fairness, the GOP report saves some scorn for Barack Obama, too, lamenting "the failure of the president to anticipate the significance of the day and to proactively authorize the Defense Department with an alert posture to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense." Which is another way of saying that the Benghazi deaths were preventable, if only we'd sent some "offensive" forces out looking for shit to kick. But shooting deaths at home with military-originated small arms, that's just, you know, shit happening.
[Image via AP]