Obama Still Lives in the Shadow of Benghazi
A Reluctant Commander-in-Chief Addresses the Nation on the Eve of 9/11
As President Obama tries desperately to extricate himself from his incoherent Syrian policy, his address to the nation Tuesday night is heavy with irony.
The annual commemoration of 9/11 marks the worst attack on U.S. soil, when nearly 3,000 people were killed in the terrorist strikes in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Since last year, we have added another terrorist attack on Americans on 9/11, the terrorist attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans.
The president will address the nation on the eve of 9/11. Despite his bellicose rhetoric, he is the same reluctant Commander-in-Chief who abandoned Americans in Benghazi last year.
Last September, in the heat of a presidential campaign, Obama and his advisors devised a preposterous explanation to avoid action in Benghazi. It was a stunning example of the president’s unwillingness to use American power, even to save our own ambassador and fighting men.
Now he is up to his neck in a foreign-policy crisis of his own making. Events are moving quickly, but it is likely that the president will grasp at any straw that will get him out of this mess. Most of all, he will leap at any suggestion that prevents a possible defeat in Congress or the exercise of his most dreaded option – the use of American military power to enforce his ultimatums.
To Obama and his closest advisors, Benghazi has faded into obscurity. Even in the face of the most startling evidence, the president and his staff seem bewildered that anyone would even raise the issue.
In an interview on Sunday, the president’s chief of staff was asked why journalists could find an alleged Benghazi conspirators yet the administration wouldn’t arrest him. He gave a nonanswer, claiming that the administration was still working on the case.
It is a sad commentary on the Benghazi scandal that only a few media outlets keep the issue alive. Still sadder is the fact that Congress, particularly the Republican leadership in the House, has abandoned the search for truth.
The hero of Benghazi in Washington is still Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia. He has relentlessly and almost single-handedly kept the issue alive.
All year he has called for a House Select Committee to investigate Benghazi. His effort has garnered 160 cosponsors, a majority of the House Republicans. Nevertheless, House Speaker John Boehner has stonewalled the request to protect his friends who chair various House committees.
But Wolf never gives up. He asks pertinent questions about Benghazi nearly every day the House is in session. Here’s a sample of the questions he posed this summer:
- Where are the Benghazi survivors?
- Which agency was responsible for vetting the Libyan security guards at the U.S. consulate?
- How many Benghazi survivors were forced to sign nondisclosure agreements?
- Why haven’t we applied pressure to countries refusing to allow the FBI to access the terrorists responsible for the attack?
- Why was the CIA’s security team repeatedly ordered to “stand down” after the attack began?
- Ambassador Stevens made several calls for help to nearby consulates. Which foreign consulates did he call? How did those consulates respond?
- What happened in Washington on the night of the attack and in the days to follow?
- Who are the anonymous senior administration officials who admitted “mistakes” in their handling of the attack to CBS news?
- Why was there a facility operated by the CIA in Benghazi?
- Who in the White House new what was going on in the CIA annex in Benghazi?
Given the Congressional mismanagement of the Benghazi investigations, we may never know the answers to these questions. Nevertheless, the questions will be hanging in the air when the president speaks on Tuesday night. The nation still deserves answers.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.