Now that the mainstream media are writing articles with the words scandals (plural), cover-up, lies, and president in their titles, Democrats in Congress are suddenly desperate to change the narrative on Benghazi from “nothing to see here” to something else — anything else — that will deflect criticism away from the Obama administration.
One ploy tested out yesterday on the floor of the Senate by Barbara Boxer (video below) appears in print at the Huffington Post. The opening paragraphs provide a précis of the article:
If my Republican colleagues are serious about conducting real oversight on the tragedy in Benghazi, they should start by looking in the mirror.
Their first order of business should be examining the abhorrent cuts that House Republicans made to our State Department’s embassy security budget — cuts that put American lives at risk.
The truth is — between fiscal years 2011 and 2012, the Republican-led House of Representatives sought to cut more than $450 million from President Obama’s budget request for embassy security funding. Although the Senate was able to restore some of this critical funding, it was not enough.
Boxer goes on to charge Republican with “manufacturing a controversy” around the “tragedy” that occurred last Sept.11. Calling the murder of a U.S. ambassador and three members of his support staff a tragedy is in itself interesting. It suggests that the senator is attempting at once to shift blame and diminish an act of terrorism and wanton human slaughter.
What of the claim that security at the U.S. Consulate was inadequate because of budget cuts? It was belied by testimony last October before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Charlene Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, was asked directly, “Was there any budget consideration and lack of budget which led you not to increase the number of people in the security force there?”
Lamb’s two-word response: “No, sir.”
Besides, even if the lack of security personnel were the result of GOP-induced austerity, that is but one of three charges — and arguably the least damning — being leveled against the administration. The argument in no way mitigates the administration’s failure to send reinforcements during the 7-hour siege or its insistence after the fact that the attacks were a reaction to an incendiary anti-Islamic video.
As for Boxer and friends, they might be well-advised to recall the old adage, “Better to say nothing and be thought the fool than the open your mouth and erase all doubt.”
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