‘Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!’

There’s a scene in “Bananas” in which Woody Allen’s character is discussing the economy of his new, adopted country, and when he’s told that bananas are its greatest export, he cries, “Bananas, bananas!” in a tone that conveys that he’s heard enough about that particular fruit. (I tried to find a video clip of that, but couldn’t. And is it my imagination that that movie used to be available on Netflix, but is not now?)Woody-Allen

There were times in recent months when many of us would have a similar reaction to Lindsey Graham’s (and John McCain’s, and Kelly Ayotte’s) repetition of the word, “Benghazi.”

Subsequent events have indicated that further inquiry into what happened there last Sept. 11 is at least worth further investigation. There should be bipartisan agreement on that much. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that any investigation that involves the Congress will be tainted by consideration of the 2016 presidential election, and the anticipated candidacy of Hilary Clinton.

For that reason, I though it particularly unfortunate that Lindsey Graham should say, just as everyone is finally paying attention, the following:

If it had been known by the American people seven weeks before the election the truth about Benghazi, I think it would have made a difference in the election…

No, it wouldn’t have. You still would have had Barack Obama going up against Mitt Romney, and the outcome would have been the same. It’s hard to imagine any sort of statement that might have been made about Benghazi. I mean, really, what would it have been? Are you saying the president should have said, “I’ve done a rotten job of protecting the American people, because I just don’t care. I could have saved the ambassador, but I personally decided not to, because I just didn’t like him. And I’ll do it the same way next time…”

It was a terrorist attack in a politically unstable place where there are tremendous numbers of weapons circulating, and it ended tragically. It should cause us to review consulate security across the globe. That’s the “truth about Benghazi,” and if the administration had said that on day one, and continued to say it through the election, I see no way it would have affected the election outcome.

Anyway, you and your fellow senators were being heard as you cried in the wilderness about this topic, before the election. But you were being dismissed by some as Republicans who were trying to wring electoral advantage from the tragedy. So… why would you want to give credence to that by saying something like this?

32 thoughts on “‘Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!’

  1. Steven Davis II

    So Brad and the Democrats are just trying to push this off as, “Move on, nothing to see here”. What are the odds that Jay Carney resigns as Obama’s press secretary this year?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, actually, Steven, I said the exact opposite of that.

      I said that this is an important thing to investigate, and added that it’s unfortunate that, now that broader attention is being paid to the issue, Lindsey Graham would say something that would tend to put it BACK into the area of partisan electoral considerations…

    2. Juan Caruso

      SD II
      I had asked myself the same about Carney’s departure. Unlike George Stephanopoulos, Carney lacks the charisma for authoring popular books or credibility to return to network broadcasting. Faltering ‘Time Magazine’ might take him back a year for publicity alone. He is probably not even anxious to go without a celebratory send-off. Yet, his prolonged continuation does not help Obama.

      Carney’s departure before resolution of Benghazi won’t matter, like ‘Fast and Furious’ did not. But leaving before the IRS thing and the AP red herring are resolved might appear very awkward for a beleaguered administration. With mid-terms 6 months away, Carney has to stay at least that long, unless the IRS problem can be resolved earlier.

      Will the IRS issue abate by election day? One way or another it definitely must. All it will take is for Lindsey Graham grandstanding to end, as it did for ‘Fast and Furious’, and for investigatory processes scheduled to end with a few low-level knuckles rapped, or delayed into early 2014.

      Why will Lindsey Graham back off? He will not jeopardize his post-senatorial lobbying career by crossing the Lawyer-Political Complex. While I would love to be wrong about Lindsey, ingrained habits are very difficult for ambitious humans to break.

      1. Steven Davis II

        Every time I see him walk up to the podium I wonder, “is this guy STILL constipated?”

  2. Doug Ross

    If you don’t like the Lindsey Graham who is running for re-election next year, just wait. He’ll revert to “can’t we all get along?” Lindsey the week after the election. Well, if John McCain tells him its okay to do it.

  3. Doug Ross

    I don’t think it would have changed the results of the election but it certainly would have cost Obama SOME votes if people knew his administration blatantly misled the American public about the nature of the Benghazi attacks purely for political backside covering purposes.

    When it comes to politics, start with being a cynic about everything you hear and then allow yourself to be surprised when it actually is the truth.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      But Lindsey is supposing the administration did NOT mislead anyone about Benghazi. He’s saying that had the administration been perfectly forthcoming from the beginning, the election would have come out differently.

      And I seriously doubt that.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, while I think Benghazi needs more scrutiny, I continue to believe that Graham puts too much emphasis on the stupid remarks of Susan Rice. As I’ve said before, I remember the administration saying it looked like a terror attack within 24 hours of initial reports of the attack.

    At first there were comments about the video, but that was VERY quickly corrected. Susan Rice was just someone who shouldn’t have held the position she held, which is why I’m glad she’s not secretary of state.

  5. Bryan Caskey

    Hey, new scandal! Kinda the same thing as with the IRS, but this time it’s the EPA:

    “Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Conservative Enterprise Institute.”


    One time is happenstance, two times is coincidence, three times is enemy action

    1. Steven Davis II

      Like NPR? I’m surprised Ed Schultz and Michelle Obama isn’t the lead reporters the few times I’ve tried to listen to it.

  6. Scout

    Politics and analysis aside, I think Graham’s syntax is awfully distracting in that statement: “If it had been known by the American people seven weeks before the election the truth about Benghazi, I think it would have made a difference in the election…”

    It just really wants to be: “If the American People had known the truth about Benghazi seven weeks before the election, I think it would have made a difference in the election…”

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Yes, his statement seems to have been translated from another language, badly.

  7. Kathryn Fenner

    Barbara Boxer points out that it costs money to protect the foreign service, and that Republicans looking for villains should check in the mirror.

    1. Silence

      The State Department is an ineffective joke. I used to fly into REDACTED with those weenies all the time. You could always pick them out of the crowd, in their European-style tailored suits, pointy loafers, and moussed hair. They acted very entitled. I could see how they’d piss off other countries. They even made me embarassed to have them representing us.

        1. Silence

          I pretty much wear cargo pants every day. When I’m overseas I wear the SAME cargo pants every day until they can stand up and walk away on their own. It’s nice to be able to keep lots of stuff in your pockets.
          Mostly standard KGB issue stuff. Makarov pistol, propiska, Leatherman tool, notepad, pens, GSM phone, etc.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I, too, wear cargo pants abroad. Here’s proof. I find this costume to be quite effective in maintaining my cover as an American tourist.

            Note the extreme bulging pockets, which prompted the following comment: “I trust it’s your trousers, and not you, with the tumors?”

            I had no idea I looked like that. I was just making maximum use of all my pockets. That was just the tip of the iceberg. That black coat I’m wearing has about seven pockets, all of which were in use, and under it was a travel vest, of the sort associated with photojournalists in war zones, with even more.

            What do I carry? Well, those “tumors” are mostly wads of Puffs tissues — I tend to get sniffles (without being sick) when I’m out in the cold and wet. Of course, I was carrying a couple of different kinds of antihistamines, in case the runny nose got bad, or in case I ate something I was allergic to, cough drops, acetaminophen, my clip-on sunglasses (in the remote chance the sun came out), wallet, probably about 100 pounds in cash (separate from wallet), passport, various maps, Blackberry (for the contacts in case of emergency; it didn’t actually work as a phone there), a cheap cell phone I bought for use there, a small digital camera, post cards I’d picked up here and there.

            Basically, if I leave “home” (or my temporary home, the hotel) and know I’ll be far from it all day, I just carry everything I can. I was a Boy Scout once.

  8. Kathryn Fenner

    And now ABC confesses it never actually saw the incriminating email it supposedly quoted. CNN has the actual one and it is not even close to a smoking gun.

    1. bud

      The story in The State this morning seemed to fully rebut all the Fox News spin on the Benghazi talking points faux scandal. Haven’t seen it anywhere else though.

  9. bud

    We’ve now reached a point in this Benghazi faux scandal where the Republicans are looking worse than the Obama Administration. Whatever the ultimate outcome of all this investigating the GOP will come across as a bunch of power hungry scoundrels using this as a political witch hunt. That’s basically what happened with the whole Whitewater “scandal” back in the 90s. Even though Ken Starr and company finally came up with something concrete – Monica Lewinsky – they ended up looking worse than Bill Clinton. At the end of the day Clinton’s popularity was much higher than congressional Republicans. Here’s news flash from the Huffington Post:

    One day after The White House released 100 pages of Benghazi emails, a report has surfaced alleging that Republicans released a set with altered text.

    CBS News reported Thursday that leaked versions sent out by the GOP last Friday had visible differences than Wednesday’s official batch.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        Yeah, Republicans seem impervious to the intrusion of such things. See also, Sanford, Marshall C.

        1. bud

          It’s not about the Republican base. Where they get hurt is with the malleable middle who can be alarmed at a real scandal such as Watergate or Iran Contra but gets turned off by faux scandals like Whitewater and Benghazi. The current AP “scandal” may actually have some validity but since the conservatives have wasted so much energy on the non-scandal of Benghazi they are likely to be branded as the Chicken Little crowd. Whatever legitimate issue there is with that it is probably going to come under the auspecies of the USA-PATRIOT act and thus cannot be branded illegal. How ironic that that horrible piece of legislation might cost the GOP their shot at a good scandal.

          1. Silence

            Now there’s news that the IRS intentionally delayed disclosure of the probe until after the election. Questions are being raised about Huma Abedin’s outside consulting work while she was still deputy to Ms. Clinton at the State Department, and there’s actually something to this Benghazi mess….

          2. Kathryn Fenner

            Questions are always being raised on certain right-wing media outlets about anything….it is tabloid journalism!

Comments are closed.