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October 19, 2012

Off-Limit Topics

Roy Meachum

Both the father and brother of slain Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens asked that the Benghazi attack that took his life be declared off-limit in the fierce presidential wars. Another mother of an ex-Seal turned bodyguard also killed in the consulate made the same request.


The grieving parents and sibling are being ignored by the top of the Republican ticket, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. It’s to the advantage of the GOP to keep the topic alive. But they’re concentrating on the White House, excluding Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The ex-first lady has been in that target position before. She issued a statement this week, taking blame for the terror attack in Libya.


That didn’t take her “boss,” President Barack Obama, off the GOP hook.


The secretary didn’t hide behind Republicans cutting embassy security funding: That claim was delegated to Democratic talking-heads on Sunday shows.


The mound-made-a-molehill seemed over when the White House used “terror” in connection with the event. According to The New York Times, “Mr. Obama applied the ‘terror’ label in his first statement delivered in the Rose Garden on September 12, though the reference was indirect. “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of values that we stand for.”


Displaying the speechwriter syndrome, which I recognize from my own time in the mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the president went on: “Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”


On the other hand, Barack Obama did not send troops into the North African nation in what would be regarded as a crusade against Islam – in the George W. Bush-Richard Cheney fashion. The invasion of Iraq provided trillions to American manufacturers’ bank accounts, while costing the younger generation 33,184 lives and an estimated 100,000 non-fatal casualties. It was the Republican President Teddy Roosevelt who coined the phrase: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”


History records the GOP ordered U.S. troops to invade when there was no genuine provocation; George W. Bush is only the latest example. We fought Germany in two world wars under Democrats. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt acted only when a number of Americans had already lost their lives. After the Berlin Airlift discomfited the United States and Western Europe, Harry S Truman decided to go to the help of ally Korea, which was invaded.


Right-wing Republicans have drawn all sorts of lines in the dust. They want to react many times because their image of what suits our international prestige was insulted. They cannot adjust from the time when there was a single “super state” – the United States. As someone who lived in Egypt, their perception of Arabs is out of kilter. Among themselves, Muslims are no better than Christianized black Americans, which leads back to Barack Obama.


White Secretary of State Clinton felt compelled to carry the guilt for the attack on the Benghazi consulate buildings that cost four U.S. lives, including Ambassador Stevens. In a rush to become elected, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have brushed off families’ concerns.


Heedlessly, they fight away.


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