To the Editor:
On September 11, 2012, four Americans were killed in Benghazi. The Republicans tried hard to capitalize on that event, to whip up votes against Obama.
Obama won, but the Republicans and Fox News have continued to beat the drums on Benghazi, and seem determined to keep beating them for a long time to come. I believe they are beating a dead horse, but I may be underestimating the political capital they can generate from this issue.
The only rational reason for this Benghazi obsession is that it is an early strike in the 2016 campaign, an attempt to blacken Hillary Clinton’s reputation, should she be the next Democratic presidential nominee. Yet it is possible that many — perhaps most — Republicans have truly persuaded themselves that they are engaged in a righteous pursuit of the truth or the facts, whatever they may be.
I am reminded of a previous massive intelligence failure. On December 16, 1944, Adolf Hitler caught the American Army by surprise, launching what came to be the Battle of the Bulge. Vastly more Americans died from that intelligence failure than died at Benghazi.
Yet no hue and cry arose to call General Eisenhower before a congressional committee. And when he ran in 1952, I don’t recall the intelligence failure of December 1944 being invoked as evidence that he lacked the competence to serve as our president.
I believe my point is obvious. With the benefit of hindsight, we can say that no Americns should have been in Benghazi, because the place was too dangerous and there were too few security personnel to protect them. And with the benefit of hindsight, we can say that American intelligence officers should have detected the German preparations for the 1944 attack.
Of course, human beings are fallible. It is unreasonable to expect omniscience from our leaders. Should Hillary be the Democratic nominee in 2016, I believe most voters will be sensible enough to recognize that truth.