“What difference, at this point, does it make?”
— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
On April 30, America witnessed one of the most brazen demonstrations of duplicity, and it was caught on national TV for all the country to see. The dishonesty emanating from Washington, D.C., a town not known for its commitment to reality, shocked even the most pessimistic among us.
Standing before the White House press corps, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was facing some tough questions from ABC News’ Jonathan Karl regarding the release of an e-mail related to the Benghazi attacks (http://bit.ly/PPrhnl). The e-mail in question was from White House adviser Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communication (and brother of CBS News President David Rhodes). The White House was forced to release the e-mail because of a Freedom of Information request from Judicial Watch. The fact that this e-mail was not part of the original White House documents related to Benghazi (as ordered released by Congress) is an issue of serious concern.
During the heated exchange between Karl and Carney (which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1oa02A5), Carney stated to a surprised Washington press corps that “the e-mails and the talking points were not about Benghazi.” One glance of the now infamous e-mail immediately places Carney’s statement clearly in the category of a falsehood. Not propaganda, not nuance, but a bald-faced lie.
The Rhodes’ e-mail is not a smoking gun, but is just another example of a White House in denial and paints an administration more concerned with political fallout and their narrative of an enemy on the run than about the truth of the Benghazi attack.
There are numerous issues swirling around the collective thoughts of every American. In the chaos that dictates our daily actions, kitchen table issues must be the priority: providing for our family, caring for a sick or elderly relative, college, work and so many other matters that require our full attention. Nonetheless, I truly believe the events of Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi are still calling to our communal consciousness, and poll after poll consistently shows Americans do not believe the White House has been honest with them. The undiscovered truth is calling out to us as a nation, but politics and ideology just keep getting in the way.
Let’s pretend for a moment that all ideology is set aside, and that for just a brief period in time each of us is sitting in the living room of the families of Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Ambassador Chris Stevens, the four American heroes who perished in the Benghazi attack. Would anyone free of any dogma-induced certainty sit before the families of these brave men and say with absolute honesty that we have honored their sacrifice? In the absence of truth there can be no honor, neither for the men who perished nor for the country that grieves their loss.
What Benghazi has taught us is that politics and the modern media are weak sentinels of the truth, and politicians make for poor consolers to a nation in mourning. Virtue, humanity and empathy have been sorely lacking in the Benghazi matter from both sides of the political aisle. There have been authentic people, free of ulterior motives, who continue to remind America what we should not forget — Benghazi matters.
The few shining lights have been journalists such as former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson and Catherine Herridge, whom in the absence of an inquisitive press have shown their industry the importance of the First Amendment, and how not to be lapdogs in a town that favors the complicit and seeks to discredit the agitators seeking facts.
New Hampshirites should also be proud that their own Sen. Kelly Ayotte has taken a strong leadership role at simply trying to get to the truth, free from a political agenda. In a town full of cynics, Sen. Ayotte has shown the compassion of a mother and the intellect of a former attorney general as she has sought to separate the facts from fiction and whitewash coming from all corners of the less than hallowed halls of government.
Benghazi lingers and will continue to eat at the true soul of this country because deep down most Americans know that the only truth is that four Americans are dead, and that an amateurish, anti-Islamic video was not the cause. Let’s forget about placing blame and concentrate on finding the truth stripped of politics. We owe the families of these heroes the truth of their heroism. Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Ambassador Chris Stevens deserve better, but sadly far too many ideologies care more about their egos or political survivability than to commit to an honest and thorough accounting of what happened. For as hard as the loss of a loved one is, the denial of the truth allows the wound to go unhealed.
It is time for Republicans and Democrats to put their petty squabbles aside, place the investigation in the hands of a singular selected committee and a special investigator (not a special prosecutor, which may become too political). As a country we should demand this; and as brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, we should rise above the politics and ask what we would expect if it were a member of our family dragged through the streets of Benghazi.
In the end, all the families of anyone who has perished serving our country want to know is that their sacrifice was not in vain, that America honors those who have fallen in the service of our nation. The only smoking gun that matters is the one used to slaughter four Americans serving their country as members of a diplomatic mission. The only truth that is real has eluded our nation thus far and, regrettably, our country and the families of these brave men may never know the simple truth. Thus far, this nation has failed them.