2002 Karachi; Pakistan; 2004 Uzbekistan; 2004 Saudi Arabia; 2006 Syria; 2007 Athens; 2008 Serbia; 2008 Yemen
What do these numbers and countries mean? No, it's not a puzzle but given the current nature of our political discourse, the story behind it will no doubt puzzle you.
Listed above are the years and countries where United States embassies were attacked under our previous commander-in-chief, George W. Bush. I found this to be quite revealing given the all-out "hair on fire" witch hunt that is currently taking place among conservative pundits and Republicans in Congress over the embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya, last year. Now, I will be the first to say that even one person killed in an attack on our embassies is too many but the fact that seven (count 'em SEVEN!) embassies were attacked and many people killed under the previous Republican administration and we heard nary a word of dismay is more than puzzling, it's downright unbelievable!
Now where does the Republican hero of heroes stand on the attack meter? There were three embassy attacks during Ronald Reagan's presidency, two in 1983 -- Beirut (more than 60 killed including 17 Americans) and Kuwait, and one in 1987 in Italy.
In fact, history shows that each of the presidents of the past few decades have had to deal with embassy attacks and bombings but for some reason, I don't ever recall there being so much unrest following an attack as there is now under President Obama.
I guess what really sent me reeling was today when I read about Mike Huckabee's well-crafted remarks on the radio that "Benghazi will be Obama's Watergate" and "this president will not fill out his full term." Excuse me? Let me get this straight. Not only did 9/11 happen on Bush's watch but seven embassy attacks and Obama is the one who will be ousted?! Huckabee claimed that the so-called Benghazi "cover-up" was worst than Watergate "because no one died." Well, I have one question for Mr. I Heart Huckabee. How many people died because of the Iraq War "weapons of mass destruction" cover-up? How many American soldiers gave their lives for a war of choice built on exaggeration, manipulation and outright lies? Is that worse than Watergate?
But see, we can't mention that because Bush "kept us safe," remember? Sorry, but if you think that's safe then I have a bridge in San Francisco I want to sell you.
I agree that there may still be some questions that need to be answered regarding the attacks in Benghazi and the families of those who died who have questions deserve to have their questions answered but the level of vitriol that is coming out of the Right because of these attacks is undeniably partisan and disgusting... and this coming from some of the same people who constantly accuse President Obama of "using a tragedy for partisan politics." Yeah right!
What's even more outrageous is that absolutely NO ONE is discussing the fact that it was the House Republicans who cut $300 million from the Obama administration's U.S. embassy security budget not long before the embassy attack in Benghazi took place. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who is one of the Republicans bravely leading the Benghazi charge, didn't seem too concerned about the embassy in Libya last year when he made the following statement on CNN in an interview with Soledad O'Brien (which is definitely worth taking a look!):
O'BRIEN: Is it true that you voted to cut the funding for embassy security?
CHAFFETZ: Absolutely. Look, we have to make priorities and choices in this country. We have -- think about this -- 15,000 contractors in Iraq. We have more than 6,000 contractors, private army there for President Obama in Baghdad.
And we're talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces? When you're in tough economic times, you have to make difficult choices how to prioritize this.
As the Washington Post's Dana Milbank wrote:
For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department's Worldwide Security Protection program -- well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration. House Republicans cut the administration's request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. ...Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans' proposed cuts to her department would be "detrimental to America's national security" -- a charge Republicans rejected.
So, in a nutshell, this is what is just driving me to the brink of insanity. Republicans are on a non-stop witch hunt about lack of security at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi and yet no one in the media (except Soledad... why was she let go again?) seems to be questioning the indisputable fact that it was Republicans who insisted on cutting the funding for embassy security right before the embassy in Benghazi was attacked. Absolutely no one seems to be holding the Republicans feet to the fire that they helped set!
I had a thought a few years ago about how this country came together after September 11 and how Democrats and Republicans put partisan politics aside for the good of the country. I thought about how the Democrats rallied around George W. Bush following the attack and pretty much voted yes to anything he wanted in the spirit of "we're all in this together." I wondered out loud what would happen if God forbid something like that happened today? Would the country (and Republicans) rally around the president for the good of the country, would the Republicans vote yes on anything President Obama asked or would there be the blame-game, finger-pointing, and hearings about what Obama did wrong? Unfortunately, I think we all know the answer to this one and it actually saddens me.
So as we continue to watch the Masterpiece Theatre that is the Benghazi hearings, let's all play a drinking game! Every time a Republican says "embassy security"... throw a drink at the TV!