Benghazi George W. Bush The Daily Banter

The Grossly Lopsided Republican Responses to 9/11 and Benghazi

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote an article here in which I listed a series of 13 different Benghazi-style attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates during the George W. Bush administration. Some of the terrorist attacks, such as in Yemen and Pakistan, occurred twice at the same facility. Nearly all of the attacks inflicted casualties, including at least three Americans.

Every time Benghazi pops into the news, the article is flooded with new traffic and, naturally, all new trolls who try to knock holes in my argument — an argument that doesn’t attempt to diminish the tragedies listed, including the terrible fatalities in Benghazi, but which exposes what I believe to be selective and disproportionate outrage.

The latest batch of trolls have been trying to convince us that the new series of emails released last week prove a cover-up after-the-fact in which the administration cherry-picked the Attacks Grew Out Of The Protests story because it’s what made the administration look more competent. They say the White House was warned about the attacks and yet they didn’t provide military support or increased security, and so when the shit hit the fan, they grappled onto a CIA memo indicating the attacks were part of the protest instead of a premeditated effort. That’s what the apoplectic Benghaziphiles are telling us.

This makes the formation of a House select committee to investigate Benghazi all the more important, they say. It couldn’t be more obvious that the true motive here is to either build a case for impeachment or to further damage Obama’s would-be successor, Hillary Clinton. Probably both. If the GOP’s Benghazi conspiracy theorists were legitimately making an honest effort to ascertain what went wrong, rather than to exploit the deaths of four Americans in order to operate a publicly-funded smear campaign, I might be inclined to support that effort. But that’s not what’s happening. This is a political witch hunt, pure and simple. And as with the conspicuous lack of outrage over the 13 embassy attacks during the Bush years, the GOP’s Benghazi-obsessed screechers never once showed similar investigative zeal in the years following the another attack against America that’s been weirdly overlooked in the context of this discussion: September 11, 2001, eleven years earlier to the day.

Indeed, there are legitimate and numerous instances where the Bush administration failed to act in accordance with CIA warnings but then attempted to cover up not only its inaction but also aspects of the aftermath — with zero outrage or obsessive hobby-horsing from Fox News or the congressional Republicans. Instead it was all met with the usual refrain: don’t try to undermine the commander-in-chief while troops are in harm’s way, you unpatriotic, terrorist-loving, America-hater.

Author and Vanity Fair editor Kurt Eichenwald reported back in 2012 that the infamous August 6, 2001 presidential daily briefing (PDB) wasn’t the first time the administration had been warned of a large-scale attack being prepared by Osama Bin Laden and his co-conspirators, and yet there’s no indication President Bush took any significant or even cursory action to disrupt the plot. I hasten to note, however, this isn’t to suggest Bush was to blame for the attacks or an endorsement the absurd theory that he deliberately allowed the attacks to occur. This is simply to illustrate a very dichotomous reaction from the GOP.

–From the beginning, Richard Clarke, a holdover Clinton administration counter-terrorism adviser, tried to repeatedly warn then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice about an impending Bin Laden attack. Clarke warned of “an immediate and serious threat to the United States” at the hands of Bin Laden.

May 1, 2001. Eichenwald reported that the president was briefed by the CIA that there were plans being assembled for an attack by “a group presently in the United States.”

June 22, 2001. Bush received a PDB that warned of an “imminent” al-Qaeda attack during a “flexible timeline.” The neocons in the White House, meanwhile, believed that Bin Laden was a distraction from an actual plot by Saddam Hussein. The pretext for an invasion and regime change in Iraq had obviously been on the table for many months. In spite of its participation on Iraq, he CIA urged the White House to not ignore Bin Laden… READ MORE