On Thursday, September 19, 2013, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held another in a series of hearings into the events surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya… a coordinated attack carried out by a force of fifty or sixty radical Islamists using automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. In the attack, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens; Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith; and former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were murdered.
From the beginning of the attack, at 3:40 PM EDT, when Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith were killed, until the attack on the CIA annex, some 1.2 miles away, at 9:40 PM EDT, when Doherty and Woods were killed, the actions and the whereabouts of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are essentially unknown. They have refused to account for their whereabouts.
Obama has said repeatedly that he gave the order to “secure our people in Benghazi,” however, if he gave that order, Defense Secretary Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Dempsey failed to obey it, and neither man was fired or disciplined. And although F-16 jet fighter planes were available at the U.S. Air Force Aviano Airbase in Italy, just a forty-minute flight away, and an armed security force at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli was available and anxious to go to the rescue, no one at the White House or at the State Department gave the command to rescue our people.
After leaving his hiding place for a Rose Garden press conference the following day, September 12, Obama said, “The United States condemns, in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. We’re working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats… And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.” FBI investigators under Obama’s command and control did not arrive in Benghazi until two weeks later.
Although it was known early in the attack that it was a coordinated attack and that those who led the assault were affiliated with al Qaeda, members of Obama’s inner circle began immediately to leak word that the attack was the direct result of an Internet video, titled, “Innocence of Muslims,” written and produced in Los Angeles by a man named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
On Friday, September 14, three days after the attack, as the bodies of the slain Americans arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, outside Washington, DC, all of the usual suspects… Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice… were among the dignitaries who were there to see the flag-draped coffins taken from a U.S. Air Force transport.
Although everyone in the Obama administration was aware that the attack was not the result of the Internet video, Hillary Clinton took to the podium, and said, in the presence of the grieving families of the Benghazi victims, “We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable.” When she uttered those words she knew that it was all a lie, designed to provide political cover for Obama’s reelection less than two months away.
Later, as she and Obama expressed condolences to the families of the slain Americans, Clinton threw her arms around Joe Woods, the father of former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods. She told him quite solemnly that she would personally see to it that the person who made the video was arrested and prosecuted.
Two days later, on Sunday morning, September 16, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was sent before the TV cameras on each of the five Sunday morning news programs with instructions to spread the fiction that the Benghazi attacks were the direct result of an Internet video. Who sent her and who briefed her on the lie? Republicans in Congress have asked that question over and over again, but there is no response from the White House or from the State Department.
Then, on September 25, two full weeks after the attacks, Barack Obama delivered a thirty minute speech before the U.N. General Assembly. In his prepared remarks he perpetuated the myth of the Internet video. He said, “In every country there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening. In every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they’re willing to tolerate freedom for others. That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.
“Now I’ve made it clear that the United States had nothing to do with this video. And I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult, not only to Muslims, but to Americans as well… We understand how people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them. I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video and the answer is enshrined in our laws. Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.”
Although Obama has drawn one or two red lines in the sand in the Middle East and has dared anyone to cross them, no one in the world fears or respects Obama enough to take his threats seriously. They simply ignore him. The only violence that Obama has engendered in the Middle East occurred in Tehran on Saturday, September 28, when President Hassan Rouhani returned from his triumphal snub of Barack Obama at the U.N. General Assembly. As Rouhani’s open-top limousine took him from the Imam Khomeini International Airport to the presidential palace, shortly after he agreed to take a telephone call from Barack Obama, a displeased Iranian citizen tossed a shoe at him. It is a sign of profound disrespect in the Arab world that we in the United States should adopt before Obama leaves office.
It is now one year and three weeks after the Benghazi attacks, the greatest scandal in memory, and the American people and the families of the deceased are no closer to knowing who was responsible for the attacks than we were a year ago. The House and Senate have held numerous hearings but to no avail; members of the Obama administration have lied, dissembled, withheld information and pleaded ignorance.
However, the Democrats’ greatest insult was reserved for the House Oversight hearings of September 19. As Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, and Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, prepared to testify before the committee, demanding to know why Barack Obama and his people made no attempt to save the lives of their sons, fifteen of the seventeen Democrat members of the committee rose from their seats and left the room.
The Democrats who walked out of the hearing were: Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), William Clay (D-MO), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Danny Davis, (D-NY), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mark Pocan (D-WI), John Tierney (D-MA), and Peter Welch (D-VT). Among the fifteen Democrats who so rudely left the hearing room were Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).
Fourteen of the fifteen were only doing what Democrats do… they were just Democrats being Democrats. However, the one committee member whose departure was totally reprehensible is Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who represents the 8th Congressional District of Illinois, northwest of Chicago.
On November 12, 2004, while serving as copilot on a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, Duckworth’s aircraft was struck by a rocket propelled grenade and shot down. She suffered severe wounds, losing her right leg near the hip, her left leg below the knee, and severely damaging her right arm. She was the first female double amputee of the Iraq war and continues to serve as a Lt. Col. in the Illinois Army National Guard.
One would think that an individual who has suffered such terrible wounds of war would at least have the decency to listen to the testimony of two proud parents who’d lost their sons in the same worldwide struggle against radical Islam that caused her to lose her legs.
Yes, Tammy Duckworth has paid a terrible price for her willingness to serve her country and we must all be grateful to her for her sacrifice. But it is because of the price she has paid that makes her incredible rudeness in refusing to hear the testimony of Patricia Smith and Charles Woods all the more insufferable.
Each and every one of the Democrats who refused to listen to the parents of Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods should be targeted for defeat in 2014. No matter where we live, no matter our economic circumstances, and no matter who is selected to oppose them, we should all open our hearts and our wallets and purses and do whatever we can to defeat them.
Tammy Duckworth and her colleagues were just Democrats being Democrats. But there comes a time when even Democrats should be expected to put love of country ahead of loyalty to Barack Obama.