Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rice and Benghazi: Why is this so fucking hard for Republicans to understand?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

And so the Republican obsession with the tragic Benghazi attack and its aftermath -- and specfically with comments Ambassador Susan Rice made on the Sunday talk shows about how the attack wasn't pre-meditated (and so not a planned act of terrorism) -- continues. Rice met with key Republicans on Capitol Hill the past couple of days, but apparently the meetings didn't go well. Or, at least, these key Republicans didn't emerge from the meetings content with what they heard:

The Wednesday meeting in a secure briefing room in the Capitol basement came a day after a similar sit-down Rice had with three key voices on foreign policy and defense issues went terribly wrong. GOP Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, all members of the Armed Services Committee, said they were more "troubled" about the Benghazi affair than they had been before their meeting with Rice.

And Graham and Ayotte went so far as to say they would place a hold on her possible nomination.

And this gang of three was joined by one of the Beltway's overhyped "moderates":

Even Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, just the type of moderate Republican who might help break a filibuster on a nomination, said there were still too many questions about why Rice incorrectly characterized the Sept. 11 assault in five Sunday talk show interviews as the result of spontaneous protests at the same time the Libyan president was calling it a terrorist attack.

"I don't understand why she would not at least qualify her response to that question," Collins told reporters after emerging from a 75-minute, closed-door meeting with Rice.

Troubled... don't understand...

Seriously, are they fucking stupid?

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: "On Benghazi, it's desperately partisan Republicans vs. Obama, the CIA, and the facts."

It's not complicated, and it's not hard to understand. Ambassador wasn't lying to the American people or engaging in some sort of White House cover-up (the analogies to Watergate are insanely ridiculous), she was relaying what the intelligence community was telling her. And regardless of what we know now, there were good reasons for her to say what she did in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Indeed, while it still may not be entirely clear who exactly edited the official talking points (CIA? FBI? DNI? the intelligence community generally?) and why (because not enough was known to establish certainty? because of a desire not to tip off al Qaeda and/or those responsible for the attack?), what's clear is that the decision wasn't made for partisan political reasons and that the intelligence community thought that this was the most accurate and/or prudential thing for Rice and others to say at the time.

Seriously, is that so fucking hard for Republicans to understand?

Maybe they get it, maybe they don't. But they're not in this for the truth, they're in this because they smell blood, because they see in this made-up scandal (which, again, they compare to Watergate) a bomb to bring down President Obama.

Republicans have been searching for something, anything to bring him down throughout his first term. Now that he's won re-election, they're just more desperate.

Last night, Jon Stewart pointed to the utter hypocrisy on the part of McCain and Graham. These are two of the guys who lied the country into the Iraq War and then defended Condi Rice's lies. And now they're going all righteously vindictive on Susan Rice for making cautious, sensible statements given to her by the intelligence community?

The media are treating them with respect and endowing their bullshit with credibility, as usual, but they have no credibility and deserve no respect.

This is all about bitterness, resentment, and shameless partisanship. And it's fucking bullshit.

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