Hamilton — Benghazi: An act of war?
At the end of 2014, we will be 22 months away from the presidential election of 2016. Between now and then, the polls are likely to continue to show that most voters think our nation is headed down the wrong path and that voters are looking for a president who can work with both parties in Congress and get the United States back on an upward path.
Although Barack H. Obama won’t be on the 2016 ballot, what he has done or failed to do during his two presidential terms will be very much in play. Conservatives will be debating whether President Obama will place alongside or below Jimmy Carter in the Pantheon of failed presidencies. But the 2015 hearings by the “House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi,” may spell the further doom of President Obama’s political legacy and could foreclose Hillary Clinton’s political future.
Former state and federal prosecutor Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) will chair the Select Committee, a selection likely to strike fear in the hearts of prospective witnesses. But Gowdy, known for his fierce, unrelenting, razor-sharp questioning of witnesses, has a soft side as well. When South Carolina faced a budget crunch, District Attorney Gowdy found creative ways to pay district attorney staff salaries and prevent layoffs.
Now, armed with subpoena and other powers not available to the House Standing Committees, Chairman Gowdy has pledged the same bulldog tenacity on Benghazi that he used in the successful prosecution of seven death-penalty cases. Lying to Congress under oath is a crime that Gowdy promises to prosecute to the full extent of the law.
The title of the Select Committee includes the word “terrorist.” But what if the attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi and the CIA annex were not acts of “terrorism,” but instead were acts of war?
Russia’s Vladimir Putin has made it abundantly clear that Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, is his client. If the Syrian rebels and/or ISIS take down Assad, Putin is likely to lose one of Russia’s vital interests, which is that warm-water Russian naval base at Tartus, Syria. If our slain Ambassador Chris Stevens was in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, arranging with the Turkish Ambassador for the transfer of Libyan arms, via Turkey, to the Syrian rebels, Putin might well have seen Steven’s actions as against the vital interests of Russia.
The Select Committee may learn that Putin’s intelligence service hired a well-trained and well-armed strike force of Libyans to assassinate the American ambassador. So, the already discredited claim by President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and Ambassador Rice about some obscure anti-Muslim video causing the attacks would hold even less water than before.
But wait. What if the Russian origins of the Benghazi attack were known to President Obama, Secretaries Clinton and Panetta and JCS chairman Gen. Dempsey almost at the outset of the Benghazi attacks? Did Obama, Clinton, Panetta, and Dempsey not only leave Americans to die without rescue on the field battle but did they also cover up an act of war by Russia against the United States of America? Eventually, the Select Committee will file its report. Voters can decide.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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