Friday, June 7, 2013

From Righteous To Reprehensible

On March 5, 1773, British troops killed five American colonists in what became known as the Boston Massacre. With the American colonies already inflamed by injustices served upon them by the British crown, the event would be a leading catalyst of the American Revolution two years later. On May 4, 1970, National Guard units fired into a crowd of anti-war protesters at Kent State University, resulting in the deaths of four students. Even for staunch supporters of the Vietnam War, the event triggered a shift in public opinion in the ensuing national outrage. On September 11, 2012, Islamist terrorists storming the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi, Libya, killed four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. In the aftermath, officials called the attack a localized protest and erroneously, perhaps deceptively, blamed an obscure YouTube video. How is it that the deaths of fellow citizens have changed the mindset from forthright rebellion to indifferent obfuscation?

Who knew what, and when? Who did this, and who did that? What was the agenda of the personnel at the diplomatic mission, especially that of Ambassador Stevens, and of those in Washington? Who, and for what reason, altered the talking points concerning the timeline of events over the ensuing days, weeks and months? As some fanciful, yet strangely compelling, conspiracy theories have speculated, were the four – Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith and former U.S. Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – expendable political pawns in an international ploy, and subsequent cover-up, engineered from the darkest corners of the White House prior to the November 2012 elections? These and many other questions are still unanswered; the hopeful truth, as of yet forthcoming nine months after the attack, will be either enlightening or troubling, or both. Even if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes that “what difference does it make” is a proper response in testimony to the facts, all of it matters.

The issue goes beyond such inquiry and conspiracy though. Thus far, administration officials have offered only token responses, confounding finger pointing and jocular indignation, even under direct testimony. Some, like former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice questionably promoted to National Security Advisor, unbelievably have been rewarded for their “service” (loyalty?), or, in the case of Clinton, have quietly retired – while not a single person has been held accountable, including the known terrorists who stormed the U.S. compound and killed the four Americans. From the president on down, why has it been so difficult for the administration to provide an appropriate and suitably comprehensive response to these concerns? On the campaign trail in 2008, candidate Barack Obama made speeches attacking a Bush administration many still contend – on both sides of the partisan divide – deceived and lied the United States into a war in Iraq. Obama pledged and guaranteed that his administration would be transparently different, a message continued and maintained throughout the 2012 re-election campaign against presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

With each new revelation concerning the Benghazi attack, seems now that those were empty promises. More likely, they were lies from the start, compounded by subsequent scandalous, if not unconstitutional and impeachable, activities that include political targeting and illegal surveillance of media and citizens alike by the government. Possibly directed from the White House. What difference does the death of a few Americans in a volatile, far away country make? When administration officials, from the president on down, are indifferently, almost callously, remiss and hard-pressed to set the record straight – not to mention bring the still unpunished terrorists to justice – it makes a revealing difference.

©2013 Steve Sagarra