BOSTON (CBS) – It’s the faraway city that seems to send partisans here at home off the rails – Benghazi, Libya scene of the 2012 murders of two U.S. diplomats, including our ambassador. And now that both parties in Congress have released their final versions of what happened, let’s see if we can’t sort through all the political posturing and find some truth.
All sides now agree on a couple of things – that this horrific event was a premeditated terrorist attack, and that the U.S. government’s handling of it and response to security concerns there prior to the assault was less than adequate. Republicans can try to paint those failings as uniquely Democratic if they wish, but there is a bipartisan recent history of politicians and bureaucrats failing to understand and anticipate terror.
Meanwhile, Democrats are eager to paint the whole story as a Republican plot to smear Hillary Clinton, while overlooking the fact that by its own admission, the State Department under her watch screwed up in a variety of ways. Keep in mind, it was the House Benghazi investigation that disclosed Clinton’s sketchy e-mail practices. But while her reputation has rightly taken a hit from all this, the polls show she is still seen as better equipped to handle terrorism than her Republican opponent.
Watch for GOP attack ads flogging the Benghazi fiasco this fall. But even after the campaign is over and the issue starts to fade from memory, I hope both parties will learn a crucial lesson from it all – the only thing that will make voters more angry than governmental incompetence is being lied to about it.