Coverup for you to probe, Senator
June 3, 2013
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., says the "coverup" surrounding the tragic incidents in Benghazi is "bigger than Watergate, bigger than Iran-Contra, bigger than the Pentagon Papers."
It's interesting that Inhofe doesn't mention another matter that didn't make his top four. It involved allegations of weapons of mass destruction, talking points planted in the press and weekly news programs about a "mushroom cloud" looming.
It involved linking Saddam Hussein to a terrorist attack on America. It involved sending men and women to war.
Sen. Inhofe wants more about events that caused the deaths of four Americans.
Four thousand, four hundred and eighty-eight Americans died in events triggered by that matter he doesn't mention.
Throw in the 2,977 killed when unheeded warnings bore out about the 9/11 attack in 2001.
We did not hear Sen. John McCain calling for a Watergate-style probe into those matters like he now does about Benghazi. I wonder why.
That said, I disagree with Democrats who say this pageant of indignation is all about tarring Obama and, of course, Hillary Clinton. That's just not true.
The truth is that Republicans are pursuing their ongoing mission in Washington: "Do everything in our power so that our government can't govern, so help us Grover Norquist."
Re. Benghazi: Not a word above should be taken as dismissing the horrific screw-up, the paucity of security despite warnings, the mixed signals from the White House afterward. Horrific. Screw-up.
Then again: A Nixonian coverup? As I recall, Watergate consumed months and years and reels and reels of White House tape. If the Obama administration was papering over something, you'd think it would have stuck with its story more than nine days before changing its explanation and calling it a terrorist attack, as Clinton did Sept. 20.
If what was said initially was telling tales so as not to undermine Obama's re-election, the reframed explanation gave voters a month and a half to decide for themselves. But, whatever you say, senators.
While you're at it, though: The administration unambiguously sought $1.80 billion for embassy security, construction and maintenance for fiscal 2012. Too much, said House Republicans. They cut it by $331 million, after cutting the request by $128 million the previous year.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who sits on the House Oversight Committee investigating Benghazi, said the U.S. consulate didn't meet the "basic, minimum standards." Asked later, however, he defended putting clamps on embassy funding.
"We have to make priorities and choices in this country," he said, tough budgetary times and all.
With that in mind, Rep. Chaffetz, here is something for your committee to study, and you'll be excited to know it comes with a coverup:
A 2012 study by the bipartisan Congressional Research Service found that while resulting in more income inequality, the Bush tax cuts didn't boost the economy. They simply increased the federal deficit.
The coverup? Republicans quashed it. Didn't want it muddying the 2012 dialogue. Didn't want Mitt Romney to have to wrap his ideas around debunked economic theory. Talking points, you know.
The GOP wanted everyone to think of the deficit as Obama's baby, even if spending in his presidency rose at a slower rate than under Bush. (That's not a Democratic talking point. That's from factcheck.org.)
Yes, Congressman, an investigation. Let's investigate how foolish fiscal policies so strapped this country that it couldn't do what you now say should have been done: protect our brave diplomats.
Let's investigate how a strategy of strangulation has worked so well that paralysis is what we call motoring in the nation's capital.
You so want to have an investigation. Give this one your best shot. It beats governing.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: email@example.com.