I fully understand that Mitt Romney and his lieutenants want to capitalize on any and every political opportunity that comes their way, but in the case of the Benghazi deaths have they gone too far?
Ambassador Chris Stevens’ father has come out and asked that the Romney campaign cease and desist in politicizing his son’s death. To wit Jan Stevens: “It would really be abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue. The security matters are being adequately investigated. We don’t pretend to be experts in security. It has to be objectively examined. That’s where it belongs. It does not belong in the campaign arena.” Just last week the mother of the slain Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, Barbara Doherty, asked Romney to stop using he son’s death as a political prop with the following statement: “I don’t trust Romney. He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.” Republican candidates have a long history of using the American military as a political backdrop during campaign season but Romney’s use of the Benghazi tragedy is beyond the pale of politics as usual and that’s why it’s become so controversial. Moreover, with Romney having made some many missteps in the foreign policy arena one would think that he would pick his fights somewhere else.
I think we’ve come to a point of “enough already” especially as the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has taken responsibility for events and in doing so, has pointed out that requests for security aren’t the sort of issues that would go across the president’s desk. That said, it’s more than a bit disingenuous to try to pin failures in day to day embassy operations on the president. Its analogous to trying to tie the price of a gallon of gasoline to Barack Obama when gas and oil prices are set in a worldwide market controlled by hundreds of traders and economic factors and not in the offices of world leaders.
The other great irony in the Republican attack on the issue of diplomatic security is that they themselves voted to cut funding for it. When asked in an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley about Republican votes that cut funding for embassy security Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a Romney Surrogate said: “Absolutely. Look we have to make priorities and choices in this country. We have… 15,0000 contractors in Iraq. We have more than 6,000 contractors, a private army there, for President Obama, in Baghdad. And we’re talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces. When you’re in touch economic times, you have to make difficult choices. You have to prioritize things.” What’s even more ironic about Chaffetz’s spin is that he sits on two committees that are directly involved in terrorism and security; Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security and the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations. Chaffetz is Chairman of the latter. Should he have known better than to cut this type of funding, I would say so. If anything a guy who seems to be so in touch with the dangers arising in post-revolutionary Libya should have had the presence of mind to speak up against funding cuts then rather than to serve as a mouthpiece for ill considered criticism by the Romney campaign now. Rather than question Barack Obama’s judgment in commenting on the deaths in Benghazi recently, Congressman Chaffetz ought to look in the mirror and question his own lack of judgment and his current contribution in this crass politicizing of the four unfortunate American deaths in Libya.
No matter how you analyze this issue one thing is for sure, the Congressional Republicans look like the pot calling the kettle black and Romney and Co. look like a bunch of crass political operatives in continuing to use the Benghazi tragedy as a political prop. As I said above, enough is enough.
Steven J. Gulitti
Ambassador’s dad says son’s death in Libya shouldn’t be politicized; http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2012/10/ambassadors_dad_says_sons_deat.html
Fox News, Stephanie Cutter, And The Politicization Of Benghazi; http://mediamatters.org/mobile/blog/2012/10/12/fox-news-stephanie-cutter-and-the-politicizatio/190596
Mother Of Navy SEAL Killed In Libya Demands Romney Stop Talking About Him In Stump Speech; http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/10/10/986301/romney-navy-seal-mother-libya/
Honoring Slain SEAL’s Mom’s Request, Romney Will Drop Story On Stump; http://www.capradio.org/news/npr/story?storyid=162671671
Hillary Clinton takes responsibility for Libya US deaths; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19958739
Rep. Chaffetz says he “absolutely” voted to cut funding for embassy security; http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/10/rep-chaffetz-says-he-absolutely-cut-funding-for-embassy-security/