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BETWEEN THE LINES: The truth about the Benghazi incident

Politicians have a way of bending the truth to suit their needs, especially when their actions come under public scrutiny. President Barack Obama is no exception.

Political debates should help clear the air and allow voters to determine a candidate’s real stand on the issues. The debates also should provide the electorate with an opportunity to see how the candidates perform under pressure. This was not the case with the second presidential debate as the moderator, Candy Crowley of CNN, chose to run interference for Obama when the issue of the executive branch’s explanation about the killing of four Americans on Sept. 11 at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was brought up by Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

The line given by Obama and his staff after the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others was that the violence was a spontaneous response by angry Muslims over a controversial Internet video, and not an orchestrated terrorist attack. The president’s press secretary, Jay Carney, said as much Sept. 14. A couple of days later, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on television programs echoing the same comments.

The facts, however, tell a different story. A day after the incident, both Fox News and Eli Lake of the Daily Beast reported that United States’ intelligence agents had concluded it was terrorism and, within 24 hours, had identified some of the terrorists as members of al-Qaida. Is this a response generated out of political correctness, or could there be other motives behind the misstatement of the facts?

Is this a coverup of the president’s failed Middle East policies? Obama and his administration have virtually abandoned Israel, our only longtime ally in the region, while supporting revolutions designed to overthrow the regimes of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt last year. Both men were leaders of their respective countries for decades.

Mubarak and Gaddafi were unquestionably tyrants, but they kept in check radical elements like al-Qaida. Today, as a result of these revolutions, the Muslim Brotherhood has taken control of both countries, thus destabilizing the area.

Why was it that our embassy in Benghazi was so poorly secured in an area that even the Red Cross had left because of safety reasons? It seems unfathomable.

In Obama’s defense, he was not the first president, nor will he be the last, to commit a foreign affairs blunder. As long as the U.S. continues meddling in the affairs of other countries , we will have nothing to gain and everything to lose, especially considering we are broke and can ill afford such efforts.

Our foreign policy since the days of Vietnam has been devastating to our country. Even setting aside the monetary cost, the loss of brave American soldiers on foreign soil has been tragic. Unfortunately, we have little to show for our efforts. Whoever wins the Nov. 6 presidential election should understand the American public wants to get out of Dodge before another war breaks out in the Middle East.

Laughlin is a Christian Libertarian. He is an economist, teacher, father, husband and most recently a grandfather. He has written a weekly column for The Tribune for 15 years. He and his wife Gina reside in Meadowlakes. To contact him, email He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company.

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