“Why Weren’t Embassy Attacks Under Bush & Clinton Investigated?” – UPDATES

Not picking on Hillary, but since there is no Situation Room pic from night of attack…

There is an argument I am seeing show up pretty regularly on Twitter. Someone tweets a link to a news story asking valid questions about Benghazi, or suggesting that there has been a cover-up (and history shows that fallout from coverups are always worse than the incidents that preceded them, but politicians never learn) someone intent on protecting the administration or Hillary Clinton tweets the equivalent of a sneer: “oh yeah? Well there were this many attacks on US Embassies while Bush was president, where were you then, huh? Why wasn’t anyone demanding investigations, then, huh?”

Okay, well, I was wrong in calling that an argument; it’s really just your basic distraction tactic, meant to obfuscate and confuse, as we see Jon Stewart try to do, here. Must not discuss Obama and Benghazi and today. Let’s keep repeating the talking points from ten years ago.

But the answer is actually pretty simple: yeah, there were x-number of embassy attacks under Bush and they did not require investigations. For that matter there were all of these attacks on embassies and American interests under President Clinton, and they didn’t require investigations, either.

Why not? Well, because under Bush the embassy attacks were taking place mostly in Iraq, and during a time of acknowledged war — right in the thick of it, in fact — and no one tried to argue that they were anything but planned and executed attacks.

And during the Clinton years, the attacks — which took place an average of every 18 months — were recognized as planned, organized attacks and no one tried to argue that they were anything different, either.

And while our embassies were attacked under these presidents, and others, none of our Ambassadors were murdered (along with Navy Seals) while multiple stand-down orders were given against mounting a rescue.

Neither the Bush nor Clinton administrations sought to mischaracterize the attacks on their embassies. Neither of them disseminated weirdly vague stories that was “really” took place was a spontaneous protest over an unseen, stupid video. And it was not the Bush (or Clinton) administration that — even after acknowledging a terror attack had occurred — repeated those lies to grieving parents or (weeks later) in a speech to the UN where the “video” was blamed six times

Neither the Bush nor Clinton administrations first claimed that it was too early to talk about the attacks, and then too late. None of their Secretaries of State first flatly said — two days after the event — that they would not talk about the attack, declared to congress “what does it matter” or fell back on stereotypical behavior of yelling and emotionalism to distract the press and scare her mostly-male congressional inquisitors into silence. And none of their Secretary of State’s successors started out his term by quickly announcing that he didn’t intend to talk about the attacks, either. (::::UPDATE::::Just breaking, now he says he will!:::END:::)

But mostly, the reason “no one investigated” attacks under Bush or Clinton is because no one lied about what they were, or refused to be clear about what their responses had been.

The truth is, had the administration come out and said “terrible attack; we absolutely did not just let Chris Stevens die, but it was too dangerous for us to mount a rescue; we are grieved and we’ll bring this to justice” the story would have been gone well before election day.

But they couldn’t be upfront; as Peggy Noonan notes, “The Obama White House sees every event as a political event.”

So, go on, keep talking about how many embassy attacks happened under George W. Bush — and under Clinton, too — and then asking “why do you care so much about this one, huh?”

The answer you will keep getting is this: because the Obama team lied about it.

And an administration that can be in some measure attached to bugging the opposition, and using the IRS to target political groups (after having “joked” about that very thing), loves to write more power into its bills and write 12 damn revisions to their Benghazi talking points after clearly making stuff up has earned some investigation on behalf of the people it is meant to serve, with accountability, and not rule with impunity.

UPDATE I:
So much for transparency .

UPDATE II:
Even the New Yorker is questioning the admin’s story

UPDATE III:
As we have a lot of new commenters today and I am disinclined to start dropping banhammers all weekend, please avail yourself of the comments policy for this blog. Of particular interest to people who want to come in here and immediately start with ad hominems. When you enter the site calling me stupid, or “piece of shit” or whatever lovely encomiums you’re leading with today, yeah, those get trashed — I’m done giving folks platforms for out-and-out rudeness. Be here because you want to talk, not simply sneer and play out your aggressions, thanks.

Related:
When is a scandal not a scandal
It’s not Watergate, and it’s not “nothing”
Why it matters
Benghazi links and another round-up

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • vox borealis

    I do love when you get on a roll and open a can of whuppass!

  • walker442

    ‘under Bush the embassy attacks were taking place mostly in Iraq’

    Karachi 2002 – 10 dead.
    Uzbekistan 2004 – 2 dead.
    Saudi Arabia 2004 – 8 dead.
    Syria 2006 – 1 dead.
    Yemen 2008 – 10 dead.

    How’s your geography Elizabeth?

  • MeanLizzie

    Well, as a matter of fact, Walker, my geography is pretty lousy, especially in that part of the world, which is why I made a point of saying MOSTLY in Iraq. But what does any of that have to do with what I’ve said here? How many Ambassadors were killed? Did Bush (or Clinton — funny you don’t mention him ) ever try to say these attacks were not attacks but something else? Did they try covering them up or mischaracterizing them? While many of them were suicide bombers were any of them extended 7 hour attacks where the possibility of rescue could/should have been entertained and if so, why were rescues not ordered? Did Bush of Clinton look at the parents of the slain and tell them they died because of one thing, when they died because of something else? All valid questions, no matter how bad my geography might be, no?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rgaryf R Gary Fenske

    So, let’s see… if you are basing this “event” as being worse than those under Bush, because those took place “during a war”, then let’s step back one problem with “that war”, in that WE WERE LIED TO about why we were even there, and that this LIE caused the loss of over 4,000 American lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people, when we know damn well that this was not about WMD… but a pure and simple “pay back” by the Bush family and in the interest of the BILLIONS of dollars Cheney made off ot the war through Halibuton (and by the way, STILL IS)… so is this not just a little bit worse? When are people going to realize that the lies that were spread then, are continuing now, only worse, about almost everything the GOP does. Someone said: Wake up America. I agree… but, when you do, start looking at the facts and not just going by what “Fox News”, the GOP, the NRA, or any of those being paid to say and do what they do (this includes Democrats). Facts don’t lie… people do!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rgaryf R Gary Fenske

    Thank you walker 442… and those attacks were not all in IRAQ… more facts!! (see below)

  • MeanLizzie

    Yeah, I didn’t say they were “all” in Iraq. Was pretty clear about it.

  • hotboogers

    Not to mention Mr. Nakoula who is still in jail on trumped up charges of violating probation … when it’s apparently a very convenient means to silence him …

  • MeanLizzie

    When did I say this was “worse” than other attacks “”because” the others took place during war? I said they were worse b/c an American Ambassador and Navy Seals were killed during a prolonged attack during which time we apparently mounted no attempt at rescue and then blamed a hapless filmmaker for it — and threw him in jail. If you’re going to comment here it would be good if you could repeat my argument back to me, accurately.

  • hotboogers

    These leftist trolls are funny, but not funny-ha-ha. Funny in how leftists claim they care about other people (quoted straight from my sister-in-law’s mouth), yet they clearly don’t care about the Benghazi dead. If they did care about the dead, the lefties would be demanding accountability and justice. Instead, all they do is try to silence those who ARE calling for accountability and justice. Ugly stuff.

  • walker442

    It wasn’t even mostly in Iraq, about half were outside.

    ‘Why not? Well, because under Bush the embassy attacks were taking place mostly in Iraq, and during a time of acknowledged war’

    This does not adequately explain why 5 attacks costing 31 lives were not worthy of investigation. That is what it has to do with what you have written – and the title of your article.

    ‘While many of them were suicide bombers’

    One of the attacks I mentioned was a bombing. The others are all armed attacks. No offence but you really need to work on fact checking before you write.

    All your other questions have been done to death. Fact is there was nothing particularly unusual about the attack in Benghazi. It’s simply another in a very long line of attacks on US interests abroad. It has been blown out of all proportion because of the extreme partisanship that has broken the US political system.

    Following the logic of the Republicans pursuing it as an agenda, GW Bush should be eligible for the death penalty for the catastrophic failings in the lead up to 9/11.

  • walker442

    ‘WE WERE LIED TO about why we were even there, and that this LIE caused
    the loss of over 4,000 American lives, and hundreds of thousands of
    Iraqi people, when we know damn well that this was not about WMD’

    Nail on the head.

  • http://twitter.com/carboncow shawn feller

    Are you kidding me? First you quote your sister-in-law as one to represent consistant “leftist” views? Then you rant about a few dead in Benghazi? Yes I just said that…because most rational (free thinking and independent here) people really see the silliness in the Benghazi manhunt as nothing more bipartisan witch hunt…when in fact people are killed daily in our US actions. The man argument from those on the left is how silly anyone (or especially the right) can make such a “federal” case out of the Benhazi attack when so many similar things in the past far worse (under republican and democratic) have happened w/o such scrutiny ..all this Benghazi discussion is plain and simple, politics at it’s worst…and you buy in! The more the right or the media keep saying it’s a cover up doesn’t make it so…but they sure got you and the kangaroo court convinced! Ever since the Swift Boaters showed up and invented the world “flip flop” those on the right cannot stand it when someone changes their view, point, facts or interpretation…which is a shame. Those who are critical thinkers embrase changed view points…and even accept changed statements when new facts come into light. You were not their, Faux News wasn’t their and MeanLizzie wasn’t there…and few will ever know the truth, but I’m not sure it really matters during a which hunt.

  • MeanLizzie

    That’s interesting. Can we shrug off “a few dead” in Benghazi? If so what is the number of dead that becomes offensive enough to bother. Three died in Boston, so that can’t be enough, since four died in Benghazi. If 10 die, then is it worth noticing? 100? And since there are only “a few dead” in Benghazi then it doesn’t matter if there was incompetence, or duplicity around the event? And you would say precisely the things you’ve written above if, say, Condi Rice had said “what difference does it make” to congress and Bush had gone to the UN two weeks after the attack and continued to expound a story that his administration had already debunked? And, of course you’d be fine with Bush having that filmmaker thrown into jail, where he remains, right? Good to know. It’s important to be consistent.

  • samshile

    Weird, you contend ethics are only for Republicans. Only Republicans are ethical. You sound like one really cold and callous third grader. “Mommy, mommy the kids had candy’. Yes my Democrat son, but their parents gave them the candy. They did not steal from the small store owned by Mr. Republican and then lie to the whole neighborhood to cover it up!

  • samshile

    You are one cold human. Your conflations are rooted in ignorant smugness.
    Save the silly Faux outrage and double
    standard. American right wing is rooted in the constitution and Altruistic Individualism. Left wing is rooted in control and collective bigotry.

    Oh wow, Fox News said something that counters the Borg
    collective? AKA: Democrat media and your upset? You must be a fruitcake extremist.
    Anyone who calls a news station Faux, that is not all liberal news 24/7, is anti-diversity.”You must belch Democrat talking points in a snotty manner or we will call you Faux or Noose”.
    The Borg is proud of your Faux remark

  • samshile

    Standard liberal playbook. Divert attention away from flaws in the socialist theology by demonizing others.
    First it was BLAME BUSH for everything, now its BUSH DID IT TOO??? How can anyone side with a party like that…you see right through them?

    Why are you asserting a straw man to me and lame revision history? Bush went to congress and requested approval. 40% Democrats. Both parties kept funding it even When Obama became president. Demagoguing Bush? You sound like a regurgitated Democrat talking point meant to convince other gullible Democrats. Wake up. There is no left right paradigm. I was there, Google it. Go to YouTube. There are several Bill and Hilary Clinton speeches to validate it. Many old white liberals as well dozens of other countries shared the same positions.

    Clinton on CNN -
    LARRY KING LIVE Aired July 22, 2003

    Bill Clinton (in a staunch defense of Pres Bush): – . . it
    is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks . . of biological and chemical weapons. . .

    We should be pulling for America on this. We should be
    pulling for the people of Iraq. We can have honest disagreements about where we go from here, and we have space now to discuss that in what I hope will be a nonpartisan and open way.

  • samshile

    I read your post. You didn’t say that. The other poster suffers greatly from horrible comprehension skills.

  • samshile

    Clinton on CNN – LARRY KING LIVE
    Aired July 22, 2003

    Bill Clinton (in a staunch defense of Pres Bush): – . . it is incontestable that on the day I left office,
    there were unaccounted for stocks . . of biological and chemical weapons. . .

    We should be pulling for America on this. We should be pulling for the people of Iraq. We can have
    honest disagreements about where we go from here, and we have space now to discuss that in what I hope will be a nonpartisan and open way.

  • samshile

    How is your lame conflation? Deflecting to Anti Bush talking points? Pathetic. You are one shallow anti-ethical human.

    “Neither the Bush nor Clinton administrations sought to mischaracterize the attacks on their embassies. Neither of them disseminated weirdly vague stories that was “really” took place was a spontaneous protest over an unseen, stupid video. And it was not the Bush (or Clinton)
    administration that — even after acknowledging a terror attack had
    occurred — repeated those lies to grieving parents or (weeks later) in a speech to the UN where the “video” was blamed six times”
    Correction ‘we want” a single standard.
    Unbelieveable. You guys go to sleep at night singing
    bushisthedevil… bushisthedevil… bushisthedevil… bushisthedevil…
    bushisthedevil… et cetera et cetera et cetera…

    OR uncritically regurgitating every lie and cover up spin,
    no matter how it changes almost daily, by Obama/Clinton and their hacks to conceal his treason and incompetence in Benghazi where he sacrificed four Americans just to keep his ass in office? Gimme a break

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcelino.ben.5 Marcelino Ben

    Care to name one of those attacks where the president, the sec state and other administration personnel lied and obfuscated abot the reason for the attack as well as issued a stand down order to not save an ambassador?

  • libslie

    Amazing that this was suppose to make some type of actual point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/FaceBarb12 Barb Feinstein

    The number of dead is irrelevant, as 1 is too many. The issue here is Americans were deserted, and left to fend for themselves, as they were being attacked. The attackers weren’t reacting to some silly video. It was an organized attack because of the president and vice president “spiking the ball” about getting OBL. The administration tried to lead all of us to believe islamic radicalism was done, after OBL was picked-off. And unfortunately some of you bought it. It’s scary that you can’t see what the real issue is. They covered it up and lied, all to get relected on getting OBL. Because if they didn’t, they knew they’d be screwed. It was pure blind political ambition that fueled this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcelino.ben.5 Marcelino Ben

    Those catastrophic failures were due to the gutting of the cia intelligence network during the clinton presidency. 9/11 happened only 9 months after bush took office. The planning for the attack was planned years earlier. Trying to blame bush only shows your extreme partisanship.

  • http://www.facebook.com/FaceBarb12 Barb Feinstein

    Ka-BOOM! :)

  • walker442

    Excerpt from the Ninth Public Hearing of the National
    Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. Condoleezza Rice, is being questioned:

    MS. RICE: I remember very well that the president was aware that there were issues inside the United States. He talked to people about this. But I don’t remember the al Qaeda cells as being something that we were told we
    needed to do something about.

    MR. BEN-VENISTE: Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the Aug. 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB.

    MS. RICE: I believe the title was “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.” Now, the PDB….

    MR. BEN-VENISTE: Thank you.

  • walker442

    It is simply a matter of shining a light on the rank hypocrisy brought about by ultra partisan politics. Nothing more.

    ‘How is your lame conflation? Deflecting to Anti Bush talking points? Pathetic. You are one shallow anti-ethical human.’

    Try not to get so overwraught. Ad hominems add nothing to discussion.

  • MeanLizzie

    Yeah, you didn’t like that, did you. How are you with requests for security being ignored in Benghazi, and Hillary being told at 2AM that it was a terror attack but then blaming it very unambigously on the video b/f saying “what does it matter?” You don’t like that, either, right? Or are you okay with that? Btw, I’m not sitting here moderating comments all night. There is a ballgame on, :-)

  • MeanLizzie

    All of my other questions have been “done to death” in the last 8 months? Wow. Then I guess all of your Iraq/Bush statements are beyond dead. As is, I think, this discussion. Baseball’s on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Greg-Weaver/1396672258 Greg Weaver

    How about the 2 attacks on the consulate in Karachi, or the 2 attacks in the same year in Sana’a? All in all, 10 attacks to Embassies and Consulates NOT IN IRAQ NOT AFGHANISTAN (talk about deliberate obfuscation!), including 2 where the militants failed the first time and were given a second chance.

    I remember the outrage when the USS Cole was attacked under Clinton–and rightly so!–but it seems that the attacks under W (who I voted for, twice) are “no big deal”, while the Benghazi attacks are all anyone can talk about–and keep moving the goal posts every time yet another attacking point is conclusively disproven.

    Give it up, it’s pathetic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bigjoe48 Paul Walton

    The way a liberal sees it is Liberals can tell no lies, never make a bad decision, never pass a bad bill, and even if he has to make 1500 Executive Orders, he should make more! This attitude is the only one they have and if you’re NOT a liberal, you automatically Lose any credibility you thought you had and you become ignorant in their eyes

  • samshile

    “Try not to get so overwraught” .
    I think your intellectual soft voice style would work well with me and other people who are aware this is at the very least an ethical issue: individuals who work for you are expected to be truthful. However, with respect to the level of assaulting verbosity I have witnessed since Obama became president, I feel it was slightly understated. I sincerely believe it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/neil.strawbridge Neil Strawbridge

    Funny. I recently read where the missing WMDs were discovered in Syria.

  • Kev Keno

    @Walker442, name one of these attacks under Bush or Clinton that were anything more than a quick bomb and run attack as opposed to an attack lasting multiple hours. Name one where either of these 2 presidents gave a stand down order? Which of these attacks under Clinton or Bush did they try to sell to the American people as an ad hoc protest, or anything except an attack on Americans abroad by an organized terror group? Go put your blinders back on and crawl under your rock because your guy in charge has everything under control. It appears the Teflon might be wearing out on this administration. You can only have to clean Teflon so much before it no longer it prevents the crap you cook up from sticking.

  • benning

    Encomiums: noun, plural en·co·mi·ums, en·co·mi·a . a formal expression of high praise; eulogy

    Hah! I do love the vocabulary lessons, Anchoress! Have a Happy Mother’s Day! :D

  • missmissy68

    I ignore people like shawn feller because they make no sense. 20 1st graders are enough to cause horrific spasms, but 3400 per day in the womb are completely ignored (and they tell you one has nothing to do with the other in order to ease their consciences). If the current administration happened to have an “r” next to their name & did exactly what the “d” people are doing, they’d be all up in arms demanding justice. It’s okay to lie, steal, cheat, have drone wars, continue policies that they previously hated, continue to infringe on rights, etc,., etc., if you have a “d” after your name, so having a rational conversation with these people is impossible. When your morals tell you that something is wrong no matter what, you can’t have a discussion with someone who believes they’re only wrong if certain people are in charge. I actually feel almost glad that Obama was elected the first time because I now can see the few things I didn’t like about Bush & can be more conservative in my political thinking. Those “d” people wrongly assume that when you say you hate Obama, you love Bush, which is the way they think. They cannot fathom growing up in their politics because they’re married to the “d” and can’t think straight.

  • Ragspierre

    Um….
    How many of your “dead” were Americans?
    Our embassies and interest missions are always going to be the focus of attacks, and they ARE investigated.
    But this one was unique, and on several levels.
    See if you have the integrity to name a few.

  • hotboogers

    Four died in Boston, 3 in the bombing and a cop a few days later. People always forget about the cop.

  • Ben

    Point of accuracy. The embassy/consulate attacks during the Bush years were most certainly NOT in Iraq.

    One was in Karachi, one was Uzbekistan, one was in Saudi Arabia, one was in Syria, one was in Greece, one was in Serbia, and one was in Yemen.

    Please, if you are going to try and make a political point, do so with correct facts. And lets not forget that Bush’s, misinformation at BEST, lies at worst, go us into WAR with hundreds of thousands of casualites and tens of thousands of those American.

  • nullhogarth

    Yes, we can shrug off a few dead in Libya. For pete’s sake, get some damned perspective.

  • nullhogarth

    You guys are really blowing this incident out of all proportion. Like the Congressman who referred to the Benghazi incident as being ten times worse than 9/11. Factor of a thousand times more dead, and yet somehow to you guys, this is ten times worse. It would be laughable, except you’re actually serious. Just wow.

  • nullhogarth

    You are misquoting the Secretary of State. She said – in context – “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk
    one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans,” Clinton said.
    “What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?”
    And she was right.

  • nullhogarth

    Saying “you can look it up” without a citation or source is a very weak argument.

  • nullhogarth

    Yes, Clinton lied as well. This proves the point that Iraq was a trumped up war, and does nothing to undermine the argument that there have been many Benghazis – and much worse – throughout recent history. Stuff happens. In this case, a tragic incident is being blown WAY out of proportion to the actual case, and being used as a cudgel against the President because you’ve got nothing worse. You can’t hang any real wars on him, since he hasn’t started any, unlike his predecessors. You got nothin’, essentially, except angry raving. Try a little harder next time, and maybe you might come up with some actual issues worth yelling about, like the question of why Bush’s illegal prison at Guantanamo is still in business. (A prison, incidentally, that I hear NO Republican legislators discussing closing, except in the sense of calling it an “Obama failure”.)

  • MeanLizzie

    Not sure whether you’re being sarcastic or you missed my sarcasm. Either way, have a good weekend. :-)

  • MeanLizzie

    I happen to agree with you about overhype and the silliness of trying to compare this to 9/11. But then I also thought it was ridiculous when Congressmen called Gitmo “another gulag” and compared it to nazi concentration camps. I’m sure you agree.

  • MeanLizzie

    No, she wasn’t. But we’re all entitled to our opinions.

  • MeanLizzie

    It’s a Brooklynism and it means you can use Google as well as I can. But I see there are like 20 more comments from you in moderation. I won’t be responding to them all. It’s Saturday and I have a life.

  • MeanLizzie

    Wow. Clinton lied too? Both of them? Then why should we believe Mrs. Clinton now? Is Gitmo the gulag it was called by the Democrats? Then it certainly should be closed.

  • nullhogarth

    The American “right wing” is rooted in racism, sexism and hypocritical “christian” morality. To call it virtuous is laughably pathetic.

  • nullhogarth

    Keep hammering at it, swiftboat boy, it worked against Kerry, maybe it will work now.


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