For two years, House Republicans have worked tirelessly to investigate the events of September 11th, 2012. For seven hundred and ninety days, they have searched for something, anything, that will give them a shot at winning this election. At the cost of millions of tax-payer dollars, at the expense of thousands of hours that could have been spent actually governing the country, House Republicans have confirmed that the GOP truly is the party of no: no plan of the future, no understanding of the past, and no concern for the present. Just last month, the know-nothing, do-nothing party released an eight-hundred-page behemoth of a report. The report, which Trey Gowdy (the Chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi) and congressional Republics touted as revealing the truth, did more to injure their credibility than that of the Administration. It reveals what we already knew—that this is a manufactured scandal. Mr. Gowdy claimed that he and his congressional colleagues would “go wherever the facts take [them].” So should we.
The facts are clear: Ambassador Stevens, a seasoned veteran of the State Department, did not die because of the negligence of the administration. He died because he chose to risk his life to further the noble cause of American diplomacy. He died because he chose, on September 11th, to visit an embattled city in a country wracked with chaos and bloodshed on a day whose name will forever serve as a reminder of the evil we face. Ambassador Stevens went to Benghazi with the understand that, by doing so, he put himself in great danger. But he did it anyway. He did it because of that distinctly American brand of courage that demands that we make the world a better place no matter the costs. It was that courage that drove us to cast off the bonds of oppression when we declared that ours would be a free nation, not one bound by foreign masters. It was that courage that gave us strength to beat back the forces of totalitarianism in two world wars. And it was that courage that drove Ambassador Stevens as he went to Benghazi with the hope of strengthening the bond between the United States and the Libyan people. He understood that we couldn’t afford to cut and run when the going got tough. Instead, it was our job to right the wrongs that the departure of a vicious tyrant had wrought on the people of Libya.
After conducting the day’s business, the ambassador readied himself for bed. He’d had a series of meetings that day in which he strengthened his relationships with locals, an essential element of diplomacy. That’s when the first sign came that something was terribly wrong. Informed by an aide that our embassy in Cairo had just been attacked by a violent mob of protestors and radicals, ambassador Stevens would have only one peaceful hour left. At 10 o’clock local time, the attack began. Ambassador Stevens and one other American, a Mr. Sean Smith, are trapped in the compound which rapidly fills with smoke. Notice is given to Secretary Clinton, the Pentagon, and President of the attack (contrary to popular assertion, this was no “3 A.M. phone call,” as the attack occurred at 10 o’clock in Libyan, meaning 4 o’clock in Washington), but a grim reality sets in. No force of ours was close enough to save the Ambassador. Although troops stationed in Spain eventually arrived and regained control of the compound, it was already too late for the Ambassador. He died that evening.
The most sobering lesson of Benghazi is not that governments make mistakes. It is not even that, at this very moment, countless American lives are in danger in the course of serving our country. No. The most bitter lesson of all is this: that no tragedy is too great or to small for elements in our country to use it for political gain.
David Moosman is a contributing columnist for the Central Florida Future.