Abraham Lincoln, regarded as one of America’s greatest Presidents, said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

We ask much of our Presidents.  We want people of character who possess a strong will.  They must also be charismatic individuals who challenge and inspire.  Above all, they must be leaders.

Even great leaders will fail, but we can forgive them if we know that they did their best, that their sense of duty was greater than personal safety, popularity or political expediency.

What we don’t like is deception.

President Richard Nixon is the poster child for deception at the highest levels.  He put himself above the law during the Watergate scandal and obstructed justice.  Indeed, the cover-up was worse than the crime and the duplicity and obfuscation forever changed the way we view the presidency.

President George W. Bush did not set out to deceive about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but in hindsight we know there was an unhealthy disregard for legitimate questions about the evidence.   The confidence with which the Bush Administration pushed the war, combined with the failure to prepare adequately for post-Saddam Iraq, caused many Americans to question his leadership.

Now we have the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.  Gregory Hicks, Stevens’ deputy in Libya, testified on Capitol Hill last week that they knew immediately that the attack was a coordinated terrorist assault, not a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a YouTube video.

Yet the Administration adopted and perpetuated the video explanation.

We now know, via reporting by ABC News and The Weekly Standard, that the State Department extensively edited the talking points from the CIA to take out any references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia.

When “the-video-caused-it” explanation crumbled, the Administration blamed the CIA.   When questioned during the Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden said the Administration attributed Stevens’ death to the video because “that was exactly what we were told by the intelligence community.”

As Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post, “In some cases, the fog of war is initially thick, then it dissipates… (in the Benghazi attacks) the fog was a later addition.”

But why?

Was the Administration worried that a resumption of terrorism would damage President Obama’s chances of being re-elected in two months?  Gerson suggests it was “an effort to obscure negligence and incompetence, not criminality.”

One of the great mistakes people in power often make is that they become too clever by half; they allow perceptions of their own importance to beguile them into thinking the truth can be managed.

Now Americans must sort out the controversy, and that task is made even harder by the hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington that is fanned by talk shows and cable channels.

Deception, obfuscation and ineptitude undermine the institution of government and breed mistrust.  The truth in the beginning would have been simpler for all. Americans can handle it, and they deserve it.

 

 

 

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Comments

  • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

    Hoppy,

    Thanks for being objective and reporting the facts. The state department under the leadership of Clinton either screwed up royally and now the Obama administration is now playing damage control for her 2014 presidential election bid or our POTUS didn't react appropriately to save these lives. His statement that people desire to serve their country in potentially dangerous assignments and know the risks is extremely disrespectful to those who died. If that's not obvious now, you're putting your head in the sand and defending the current POTUS and his political appointee named Hilary Clinton. I'm a Moderate Democrat and will certainly not vote for Clinton as a POTUS candidate after this boondoggle. If they were military leaders, they would have been relieved. But citizens in high federal positions can do the "Potomac Two Step" and survive another day or term at the cost of innocent and dedicated American citizens. These weren't NOC agents for the CIA. Simply incredible.

  • Shadow

    As I watched president pinocchio talk about Bengazi this evening, I could see his ears growing bigger the longer he lied.

    • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

      Exactly right. Obama, Holder and now Clinton. All liars and politicians. Very sad.

  • Medman

    You have to be either stupid or a political zealot who no longer has an objective view of anything if you believe the crap that is coming out of the WH on this tragedy. Both parties lie and spin every single issue to gain political advantage. Any person with a brain understands that. I just cannot believe that people who are supposedly educated and well informed defend the hacks in the Administration who dreamed-up the farce that this was an attack motivated by the film. Can you people just be honest with yourselves for a couple of seconds and quit defending these lies to the American people?

  • mntnman

    Once again we find ourselves in the middle of a political fight when there are so many pressing issues in our country. Mistakes were obviously made. Now when has that not been the case? Bush bungled the weapons of mass destruction and mission accomplished. Dems pounced. Clinton had an affair. Republicans pounced. Just go back in time -- its never ending.

    I have an idea. How about governing and stopping the nonsense. How about getting a budget passed, working on immigration, jobs, education, etc. There are so many issues that we need addressed that get pushed back when partisanship and elections override governance. This is the perfect example. Its a gottcha moment. Is will not help our country -- and it will not lead to Obama's impeachment or Hillary Clinton's demise as the leading presidential candidate. More politics as usual.

    All the pontificating and name-calling is not helping our country one iota. If you think it is, well, then, I guess you are happy with the way things are. I am not of such a mind.

    • GregG

      I'm with you mntnman!!! But I doubt that will ever happen because when all is said and done, it all comes down to $$$. I have came to realize over the years, regardless of party, every move that is made is based on "how much profit is in it".

    • wirerowe

      Mntnman you make a good argument. I would counter a little by my belief that the democracy is well served when democrats question Reagan's Iran Contra, republicans question Clinton lying to federal prosecutors, Democrats questioning Bush's weapons of mass destruction and republican's question the Obama's handling of Benghazi. Sure it is overdone and there is always a part of this for political benefit but over the years the executive has become too powerful and almost beyond the law. The only thing that keeps them from absolute power is the opposing party holding their feet to the fire and catching them in lies misrepresentations and obfuscation.

      • mntnman

        Agreed on the executive becoming too powerful!!

  • DWM

    Hoppy,

    The reaction to Watergate and the reaction to Benghazi is an indictment of the press. I lived through Watergate. During Watergate, nobody died, the candidate that won was going to be the candidate that won, and the nation was not harmed in the least. If you remember, the press would not let it die. How did Nixon screw up, his only mistake was not letting this come to light and allowing Dean and the others to be prosecuted.

    Benghazi resulted in the death of four Americans with no protection from the military that was available, then the administration lied about the cause. Has their been outrage by the press? Have they done their job by going after the proof? Not in the least, they have ignored the story completely and regurgitated the administration line that it is a political ploy by the republicans.

    The press has failed the American public and, once again, allowed their political opinions get in the way of doing their job. Shame on them.

    • Hillboy

      I think it's legitimate to question the role of the press in this. The difference between Watergate and Benghazi though is that there actually was a press that supported investigative journalism then and there isn't one now. The internet killed off many daily newspapers and severely wounded the ones that survived. I doubt the Washington Post supports anywhere near the same level of investigative journalism today as it did in the Watergate era. Today news is crafted to fit the attention span of the American public so we get mainly sound bites and tweets. The press is not outraged, at least in part, because there are less of them doing the job of uncovering the real story than there were in the past.

      • Hillboy

        case in point.... the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which has been doing a good job of reporting on the kidnapping of the three women in Cleveland, plans to print the paper only three days per week starting this summer and will lay off 53 people from its newsroom.

  • ShinnstonGuy

    Here is a slightly different point-of-view. Each year, our morons in Congress do things like cut a Federal agency by 10 percent. Rather than use logic and say, "We are cutting X program," they instead write a bill that says, "Cut 10 percent." The Federal agency, not wishing to bring the ire of any member of Congress by killing his or her pet project, then cuts their entire budget by taking that 10 percent across the board. If you are following along, it means that at both the Congressional level and the agency level no one is making a real decision. For the most part, no one notices the change because the hard-working Federal workers just add more duties to their already suffering workload. Once in a while, though, the problem shows itself. So when Secretary Clinton blamed budget cuts she was actually telling the truth. Congress told the State Department to cut their budget but did not tell them where to cut it, so they took a agency-wide reduction that resulted in less security. Before Congress acts all high and mighty, perhaps we should remind them that their inability to be true leaders is what leads to most, if not all, of our problems. Anytime you tell someone to do more with less, there will be greater risk. It is sad that in this case the loss of life was the result.

    • DonaldH

      Now Shinston, I’ve read enough of your post to know you are a smart guy,,, you know as well as anyone they NEVER cut their budget—what they do is cut the increase— and for anyone to claim they actually cut their budget is as ridiculous as claiming a government employee is “over-worked”

      • ShinnstonGuy

        LOL, I agree with the first part of your post, but perhaps you are looking at the wrong agencies. I assure you there are plenty of folks in DC that work their tails off even though they are not paid overtime. Unfortunately the "visible" workers are often the bad seeds, so much that there is a misnower that Government workers have it easy. I assure you that is not the case.

      • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

        DonaldH, having been part of the fed govt for over 25 years I can attest that ShinnstonGuy is 100% correct. We have no money to buy ink pens, printer ink or paper, no training money even though we are accepting the responsibility of implementing the administration of the Obama Healthcare program. Our computers are 6 years old and cant be upgraded. It's ridiculous. So stop the fed govt employee bashing. Soon, all Americans will feel the brunt of this sequestration through the lack of service. It's coming, I guarantee it. Our POTUS and congress are worthless. There is not one leader in the bunch. It's sad, I hope someday it all changes. But it always has been about politics, not what is good for the American people.

  • Jt

    Uh, George W. Bush did not set up to deceive on Iraq WMD? Still drinking the koolaid? Unless you are saying that Dick Cheney was running the country, of which I cannot disagree that wa the case?

  • Shadow

    Is there truly any question that the decision to not reinforce the Bengazi troops and the following cover up was the result of our mooslim president? If you follow Shakespeare's words, To thy own self be true, the answer is YES! Impeachment should be the next item in the House.

    Hoppy, it was Fox News that kept up the Bengazi issue before the public.

    • DonaldH

      Yes, impeachment is all but what is left to this final solution.. Each hour that passes more is revealed,, IRS used to attack political foes—Nixon did that also—and now we learn from AP the Obama Administration engaged in illegal wire tapping of the press—more Nixon tactics. If you believe the calls to impeach Nixon were just, than you must likewise agree that Obama deserves no less.. Start the proceedings today, while there still is a functioning government. Where is a Archibald Cox when you need them!!

  • GravityDefier

    I beleive it was FungoJoe on here who the day after the attack, claimed that Obama and Hillary Clinton were lying, that this was a terrorist attack, that it had nothing to do with a video, and that a cover up was under way.
    The liberals were in attack mode as they usually are. Say what you will, but the dude has street cred. He was way out in front on this one.

    • GregG

      Yea, a "dude" that changes is name just so he can "amen" himself and his rantings sure deserves "street cred". Wouldn't be surprised if GravityDefier was the name of the day for Fungo.

  • MountaineerSteve

    Deception is a democratic spin on what took place.

    1. There are two key points here. Lying to the american public to help the re-election process

    2. Cover-up and threats to Gov employees who wanted to tell the truth.

    If this was done by a republican administration, the main stream media would have been all over it and calling for heads from the get go. Instead the mainstream media has played their roll in the cover-up sham just like good little Obama puppets.

    • mntrbob

      Good post MountaineerSteve. TD there were 15 convictions in the Whitewater investigation and probably the only thing missing to convict the Clintons was a John Dean so hardly a fruitless venture.

      At the least the families of the four slain men should have been told the truth and according to one of the SEALS mother Hillary and Susan Rice told her face to face that the attack was a result of the video. So it does really matter to some more than others what happened .

      • TD

        my point is impeachment is not just a political tool to be used or even talked about, only in the most extreme circumstances. In our entire history only two have been impeached and one was Clinton over the Monica debacle. Republicans now think of it in a casual way that is dangerous to the country no matter who the President is.

        • mntrbob

          So the disbarement was because of the Monica debacle as well.

          • TD

            correct, he lied about an affair

          • DonaldH

            It was because he lied under oath-- No officer of the court shall ever lie under oath... Not even Bubba!!

  • Wowbagger

    Hoppy,

    One of the President's predecessors, Harry Truman had a famous sign on his desk. It stated without excuses:

    The Buck Stops Here!

    http://www.trumanlibrary.org/buckstop.htm

    This was said to address decision making, but also covers responsibility of the Chief Executive.

    • Sean

      Wowbagger you are talking nonsense. The idea that the person in charge feel a sense of responsibility for any tragedy involving Americans overseas is so 1950's of you. Statesmenship died the moment George H.W. Bush lost in 1992. Since then both parties have been led by power seeking, myopic hacks. Politicians are now celebrities known by one name. Instead of Cher and Madonna we have ``Newt" or ``Hillary''. The talking points changes were made to protect the Hillary brand. Improving safety of consulates is, shall I say, not on the radar?

      • Wowbagger

        I know I am dating myself. I don't quite remember Harry S. Truman, but I definitely remember Dwight D. Eisenhower.

        Note: Neither of these Presidents nor their Secretaries of State had an Ambassador murdered on their respective watches.

        • DonaldH

          Jimmy Carter did---hmm, I see a pattern here..

  • TD

    The only question here is why more security wasn't provided for the consulate when requested, if Hillary is to blame so be it. The idea that this is some kind of major scandal/cover up is INSANE!!!

    All the information has been released (so much for the cover up theory), and most importantly the investigation is complete and their recommendations are being implemented!!! It was correctly labeled as a huge failure of the state department.

    What's going on now is the endless attempt by Republicans to come up with a way to destroy Obama. Republicans CAN NOT STAND having a Democrat in the White House. Remember the 7 year $68 million White Water investigation that in the end found "no evidence of criminal wrong doing by the Clintons"? not to worry though, they did find out about Monica and put him under oath, supposedly to ask about White Water, and got him to lie about the affair. Yea, now we can IMPEACH!

    There were 13 attacks on our consulates during the George W. Presidency, (where was Hoppy and Fox News then????????), in which a total of 60 people were killed, here's the link http://www.policymic.com/articles/40811/13-benghazis-happened-under-president-bush-and-fox-news-said-nothing.

    I don't recall ANY OUTRAGE by Republicans after those tragedies nor did Democrats nit pic how "W" reacted to each in hopes of finding a way to impeachment.

    Just another sad example of how the Republican party is not interested in solving our problems they are only driven by their short sighted pursuit of power.

    • Wowbagger

      TD,

      Thank-you for bringing the Democrat Party's current talking points to the discussion.

      As always, you are a good Party man and faithful Progressive.

      • WV

        Wowbagger - Talking points = facts, something republicans shy away from.

        • Wowbagger

          No WV,

          talking points = today's political lies dictated to the party faithful by their betters.

          I'm a Libertarian, Republicans lie too.

    • WV

      TD - Nailed it.

    • dolphin3111

      "The idea that this is some kind of major scandal/cover up is INSANE!!!"

      You are insane! Don't you know that this whole thing was caused by a youtube video? That according to secretary Rice on world wide TV.

    • Joe

      TD,

      In how many of the 13 attacks on our consulates were requests for additional security turned down by our state dept.?

      • TD

        don't know and as I said above, that's the real question that needs answered. Obama has already complied with all the recommendations of the investigative report so hopefully that will never happen again.

    • DonaldH

      AHHH,, what's-a- matter TD,,, you don't like it when two plays that game? Maybe you're too young to of ever heard "the cover-up is worse than the crime"

      Dems never "nit-picked" Bush!! My god, they called for impeachment because he landed on an aircraft carrier and dared utter the words "Mission Accomplished"

    • Debra

      Because it was not a consulate or embassy, it was a mission. With a mission it is the responsibility of the host country to guard it. Marines only guard consulates an embassies.

      • DonaldH

        Debra, that's the crux of the matter-- it is only what WE agreed it was . An Ambassador shouldn't have been there if it were JUST a mission..

        • DonaldH

          I would also like to point out to Debra that President Obama doesn't agree with her that it wasn't a embassy-- earlier today a watched a replay of Obamas speech before the UN 2 weeks after the attack--- and he most certainly refered to it as an EMBASSY....

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, as is the case of much tragedies in modern American history, how one views the horrible attacks at Benghazi last year will depend on one's political makeup.

    Those who are staunch Democrats/liberals will tend to either excuse or ignore Hilliary's involvement with this as Secretary of State, those on the GOP/conservative side will try to place ALL of the blame on her. Sadly, it's hard to get at the truth when so many on BOTH sides of the media extreme (Fox/Talk Radio on the right, Main Stream Media on the left) tend to report the 'facts' through their own respective political prism of sight.

    Of course, neither side would admit this, but if Hilliary were a REPUBLICAN, the 'roles' would be switched with the 'far right' defending her and the 'far 'left' demonizing her. That's just basically good old American Modern Politics 101.

    What is the 'real truth' of what led up to the tragedy at Benghazi? Chances are, we'll never know. In the meantime, political pundits as well as 'armchair' pundits (like me and the rest of the regulars here on this website) will likely play the political 'blame game' to their hearts content.

    It will be interesting to see, so have at it, folks!

    • GregG

      Great post Captain. As for myself, I don't view this "Benghazi" issue any differently than any other "cover up". These type of actions take place everyday. Democrat, republican, Big Bussiness, the neighbor next door....have all been known to use the act of deceit to protect their image and more importantly their bank account.

    • DonaldH

      Capt, the only problem I have with your assertion the country is beyond reasoning past partisan lines is the mere fact Bush left office with such a low approval rating.. Seems the republicans are less partisan then the demmy-rats

  • wirerowe

    Hoppy The Obama Administration and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. did not do everything possible to attempt to protect the lives of American dipolmats. But they did everything possible (12 revisions of the speech that Susan rice made) to recreate history and put themselves in the best light possible for the coming election. And what is the response of the Administration and Secretary Rodman Clinton? Press Secretary Carney is thrown to the wolves every day and his nose gets longer everyday and Secretary Clinton like a school girl who has not studied for a test calls in sick when she is asked to testify. This won't go away because it was a failure to act to protect our diplomats and the cover up and ofuscation by President Obama and Secreatry Clinton was sinster, calculated and wrong.

  • DonaldB

    Hoppy, don’t you fret over this—I’m sure before long the good ole democrat machine in West Virginia will step-up and certainly let you know to get in line with them on this and QUIT being critical of the president or they will stop granting you interview time and out of fear your ratings will go in the crapper--- you will comply—as you always have.