Back in the 1950s, “Truth or Consequences” was a popular television show where contestants received roughly two seconds to answer a trivia question correctly before “Beulah the Buzzer” sounded. If the contestant could not complete the “Truth” portion, there would be “Consequences,” usually a zany and embarrassing stunt.
There is nothing zany or trivial about the government’s handling of last year’s events in Benghazi where four Americans, including our Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed. The truth regarding the events, before, during and after must be addressed in a truthful and straight forward manner and not filtered from either political bias. I truly wonder if that is even possible in America any longer.
We must put politics aside. We know our politicians on both sides of the aisle can’t help themselves when it comes to spinning the truth. Especially when there is an election at stake or an opportunity to pile on the opposition, but neither of those motives should be the point for demanding the truth behind the events in Benghazi. As Americans we deserve to know what went wrong. We deserve truthful answers because it does matter what we are told by our government.
We are a nation built on certain values: Home of the brave, land of the free where truth, fairness and justice are at the core of our creation and existence. From the beginning of the events on Sept. 11, 2012 it seemed odd that the information coming out concerning the attack on the embassy wasn’t making much sense.
All the talk about some small production YouTube video and a demonstration that somehow turned violent with rocket launching grenades and serious firepower and no military response to secure our personnel or the scene just wasn’t adding up. Days after the attack reporters and locals were walking through the former consulate but the FBI would not arrive on the scene to investigate for more than two weeks.
We heard that the security for the consulate was drastically reduced despite many requests by the ambassador for increased security and concerns about his and the staff’s safety. This last week we heard from three individuals, professional diplomats, who were personally involved in the Benghazi incidents; Greg Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Libya who became the top U.S. diplomat in the country after Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed; Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was formerly the regional security officer in Libya and Mark Thompson, a former Marine and official with the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau.
They gave their personal accounts to the Senate Oversight Committee and provided a very different perspective, and a deeply personal one, than what we’ve heard coming out of Washington. These are passionate, lifetime, public servants who witnessed their friends and colleagues killed, perhaps needlessly. While rumors are swirling, facts and truth must prevail.
As disturbing as their version of events may be, I find it even more disturbing that the American public and the major media outlets haven’t been more engaged in getting to the facts behind these events now seven months removed. As a country, I fear we’ve allowed our political bias to cloud our interest in seeking the truth. To me, Benghazi represents the biggest threat our nation faces today and that simply is the polarization of the American public based on party perspective. We no longer have the ability to judge for ourselves what’s right or wrong. We now seem willing to blindly accept a crafted narrative.
We must accept the concept that neither party is above slanting the truth for their political gain, but when the American public loses the ability to seek and is willing to accept what they are told to believe, I fear the loss of our liberty isn’t far behind.