Benghazi and the Lust for Power

The Benghazi scandal raises the issue of whether President Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s lust for power is so addictive that they would  sacrifice the lives of four fellow Americans, put scores of others in harm’s way, and then precipitate an ongoing national crisis through a long, torturous cover-up. We expect our politicians to lie. We expect them to be corrupt.  We expect them to be a class unto themselves and to exempt themselves from the laws they create.  We just don’t expect them to kill to attain power.

Or shouldn’t we? Ricky Ray Rector is a name you will probably seldom see in the mainstream media. On January 24, 1992, the state of Arkansas executed Rector for murder. Rector, however, was mentally deficient. He was so mentally deficient that he put aside a piece of pecan pie from his last meal and told his guards he would finish it after his execution.

Then presidential candidate and Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton could have stopped the execution. Instead, Clinton made sure the execution went ahead as scheduled, breaking off his primary campaign in New Hampshire to return to Arkansas to personally oversee the implementation of the sentence.

Clinton was capitalizing on pro-capital punishment voters and on distancing himself from 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis’s strong stand against capital punishment, a stand that many observers felt cost him the race for the presidency in 1988.

Christopher Hitchens -- no member of the vast right-wing conspiracy -- in his book about Bill Clinton, No One Left to Lie To, condemns Clinton for manipulating Rector’s execution for political advantage and to divert attention from the continuing Gennifer Flowers sex scandal.

While candidate Clinton killed one person to get Gennifer Flowers off the front pages, President Clinton was willing to bomb an entire country to get Monica Lewinsky out of the news cycle.  In a highly controversial decision that embittered relations with both Russia and China, and was not authorized by the UN,  Clinton implemented high-altitude bombing and missile strikes on Serbia that appeared rushed through on faulty intelligence and without much concern for American interests.  Among the targets America struck were a bus convoy of Bosnian refugees, the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and a Serbian television station. The strained justification for this military adventure was that the Serbian regime was implementing an apartheid regime in Kosovo and was conducting ethnic cleansing. Yet there were war crimes on both sides and America has avoided going to war in other places where there is ethnic cleansing because our interests are not at stake.

Why the former Yugoslavia was so important to our national interests to go to war was never adequately explained. Even less adequately explained was how this was an issue for NATO. After all, Serbia had not attacked any NATO country.  The most immediate result of the war was the stream of refugees flooding into NATO countries. But if refugees running from a bloody conflict were a justification for war, America would have invaded Mexico years ago.

One immediate consequence of the bombing was that Monica Lewinsky was immediately removed from the news cycle.

So, in order to win the presidency, would President Obama let Americans perish to maintain a campaign fiction that al-Qaeda died with Osama bin Laden and was no longer a threat to our security?  Is Obama, in his lust for power, of the same moral stature as candidate Bill Clinton, who manipulated the execution of a mentally deficient Ricky Ray Rector in order to appear tough on capital punishment and make Gennifer Flowers disappear from the news?  Is Obama, in his lust for power, indistinguishable from President Clinton, who was willing to get Monica Lewinsky out of the news cycle by bombing Serbia. From what we already seem to know, the answer is a resounding yes.

During the Watergate scandal, the nation was saved by Barry Goldwater, the conscience of the Senate, a man whose integrity was unquestioned.  Nixon was willing to dig in his heels and fight impeachment, but Goldwater thought of nation instead of party and persuaded Nixon to spare the country a national crisis.  Goldwater told Nixon that for the benefit of the country it was time to go.

Does the Democratic Party have a person with the stature and integrity of a Barry Goldwater who will tell Obama that it is time to go, that abandoning scores of Americans to terrorists for political gain and covering it up is not what America is about?  I doubt that.

The tragedy of Benghazi is about to be compounded by witnessing how callous this administration is when it comes to sacrificing life for power. As CBS and CNN have gotten out of the tank for Obama and are starting to ask penetrating questions of the administration, it is only a matter of time before American journalists start acting once again like journalists.  And when that happens, the cover-up is seriously going to unravel and make Watergate look relatively insignificant. It is time for Obama to spare the nation a crisis and to depart. Of course, he is not going to do it.