President Obama’s past few weeks have been pretty dismal. The Benghazi tragedy has garnered increased attention, so the White House released associated emails to quell accusations of a cover-up; subsequently and to the administration’s benefit in this matter, it was discovered that a Republican staffer had doctored an email; then McClatchy reported that Ambassador Stevens turned down two offers for increased security one month prior to the attacks. It was also revealed that the IRS had been targeting conservative social welfare groups requesting tax-exemption, though that is looking increasingly more like ineptitude, lack of resources, and the absence of clearly defined parameters for determining 501(c)(4) tax-exemption rather than outright politics. Then it came to light that the Department of Justice had been spying on reporters’ emails at the Associated Press.
Republicans are crying foul, they are mounting numerous congressional hearings, and some are even tossing about the “I” word–impeachment. Of course, this is hardly the first time Republicans have called for impeachment since Barack Obama took office. Some have even wanted to impeach him because they were, and still are, convinced he is not an American, and therefore his presidency is illegitimate. They refuse to drop the “Birther” conspiracy no matter how many times President Obama’s birth certificate has been released to the public or how often Hawaiian officials testify to the veracity of said document.
More Americans might take these Obama “scandals” seriously, except for the fact that there was silence from these same quarters in the wake of the George W. Bush administration scandals. Some examples from the Bush-era include: Alberto Gonzalez and the U.S. Attorney firings; the Abu Ghraib prisoner torture and abuse scandal; the NSA warrantless wiretapping program; IRS targeting of the NAACP in 2004 and a Pasadena Church in 2005 for criticizing various Bush administration policies; the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame after her husband Ambassador Joseph Wilson wrote an op-ed in the New York Times refuting Bush’s claim that Saddam Hussein had sought to obtain uranium from Africa (Niger); torture and indefinite detention; and the list goes on.
If none of the above Bush administration scandals warranted impeachment, risking the lives and futures of American soldiers and their families as well as hundreds of thousands of Iraqis by lying and manipulating evidence in order to justify a war in Iraq certainly was an impeachable offense. (See Iraq Ten Years Later: The Cost of America’s War of Choice for more details of the consequences of Bush’s preemptive war.) Sadly, cowardly Democrats aided and abetted this travesty.
Numerous misrepresentations were fed to Americans about Saddam Hussein’s WMD capabilities. Two are highlighted below:
- “The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program … Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.” George W. Bush (This has been proven to be false; the aluminum tubes were not capable of uranium enrichment.)
- “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” George W. Bush (See Joseph Wilson’s op-ed above.)
What is so confounding about the GOP Benghazi obsession is their almost maniacal outrage over the death of four Americans. While no death is acceptable, where was/is that same level of outrage over the nearly 4,500 American soldiers killed in Iraq? It seems Republicans’ anger is terribly misplaced when comparing these two situations. Understanding this, their relentless pursuit to find a scandal related to Benghazi reeks of politics.
When wrongdoing is uncovered, yes, it should be investigated and the guilty parties held responsible. This post is not condoning any Obama administration wrongdoing but merely pointing out the hypocrisy surrounding all the hype. So please, those calling for it, stop with the “Impeach Obama!” nonsense.
Cross-posted at The Feisty Liberal
- Bush Used the IRS, FBI, CIA and Secret Service to Go After Opponents — Where Was the Fox and GOP Outrage? (alternet.org)
- Beltway scandal machine breaks, knows nothing about America (salon.com)