Tahlequah Daily Press


May 9, 2014

Benghazi-like bungling par for the course for any administration

TAHLEQUAH — It’s a shame politicians turn into a political football every American death even  peripherally related to a terrorist attack. The outrage at such deaths is always partisan rather than personal, and it always has an overarching tone of hypocrisy.

No one should minimize the death of a single human being. But neither should the lives of a select few be accorded more importance than those of anyone else, especially for political gain. And that’s what’s happening with the Benghazi affair.

The attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya occurred Sept. 11, 2012, as an exclamation point on the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy in 2001. Four Americans died, and though it sounds callous to say so, they knew they were engaging in a potentially hazardous mission. Indeed, former diplomats we’ve interviewed told us they fully understood their jobs could cost them their lives.

These four victims had families who loved them. But so does every soldier who dies in a car bomb explosion in Afghanistan, or falls victim to a sniper’s bullet in Iraq.

Republicans may be right when they say the administration handled the aftermath of Benghazi with ineptitude, and someone in the upper echelons of the Beltway – the NSA director, or any one of a dozen other bureaucrats – may have lied. But aren’t deception, stupidity and arrogance always part and parcel of official behavior in the wake of any high-profile diplomatic incident?

The only reason Republicans in Congress are pursuing their relentless and costly investigation of Benghazi is to embarrass President Obama and gain political capital in the run-up to the off-year election. If they really gave a hoot about dead diplomats, why aren’t they pursuing the handling of similar atrocities of the past? There were about a dozen terrorist attacks just like this one while George W. Bush was in office, but the GOP issued nary a peep over any of them.

On Jan. 22, 2002, in Calcutta Indian, five were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate. Then on June 14, an al Qaeda suicide bomber took out 12 at the Consulate. Feb. 28, 2003, saw gunmen open fire in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing two. On May 12 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, al Qaeda terrorists murdered 36 during a raid on the diplomatic compound. The next pair of deaths came July 30, 2004, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, thanks to a suicide bomber at the U.S. Embassy. Nine died Dec. 6 at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, again at the hands of al Qaeda. March 2, 2006, brought four more deaths – including that of high-profile diplomat David Foy – during a suicide bomber attack on the Consulate. Why don’t Republicans care about this man? They don’t seem to care about the Sept. 12, 2006, U.S. Embassy assault by four armed and screaming gunmen, who killed four and wounded 13.

No one died in the Jan. 17, 2007, rocket-propelled grenade launch into the U.S. Embassy in Athens, and only two were taken out March 18, 2008 in Yemen, when another al Qaeda-linked cell missed the Embassy but killed two at a school. Six forgotten lives were lost July 9, 2008 in Istanbul, Turkey, when armed terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate. And finally, in the second attack on the Sana’a, Yemen, U.S. Embassy in seven months, terrorists killed 16, including a couple of American newlyweds.

Was someone guilty of deceit or criminal behavior for this string of attacks, or those that occurred on the watch of Ronald Reagan, or any other number of U.S. presidents? Probably. Will it happen under the watch of the next person in the White House? Possibly. Does the public see through this show for what it really is? We hope so.

Meantime, the Democrats need to quit dragging their feet and be part of the investigation. If not, Republicans will score a field goal, if not a touchdown, with this particular football.

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  • Tourism Council and chamber should cut the proverbial cord

    They are defined by two separate purposes and operate under two distinctive sets of bylaws, but years of conflicting opinions have left lingering questions and confusion over the relationship between the decades-old Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the younger Tahlequah Area Tourism Council.

    July 30, 2014

  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014


Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
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