Another Sorry Chapter
|Mary Wakefield Buxton|
by Mary Wakefield Buxton
Urbanna, Va.— Wouldn’t it be refreshing if politicians could come to the people after a muck-up and simply say, “I made a mistake,” instead of the usual response of lies and coverups when things go wrong?
I’m referring to the tragedy in Benghazi last fall that cost the lives of an ambassador and three other brave Americans trying their best to defend U.S. property against a terrorist attack. These men called desperately for help but no help was forthcoming. We still don’t know why.
That was bad enough but with an election due just a few months after the attack, it’s fair to ask if political ambition trumped honesty and were Americans treated to a carefully laundered “version of truth” in order to spare the present administration blame?
Post-Benghazi information testimony reminds me of past administrations that spun lies to the people when something went wrong. Politicians never seem to learn a simple lesson that most of us learned back in grade school. Truth is the best command.
Oh, how shady memories return of past sorry chapters in this nation’s history from both Republican and Democrat Commanders-in-Chief who lied and covered up unsavory behavior. I can only surmise that fear of losing political power once gained is so great that some politicians will do and say anything to try to keep it.
Is it that terrible to admit you might have made a mistake? The rest of us do it. We admit it daily in our regular lives when we are wrong, so why can’t they do it too?
Oh, the scheming politicians. My memory goes back to the Watergate scandal and the Nixon coverup. The initial break-in and stealing papers from a political opponent may initially have been of little consequence, perhaps not much more than a childish prank. But the eventual lies, coverup and obstruction of justice was not to be ignored. Nixon had to go, and go he did when finally resigning from office in 1974.
The next nasty business that I recall was Reagan and the Iran- Contra scandal. Eventual testimony that included Reagan himself uncovered shady deals that no American was proud of. Only Reagan’s advanced age and obvious decline in memory from Alzheimer’s disease saved him.
Then there was that reprehensible chapter with Mr. Clinton and his impeachment by the House. His dishonor stemmed from sexual trysts both in and out of the Governor’s mansion in Arkansas and the White House. Most ignored the bad behavior (while feeling sympathy for his wife and daughter) until the lies came forth. I particularly remember his false testimony to a federal judge. Many still recall his infamous line as he tried to oil around simple truth . . . “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
As unpleasant as all these cases were, none involved the death of anyone. Watergate cost Nixon his job and sent several aides to prison, but his sins against America did not involve loss of life.
Benghazi is different. Four Americans were murdered while doing their best to defend a U.S. embassy. Few would argue that someone should have sent them help. So why didn’t we? It was bad enough that we didn’t come to our compatriots’ aid. But the aftermath has been even worse. We are now treated to various versions of events that dark night ranging from what the CIA reported to the State Department, what the State Department reported to the White House, and finally the totally laundered and fictional story that finally came out of the White House in an attempt to escape all responsibility for the Benghazi debacle.
Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, forcefully rejected all responsibility for the Benghazi affair at a Congressional hearing. She shouted out her answers using grandiose gestures, as if to suggest a loud voice negates all possible suspicion of her involvement in lies and coverup. Regarding her performance, I could only think of Shakespeare’s quote from “Hamlet” . . . “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
Her testimony will never be forgotten. Bad enough to remember her booming voice, but her already notorious words of denial were even more terrifying: “What difference, now that all this time has passed, does it make anyway?”
Well, madam, it makes a great deal of difference. Maybe you see this reprehensible event as a possible threat to a future run for the presidency? But, pardon us, many millions of Americans just want to know the truth, not only what happened in Benghazi but also who was responsible for the ensuing tragedy.
The truth, madam, we simply want the truth, along with good government and honest leaders with the good character to own up to us when mistakes are made.
Is that asking too much?