Op-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Republicans, Hillary, Have it wrong about Libya

In some respects the recent Republican Congressional overreach—trying to crucify former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton over the tragic Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on a U.S. CIA compound in Benghazi Libya—may have in fact guaranteed her the party’s nomination. In pugilistic terms: “they never laid a glove on her.”

Like an endless parade of clowns, tumbling out of a tiny car at the circus, the members of the handpicked Congressional “Select Committee” fell all over themselves, trying to score “gotcha” points against the savvy former Secretary.

They only embellished her image, and that coupled with her strong performance in the candidates’ debate, and the withdrawal from the campaign by former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, and the decision not to enter the contest by Vice President Joe Biden, clears the pathway for her, before she even got to flex her real political muscle—strong support among Black voters.

You see no matter what happened in White enclaves Iowa and New Hampshire in this campaign, Clinton is the candidate in the 2016 contest who virtually “owns” the Black vote which doesn’t begin to be important until the South Carolina primary.

As attractive as his campaign is on economic class and equality issues, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders hardly has even one Black friend, let alone any support among Black voters. Even Joe Biden’s strongest asset in the Black community is his vice presidency in the administration of President Barack Obama. So, Clinton would likely have won the nomination in the end.

What the pitiful Benghazi hearing did for her—on the heels of her debate performance and Biden’s decision—was to allay the fears of nervous White Democrats, who are afraid of their own shadows. In an 11-hour marathon session, Hillary duked it out with the committee which was packed with Republican former federal prosecutors and district attorneys, and she never even broke a sweat.

The committee’s attempted overreach was so clear, even Ray Charles could see it. There have already been a handful of official investigations of the Benghazi tragedy, including multiple Congressional efforts, finding absolutely no wrongdoing. This was a transparent attempt—admitted by two senior Republican members of Congress, and one Republican staff investigator who was fired for not being aggressively “anti Clinton” enough—to render Clinton “damaged goods” in the presidential contest.

They pounced on the former Secretary of State, not the Defense Secretary, not the CIA chief over a confusing tragedy which cost the lives of four diplomats. Yet in six years of the George W. (for Worst in history) Bush administration, from Jan. 2002 until Sept. 2008, there were 13 attacks on U.S. embassies around the globe, resulting in the deaths of 60 U.S. diplomats, and not one single investigation.

There was “something rotten in Denmark”—in this case Libya—but it had much more to do with the wrong-headed U.S. policy which has left Libya, like Iraq, another failed state and a breeding ground for radical extremists. After Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi literally genuflected to Washington in order to regain acceptance in the eyesight of the West, he was viciously betrayed by an American-fomented “revolution” which turned the oil-rich country with Africa’s highest literacy rate, and lowest infant mortality rate, into a basket case.

Qaddafi voluntarily abandoned any ambitions for weapons of mass destruction, and surrendered to U.S. inspections. His government paid billions of dollars to the families of the victims of the Lockerbie airline sabotage, and then, no sooner than the Lockerbie checks cleared the bank, the United States fomented an uprising against Qaddafi, imposed a “no-fly zone” so his military could not use its air power to defeat the “rebels,” and then watched with glee as he was captured and brutally murdered, without so much as even a kangaroo court trial.

Since then, thousands of Africans have been brutally murdered in the ensuing chaos. Boko Haram and other radical al-Qaeda sympathizers have looted Libya’s arsenal, exporting mayhem along with those weapons throughout North Africa, all the result of U.S. policy. Meanwhile, Congress has focused its attention on the tragic deaths of four White men, in order to tarnish the reputation of Hillary Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate.

My words are inadequate to describe the contempt I feel, first for this country’s duplicitous and deceitful policy which has wrought chaos and death throughout Africa; and then for the hypocrisy of those in Congress who have no interest in finding ways to prevent the Benghazi-melees of the future, but rather want to further their wicked aim of crippling the U.S. government with another hateful political witch hunt.

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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