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A House Divided

January 30, 2013

I’m not usually one to delve into politics, but this week I’ve got something on my mind. I’ve seen a lot in the news the past few days about the Benghazi hearings, in which Secretary of State Clinton took heat from Republican members of Congress as they discussed the “what-ifs” of the September terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya. From the clips I’ve seen, I have to agree with Clinton on this one: what difference does it make? U.S. citizens were killed in an act of terrorism, and maybe it could have been prevented. Maybe it couldn’t have. You could say the same thing about 9-11. You can always play the what-if game. But I didn’t see much coming out of those hearings that will actually help us find terrorists or keep the world a safer place. I just saw a lot of blaming.

The Republicans were eager to make Clinton look bad and blame her and her department for not preventing this attack or acting on it sooner. I understand that feeling; when something bad happens, we naturally want the bad guys to pay the price, and we want to point fingers, shift the blame. But I think that is exactly what terrorists hope to accomplish: they want us questioning, blaming, panicking. They want us weaker. And when we spend hours grilling the Secretary of State and only further polarizing relationships between our political parties, we play right into the terrorists’ hands.

I remember hearing about the attacks on the embassy in Benghazi. It was a news story that, if it had happened a year ago, probably wouldn’t have caught my attention. Another crazy bombing in a faraway place. But now I live in the Middle East, and I have friends who work at the U.S. Consulate. What if the same thing were to happen here? It was a scary thought that there were people in the world willing and eager to kill Americans over something as frivolous as a YouTube video that was disrespectful to the prophet Mohammed, or whatever other slights they were pissed about when they walked up to the embassy that night. It’s not ok, and blaming ourselves accomplishes nothing. I have to say I was disappointed when I heard both Obama and Clinton giving statements in the aftermath of the attack that spent more time condemning the weird YouTube video than condemning the despicable act of violence. So both sides, Democrats and Republicans, missed the message of Benghazi. The men who attacked our embassy and killed our ambassador and several other U.S. citizens were neither Democrats nor Republicans! They were terrorists, or severely misguided and brainwashed men who have been taught to put their faith in hate and violence.

I have a feeling that most of the countries in this volatile region, if attacked the way we were, wouldn’t stand around debating and trying to place the blame on themselves. There would be no question as to who the bad guys were. There are a lot of threats in the world today, and no nation can expect to face them well if they are shooting themselves in the foot at the same time. To quote a some cool guys named Jesus and Lincoln, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

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