Saturday Column: Benghazi questions undermine Obama’s credibility

September 21, 2013


It’s been more than a year since a U.S. ambassador and three others were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Even though there have been numerous congressional hearings about the deadly terrorist action and pledges of openness from President Obama and other senior members of the administration, there is reason to question whether the public knows what happened and why it happened.

Unfortunately, the lack of candor, honesty and transparency relative to the Benghazi attack and the reasoning for withholding an immediate response by U.S. forces has caused the majority of Americans to lose confidence in the president’s honesty.

Why hasn’t the Obama administrative team come clean with the American public? Fess up and get this issue cleaned up and behind them.

At a time when this country faces increasing challenges — whether in Syria, Egypt, Iran or other hot, or potentially hot, spots around the globe, as well as growing challenges here at home — the country needs to have confidence in and respect for its president.

Many members of the public may not be politically supportive of the president but, even so, they should respect whomever sits in the White House Oval Office. Americans should believe the president always will tell the truth — whether or not it may be embarrassing or politically harmful.

And, if he makes a mistake or misstatement, he should be quick to acknowledge the error and present the accurate story.

As the old saying goes, once a person is caught telling a lie, how can you ever trust that individual is telling the truth?

When campaigning for the presidency in 2008, several days prior to voters going to the polls, Obama told an admiring audience they were only a few days from being able to make fundamental changes in this country.

One fundamental that should never be changed is that an individual’s word should remain rock solid, always to be trusted.

The Benghazi tragedy should have been put to rest months ago. However, it continues to be a national disgrace because many of those with direct knowledge of what happened apparently have not been allowed to reveal what they saw and heard; they have been muzzled. Parents and family members of those killed in the attack have not been given the information they were promised, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not required to testify about the attack.

The longer critics and skeptics question the president and receive no answers from him or members of his inner circle, the more the president and his image are damaged.

There should be no question in the minds of Americans about whom to believe, respect and admire when comparing Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. And, yet, in recent negotiations, Putin — not Obama — seems to have come out looking like the leader with vision and boldness. This is bad!

Regardless of what Obama claims, the public has been left in the dark concerning Benghazi and, because of this, Americans have growing concerns they are being left in the dark on numerous other major issues.

Politics can be, and often is, a dirty business, but there should be no question in the minds of the American public that their president always tells the truth, not half-truths. Granted, there are major partisan political splits in the country relative to domestic issues, but there should be no doctoring of facts concerning Uncle Sam’s role and involvement in foreign affairs.

It’s a disgrace and a slap in the public’s face that all the facts relative to the Benghazi attack, embarrassing or not, have not been disclosed a year after the killings. It’s also a disgrace the nation’s media have not called for a full and complete report.


OlDan 4 years, 6 months ago

It's not only Benghazi Mr. Simons. Here is an evergrowing list of Obama lies.

• I never said anything about a red line, others did. • I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage. • "The War on Terror is over" (but I need to keep every American under surveillance) • The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. • We don’t have a domestic spying program • We got back every dime we used to rescue the financial system • Benghazi violence was caused by an internet video & demonstrations • We only changed one word in the Benghazi talking points. • The IRS never targeted specific groups. • Because of Obamacare, “over the last two years, health care premiums have gone up — it’s true — but they’ve gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years.” • I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration • My budget will cut the deficit by $4 Trillion over 10 years. • American taxpayers are now positioned to recover more than my administration invested in GM - $10 billion loss • I will walk on that picket line with you, if workers are denied the right to bargain. • I’ve done more for Israel’s security than any President ever • Fence between US and Mexico is “Practically Complete” • Rich don't pay their fair share. • The health care bill will not increase the deficit by one dime. • If you like the health care plan you have you can keep it • Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions • ObamaCare Fee is not a new tax • We have run out of places in the US to drill for oil. • The Health Care Package will pay for itself • We shouldn’t Mandate the purchase of health care • Obama says he’ll save average family $8,000 in gas • Cut Deficit in Half by end of first term • Health Care deals will be covered on C-span • No Earmarks in Stimulus • Guantanamo bay to be closed within a year

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 6 months ago

danny boy you watch way too much fox news.

Paul R Getto 4 years, 6 months ago

We elect "liars" from both parties over and over because the SHEEPLE cannot handle the truth.

OlDan 4 years, 6 months ago

Unfortunately for the United States, this President does not even rise to the low standards set by his predecessors.

tomatogrower 4 years, 5 months ago

At least he hasn't been responsible for the deaths of thousands of our soldiers and innocent civilians.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 4 years, 6 months ago

Outstanding answer. OlDan. The end result is that we cannot trust Obama at all. I suppose this is the "change" you people voted for twice.

chootspa 4 years, 5 months ago

A very ironic list, too, considering the topic is lies. Too bad the poster didn't choose a smaller and more accurate list.

Dan Blomgren 4 years, 5 months ago

I have never had such distrust for the President as I do with Obama. Every time he opens his mouth another lie is spewed to the american public. I am amazed how he gets by with it, and how he is still so strongly supported by the liberal left. Their glasses can't be that rose colored can they? I would like to put more faith in the american public, but just as with Obama my hopes have disappeared. I have never been so distraught with America as I am now.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

I believe you.

But, in order to have your view, you must not have been paying much attention to previous presidents and similar problems/issues with them, it seems to me.

Where do you get your news and information from, by the way?

Scott Drummond 4 years, 6 months ago

It is sad that the right wing "scandal" mongers are so transparently desperate. New depths of lameness plumbed in this column today (and that is quite an accomplishment!!)

Linda and Bill Houghton 4 years, 6 months ago

The previous administration started a major war using lies to justify it. That was OK with those who are complaining about the current administration. Anything that the current administration has done or is likely to do is pale in comparison.

Liberty275 4 years, 6 months ago

Saddam Hussein started the Iraq war by invading Kuwait. Hussein signed a cease fire agreement and later fired on our planes in violation of the cease fire. That's legal reason enough. We know he had WMD as he used them on the Kurds, but that was never the reason we finished him off.

I think we finished him off because he was funding terrorism in Israel.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 6 months ago

Dolphin is the primary reason I refuse to subscribe the this newspaper. His editorials would play better on faux news.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 6 months ago

It is not Obama that lack credibility, it is the rising tide of racism and bigotry that currently infrects the national discourse. Tea party bigots and others if their stripe jast cannot digest the fact that the black guy beat their white guy businessman (?) in the national election last year. That is tie real issue. But no credible news organization wil recognize this plain fact.

Trumbull 4 years, 6 months ago

This reminds me of the birther issue. Evidently a certificate of live birth was not good enough for the birthers. That was because it was an electronic version of a birth certificate and not the actual signed original hard copy (which can be virtually impossible to get).

Now we have the latest scandal Benghazi. To my knowledge, I have been made aware of what happened via news and radio. This is what I recall hearing:

1) The Benghazi embassy was attacked 2) The white house and pentagon immediately began working on a rescue plan 3) It was determined that armed forces were not close enough to combat the attack, nor was there an option of a missile strike due to the close proximity of both good guys and bad guys 4) Because a military rescue was not an option, a CIA rescue was coordinated 5) The CIA did rescue some US officials, sadly, some lost there lives 6) In the aftermath of the attack, there was some confusion as to what the cause was and who initiated the attack 7) Some statements made by US officials were not accurate. There were various reasons for this 8) Regarding #7, I am satisfied that the confusion surrounding the event, including other simultaneous riots going on in other parts of the Mid-East, that there was no intent to deliberately misinform the public

But no doubt, this tragic event has created an event that can be used advantageously by political opponents. To me, this is where the falsehood lies.

Armstrong 4 years, 5 months ago

You may want to recheck your recall of events. Just sayin

Trumbull 4 years, 5 months ago

I could either do that, or watch the ballgame. I'm gonna watch the ballgame : )

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 5 months ago

You can't dissuade people who watch faux news 24/7 with facts. Their irrational paranoia has been fed by bill oreilley and his ilk. That is a fair and balanced statement...

Trumbull 4 years, 5 months ago

I followed the event last year and listened to several news reports that had qualified people with knowledge of the event (from that liberal NPR station albeit). My conclusion at the time was that it was a chaotic and tragic event. Some mistakes were made, but all practical/possible rescue options were immediately explored and I was satisfied that there was no intent to mislead the public when information was released.

George Lippencott 4 years, 5 months ago

Now the Obama administration wants to have a low profile in the countries associated with the "Arab Spring". That is certainly a responsible approach. However, the natural result is a reduced presence to include the security element. That there may be consequences from such a decision cannot be denied and should be expected. I suspect the people involved in the State Department understood that.

It would be a true contribution to our collective understanding if we argued this issue on the policy level rather than on the incident level.

George Lippencott 4 years, 5 months ago

There seem to be people upset because no one had been brought to justice for the deaths of our diplomats in Libya. I do not know how the Obama administration can accomplish that task. The Libyan central government has only a weak presence in Benghazi. We have absolute no law enforcement powers there.

As long as it is our policy to treat terrorism as a criminal act we will remain hampered in these types of situations. The alternative is to treat such incidents as an aggressive act and use military action to punish the guilty (as the Israelis do). Of course that means there will be no “due process” as we understand it.

Again the issue is not about a failure to do something. The policy of treating such attacks as criminal acts is IMHO the culprit. If we don’t like the results we should argue the policy not the consequences.

Mike Ford 4 years, 5 months ago

gotta give the angry people a place to discuss their mythology. I guess this is the place.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 5 months ago

If you want to read about crooks in government read this.


The tragedy of Benghazi has been surpassed by the tragedy of the right wing's attempt to use these deaths for political advantage.

lcarol 4 years, 5 months ago

Truthful and reasonable are not the adjectives I would use to describe Mr. Putin. Reading the news, it appears Mr. Putin blames the opposition for the use of chemical weapons. Truthful? Reasonable? I think not. Mr. Putin supplies the weaponry to Assad and he is smart enough to realize that if our president surgically strikes the Assad government, it could tip the balance of power in Syria. He is not willing to risk that as Putin has an extremist problem in his own country. While a portion of this country looks so hard to criticize every move our president makes, a larger portion of the world knows he is capable of surgical strikes. Ask Osama Bin Laden, ask the Somalian pirates and any number of terrorists taken out with drone strikes. You keep thinking he is weak. Most of us are not capable of playing chess; of understanding nuance....we play checkers and think we are the "smart" ones. Big B, do you want red or black? I'll get the checker board and leave Syria and Iran to our able president.

Kate Rogge 4 years, 5 months ago

I think it was closer to "What difference does it make now?" and I agree with her. We figure out how to make sure it doesn't happen again, and then we do that.

JohnBrown 4 years, 5 months ago


You do not present one fact that supports the innuendo-ridden article you present. You start with "citizens having questions.." and end up with 'the President is a liar..' with no supporting facts in-between. Shame on you.


Paul R Getto 4 years, 5 months ago

Editor's privilege. The facts are not a matter of concern.

jafs 4 years, 5 months ago

Does anybody really believe that presidents tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

If so, I'd have to say that's quite naive. Presidents, like all politicians, tend to selectively reveal information, and often try to spin the facts to their own advantage.

The idea that until now, presidents have been truthful, and that we now have a president who isn't is rather absurd, in fact.

I recall an interview with 60 minutes in which the administration's view of something was challenged, and the interviewee immediately changed the subject, and spun it. This happened to be during Bush 2, but I'll bet you could find numerous examples with virtually all administrations.

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