News / Middle East

Benghazi Attack Lessons May Impact Syria Strike Vote

Benghazi Attack Lessons May Impact Syria Strike Vote i
X
September 11, 2013 10:55 AM
Wednesday is the first anniversary of the attack on the U.S. mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on how the legacy of that violence affects the Obama administration's push for military action in Syria.
— September 11 is the first anniversary of the attack on the U.S. mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The attack on the U.S. mission set-off a political firestorm as Republican lawmakers asked why the Obama administration was slow to call this terrorism.

Then-Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton told critics it didn't matter.

"The fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?" she asked.

A year later, President Obama's handling of the Benghazi attack still appears to make a difference to some in Congress as Secretary of State John Kerry leads the administration's push for authorization to attack Syria.

"The same administration that was seemingly so quick to involve the U.S. in Syria now was reluctant to use the same resources at its disposal to attempt to rescue the four brave Americans that fought for their lives in Benghazi," noted Republican Congressman Jeff Duncan. "Mr. Kerry, you have never been one that's advocated for anything other than caution when involving U.S. forces in past conflicts."

Kerry said comparisons between Syria and Benghazi are political.

"When I was in the United States Senate, I supported military action in any number of occasions including Grenada, Panama, I can run a list of them. And I am not going to sit here and be told by you that I don't have a sense of what the judgment is with respect to this. We're talking about people being killed by gas, and you want to go talk about Benghazi," Kerry said.

But memories of Benghazi could weaken the president's push for Congressional authorization, said American University professor Alan Lichtman.

"Benghazi certainly doesn't help the president. And if the vote really is one or two votes, the influence of Benghazi could be a tip point," Lichtman said.

Especially compared to the depth of international support for intervening in Libya two years ago, according to Manal Omar at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  

"When you look at Libya there was a justifiable argument that you can go in through NATO, there was a multilateral approach, and that the intervention would be fairly quick and short time frame. It was finite. You can control it. That's very hard to convincingly argue on Syria," she noted.

The continuing violence in Benghazi shows how little Washington understands, said Lichtman.

"We really didn't know very much about what was going on in Libya prior to the Benghazi attack," he said. "We need to learn a lot more about these other cultures and these other countries. For all the tens-of-billions of dollars we spend on intelligence, we don't seem to be very intelligent about our foreign policy."

After the Benghazi attack, just four American diplomats were suspended for security lapses. All have since been reassigned to new posts.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 11, 2013 12:25 PM
Never knew America - USA - this way. Thought this country was a country of brave, intelligent and progressive-minded people. Now it's a different USA on the scene. A USA that shakes at the mention of Russia, Iran, China or even Syria. So why has North Korea been deceived into believing that USA was going to do anything to stop it building its nuclear arsenal? Why has Iran been stalled all this while over a threat that USA might strike it if it goes ahead with its nuclear weapons program? No. Don't think it's the fear of USA, in this case it must be the fear of Israel. No wonder all the USA has been able to do is spend so much billions of dollars to assuage any country that has succeeded in acquiring nuclear weapon capability. But for Israel, Iran must have discovered that this is the time to leak USA and suck it dry using the ace of a nuclear program. What a tepid, jittery people!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid