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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid