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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More