Monday, December 30, 2013

An end (hopefully) to the Benghazi brouhaha

As I’ve written before, there are conspiracy theories and there are conspiracy theories. Not all are created equal. Every theory should be judged on its own merits. Clearly, some theories can be rejected outright because they are simply too ludicrous to be taken seriously (Beyonce is a member of the Illuminati, a super secret organization controlling everything in the world. Beyonce? Really?) and others demand a skeptical eye when there is an obvious agenda tied to them. Benghazi falls into that category.

Since September 11, 2012, Republicans have been braying long and loudly about a Benghazi cover-up. Despite having no evidence to support their theory, conservatives in Congress and the media have asserted that the assault on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, which resulted in four deaths, was a carefully planned attack by Al Qaeda that Obama covered up for political reasons. The State Department and others have argued that it was a spontaneous incident sparked in large part by an anti-Islamic documentary that aired on conservative media outlets at that time.

The New York Times has just finished a six-part investigation of the incident that involved extensive interviews with people on the ground as the attack took place. The paper’s conclusion is that while there were miscues and mistakes made by the Obama administration in response to the attack, it was in fact a spontaneous event triggered by anger at the xenophobic American-made film. Few beyond the Tea Party fringes took the Benghazi conspiracy theory seriously, but it’s pretty clear the Times report puts the final nail in the coffin.

Living in the conservative bubble must be very frustrating. Your world-view is shaped by the sources you trust, but those sources aren’t interested in the search for truth, but in an ideological agenda that attempts to shape reality into its own image.

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