The column I wrote for last Thursday, entitled The Real Benghazi Scandal, has run in newspapers around the country and unleashed a storm of email, much of it angry, even venemous.
My point: that hearings on Benghazi held by Cong. Darrel Issa (R.CA), and other efforts to brand Benghazi as Watergate II, ignore the real issues raised by the tragedy in favor of promoting conspiracy theories about administration "lies" and "cover-ups." Such charges, as I laid out, are not based on facts.
Clearly State Dept. security officials made serious errors (some heads have rolled), and the Pentagon must review the issue of military readiness, or willingness – to protect diplomats. Instead, the scandal-mongers are focused on bureaucratic "talking points" that had nothing to do with the inadequate security in Benghazi, the failed rescue, or improving security in the future.
This blog is not meant to rehash my column, which you can find here, but to comment on the lock-step, almost verbatim language of the emails I received, many of them using words not fit for a family newspaper. It seemed as if many of the writers had listened to the same talk show, from which they gleaned false or misleading information about Benghazi and a totally distorted picture of how government works.
Readers are perfectly entitled to their opinions, including those that differ sharply from mine. But the vehemence of this email – the readiness to believe the canard that President Obama deliberately sacrificed diplomats' lives for political reasons - signaled a hostility, almost hatred, towards the president that is extremely disturbing, all the more so as it is clearly being stirred up by some media outlets.
None of this will help protect diplomats better in the future. But it does signify, as if we needed more evidence, how terribly polarized this country has become.