Benghazi update: You can make a difference
Last week, in D.C., hundreds of retired Special Operations officers and NCOs unrolled a scroll bearing the names of over a thousand Special Operations officers and NCOs who want the U.S. House of Representatives to appoint a Select Committee to find out what really happened on September 11-12, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya.
If you have never served in the American armed forces and/or never had a close family member who served, you might ask, as did Hillary Clinton: "What difference does it make?" Here, from a former naval aviator who also served twice as our Secretary of Defense, is a statement as to why knowing the truth about Benghazi does make a difference:
"In the case of our military, one of the reasons why so many volunteer, serve, and sacrifice is that they do it for each other. In the military, no man left behind is a great deal more than a motto. It announces and assures each individual that those in his unit are there for one another. They can confidently take the necessary risks and place trust in the members of their unit because they know that trust is returned. That camaraderie and sense of purpose encourage acts of uncommon valor -- troops covering a grenade to shield others, holding positions under withering enemy fire to ensure that others can move to safety, flying a chopper into a perilous hot zone to pick up wounded soldiers, and other acts of self-sacrifice that those in uniform routinely perform." -- Donald Rumsfeld.
What thousands of military, both active and retired, want to know is why -- when military rescue forces were readily available -- were four Americans left to die on the field of battle? So far, the Obama Administration has essentially stone-walled the efforts of Congress to find out what actually took place in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Why cant one of the regular oversight committees get to the bottom of the Benghazi fiasco? Because they do not have powers of a Select Committee like Watergate with the subpoena power and with the power to grant immunity, when warranted, to key witnesses.
Currently stuck in the House Rules Committee, chaired by Pete Sessions (R-TX), is House Resolution 36 which, if allowed onto the House floor for a vote would, no doubt, create a House Select Committee on Benghazi. But, until told to do so by Speaker John Boehner, Sessions is not likely to issue the necessary "rule."
It is human nature for the chairpersons of the regular oversight committees to want their piece of the Benghazi puzzle. A House Select Committee would rob them of the spotlight. Also, the Speaker might want a Select Committee to report closer to the 2014 elections. Folks, thats D.C. politics.
But you, gentle reader, can ask your House member to sign the Discharge Petition for H.Res. 36. Fifty-seven more signatures will reach the 218 signatures needed to force H.Res. 36 onto the floor where it is certain to be adopted. Alternatively, Chairman Sessions phone number is: 202.225.9191, fax: 202.225.6763 or e-mail at: Rules.RS@mail.house.gov.
For more information on H.Res. 36, go to: www.thomas.gov, click on "Bill Number," and enter H. Res. 36 in the search block. The 161 co-sponsors are listed by name and by congressional district. Check for yours.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2013. William Hamilton.
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