Benghazi Cover Up: Congress is Asking the Wrong Questions

By now, unless you have been living under a rock you are aware of the scandals plaguing the Obama Administration — the Justice Department illegally acquiring the phone records of the Associated Press, the Internal Revenue Service illegally targeting the president’s opponents for tighter scrutiny, and Benghazi. Now, in all fairness to Obama, to date, no improprieties have been proven in any of the above cases. But while the scandals involving AP phone records and IRS treatment of the president's opponents should be investigated, the Benghazi investigation entirely misses the big picture on that issue.

With regards to Benghazi, currently congressional Republicans are focusing their investigation on whether the Obama administration botched security at our consulate in that city, thereby causing the assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, and whether it lied about it in an effort to cover it up.

I say, who cares? The bigger question and one that no one seems to be asking is: should we have been meddling in the internal affairs of Libya in the first place?

When Obama sidestepped Congress and unilaterally chose to intervene in the Libyan Civil War, the mission was supposed to be a United Nations sanctioned "no-fly zone" over Libya so Gadhafi could not use his air force to slaughter Libyans on the ground.  However, in very short order, the mission morphed into an all-out air invasion complete with coordinated strategy between NATO forces and anti-Gadhafi fighters and bombings of Gadhafi's fighters on the ground. The point man chosen by Obama to serve as a conduit between anti-Gadhafi fighters and the U.S. military was Ambassador Stevens.

What was lacking is the same thing that has failed to happen with all U.S. military engagements since World War II. Congress did not debate whether American military forces should be employed, and it did not vote on whether to grant a declaration of war.  Why is this important? Because the founders of the United States knew that the decision making power to send Americans into harm's way and the consequences of that action for the country was too important to give solely to one person — the president.

Libya was not a national security issue for the United States. We were allegedly there on a humanitarian mission to help Libyans. The question is, is that a justified use of our military? Should its role be to police the world? Congressional debate could have addressed these questions, prevented our intervention in Libya, and possibly changed U.S. foreign policy in the future for the better.

Additionally, our intervention in Libya has made that country "a center of jihadist terror." Consequently, weapons, terrorism, and chaos are emanating from there to the rest of North Africa and the Sahel regions. Gadhafi may have been a bad guy to his people, but our intervention in his country is having adverse effects on all the people of the region. With 535 members in Congress, someone would have questioned during debate in that body, what would happen as a consequence of our intervention? Perhaps the consideration of that inquiry would have prevented our ill-fated intervention and Ambassador Stevens would still be alive today.

In the final analysis, what needs to be investigated is whether we should have been in Libya in the first place. This investigation then should lead to a reconsideration of our current foreign policy. Given that our current foreign policy has our military forces engaged in at least 74 other conflicts around the globe, this seems more important than finding out whether the Obama administration botched security at our consulate in Benghazi causing the death of an American ambassador and three other Americans and whether it lied about the matter in an effort to cover it up. It's time Congress looks at the big picture.

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Kenn Jacobine

Kenn Jacobine is an international educator currently teaching History and Economics for the American School of Doha, Qatar. He has also taught in the United States and at international schools in Ecuador, Mali, and Zambia.

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