South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan (R) gets to the meat of our problem today: Barack Obama has no credibility and accepts no accountability. Neither he nor Hillary Clinton have withdrawn the claim that the Benghazi attacks were prompted because of an anti-Islam video. They lied, our people died and we should never forget it. The lies surrounding Benghazi are so deep, neither the Executive branch nor the State Department (no matter who heads it or who has moved on) can be allowed to get a second chance to perpetrate such betrayal on this country. No great fan of Vladimir Putin here, but even he said this week he would consider supporting action against Syria if the U.N. has evidence that Assad was clearly behind the sarin gas attacks and cleared the way for action. So far, it is clear sarin gas was used, but not entirely clear who released it – and the question roils: why would Assad use the one weaponry that would give the world the right to take action, when he was winning his fight? The video and the major parts of the transcript are below (all emphasis is mine). Applause for Mr. Duncan please.
Another consideration, John Kerry “guaranteed” Senator Rand Paul that if we do nothing, Assad will use chemical weapons on his people again – “guaranteed it – using that word “guarantee.” Foolishness from a man who touts his war history below but leaves out the fact that he betrayed his fellow warriors who fought in Vietnam once he got home.
DUNCAN: I can’t discuss the possibility of U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war without also talking about Benghazi. The administration has a serious credibility issue with the American people (inaudible) surrounding the questions the terrorist attack in Benghazi almost a year ago.
When you factor in the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the AP and James Rosen issues, Fast and Furious and NSA spying program, the bottom line is, there is a need for accountability and trust-building from the administration…The administration has a credibility issue. In my opinion, Secretaries Kerry and Hagel, Benghazi is germane to the discussions of Syria because as you stated, Mr. Secretary, the world was and is watching for our response, but after almost a year of not bringing anyone to justice in Benghazi, they are watching our response.
Mr. Kerry, your predecessor asked “What difference does it make now?,” well this is the difference, Mr. Secretary. These issues call into question the accountability of this administration. It’s commitment to the personnel on the ground and the judgement that it uses when making these determinations. The American people deserve answers before we move forward talking about Military involvement in Syria.
Section 4 of your testimony today said this is about accountability. Sure it is. The American people deserve questions about Benghazi before we move forward with Military involvement in Syria’s civil war.
[Duncan holds up a photo of Tyrone Woods, the former Navy SEAL who lost his life in Benghazi, saying the Woods family deserves answers, Americans deserve answers before sending another man or woman of the “caliber” of Tyrone Woods into harm’s way] …especially when there is no clear indication that there’s an imminent threat to the United States.
I don’t question that chemical weapons were used in Syria. I’ve looked at the classified briefings. I do ask that if so, where are the other signatory countries of the chemical weapons convention as you the U.S. beats the drums of war against this regime in Syria?
I have spoken to hundreds of constituents. This represents about 300 emails [holds up stack of papers] that my office has gotten, and not one member in my district in South Carolina say go to Syria and fight this regime. To a letter, they say ‘no,’ ‘do not go into Syria,’ ‘don’t get involved in their civil war.’ I spoke to 8th graders – about 150 eighth graders yesterday. They get it that we shouldn’t be drug into someone else’s civil war where there are no good guys.There are no good guys to get behind her3 and I can only envision an escalation of this current conflict, the same administration that was so quick to involve the U.S. in Syria now, is reluctant to use the same resources at its disposal in an attempt to rescue the 4 brave Americans that fought for their lives in Benghazi.
Mr. Kerry, you have never been one that has advocated for anything other than caution when involving U.S. forces in past conflicts. The same is true for the President and the Vice President. Is the power of the Executive Branch so intoxicating that you would abandon past caution in favor of pulling the trigger on a Military response so quickly?
The reason that I say that Benghazi is germane to our discussions on Syria is this, Secretary Kerry, have there been efforts on the part of the U.S. directly, or indirectly to provide weapons to the Syrian rebels, and that would also include facilitating the transfer of weapons from Libyan rebels to the Syrian rebels?
KERRY: Have there been…
DUNCAN: Put weapons in the hands of Syrian rebels and also transfer weapons from Libya to Syria?
Arrogance alert. Posturing alert. Important question not answered.
KERRY: Well, let me begin Congressman by challenging your proposition that I’ve never done anything except advocate caution, because I offered to volunteered to fight for my country and that wasn’t a cautious thing to do…
…and I am not going to sit here and be told by you that I don’t have a sense of what the judgement is with respect to this.
We’re talking about people being killed by gas and you want to go talk about Benghazi and Fast and Furious.
DUNCAN:I absolutely want to talk about it. Four Americans lost their lives. I have sympathy for the people in Syria and I do think there should be a worldwide response but we should act cautiously before we act unilaterally.
KERRY: We are acting cautiously. We are acting so cautiously that the president of the United States was accused of not acting because he wanted to have sufficient evidence and he wanted to build a case properly.
DUNCAN: It’s been 15 days.
KERRY: Congressman…[Kerry inserts point of privilege] This is important. I think this is important. I think it’s important whether or not we’re going into Syria in a way that the Congressman describes which I think most people in America don’t want us to do. We don’t want to do that. That’s why the President has said ‘No boots on the ground.’ This is not about getting into Syria’s civil war. This is about enforcing the principle that people shouldn’t be allowed to gas their citizens with impunity. And if we don’t vote to do this, Assad will interpret from you that he’s free to go and do this any day he wants to. That’s what this is about, not getting involved in Syria’s civil war.
Remember when Kerry first took office as Secretary of State he announced ‘we are moving on from Benghazi,’ or very similar words. He said it twice and indicated there were more “important” issues to get to. Over and done with if he can make it happen. Duncan isn’t letting it happen.
So let’s draw the proper distinction here Congressman. We don’t deserve to drag this into yet another Benghazi discussion when the real issue here is whether or not the Congress is going to stand up for international norms with respect to dictators that have only been broken twice until Assad, Hitler and Saddam Hussein. If we give license to someone to continue that, shame on us.
In the video, Kerry mentions that he supported American action in Grenada and Panama. Neither were dealing with Islam – huge difference, and 12 years after 9-11-01, 20 years after the first World Trade Center bombings and 30 years after the bombings of our Marine barracks in Beirut, we should understand that significant difference.
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