The politicization of the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya, is one of the most shameful and utterly reprehensible witch-hunts to ever darken our democracy. Republicans and far right-wing extremists across the country have become obsessed with that tragic day, seizing on the deaths of four Americans as a way to smear and discredit then-Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The House Benghazi Committee has recently been exposed as nothing but a partisan crusade that openly lied and distorted information, wasting millions of taxpayer money and producing no tangible results.
That hasn’t prevented the Stop Hillary PAC from producing disgusting attack ads which exploit the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and the three other slain Americans – Foreign Service Officer Steve Smith and CIA contractors/former Navy SEALs Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. The ads show their graves and their images, asking “Dear Hillary Clinton, I’d like to ask you why you ignored calls for help in Benghazi and then four Americas were murdered?”
The mothers of Woods and Doherty went to the Boston Herald to voice their displeasure with the ads. Barbara Doherty of Woburn slammed the PAC, saying “it’s so crude and so unfeeling to do something like this. To see your own son and hear a voice coming up from the grave, it’s tasteless. I won’t use the language he [Woods] would have used, but he would be very upset [at having his death used in such a way].”
Cheryl Croft Bennet, mother of Glen Doherty, was similarly incensed by the heartless use of her son’s death: “to have words put in his mouth as he is speaking from the grave, it’s beyond the pale. Besides callous and cruel, it’s irreverent, and it does not honor, it does not respect these men.”
Dan Backer, counsel and treasurer of the Stop Hillary PAC, was unmoved by the anger of grieving mothers – apparently they hadn’t even considered asking the mothers about the ads beforehand. “Talking with them beforehand wasn’t something we thought about. Maybe we should have” he said. Such a horrifying statement from Backer shows how little he and his cronies really care about the lives lost on that tragic day.
It is far beyond time we stopped obsessing over Benghazi. The Republican refusal to subject former President George W. Bush to the same scrutiny over the September 11th terrorist attacks proves that the lives of the men involved mean nothing to them. It is time for us to honor the memory of the four Americans we lost on that tragic day, to let them rest in peace, and to draw lessons from the tragedy and ensure it never happens again.
Enough is enough.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.