What Did He Know and...

Bill Neinast


The current feature at Unity Theatre in Brenham is Nixon, Nixon.  This excellent production has two actors portraying President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in a fictional meeting in the Oval Office the night before Nixon resigns the presidency in lieu of a trial of impeachment.

Impeachment is rarely mentioned as the two most powerful men in the world argue over how to preserve their records in history books.

Today, 38 years later, only the historians writing those books know what was awaiting trial in the Senate.  So, to refresh the collective memory of senior citizens and inform youngsters, the House of Representatives could come up with only three Articles of Impeachment: Obstruction of Justice, Abuse of Power, and Contempt of Congress.

Every day for months leading up to the impeachment, news headlines across the nation screamed some version of, “WHAT DID HE KNOW AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT?”  The questions involved the burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices inside the Watergate office complex   in Washington, D.C., by operatives of the Nixon reelection campaign and an attempted coverup of the President’s knowledge of the event.

No one was killed in the operation, and the only property damaged or destroyed was some audio tapes that Nixon had secretly recorded in the White House.

Compare that relatively benign misconduct with the deaths, destruction, and coverup in the Benghazi, Libya, tragedy.  Only Fox News keeps this crime front and center.  When and if it is mentioned in The New York Times, Washington Post, or other media lackey of the Reelect Obama Campaign, look for it on page 15 of the second section.

Whenever Benghazi is even mentioned around a class warrior, expect the memorized response of “you are politicizing a tragedy.  Let’s wait (until after the election) for an investigation to establish the facts.”

Here are some facts.  American personnel, including an Ambassador, were under armed attack for over seven hours.  Almost the entire seven hours of activity were on a live video feed to authorities in Washington from two drones hovering overhead and personal cameras on the ground.  When the first drone on site began to run low on fuel, it was replaced with another one with a full load of fuel.

Senators Mark Warner of Virginia and Mark Udall of Colorado (both class warriors) were on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace four days ago.  Both are on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.   Each was asked if either of the drones was armed in a way that could have disrupted the attacks.  Neither would answer the questions.  Their answers were those already noted, “Let’s wait for the facts from an investigation” (after the election).

Facts verifiable for a long time are that Department of State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland stated repeatedly that the department was getting live video feeds from Benghazi from the beginning.  Any review of the parts of those feeds that have been made public show no large crowd protesting a movie. 

Nonetheless, Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., goes on numerous TV programs the following Sunday and announces to the nation that the tragedy was a response to a movie that had been out for months.

This is followed by President Obama refusing for weeks following the incident to label it as another al Qaeda terrorist act on U.S. personnel and property.  Finally, he claims now that he gave an order to do whatever it takes to protect our people.

Keep that in mind when you consider Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s claim that amid the assault he and two top commanders agreed that there was too little information to risk deploying additional troops into the frenzied scene. He continued, "The basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place."

There is no need for an investigation to verify these readily available facts. It is already clear that either the President is lying and covering up or that the Secretary of Defense and others are guilty of disobeying a presidential order to protect U. S. personnel with “whatever it takes.”

So here’s the perspective.

Four years ago, one of Hillary Clinton’s campaign ads concerning who should be in the White House was, "It's three a.m. and the phone rings. Who do you want to answer it?"  Now we have an answer.  The one chosen  by voters to answer that phone says, “Take care of it,” and goes off campaigning.

President Obama, who should have answered the phone, has a spotty record.  His primary action in foreign affairs is the denigration of U.S. power and help for other countries.  Domestically,  his principle legacy is an unpopular health care law. Because he is a media favorite, however, he escapes even a cursory examination of his responsibility for the Benghazi murders.

Conversely, President Richard Nixon will be recognized in history books for an outstanding foreign policy that brought the Vietnam conflict to closure and opening relations with China, which became one of our leading trading partners and financier of our debt.  Notwithstanding that record, he had to resign in disgrace because he lied and covered up a burglary.

Where’s the justice?


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