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Author Topic: Benghazi - Just the Facts, Ma'am
Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Firstly, of course, Greg was responding to the tasteless tactic of saying that we should care deeply about Benghazi because four people died by pointing out -- entirely correctly -- that far more policies have resulted in far more deaths, and yet Republicans haven't gone out of their way to harp on 'em.

It's an entirely nonsensical argument. People should care about four dead people that's true regardless of whether other people had died.

And its a manipulative argument in asserting that a disagreement over policy is the same thing as letting people die. It's about as fair, as me claiming that you and Greg want millions of old people to die because you refuse to take action to reform social security before it collapses. There's no truth to an assertion that you have such an intent, and you'd disagree that the policies you favor have such a cause. It's rude and unnecessarily inflammatory, and oh yeah a comletely ridiculous nonsequitor proffered to stifle debate.
quote:
quote:
Out of curiousity, given the proof standard that is required to show the administration's bad faith (ie signed confession by the President), have you met that standard for the CIA base idea?
The sad thing about this sentence, Seriati, is that I once thought you were above this kind of crap. That's a noel sentence, even possibly a Ron Lambert one. Heck, it's almost a G3 sentence. You can do better.
I admit I do find this thread incredibly irritating, and I've noodled around asking you to prove every assertion you ever make again to the level that apparently applies to this issue. I do believe there is absolutely no consistency in the standards that have been applied historically in the media or to politicians generally and what has to been shown here before you'd believe it.

To be fair though, I was just being snide, I have no reason to doubt a secret CIA base even if I haven't read enough to know for a certainty.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
People should care about four dead people that's true regardless of whether other people had died.
Except that when that's being used as a response to the question, "Why is Benghazi such a big deal?" Because if that's why Benghazi is a big deal, there are other things which should be bigger deals, but aren't. That's not to say that there can't be other reasons to make a big deal out of the attack on Benghazi, but using those deaths to justify this whole flap is not only ghoulish but illogical.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Noel's arguments are absolutely clear examples of just that kind of approach to open discussion. It is therefore perfectly reasonable to challenge him as to why he is so selective in hopes that one day, perhaps in the distant future, but admittedly perhaps never, he will admit that he might -- just might -- not have been arguing in what others would call good faith.

To be honest, a lot of times Noel writes really succient responses that cut through a lot of the garbage I get tied down and I enjoy reading it. I don't believe he argues in bad faith.
quote:
You are a generally respectable poster, so I do wonder why you never call for him to correct his misstatements and why you would call me out for trying.
To be honest, I don't think I call out anyone for factual issues that often. I usually try to stick to the logic problems and arguments themselves.

Best I can find on your point:
quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
Noel, Tom, enough with the I'll show you mine if you show me yours first. Either make an argument or drop it.

If you can point me to a specific thing you think I should call him out on I'm happy to take a look at it.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
People should care about four dead people that's true regardless of whether other people had died.
Except that when that's being used as a response to the question, "Why is Benghazi such a big deal?" Because if that's why Benghazi is a big deal, there are other things which should be bigger deals, but aren't. That's not to say that there can't be other reasons to make a big deal out of the attack on Benghazi, but using those deaths to justify this whole flap is not only ghoulish but illogical.
I'm pretty sure I've answerd this question multiple times, with multiple phrasings and never said it's a big deal cause 4 people died. I know for a fact I said that I didn't even blame the administration for what happened, or the lack of response. This is a big deal because it was covered up for political gain, and that says horrid things about the reliability, honor and trustworthiness of the Administration. The fact that it was poorly covered up speaks to their competence. And the fact that no amount of proof would be enough says even more still about where we're heading.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
[I] never said it's a big deal cause 4 people died. ... This is a big deal because it was covered up for political gain ...
Could you be more specific about exactly what was covered up? Because, obviously, 4 people dying was not "covered up" in any way, shape or form.
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Seriati
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The reasons for what happened were covered up, in favor of a politically better story.
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Pete at Home
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One of the people was a US ambassador. Others were key intelligence personnel and operatives.

You might as well dismiss Watergate as just one burglary and ask why it should get more attention than any other burglary. It's a very stupid question.

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NobleHunter
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How do you tell the difference between a bad cover up and bad or inconsistent intel?

It seems unfair to accuse the administration of malfeasance based on what the critic believes they could or should have known rather than what they did know.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
The reasons for what happened were covered up, in favor of a politically better story.

It seems there a\were many higher level strategic and diplomatic reasons to cover up arms smuggling involvement, even if it came at a bit of a political price as the confusion over Benghazi did, where prior similar attacks on US facilities and embassies were barely even acknowledged, never mind spun into major political events. None of the previous ones were similarly trumped up to attack the administration at the time they happened, but this got special treatment
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AI Wessex
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quote:
If you can point me to a specific thing you think I should call him out on I'm happy to take a look at it.
Apparently not [Wink] .
quote:
The reasons for what happened were covered up, in favor of a politically better story.
Why get so worked up about this one instance of government cover-up? We're only talking about the deaths of 4 people who knew the risks of working in government in an unstable region, and who were visiting the site of a secret military supply ops center. The very people that are upset over this were quite forgiving of murder and other mayhem of thousands of times more innocent people when a Republican Administration was the at the wheel, and they actively tried to crush their political opponents for speaking out against what they were doing. If you want me to point out what you can't see, I'm afraid I can't help you.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
One of the people was a US ambassador. Others were key intelligence personnel and operatives.

You might as well dismiss Watergate as just one burglary and ask why it should get more attention than any other burglary. It's a very stupid question.

Pretty weak, even as a strawman. The government breaking into his opponent's offices and then covering it up is somehow comparable to this?

Not to mention (but I am) that you're reaching back 40 years to find a government scandal to compare this with. What's wrong with the massive incompetence and political mendacity of the previous Administration? Much more powerful stuff there.

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noel c.
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Umm, Tom... an non-responsive-response?

There is a pattern I have noticed in your "factual" postings, which always seem to scrupulously avoid any documentable support. No doubt, in your mind, the substantively uncorroborated assertions stand completely vindicated through the sheer strength of your word, and at some future date you will confidently reflect fondly that you put all criticism of your assertions to bed.

You haven't.

Why bother entering a discussion if all that you intend on contributing is rarefied nonsense?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
There is a pattern I have noticed in your "factual" postings, which always seem to scrupulously avoid any documentable support.
No duh. There are whole threads about that.
[Smile]

quote:
Why bother entering a discussion if all that you intend on contributing is rarefied nonsense?
noel, I have rather meticulously defeated every point you think you've made. That you don't know enough about the topic to realize it is hardly my fault.
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noel c.
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"noel, I have rather meticulously defeated every point you think you've made. That you don't know enough about the topic to realize it is hardly my fault. "...

Were you an only child?

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TomDavidson
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*sigh* No.
I have mentioned my brother only slightly less often than I have proven you wrong about something. I should not be surprised that you haven't noticed. [Smile]

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Greg Davidson
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quote:
This is a big deal because it was covered up for political gain
If it's not the action, but simply the motivation, how do you prove motivation? How did you make your measurement of motivation? Of does this all boil down to the Administration must be guilt because you feel really strongly that they are?
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AI Wessex
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A personal remembrance and commentary:
quote:
Around dawn on October 23, 1983, I was in Beirut, Lebanon, when a suicide bomber drove a truck laden with the equivalent of twenty-one thousand pounds of TNT into the heart of a U.S. Marine compound, killing two hundred and forty-one servicemen. The U.S. military command, which regarded the Marines’ presence as a non-combative, “peace-keeping mission,” had left a vehicle gate wide open, and ordered the sentries to keep their weapons unloaded. The only real resistance the suicide bomber had encountered was a scrim of concertina wire. When I arrived on the scene a short while later to report on it for the Wall Street Journal, the Marine barracks was flattened. From beneath the dusty, smoking slabs of collapsed concrete, piteous American voices could be heard, begging for help. Thirteen more American servicemen later died from injuries, making it the single deadliest attack on American Marines since the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Six months earlier, militants had bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, too, killing sixty-three more people, including seventeen Americans. Among the dead were seven C.I.A. officers, including the agency’s top analyst in the Middle East, an immensely valuable intelligence asset, and the Beirut station chief.

There were more than enough opportunities to lay blame for the horrific losses at high U.S. officials’ feet. But unlike today’s Congress, congressmen did not talk of impeaching Ronald Reagan, who was then President, nor were any subpoenas sent to cabinet members. This was true even though then, as now, the opposition party controlled the majority in the House. Tip O’Neill, the Democratic Speaker of the House, was no pushover. He, like today’s opposition leaders in the House, demanded an investigation—but a real one, and only one. Instead of playing it for political points, a House committee undertook a serious investigation into what went wrong at the barracks in Beirut. Two months later, it issued a report finding “very serious errors in judgment” by officers on the ground, as well as responsibility up through the military chain of command, and called for better security measures against terrorism in U.S. government installations throughout the world.

In other words, Congress actually undertook a useful investigation and made helpful recommendations. The report’s findings, by the way, were bipartisan. (The Pentagon, too, launched an investigation, issuing a report that was widely accepted by both parties.)

In March of 1984, three months after Congress issued its report, militants struck American officials in Beirut again, this time kidnapping the C.I.A.’s station chief, Bill Buckley. Buckley was tortured and, eventually, murdered. Reagan, who was tormented by a tape of Buckley being tortured, blamed himself. Congress held no public hearings, and pointed fingers at the perpetrators, not at political rivals.

If you compare the costs of the Reagan Administration’s serial security lapses in Beirut to the costs of Benghazi, it’s clear what has really deteriorated in the intervening three decades. It’s not the security of American government personnel working abroad. It’s the behavior of American congressmen at home.

The story in Beirut wasn’t over. In September of 1984, for the third time in eighteen months, jihadists bombed a U.S. government outpost in Beirut yet again. President Reagan acknowledged that the new security precautions that had been advocated by Congress hadn’t yet been implemented at the U.S. embassy annex that had been hit. The problem, the President admitted, was that the repairs hadn’t quite been completed on time. As he put it, “Anyone who’s ever had their kitchen done over knows that it never gets done as soon as you wish it would.” Imagine how Congressman Issa and Fox News would react to a similar explanation from President Obama today.


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AI Wessex
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A comment I forgot to include: You'll note that the Hezbollah members who tortured Buckley were never caught, either.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
quote:
The reasons for what happened were covered up, in favor of a politically better story.
Why get so worked up about this one instance of government cover-up?
For one, I don't think it's "one instance". But even more seriously, why do you think its ever okay? I can understand a government coverup that serves a national security purpose or that benefits the country, but this one was specifically designed to mislead the country during an election to prevent the populace from making an accurate assesment of the direction of the country. It goes to the heart of how we we're supposed to make decisions. I when you tie it with the decisions to delay harmful laws until past elections, and other blatant manipulations I think it's an incredibly danagerous pattern.
quote:
We're only talking about the deaths of 4 people who knew the risks of working in government in an unstable region, and who were visiting the site of a secret military supply ops center.
Show me where I faulted them for the deaths, or even for their response. I have perspective on this, I'm not in the camp that asserts one death is too many. But that says nothing to seriousness of a cover up for such a petty reason.
quote:
The very people that are upset over this were quite forgiving of murder and other mayhem of thousands of times more innocent people when a Republican Administration was the at the wheel, and they actively tried to crush their political opponents for speaking out against what they were doing. If you want me to point out what you can't see, I'm afraid I can't help you.
I think its tantamount to lieing to claim that policies that people think were necessary that resulted in death are the moral equivalent of lieing with no real purpose but providing political coverage.

I really do challenge you to prove that the Republican's caused the deaths of thousands of innocents in an election based propaganda campaign, or I guess alternatively to establish a good faith secondary purpose in lying to the public about Benghazi.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
quote:
This is a big deal because it was covered up for political gain
If it's not the action, but simply the motivation, how do you prove motivation? How did you make your measurement of motivation? Of does this all boil down to the Administration must be guilt because you feel really strongly that they are?
Looking at the actions of people to match them to their words didn't used to be such a mystery to people. How are you able to know that Republicans want to kill old people as you keep asserting in the Obamacare threads? Since none of us are insiders, we look to see what actinos are taken, what words are said and how they match to the facts that occurred. I don't think any reasonable historian is going to look back at this and see anything but a cover up for political purposes.

In this case, you had a really quick contra-logical assertion of a reason for the attack, that happened to provide maximum cover for the President during a contested election (remember we'd just come off the first "lost" debate). How could a thinking person not be suspicious? Everything after is pretty much direct confirmation of that view of what happened.

I honestly, don't see any facts that actually support what you guys seem to believe. I mean what do we really have:

1. CIA's first memo claimed video among other things. CIA on the field disagreed, other causes deliberately edited out, CIA expressed doubt on video same day.
2. And?

Really what else supports the narrative that you want us to believe? And how does that not show gross incompetence if that's what they did? Either fraud or gross incompetence, what's your opinion.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
I can understand a government coverup that serves a national security purpose or that benefits the country, but this one was specifically designed to mislead the country during an election to prevent the populace from making an accurate assesment of the direction of the country.

Except that there were only strategic and not political reasons to cover anything up until after the Republicans decided to trump the incident up into a political issue at all. The issue wasn't politicized until after Rice recited the CIA provided talking points, which turned out to be inaccurate, whether it was the CIA's intent to mislead away from the arms deals that Stevens was facilitating or whether it was honestly confused at that point as well, given that it was also processing information on the large number other protests that were occurring before and at about the same time over the video as well as the fact that the Libyan attackers were discussing the video and those other protests in the leadup to the attack.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
you had a really quick contra-logical assertion of a reason
Why do you believe it was "contra-logical?"

quote:
CIA on the field disagreed
Bear in mind those disagreements didn't reach the State Department for some time. As useful as it would be for every federal department to read the minds of all the others, that's still not possible. One might even argue that being able to read the minds of CIA field operatives would be a bad thing.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
I think its tantamount to lieing to claim that policies that people think were necessary that resulted in death are the moral equivalent of lieing with no real purpose but providing political coverage.

I really do challenge you to prove that the Republican's caused the deaths of thousands of innocents in an election based propaganda campaign, or I guess alternatively to establish a good faith secondary purpose in lying to the public about Benghazi.

Assertions and strawman. I challenge you to back them up with your own facts so I know this isn't another game of whack-a-mole. You are doing what Noel does by taking the most suspicious view of one aspect of what you think you know and exaggerating it into a far-reaching conclusion that is the one you happen to prefer. Remember my comment about the "spot theory". You have a blemish in the sequence of events and are coloring the whole sequence with it.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
I can understand a government coverup that serves a national security purpose or that benefits the country, but this one was specifically designed to mislead the country during an election to prevent the populace from making an accurate assesment of the direction of the country.

Except that there were only strategic and not political reasons to cover anything up until after the Republicans decided to trump the incident up into a political issue at all.
What strategic reasons.

You've already lost this on the political reasons, the e-mail brief disproves your assertion. The Adminstration believed, even if you won't wrap your head around it, that politics favored the answer they game and they directed the response accordingly.

You are not entitled to your own facts.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
What strategic reasons.


Keeping out involvement in shipping Libyan arms to Syrian rebels from interfering with our ability to negotiate with the Syrian government and its supporters.

quote:
You've already lost this on the political reasons, the e-mail brief disproves your assertion.
No it doesn't, not in any way. All the email shows is that they wren't idiots and knew that they needed to stand up for their overall strategic policies. It doesn't say anything about needing to cover anything up in Benghazi or misleading anyone about it's causes. IT gives Rice some instructions about how to respond to the video protests that were happening and reinforces that the bottom line statement should be that the administration believes that it's policies are, on the whole working and not causing additional unrest.

The closest that the people citing the email were able to come to saying that the email proved anything is that it didn't explicitly say "The incident in Benghazi was not related to the other protest over the video"- something that wasn't the point of the email in the first place, and something that it's not completely clear that the CIA was being honest with the administration at the time, if the CIA leadership had even manged to get itself clear on it at that point.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
You are not entitled to your own facts.
Everybody here has facts; it's what you make of them. There is clearly a contingent of people here who want them to mean just one thing, and another contingent who say they don't necessarily mean that because the situation was chaotic and rapidly developing in a short span of time. I never thought I would think or say this, but I long for the days of Reagan.
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Wayward Son
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Wait a minute. Has the whole Benghazi thing come down to finding out if the Obama Administration spun the reason for the attack? Said that it was a video when they actually knew it was terrorists? [Confused]

Because, as far as I know, there is no crime involved in that.

Yes, it would be immoral. Yes, they would have lied to the American people. Yes, it is shameful that they would lie to make themselves look better.

But it didn't change the election. The narrative changed two weeks after the attack, and a full month before the election. And not admitting to the true narrative didn't change what actually happened, didn't cost lives or save lives.

So why is it still a big deal? What do the Republicans hope to prove with their new committee?

That Obama tried to spin the attack? I'm sure all Americans will be shocked--shocked!--to discover that a President tried to spin an incident, and may even had *gasp* lied! [Eek!]

If the only thing that is left to know is whether the President knew it was a terrorist attack from the first or not, and whether he knowingly, falsely claimed it was because of the video, then why are we still discussing it? Those who think Obama is a jerk will be convinced that he lied; those who think he is a basically good man won't be convinced. I doubt if anyone (well, perhaps a handful of people) will change their minds about him depending on the outcome of further investigations.

If there is no crime involved, why are we still worried about this? [Confused]

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AI Wessex
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quote:
f the only thing that is left to know is whether the President knew it was a terrorist attack from the first or not, and whether he knowingly, falsely claimed it was because of the video, then why are we still discussing it? Those who think Obama is a jerk will be convinced that he lied; those who think he is a basically good man won't be convinced. I doubt if anyone (well, perhaps a handful of people) will change their minds about him depending on the outcome of further investigations.

If there is no crime involved, why are we still worried about this? [Confused]

There is nothing left to discover and no one's mind will be changed. The reason to continue "investigating" is purely political, no policy will change because of it, nobody will be accused of a crime, no additional funding will be forthcoming to make sure this "never happens again".

[Let's not forget that Obama called it an "act of terror" the day after it happened. That seems hard for people to remember for some reason.]

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noel c.
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Tom,

"Bear in mind those disagreements didn't reach the State Department for some time. As useful as it would be for every federal department to read the minds of all the others, that's still not possible. One might even argue that being able to read the minds of CIA field operatives would be a bad thing. "...

The facts, which never impair your confident assertions, do not conform to this statement. If you would condescend to verify your citation, and provide a link, you could avoid the chronic interruptions in substantive discourse.

... As an aside, mention of your "brother", has been a rare enough feature our exchanges that I have no recollection of it... rivaled, no doubt, by the infrequency of a supported argument from you.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
As an aside, mention of your "brother", has been a rare enough feature our exchanges that I have no recollection of it...
And yet, noel, I'm pretty sure you're one of the few people who've been posting here for years who had no idea I had a brother. You just don't pay attention, man.
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yossarian22c
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Tom has a brother, a mother who used to smoke and was poor her whole life. He also has a wife and two daughters, lives in Wisconsin, and works in IT (recently for health insurance companies).
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scifibum
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Tom's one of the more autobiographical members, I think. I'd put him in the top quintile of a ranking by frequency of sharing personal information.

(It's probably more productive to discuss whether Tom's known to have a brother than to continue to discuss Benghazi, don't you think?)

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kmbboots
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And a son. [Wink] He is also a true connoisseur of great Wisconsin cheese.

AI Wessex, thanks for posting about the Beirut attacks.

As further evidence that the reason people are outraged about Benghazi for purely political reasons (whether they are aware or not) is the lack of outrage or even examination of similar attacks. Does anyone here even know what was said on the Sunday morning shows after any of the ten attacks on embassies or consulates between 2002 and 2008? Sixty people were killed in those.

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noel c.
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Tom,

"And yet, noel, I'm pretty sure you're one of the few people who've been posting here for years who had no idea I had a brother... "...

"Does it matter"?

Should I gauge the value of your unsupported opinions by how much of my personal profile you have retained?

This whole discussion has gone seriously sideways in its defense of the indefensible. We are now debating whether *enough* people were murdered in Behghazi to justify the examination of intra-Whitehouse communications, two years later, that were improperly withheld from congress?

Greg, if Barry allowed his dog to starve through neglect, would you fail to see a relevant news story?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
We are now debating whether *enough* people were murdered in Behghazi to justify the examination of intra-Whitehouse communications...
Who do you think is debating that? Is that what you think you are debating? That might explain things.
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noel c.
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"Who do you think is debating that? Is that what you think you are debating? That might explain things. "...

Actually Tom, *you* are. :

"Except that when that's being used as a response to the question, 'Why is Benghazi such a big deal?' Because if that's why Benghazi is a big deal, there are other things which should be bigger deals, but aren't. That's not to say that there can't be other reasons to make a big deal out of the attack on Benghazi, but using those deaths to justify this whole flap is not only ghoulish but illogical. "...

Why are the "bigger deals", *bigger deals*?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Actually Tom, *you* are.
No, I'm not. You'd think I'd be able to tell.
Is that really what you think I'm debating -- that if only more people had died at Benghazi, we'd be justified in investigating further?

quote:
Why are the "bigger deals", *bigger deals*?
You'll have to ask the people who are saying that we should care about Benghazi because four people died. My own statement, you'll note, is a conditional one, worded to response to their logic.
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Wayward Son
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Noel, perhaps you could answer my question of, if there is no crime involved, why is Benghazi still such an issue that another committe is being appointed to further investigate it? [Confused]
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noel c.
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"No, I'm not. You'd think I'd be able to tell.
Is that really what you think I'm debating -- that if only more people had died at Benghazi, we'd be justified in investigating further? "...

So, just to be clear; the attack on the Marine compound in Beirut was, or was not, a "bigger deal"?

"My own statement, you'll note, is a conditional one, worded to response to their logic. "...

Oh yes, logic is a good thing... like the belief that arguments can be formulated with subjective facts. When you said this; "... other things which should be bigger deals, but aren't. ", was the "aren't" insertion yours, or were you presuming to place it in the minds of others?

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noel c.
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WS,

"Noel, perhaps you could answer my question of, if there is no crime involved, why is Benghazi still such an issue that another committe is being appointed to further investigate it? "...

Unless a government can be tried for criminal neglect, the course that the House has chosen to pursue is the the constitutional recourse for corrective action, and the notion that previous "investigations" were adequate was definitively dispelled with the Rhodes TV circut prep notes.

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