Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

Hillary Clinton vs. the House Select Committee to Drive Down Her Poll Numbers

At 10 a.m. today, Hillary Clinton will appear before the House Select Committee to Drive Down Her Poll Numbers.

In that hearing, committee chairman Trey Gowdy and other Republicans have promised to produce new material from their investigation, the eighth major investigation into the attacks at our Benghazi consulate more than three years ago. We'll see. "New material" can have a lot of definitions, but given the microscopic attention already paid to this tragedy, it would have to be evidence that significantly changes the narrative.

Those previous investigations -- many of them Republican-led -- have been forced to conclude that the Obama administration did everything that it could militarily to save our people, and that initial reports that the Benghazi attacks were inspired by an anti-Islamic video were the honest analysis of our intelligence people, not a politically motivated cover story.

They also concluded that more could have been done beforehand to improve security at the facility, and that better intelligence might have allowed us to prevent the attacks in the first place. And those recommendations and shortcomings have been acted upon.

Nonetheless, the obsession with the Benghazi attack is amazing.  In 1983-84 alone, three attacks on our embassies in Lebanon and Kuwait killed 93 people, permanently altering the course of U.S. policy in the Middle East, and a single investigation was deemed sufficient.

During the recent Bush administration, attacks were launched against U.S. diplomatic facilities or personnel in India, Nepal (twice), Pakistan (3 times), Uzbekistan, Peru, Indonesia, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Greece, Yemen (twice), Afghanistan and Turkey, resulting in at least 50 deaths, including 10 Americans. (That's not counting the U.S. diplomatic personnel killed in Iraq.) Congressional interest was minimal.

So ask yourself: If Clinton were not the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, would today's hearing even be occurring? There is only one honest answer to it.

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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.