Editorial: Bad to worse

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This week’s Congressional inquiry into the September attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, illustrated plainly why Congress shouldn’t get anywhere near the issue of security. America’s fear of almost everything inevitably drives politicians to excess when the word “security” is used.

The embassy attack was a disaster in that Americans were killed and injured. Now it has become a political football, with Democrats blaming the Republican-controlled House for cutting security-related spending and Republicans blaming Democrats because the attack happened on their watch. The result is likely to be an increase of security at all embassies, because that is the only way Congress will be able to show it has “done something” about the problem. Inevitably, there will be another security problem in a few years, after which even more elaborate security will be ordered (and paid for by the taxpayers). It is a never-ending cycle because as long as America has embassies and other installations in hostile places, there will be tragedies.

The tragedy is compounded, however, by elected officials who feel driven to justify their political positions and bolster their images on the backs of the brave Americans who died or were injured in Benghazi (and have been or will be in so many other places around the world).

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Last month’s gruesome incident has become a political football to be kicked around until after the elections, and no one will be the better for it.