THE BLAME GAME
by Shaun Costello
“If a potential political opponent scares you, blame them for every disaster in the book. Some of it is bound to stick.”
The philosophy of Karl Rove
1861…The Federal Garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina was fired upon by Confederate Militia, which began the American Civil War. The Secretary of State was William Henry Seward. Was Seward blamed for the Civil War? Hardly.
1914…Arch Duke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, which began World War One. The Secretary of State was Robert Lansing. Was Lansing blamed for World War One? Hardly.
1941…The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, causing America to enter World War Two. The Secretary of State was Cordell Hull. Was Hull blamed for World War Two? Hardly.
1975…In April of that year, the last Americans were evacuated from our Embassy in Saigon. America had lost the war. The Secretary of State was Henry Kissinger. Was Kissinger blamed for losing the Vietnam War? Hardly.
1979…The American Embassy in Tehran was overrun by Muslim extremists. 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days. The Secretary of State was Cyrus Vance. Was Vance blamed for the Hostage Crisis? Hardly.
1983…The American Marine Barracks in Beirut was bombed by Muslim terrorists, killing 241 U.S. Marines. The Secretary of State was George Schultz. Was Schultz blamed for the bombing? Hardly.
1998…The American Embassy in Nairobi was bombed by al Qaeda terrorists, killing 224, including 12 Americans. The Secretary of State was Madeleine Albright. Was Albright blamed for the bombing? Hardly.
2001…On September 11th, al Qaeda terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. 2,996 innocent people lost their lives. The Secretary of State was Colin Powell. Was Powell blamed for the 9/11 attacks? Hardly.
2012…On September 11th, a date that was hardly a coincidence, Muslim extremists attacked the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, lost their lives. The Secretary of State was Hillary Clinton. Was Clinton blamed for the Benghazi attack? Absolutely, and by every opportunistic, right wing conspiracy theorist on the planet. All the previous disasters listed above took place in another era. Before amoral right wing gangsters like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove would redefine political tactics forever by perfecting the art of mud-slinging to a degree unheard of in American politics. Nixon’s dirty tricks teams were minor league compared to Cheney and Rove.
In 2003, the CIA sent Ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger, to substantiate the statement made by President George Bush in a State of the Union Address, that Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium from Africa. The Bush administration was desperately trying to justify its plans to invade Iraq, and there was no evidence of any of the weapons of mass destruction that Bush and Cheney had been peddling to the press, and to Congress. Wilson found no evidence to support Bush’s claims of the African/Uranium transaction. Cheney, Rove and Scooter Libby all tried to persuade Wilson to fudge his report, which
he refused to do. The White House upped the ante, and began threatening to ruin Wilson unless he lied to Congress. Wilson still refused. Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA covert operative. When Cheney found out, he met with Rove and Libby and they hatched a plan to leak Plame’s CIA identity to the press through right wing columnist Art Novak.
Novak outed Plame’s CIA identity in his column. Bush’s CIA Director, George Tenet, was ordered to fire Plame, which he did. Plame’s covert networks were rolled up all over the Middle East. No one knows how many of her agents were assassinated as a result, but there must have been many.
Wilson made enough noise to get Congress to have a Special Prosecutor appointed. To save themselves from the embarrassment of being involved in any of this, Cheney and Rove threw Scooter Libby under the bus. Libby was ordered to fall on his sword. Revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative is a felony. Libby was found guilty of Obstruction of Justice, and two counts of Perjury. He was sentenced to pay $250,000 in fines and thirty months in federal prison. The sentence was, of course, commuted by Bush.
Let’s return to 2012, and the Benghazi affair. It was well known that Hillary Clinton intended to retire from her post as Secretary of State by the end of that year. She loomed large as a potential Presidential candidate in 2016. Polling data told the RNC that she was a 500 pound gorilla that they could not defeat. She enjoyed enormous popularity. When Benghazi happened, Cheney and Rove swung into action. A Congressional investigation was held to determine who was to blame for the deaths of the four Americans.
Hillary Clinton, still Secretary of State, appeared before the committee and the innuendoes began – subtle at first, then pretty blatant. Cheney and Rove met with key Republican congressmen. If they couldn’t beat Hillary in an election, they would defeat her in the court of public opinion. Four Americans were dead, and it must be Hillary’s fault. Karl Rove studied at the school of Joseph Goebbels, who had all but invented the Big Lie Theory. If you lie loud enough and often enough, sooner or later, people would begin to believe you. So, Congressman Trey Gowdy’s preposterous Benghazi Committee began its assault on Hillary Clinton. It lasted four years and cost American tax payers a fortune, and when it was over, the final report absolved Hillary Clinton of any blame for anything. But the damage had been done. The televised committee accused Clinton of so many offenses, so many times, that some of the mud began to stick. The RNC even arranged to have the mother of one of the Benghazi victims speak at last week’s Republican Convention, where she blamed Hillary Clinton for the death of her son. Either they paid this poor woman to accuse Clinton, or promised her something she needed, or the poor woman is completely delusional. The families of the other three victims told a totally different story.
So, Cheney and Rove applied Goebbels’ Big Lie theory to the 500 pound gorilla, and cut her down to size. Polls are showing a neck and neck race in key battle ground states, between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The Big Lie theory enabled Hitler to rise to power in 1933, and to stay there until one hundred million people lost their lives in six years of horrific carnage. And the Big Lie theory could play a key role in the unthinkable – that Donald Trump, a misogynist, racist, and tyrannical buffoon, could become President of The United States.
© 2016 Shaun Costello