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Mona Charen’s column in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Wednesday, November 6, 2013, “Finally, media calls out Obama for his many lies,” contained several  distortions and misrepresentations, oh, let’s just call them lies.

First,”Healthcare.gov debut (was a) disaster.” In a previous blog on Daily Kos, I cited some of the numerous computer related problems that have affected both government and private business projects in recent history. Programs and projects that use complicated computer software always have bugs and glitches that make a smooth roll-out problematical. (DailyKos.com/jmcmeans)

However, the states that have created their own exchanges have been successful in signing up enrollees. Once the software bugs are fixed, Healthcare.gov will be successful as well.

Ms. Charen writes “we on the right presume government ineptitude.” That is true, that is what they presume. What is also true is that history shows that when the right controls the reins of  government, the result is always government ineptitude. Witness the constant ineptitude of the Republican controlled House of Representatives.  

Despite MS. Charen’s contention, the Affordable Care Act or health reform in general, will not have a negative but a beneficial effect on “one-sixth of a $16 trillion economy.” The fact that the health care industry is one-sixth of the US economy is tangible proof that the previous methods of providing health care for Americans with mostly private, for-profit hospitals, private, for-profit physicians and private, for-profit health insurance companies is itself an obvious and tragic failure.

America spends more than any other civilized country on health care and is usually ranked anywhere from 10th to 15th in various health care statistics. No other nation in the world spends as much as the United States on health care and has such a poor return on its investment. You would think that Republicans and conservatives, so many of whom love money more than they love life itself, would be outraged at this situation and would support the President’s efforts to fix the problem. But one would be naive to think that.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the US will finally join the ranks of the rest of the civilized nations of the world in providing affordable, reliable health insurance to practically all US citizens.

Will there be negative effects? Yes, of course.

Republicans are trying to protect the bottom lines of for-profit health insurance companies which prey on individuals and small businesses. These private, for-profit enterprises will either have to reform their business practices or find another criminal enterprise to engage in if they wish to continue to collect their ill-gotten gains.

Also, bankruptcy lawyers will see a decrease in business. Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US, and the vast majority of those citizens filing for bankruptcy had health insurance when they got sick. The victim’s free market loving, for-profit health insurance companies either refused to pay the policy holder’s medical bills as contractually obligated, or just dropped the policy holder completely when they fell ill.  

Some of the Obamacare successes so far are: young adults are able to stay on their parents insurance policy until the age of 26, President Bush’s do-nut hole is closing, and  millions of uninsured and low income Americans are obtaining health insurance through Medicaid expansion in those states where the state governments actually want to help their citizens live healthy prosperous lives as opposed to those state governments that only want to spite the President. Last but not least, Republicans and conservatives are being reduced to acting like sputtering paroxysms of tri-cornered, tin foil behatted juvenile delinquents.  

In the column Ms Charen points out that several liberal intellectuals in the 1970s and 1980s became “neo-conservatives” because of their disappointment with the “failures’ of the Great Society. They famously said that they were liberals who were mugged by reality. In fact, it’s more likely that the neo-conservatives felt that they weren’t getting the respect and rewards that they believed they deserved as Democrats, so they decided to join the conservative political party and become  “muggers” themselves. Which is what really happened, right Paul Wolfowitz?

Ms Charen also wants the media to “start with Benghazi.” She points out that 60 Minutes has “revisited the story.” True, 60 Minutes interviewed an “eye-witness” who was critical of the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi attack. The only problem was that this British security contractor  was miles away at the time and never went to the scene that night at all.

If Ms. Charen wants the media to investigate Benghazi further , I would suggest she and the media, especially Fox News, read the government’s official Accountability Review Board report which is readily available on-line. The ARB’s official timeline is almost identical to the CBS timeline which was created immediately after the attack. The Fox News timeline which was also created immediately after the attack is confused and misleading, and almost certainly made so deliberately.  

Ms. Charen says that the President “maintained for two weeks” that the President couldn’t say whether the attack was “terrorism.” I guess she didn’t watch the Presidential debates where the moderator and the President exposed the same statement by Mitt Romney’s as completely untrue.

The claim by Secretary of State Clinton that the attack was based on a video or that there was a demonstration at the consulate was not a “lie,” but a CIA cover story. Naturally government officials would repeat the CIA’s cover story, since the CIA classified the true details as a matter of “national security.”  Of course the truth is that the CIA just wanted to cover up their mistakes. Maybe the Obama administration was naive to believe what the CIA told them, but that doesn’t make them “liars.” For conservatives to continue to harp on this and to try to make a “federal case” out of this incident only proves the meagerness of their position.

Ms. Charen also repeats the canard that the President did not want the press to interpret the Benghazi attack as a “refutation of Obama’s claim that Al-Qaeda was essentially defeated” and that according to Ms. Charen, “that was a lie.” The only problem with her unfounded attack is that the President never claimed that “Al-Qaeda was essentially defeated.” Even in the Presidents televised announcement to the American people that his administration had carried out the successful killing of Bin Laden, he warned Americans that the fight was not over and would continue for some indeterminable length of time.

This would be a appropriate opportunity to remind the reader that Obama’s predecessor famously said that he didn’t care about getting Bin Laden, which was probably one of the few true things which President Bush ever said. President Bush called off the hunt for Bin Laden and dismantled the multi-agency task force that was actively trying to track Bin Laden down.  Was that not a “scandalous breach of trust” to the victims of 9/11 and the American people as a whole? According to Mona Charen, apparently not, as she never weighed in on that particular scandal. Talk about government ineptitude.

In Ms. Charen’s most egregious untruth, she wrote and I quote, “the President also claimed that he ordered that everything possible be done to save the Americans who were under attack. Yet no one has seen such an order” (maybe it was verbal Mona) …and moreover, is the press “not curious about why the administration did nothing to come to the aid of Americans under fire?”

She drops the previous Republican talking point about the lack of a “rescue force” because honest Republican politicians know that not only was there a “rescue force” on the scene at the consulate within an hour or so, there were actually two “rescue forces.”

The first rescue force was dispatched from the CIA annex less than a mile from the consulate. The CIA commander on the ground paused only long enough to allow the friendly Libyan guards who were providing extra security to gear up for combat.

(The CIA’s first mistake was to put their people in a separate compound instead of combining all American interests in one location. The CIA put personal comfort over security even while knowing that the local environment was  potentially dangerous.)

The CIA agents and special operators with the assistance of the friendly Libyans secured the consulate and evacuated the body of Information Officer Sean Smith and the other personnel without suffering any casualties. At approximately midnight they returned to the CIA compound, and while there was some scattered gunfire over the next hour or so, the fighting was essentially over.

The second rescue force was dispatched from Tripoli at approximately midnight. They arrived at the Benghazi airport and joined up with another friendly Libyan force. The Libyans provided transportation and extra fire power with 50 caliber machine guns mounted on their vehicles.

The Tripoli rescue force arrived at the CIA compound between three and four in the morning. Even though the fighting seemed to be over, they decided to evacuate the compound. As they were preparing to leave at about four a.m., terrorists fired 4 or 5 mortar shells which unfortunately killed the two special operators and wounded several others.

This second attack hours after the fighting was apparently over is a standard terrorist tactic. First, terrorists set off a bomb, and when first responders and by standers rush to give assistance, they set off another, usually more powerful bomb.

In this incident, it’s likely that the arrival and presence of this second,  Tripoli rescue force incited the mortar attack. Eventually, the entire contingent returned to the airport and evacuated the city.  

The Government Accountability report on the Benghazi attack can be read at  http://www.state.gov/...

Jim McMeans
Danielsville, GA

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