Former Republican presidential contender Ron Paul has criticized both the Obama administration and the GOP for their handling of the Benghazi issue, calling the whole discussion "a sideshow."
"Each side seeks to score political points instead of asking the real questions about the attack on the US facility, which resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans," he wrote in a column posted on the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity website.
“It appears that the administration scrubbed initial intelligence reports of references to extremist Islamist involvement in the attacks, preferring to craft a lie that the demonstrations were a spontaneous response to an anti-Islamic video that developed into a full-out attack on the U.S. outpost," said the former Texas congressman, a longtime libertarian and vocal critic of military intervention overseas.
"Who can blame the administration for wanting to shift the focus?" asked Paul, who retired from Congress at the start of the year.
"The Islamic radicals who attacked Benghazi were the same people let loose by the U.S.-led attack on Libya. They were the rebels on whose behalf the U.S. overthrew the Libyan government. Ambassador Stevens was slain by the same Islamic radicals he personally assisted just over one year earlier."
At the same time, Paul wrote, Republicans are trying to shift the blame. “They supported the Obama administration’s policy of bombing Libya and overthrowing its government," he said. "They also repeated the same manufactured claims that Gaddafi was 'killing his own people' and was about to commit mass genocide if he were not stopped. Republicans want to draw attention to the President’s editing talking points in hopes no one will notice that if the attack on Libya they supported had not taken place, Ambassador Stevens would be alive today."
Paul said the "real lesson of Benghazi will not be learned because neither Republicans nor Democrats want to hear it."
"But it is our interventionist foreign policy and its unintended consequences that have created these problems, including the attack and murder of Ambassador Stevens. The disputed talking points and White House whitewashing are just a sideshow," he said.
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