Skip to main content


Salah al-Din's Capture of the True Cross at Hattin in 1187 CE (Matthæus Parisiensis, Chronica Maiora Volume I
[Corpus Christi College Library, Cambridge, MS 26], c.1250 CE)

Surveying the past twenty months of crass and exploitative howling of “BENGHAZI!!1!” has brought to mind the dialogue scripted between Balian and Salah al-Din in Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (2005) at the surrender of Jerusalem in 1187 CE:

BALIAN: What is Jerusalem worth?

SALAH AL-DIN: Nothing. [pause] Everything.

What is “BENGHAZI!!1!” worth? What does “BENGHAZI!!1!” even mean? I contend that this right-wing obsession, manifest in Boehner's intent to form a House Select Committee under Trey Gowdy (SC-04), is simultaneously both meaningless and gravid with meaning. It is meaningless in the sense that the “new,” “smoking gun” evidence (the Ben Rhodes email) has been obviously, willfully and risibly misread. There will be no significant new evidence or substantive criticism of the reality-based and fact-rich report and recommendations from the Accountability Review Board. There is no “there” there, and there never has been.

Yet that is not the point of “BENGHAZI!!1!”

No, “BENGHAZI!!1!” is foremost an emblazoned banner under which all manner of irrational criticisms and unhinged conspiracy theories can march. In that sense it is packed with meaning, with metanarratives that are—for those heeding its Siren's call—more real than reality.

Join me over the frassed piece of the True Cross for fuller commentary...

Yesterday, both Jed Lewison's Here's why the GOP is fired up about #Benghazi—and why they're wrong and Vyan's It's past time we admit the GOP has become a Delusional Conspiracy Cult offered concise, reality-based eviscerations (heh) of elements of Republican faith in a Benghazi "scandal," demonstrating the extent to which the electoral-politics dimension (Jed) and the Ben Rhodes email dimension (Vyan) of the "scandal" are a nothing-burger... hell, a whole nothing-Happy-Meal.

Yet "BENGHAZI!!1!" is ultimately not about the tragic events in Benghazi on 11/12 September 2012. It is a slogan impervious to the forms of logic and reason applied by Jed and Vyan. The proposed House Select Committee will undoubtedly have "Benghazi" in its name, but the intent of the hearings has much less to do with the events in Benghazi per se than with providing a forum and "expert witnesses" to allude to the myriad conspiracy theories related to President Obama and his policies and decisions ("the Obama Doctrine") in the Middle East and North Africa, exercised through Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry.

True, the Select Committee will likely not call on Pamela Geller, Frank Gaffney, Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, David Yerushalmi et alii directly for testimony. Yet I do not doubt that their hateful rhetoric vis–à–vis President Obama and his policies will be encoded in the testimony of GOP-approved "expert witnesses" from conservative think-tanks and policy-institutes allied to Fear, Inc.

It's not about Benghazi. It's about blowing the dogwhistles of ethnicity and religion. It's about the Clash of Civilizations. Fundamentally, it's about the right-wing metanarrative that President Obama has surrendered the True Cross and Jerusalem to Salah al-Din.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site