If You’re Still Pissed About Benghazi, You Better Not Be Pissed About the NSA’s Tactics

nsapicI’m sick of hearing about Benghazi. So, I can’t believe I am about to write another article with the word Benghazi anywhere in it. Just writing the word makes me cringe. However, while I was standing in my kitchen washing the dishes yesterday, I took a moment to reflect on current political issues. That’s when it occurred to me that many (but certainly not all) of the people who have been endlessly carrying on and on and on about how, “OMG FOUR AMERICANS WERE KILLED IN A TERRORIST ATTACK IN BENGHAZI!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH, IT’S ALL OBUMMER’S FAULT AHHHH” while ripping their hair out, also make up part of the group of people that are completely outraged about the NSA phone and internet records revelations.

Before we go any further, note the words I used in the last sentence. Specifically, “many” and “part of ,” since I am decidedly against generalizing or grouping people together in most situations. In fact, some guy just came to visit my page Politically Preposterous, to comment on a meme and rant that one of my admins posted earlier on the NSA subject, and basically said something like, “All I remember is all the liberals that were flipping out over the Patriot Act under Bush that went after terrorists, but now seem OK with it.” To which I responded that, for starters, Bush was doing it without Court or Congressional oversight, so who knows for sure that it wasn’t already expanded to all Americans. And secondly, not all “liberals” are OK with it now either. There seems to be an issue with grouping people together under large umbrella terms like “liberal” and “conservative,” while forgetting that there is plenty of overlap between “liberals” and “conservatives” on this issue (and others). On one hand, there are “liberals” and “conservatives” who are more authoritarian leaning, who are perfect OK with the government doing this type of thing, because they feel it is a good way to protect the country from terrorist attacks. On the other hand, there are just as many libertarian leaning “liberals” and “conservatives” that find it to be a complete invasion of privacy and are not OK with it all. Political leanings are not black and white, nor are political issues. But, I digress.

Getting back to my original point. For the past, I don’t know, 6+ months or so, all we keep hearing from the right is Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. Seriously, to many it is still scandalous, even though the “scandal” has been debunked. (The real e-mails – not the ones the GOP doctored – basically just show some bureaucratic back and forth between government agencies about what to tell Americans, President Obama called it an “Act of Terror” in his Rose Garden speech, and Ambassador Stevens repeatedly turned down extra security in the weeks leading up to the attack.) Many on the right are still OUTRAGED that four Americans were killed because of a terrorist attack, which according to them, “Obama couldn’t prevent because he’s incompetent and hates America,” or something like that (never-mind Bush’s incompetence in preventing 9/11; no no nothing to see here, move along). At the same time, a good portion of this group that is still freaking out about Benghazi, is now freaking out about the NSA’s anti-terrorism tactics with regards to their data collection on Americans. Moreover, I am deliberately not taking a position on the NSA tactics in this article, because I feel it would detract from the point I am actually trying to make, which is that I find it pretty contradictory and quite ironic for one to be up in arms about both things.

I mean think about it. If you want to thwart a terrorist attack before it occurs you need intelligence. How do you get intelligence? Through surveillance and other anti-terrorism techniques. The same type of techniques that have been revealed recently as being used by the Administration, much to the dismay of many of the very same people that think the president is incapable of stopping a terrorist attack. Seems like a no win situation to me. If the Administration doesn’t use the tactics and an attack occurs where Americans die, then the right will start jumping up and down screaming about however many dead, in whichever location, and how “IT WAS ALL OBUMMER’S FAULT.” If the Administration uses the tactics, many of the same people yelling about the four Americans in Benghazi that died, will just start yelling about how the, “big, bad, tyrannical, Muslim, fascist, communist, government,” is out to get them. And that, my friends, is the sorry state of political affairs in the year 2013. Welcome to the jungle. “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Ilyssa Fuchs

Ilyssa Fuchs is an attorney, freelance writer, and activist from New York City, who holds both a juris doctor and a political science degree. She is the founder of the popular Facebook page Politically Preposterous and a blog of the same name. Follow Ilyssa on Twitter @IlyssaFuchs, and be sure to check out her archives on Forward Progressives as well!

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  • Pluralist

    The fact is one needs to take a position. It doesn’t seem to matter to the right when they contradict themselves in order to attack our center-right President.
    A liberal, on the other hand, who doesn’t support civil liberties has no ground upon which to stand.

    • Ilyssa

      I didn’t say I wasn’t taking a position at all, I’m just not telling anyone what it is in this article. However, for the record, I do have a position.

  • leemd46

    I don’t consider myself a liberal even though I am registered democrat…I consider myself a centralist and on this subject I say that marketers know far more about us– were we are, what we are talking about, what we are eating, who we are sleeping with and what our opinion is on any subject we comment on–than our government could ever hope to obtain on its own. don’t know why they don’t just buy it from the commercial end.

  • ekaneti

    NSA was spying on American citizens in the USA. Not on Al Qaeda in Libya.