Our View: Bearing witness

Posted: September 11, 2013

We usually reserve space on this date to recall the horrific events of a dozen years ago when America suffered the worst enemy attack on its soil.

We recall the 3,000 innocents who died when hijacked planes, piloted by the vile practitioners of vicious jihad, crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Only the heroic action of a courageous group of Americans prevented a fourth team of terrorists from carrying out its deadly mission. That plane, United Airlines Flight 93, also said to be bound for Washington, went down in a field in rural Pennsylvania. We remember them, too.

To be sure, all these Americans had names, such as Mychal Judge, the Catholic priest who died in the collapse of the Twin Towers. And Danny Lewis, the computer wizard and former Israeli soldier reputed to be 9/11’s first victim, stabbed to death when he confronted the hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston.

But far too many of the men and women of 9/11 — victims and first responders alike — have names known only to family and friends. We recall them, too, remembering as we do those who rushed into doomed and burning buildings in valiant witness to the words of John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Or for people he did not even know.

Rest assured, the hellfires of Sept. 11, 2001, will never be forgotten, but can the same be said about what transpired 11 years to the day in faraway Libya? Just as we uphold the names of Father Judge, and Danny Lewin, and Todd Beamer who issued the fabled “Let’s Roll” call aboard Flight 93, we cannot let 9/11 pass without mentioning Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty. These are the four Americans killed when terrorists struck the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Sadly, lamentably, reprehensibly, there are those in government who, by all indications, would just as soon forget these men or, at the very least, opt not to pursue answers to questions pertinent to their passing. Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-10th, is not one of these people. His is a singular voice relentlessly seeking truth in this matter.

On Monday, Mr. Wolf issued yet another call for a joint select committee to properly probe what happened a year ago today in Benghazi. On Tuesday we learned that four more colleagues have joined him in this quest, bringing the total of co-sponsors for House Resolution 36 to 172. Also on Tuesday, the Center for Security Policy echoed Mr. Wolf’s call, urging House Speaker John Boehner to impanel such a committee.

What drives Mr. Wolf? His contention that Congress has “failed to carry out its oversight responsibility,” and that certain key witnesses to the attack have been compelled to sign legally binding “non-disclosure agreements” assuring their silence. Not only the American public, he feels, but also the families of the “American patriots and heroes” who died deserve to know why, how, and for what reason these four men perished.

We stand with Mr. Wolf on this issue. “Never forget” applies to Sept. 11, 2012, every bit as much as it does to Sept. 11, 2001.