Our View: Voices — When Mrs. Smith went to Washington
Posted: October 12, 2012
Even as controversy continued to swirl around the identity of those who attacked the U.S. mission in Benghazi, President Obama, in a campaign speech this past Monday, insisted that “al Qaeda is on its heels.”
Try telling that to Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith, one of the four Americans killed in the Benghazi assault.
Oh wait, as Mrs. Smith told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, she hasn’t been told much of anything by the administration about the death of her only child, even after officials vowed they would do so.
In the past 48 hours, we’ve learned about this deadly raid — much of it what we suspected — from congressional hearings into the incident.
The crux of the testimony: This attack was no spontaneous outburst protesting an anti-Islamic video. It was an orchestrated assault. To wit:
“It was instantly recognizable to me as a terrorist attack,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, who served at the Benghazi compound until weeks before the assault. “We were the last flag flying. It was a matter of time.”
This, of course, offers little solace to a grieving mother, especially after she had been promised an explanation — and had been told by no less an official than Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that “we’re going to get to the bottom of this.” But the most she’s been told, apparently — by embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who spoke to her following a memorial service for the Benghazi victims — is that reaction to the anti-Islamic film triggered the attack.
“I ask them: Please don’t give me any baloney that comes through with this political stuff,” Mrs. Smith told Mr. Cooper. “I don’t want the political stuff. You can keep the political stuff. Just tell me the truth. What happened? And I still don’t know.”
Granted, the administration may still be probing the more minute details of the grisly incident, but the basics seem clear beyond doubt’s shadow. No matter what the White House may have wanted us to believe, this was a terror-fueled assault.
Mrs. Smith deserves answers, as do the American people, who’ve seen truth sacrificed on the pyre of election politics. We know this can happen in the whirl — cesspool? — of power politics, but frequency does not make the act any less unconscionable.