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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"'What If' Reasserted" (on the Bengazi massacre)

“what if” reasserted

A few months ago I posted a sort of “what if” essay regarding Ambassador Chris Stevens’ and others’ deaths at the U.S. Bengazi, Libya consulate on September 11, 2012. In that piece, to put it simply, I wondered, aloud, if Chris Stevens might have been gay, and that, if he had a Libyan lover he might have been lured to Bengazi and killed. Right after the event, a few right-leaning web sources had suggested something similar. Some reports claim that his body had been violated in a way that the Arab world signals for gay transgressions.  But, since I knew nothing except gossip about this event, and it seemingly put the Obama administration at fault—with which I have some criticisms, but which overall I admire—I deleted my entry. Why participate in a gossip piece that might lead severe critics to ask why a government administration would have chosen a gay man to be head of one of the most sensitive of Arab positions—even if Stevens had been one of the most noted Arabic authorities and speakers of the language? Further, it put Defense Secretary Hillary Clinton, another figure whom I admire, in further danger of being criticized for her involvement, did not at all appeal to me. Moreover, I had to ask—and still do—why have no major journalists asked the same questions? Surely many of them must have had similar suspicions—and far more concrete information?
     Since then, however, I have increasingly come to fear that the Obama administration has been seeking to silence any public information that may show problems with their governance, Edmund Snowden being the most notable example. The further revelation, just a few days ago, that anyone involved in the CIA who had been on the ground or knowledgeable about the Bengazi situation had been regularly forced to undergo lie detector tests, puzzled and troubled me. Clearly, the government was seeking to keep some information from being revealed. What, one can only ask, might that be? Did we know of some deeper or more complex plot of which this attack had only been a single manifestation? That seems unlikely. Surely we would need to reveal that or move forward to protect ourselves. Something just doesn’t quite add up. The most obvious conclusion is that the government is attempting to keep something silent, to cover something up.

     Obviously, the sexuality of a major government diplomat, particularly if he were gay at a time when the administration was supporting gay marriage, might result in a large and unpleasant backlash among conservatives. Obviously, I do not welcome that, and certainly do not want to encourage it with my question. Yet should we bury Stevens’ sexuality—if that happened to be the case—simply because it might have represented an unfortunate political appointment in the homophobic (but nonetheless sexually gay active) Arab world? Perhaps it might be even more important to speak of it, were it to be the truth, revealing just that homophobia and the fact that a gay man, no matter his sexual involvement, was so capable in his position. That he died for our nation surely should not require that his sexuality need be hidden. Indeed, if we are to commit ourselves to open acceptance of gay individuals, might we even need more of such committed public servants?

I am not asserting that Ambassador Chris Stevens was gay—I have no secret knowledge or reliable sources to even suggest this. I simply am asking if he might have been, and what might that would have meant in terms of the apparent attempt by the American government to keep things quiet about the entire event? If even I, who have no governmental connections, with no contact with underground leakers, can ask these questions, why haven’t competent journalists dared to pursue the causes behind such government secrecy? Even if Snowden is seen as a traitor—although I see him as a rather naïve, but intelligent informer—he has, apparently, revealed much of the dirty truth of government intrusion into our lives. What is the government hiding, one can only ask, in the whole Bengazi affair? And if they aren’t “hiding” anything, why treat all of the CIA agents involved to regular tests? Something doesn’t smell right? The insistent question publically asked by CNN, “How did CNN find a person of interest in the Bengazi killings who the US government could not find?,” seems only to suggest to me that the US government did not want to find him, that he might reveal something they were not interested in revealing or whom they know had nothing to reveal. Even their recent accusation of the same figure, seems something “after the fact,” and not an active search for the truth; and that figure still remains at large.

      I hate the current Republican outcry about Bengazi as if it meant something far more profound than what’s happening in Syria or the devastating terrorists attacks through the rest of the world. But why hasn’t the Obama administration simply come forward to tell us what they know—even if, a year after, they still do not have all the facts? Certainly the CIA and other government agencies, who, after all, are gathering with the NSA massive amounts of information every day, must know something more about these events. A little honesty, even if sexually revelatory, might be appreciated, instead of keeping this whole event in some sort of metaphoric closet.

Los Angeles, August 2, 2013  

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