Truth and hon­esty still mat­ter

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Ben S. Carson

The re­cent es­ca­lat­ing ar­gu­ments over whether there should be fur­ther con­gres­sional hear­ings on Beng­hazi are quite trou­bling. The very fact that there are sub­stan­tial num­bers of people who feel that there is noth­ing more to in­ves­ti­gate when four Amer­i­can lives were lost, and no one has an­swered for this crime, pro­vides an in­di­ca­tion of how far our sense of jus­tice has slipped.

This should not be a par­ti­san is­sue, be­cause the im­pli­ca­tions of ig­nor­ing or pre­var­i­cat­ing about the un­der­ly­ing mis­takes will have far-reach­ing con­se­quences. The United States has diplo­matic es­tab­lish­ments through­out the world, and if these can be at­tacked with­out con­se­quences, it greatly di­min­ishes our in­flu­ence and re­spect de­spite the protes­ta­tions to the con­trary by those who claim that there is no di­min­ish­ing of our stature in­ter­na­tion­ally.

What does it say about our judg­ment if we have diplo­matic es­tab­lish­ments for which we make in­ad­e­quate pro­vi­sions for pro­tec­tion? This is es­pe­cially dis­turb­ing since it has been re­vealed that re­quests by the con­sulate in Beng­hazi for more pro­tec­tion were re­fused. There had been at­tacks on our con­sulate not long be­fore the fa­tal at­tack, and there had been hos­tile ac­tions taken against the Bri­tish, which they were wise enough to re­act to in ap­pro­pri­ate fash­ion.

Even more con­found­ing was the de­ci­sion to aban­don our per­son­nel at that con­sulate be­cause some­one de­cided that our mil­i­tary forces could not reach them in time to ef­fect a res­cue. How could such a de­ci­sion have been made when no one knew how long the hos­tile ac­tion would last? Sev­eral mil­i­tary per­son­nel who were in the area ig­nored or­ders to stand down and, in­stead, rushed to the con­sulate with as­sault weapons and re­sisted hos­tile forces long enough to al­low some of their col­leagues to es­cape, while sac­ri­fic­ing their own lives. Their heroic ac­tions demon­strated the brav­ery and loy­alty that char­ac­ter­izes Amer­i­can mil­i­tary forces. I feel cer­tain that those men had no doubt in their minds that re­in­force­ments were on the way, and that if they could just hold out long enough, their ef­forts would be re­warded.

When our top of­fi­cials make de­ci­sions to aban­don our own people be­cause they feel the sit­u­a­tion is hope­less, they also aban­don the con­cept of Amer­i­can ex­cep­tion­al­ism and cre­ate doubt in the minds of all fu­ture mil­i­tary par­tic­i­pants about the in­ten­tion of their su­pe­ri­ors to ex­pend max­i­mum ef­fort to pre­serve their lives when they have sac­ri­ficed ev­ery­thing for our na­tion.

Mak­ing mis­takes is part of be­ing hu­man, but the ever-in­creas­ing de­cep­tion that is nec­es­sary to cover those mis­takes when hon­esty is aban­doned is evil. Those will­ing to ig­nore evil for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons should ques­tion their fit­ness for lead­er­ship of our na­tion. In this case, a bla­tant false­hood was pro­moted, namely that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion had in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­ity di­rected at Amer­ica un­der con­trol, and that the Beng­hazi in­ci­dent was a spon­ta­neous ac­tion re­sult­ing from the ou­trage of lo­cals who had viewed an of­fen­sive anti-Is­lamic video. Un­due im­por­tance was placed on pro­mot­ing an im­age of U.S. strength dur­ing the weeks im­me­di­ately pre­ced­ing the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of 2012.

Again, I must em­pha­size that if we, the Amer­i­can people, the Amer­i­can press and the Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal class par­tic­i­pate in the cover-up or ig­nore such an im­por­tant story, we con­trib­ute to the demise of hon­esty and truth as pil­lars of our gov­ern­ing struc­ture. In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon put it this way: “If a ruler lis­tens to lies, those who serve him will be wicked.”

We should also be very con­cerned about the at­tempt by some to ig­nore or down­grade the sig­nif­i­cance of the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS) scan­dal. The fact that some­thing this con­trary to the con­cept of free­dom can hap­pen in a coun­try based on con­sti­tu­tional val­ues and char­ac­ter­ized as a “phony scan­dal” by people who sup­pos­edly have the best in­ter­ests of this coun­try at heart again points to the dan­ger of plac­ing par­ti­san pol­i­tics above truth and hon­esty.

When politi­cians hud­dle and try to fig­ure out ways to de­fend their leader or their party and ig­nore the well-be­ing of their na­tion, the people must take no­tice and must do ev­ery­thing within their power to make sure that they are rep­re­sented by those who share their be­liefs, and not by those who are sim­ply party loy­al­ists.

Ob­vi­ously, the IRS was used in in­ap­pro­pri­ate ways or Lois Lerner would not have pleaded the Fifth Amend­ment. It is more than dis­turb­ing that the pres­i­dent of the United States and many in his party feigned ou­trage when the in­ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions of the IRS were ini­tially ex­posed, but now can­not lend sup­port to a full and un­fet­tered in­ves­ti­ga­tion of ac­tiv­i­ties that threaten the very lib­erty of the Amer­i­can people.

A bi­par­ti­san group should in­ves­ti­gate both Beng­hazi and the IRS scan­dal in a very trans­par­ent man­ner. If wrong­do­ing is dis­cov­ered, those re­spon­si­ble must face con­se­quences and pro­ce­dures must be es­tab­lished to en­sure that such abuses never oc­cur again. Most im­por­tantly, the people must awaken and look ob­jec­tively at the ac­tions of both Democrats and Repub­li­cans and not sim­ply ac­cept what party lead­ers say. Free­dom is not free, and vig­i­lance as­so­ci­ated with re­spon­si­ble voting is nec­es­sary to pre­serve it. Ben S. Carson is pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of neu­ro­surgery at Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity and au­thor of the forth­com­ing “One Na­tion” (Sen­tinel, May 20).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.