Students must effectively deliberate political scandals before voting

Olivia Griffin

Murphy’s Law runs rampant in politics and elections. As we bounce back and forth between various scandals and crises, it is all too easy to blame individuals rather than constructively examine the issues as a whole. The recent controversy surrounding Clinton’s email server and ongoing Benghazi accusations are no exception. Clinton’s role in the Benghazi scandal has been over exaggerated for petty political purposes. To prevent another tragedy like Benghazi from occurring, we should stop attacking Clinton and instead look holistically at the many issues that led to the attacks in 2012.

Eight congressional and State Department investigations on Benghazi cost $7 million and have lasted longer than the investigations into the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, JFK’s assassination and Hurricane Katrina have all come to the same conclusion that Thomas Pickering reached in 2012: “There simply was not enough time, given the speed of the attacks, for armed U.S. military attacks to make a difference.” These extensive investigations have been nothing more than a political ploy: Then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy essentially confessed this when he linked the investigation into Benghazi with Clinton’s faltering poll numbers.

One of the main criticisms against Clinton is that she refused requests from the Benghazi consulate for additional security forces prior to the attack. However, to fund additional security forces would require the State Department to receive additional funding from the already-struggling Congressional Appropriations Committee and extensive bureaucratic red tape. Even if Clinton approved the embassy’s requests, it would prove extremely difficult to access the funding from Congress.

Another criticism against Clinton is that she failed to respond to the attacks on Benghazi. However, the Benghazi report found that the White House had given Marines stationed in Spain explicit orders to travel to Benghazi. Receiving conflicting and muddled information from other sources, these troops chose not to deploy to Libya. Much of the other infrastructure that could have been used to respond to the attacks was far away. The attacks on Benghazi lasted a short eight hours, and by the time troops could receive the information, develop a strategy, travel a decent distance to Libya and arrive, the conflict would have likely been over.

In hindsight, it is easy to see the factors that contributed to the attacks on Benghazi and blame Clinton for failing to respond to them. In reality, it is difficult to predict when and where the next crisis will take place. Experts failed to predict the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and no one addressed the now-obvious security flaws that led to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Making sense of the overwhelming amount of data and warning signs is a near impossible task, even for experts.

Attacking Clinton for Benghazi does not address the challenges that policymakers face in responding to security threats. To prevent another Benghazi from occurring, we must step away from the witch hunt and have an honest, bipartisan discussion to develop strategies to improve our communication and data analytics and better prevent another attack in the future. For many students, 2016 marks not only their first presidential election, but also their first experience of a political scandal. We must be careful not to jump to snap judgments about these grossly politicized issues and take an objective look at the issues at hand.

Griffin is a government and Plan II junior from Dallas. Follow her on Twitter @OGlikesdogs.