- The Washington Times - Monday, May 13, 2013

Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul criticized Democrats and Republicans Monday for ignoring what he sees as the true cause of the Benghazi attacks: their mutual support of military interventionism overseas and its unintended consequences.

The libertarian and former GOP presidential hopeful wrote in an op-ed Monday that the post-Benghazi discussion on Capitol Hill has been “more of a sideshow” than an honest investigation of what motivated the attacks that left the U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

“Neither side wants to talk about the real lesson of Benghazi: Interventionism always carries with it unintended consequences,” Mr. Paul said. “The U.S. attack on Libya led to the unleashing of Islamist radicals in Libya. These radicals have destroyed the country, murdered thousands, and killed the U.S. ambassador.”

Mr. Paul said that both parties are playing a blame game.

Democrats, he said, are making the bogus claim that the attacks were somehow tied to Republican spending cuts. And Republicans, he said, smell “a political opportunity” over the Obama administration’s scrubbing of the initial so-called “talking points” on the attack, which Mr. Paul said should not come as a shock because that is “standard” operating procedure for the U.S. government.

“Republicans want to draw attention to the president’s editing talking points in hopes no one will notice that if the attack on Libya they supported had not taken place, Ambassador Stevens would be alive today,” Mr. Paul said.

Mr. Paul’s op-ed follows the high-profile testimony last week from Gregory N. Hicks, State Department’s deputy chief of mission in Libya at the time of the terrorist attack, who said he was stunned that U.S. Ambassador Susan E. Rice said the assault appeared to have grown out of a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Islamic video produced in the U.S.

It also comes days after his son, Sen. Rand Paul, a likely 2016 presidential contender, starting making the case in a Washington Times op-ed and at an appearance at a GOP dinner in Iowa that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should be precluded from holding higher office because of the way she handled the Benghazi attacks.

The elder Mr. Paul, though, said Monday that it should not come as such a shock to Republicans that the Obama administration tried to scrub the talking points from the intelligence community.

“Who can blame the administration for wanting to shift the focus?” he said. “The Islamic radicals who attacked Benghazi were the same people let loose by the U.S.-led attack on Libya. They were the rebels on whose behalf the U.S. overthrew the Libyan government. Ambassador Stevens was slain by the same Islamic radicals he personally assisted just over one year earlier.”

“But the Republicans in Congress also want to shift the blame,” he said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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