When the Jewish market was attacked in Paris there was no particular reason other than the fact that the murderer hated Jews in general. But in the case of the fatal attack on our consular office/CIA base in Benghazi some years back, it is clear that it began as part of the continuing protest throughout the Middle East over a ridicule of the Prophet Mohammed by some fool in Los Angeles. Later on, an al-Qaeda affiliate joined in the fray.

Six Americans died, including the ambassador. No specific action by our government caused the attack.


I mention this because right wing activists keep bringing up this old news. I just received a post on Facebook stating: "We will never forget Benghazi." OK, and I will never forget the Iraq war. In that debacle we lost 4,000 killed and many more seriously wounded. We also destroyed the government of Iraq and disbanded the Iraqi Army and Air Force. As a result, a counterbalance to Iran was removed. Plus, the resulting instability and the exclusion of Sunnis from the new government provided fertile ground for the creation if ISIL.

Some of the out-of-work generals of the former Iraqi army and air force have joined ISIL and are teaching them how to fight a modern war. The Sunnis in new Iraqi army that we created with so much fanfare and so many billions of expense had no particular loyalty to the new Shia-controlled Iraq government. Some of them switched sides. Others simply abandoned the first class weapons of war we gave them at taxpayer expense, such as M-1 Tanks, modern artillery pieces and their prime movers, Armored Personnel Carriers and so on. We have all seen the videos.

None of this would have happened if we had minded our own business and had left Iraq alone. They had no weapons of mass destruction and no program to obtain them. Operation Desert Fox during the Clinton presidency had destroyed their nascent atomic program, without the loss of a single American life.

Saddam Hussein had a particular pattern of behavior. Like all bullies, he could be taught a lesson. After his nine-year war against Iran ended in stalemate he never attacked Iran again. After the U.S. and its allies humiliated his army in the Gulf War he never bothered Kuwait again. We taught him a severe lesson in that war. By no means did he want to fight our armed forces again. But Vice President Dick Cheney and his Haliburton buddies had visions of lucrative oil franchises, so they talked the well-meaning but gullible President G. W. Bush into a truly disastrous war.

If you are looking to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016 forget about the raid in Benghazi. She did not cause that any more than the French government caused the raid on that Jewish Market. Instead, call her to account about the war in Iraq which has had and continues to have horrible consequences for the nation.

Fed false information from the manipulators in the Bush administration, she voted to authorize it along with a majority of the U.S. Senate. She should have figured out that Saddam Hussein was a tissue paper tiger.

Clinton would be my fourth choice for the Democratic nomination in 2016, behind Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Independent Bernie Sanders. But she is miles ahead of anyone likely to get the nomination on the other side. They haven't apologized to us for the Iraq war or even admitted its folly. They just don't talk about it.

So ask them. That grievous error is still causing bad things to happen.

John Culleton writes from Eldersburg. His column appears every second Tuesday. Email him at cct@wexfordpress.com.