Hopeless Semantics: Benghazi Edition

By Bill Maher

I don’t think there’s any logical way to put an end to the Benghazi scandal. If there isn’t a crime, how do you prove you didn’t do it? This is something beyond a political maneuver to hurt Obama and Hillary. This has something to do with payback for years of Bush scandals that his supporters couldn’t understand. It felt like we kept making something out of nothing, and now it’s their turn. Only we were actually making something out of something. What they’re doing is unhinged.

It reminds me of that scene in Police Squad, where Leslie Nielsen’s a cop in a shootout, and the bad guy grabs a hostage, so Leslie Nielsen grabs a hostage, too. This isn’t about avenging four brave Americans. This is about Valerie Plame.

I also think it’s about language, and Obama isn’t completely blameless when it comes to splitting linguistic hairs for political gain. The scandal – and I’m going to bend over backwards and try to believe Benghazi is a scandal – seems to be about the difference between the words “a mob” and “terrorists.” The Obama administration said “mob” but they knew, or should have known, that they were “terrorists.” So Mitt Romney gets to be President.

Here’s where Obama did the same thing as the Republicans, only it was arguably worse, from the New York Times two years ago:

“… Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent… This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes.”

Once the president gives himself the magic power to change civilians to militants by killing them, he has to be very, very careful who he calls a terrorist and who he calls a rioter. 

I’m not saying Benghazi is real; it isn’t. I’m saying both sides agree that the right words can magically alter the nature of dead Arabs, and once you do that, you’re going to get into some pretty stupid arguments about words.