This scenario starts with George W. Bush running for his second term as president of the United States.
After clear overtures of violence in an unstable region, an embassy is not fortified in any extra way on a date widely celebrated as a sacred moment of victory by a multitude of radical jihadists who harbor a death wish for the United States.
Nothing is unusual at that embassy until the night erupts with organized waves of men attacking a building that has not been adequately secured. They flood into the compound with military precision and military grade weapons.
An information management officer dies in a burning building. An ambassador’s whereabouts are lost. Staff from the embassy are removed to a CIA annex and eventually evacuated to undisclosed locations where even sitting senators will never be granted access to them again.
In the early stages of the attack, President Bush meets with Donald Rumsfeld, but it is unclear how engaged he remains with the event as it unfolds.
The multi-location attack eventually spans the time it takes an average commercial flight to go from Atlanta to Europe—not from Europe to Africa—and only stops when the weak home government’s militia finally reinforces American defenders.
By then, two more Americans have been murdered.
The death of the ambassador is finally confirmed.
President Bush holds a conference in the Rose Garden. After promising to bring the responsible killers to justice, he says, “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence.”
These remarks tie the embassy attack with a badly produced YouTube video the administration has already identified via outlets like Fox News as shamefully denigrating Islam and causing protests in the Middle East.
President Bush skips a daily intelligence briefing and flies to a fundraiser in Las Vegas.
UN Ambassador John Bolton appears on the Sunday talk shows to state plainly that the video was the cause of the embassy attack.
The president of the country in which the attacked embassy was located refutes Bolton’s entire story as implausible and illogical.
President Bush and Condoleeza Rice meet four caskets flown home. Rice promises the families that the maker of the YouTube video will be arrested.
The filmmaker is, in fact, arrested and put in a jail cell where he remains.
CNN reveals its representatives—not American intelligence—retrieved the dead ambassador’s diary from the destroyed embassy.
In a speech to the United Nations, President Bush says, “There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice.” After a tribute to Ambassador Chris Stevens, he talks about how a “crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world,” which perpetuates the connection between the embassy attack and YouTube.
In a national debate, Bill O’Reilly bolsters President Bush’s statements on the embassy.
Bush is reelected.
The Pentagon and the CIA release conflicting timelines for how special operations forces were deployed during the incident.
The head of the CIA resigns over a sex scandal that generates more front-page copy at the Wall Street Journal than the discrepancies in details about the embassy attack.
Donald Rumsfeld blames the “fog of war.”
Under oath, a diplomatic security official confirms the violence unfolded in real time in Washington. Security personnel give a scathing rebuke of the Bush appointment bureaucracy’s mishandling of security requests at the embassy.
The Accountability Review Board (ARB) appointed by (and thus working for) the Bush administration releases the non-classified section of their report, which generates more questions from Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Senator Dick Durbin.
The Secretary of State responds, “What difference does it make at this point?” She takes “responsibility” for the attack, but there are no real consequences in the Bush State Department. No American arrests apart from the filmmaker are ever been made public. No American actions are taken against even the terrorist group that claimed responsibility the very night the attack took place.
Of course, we know President Bush left office in 2008, and all of these events transpired under a different administration.
But I ask, if the coin was flipped and George W. Bush had played a part in this tragedy, would Benghazi finally matter to Democrats?
Getting clarity on Benghazi—four dead Americans, the tragedy’s implications to national security, the failures of current foreign policy—should be important to all Americans no matter who is president.
Some issues just aren’t partisan.