On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry indicated it was more important to talk about the lives of those killed by chemical attacks in Syria than the four Americans who were murdered in Benghazi. Kerry seemed annoyed, bordering on angry, when Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) insisted that Benghazi was “germane” to the Syria debate.
“We’re talking about people being killed by gas, and you want to talk about Benghazi and Fast and the Furious,” Kerry angrily told Duncan (R-SC), who was holding up a picture of Tyrone Woods, the former Navy SEAL who was one of four Americans killed in Benghazi last year.
While questioning Kerry before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Duncan said Benghazi “absolutely” needed to be discussed since “four Americans lost their lives”; he said that is why “we should act cautiously” in Syria to prevent a similar situation in which Americans can be put in harm’s way.
“We don’t deserve to drag this into yet another Benghazi discussion when the real issue here is whether or not Congress is going to stand up to international norms with respect to dictators that have only been broken twice until Assad–Hitler and Saddam Hussein,” Kerry replied.
Duncan said the same “administration that is so quick to involve the United States in Syria now was reluctant to use the same resources at its disposal to attempt to rescue the four brave Americans that fought for their lives in Benghazi.”
In his opening remarks, Duncan insisted that “Benghazi is germane to the discussion in Syria.” He said that the world was watching as America has not brought “anyone to justice” almost a year after the Benghazi attacks and noted there is a need for “accountability.” He reminded Kerry that his predecessor Hillary Clinton said, “What difference does it make now?” when the Senate questioned her about Benghazi.
Duncan said, “Well, this is the difference. These issues call into question the accountability of this administration.”
He said Americans “deserve actions before we talk about military involvement in Syria’s civil war,” and then held up the picture of Woods.
“This is a picture of Tyrone Woods given to me by his father Charles Woods,” Duncan said. “The Woods family deserves answers. America deserves answers before we send another man or woman this caliber in harm’s way… over another country’s civil war.”
Duncan emphasized he did not see that there was a “clear indication” that there is an “imminent threat” to the United States even though he believed chemical weapons were used in Syria.
Duncan then held up a stack of 300 emails, saying he did not have a constituent that is urging military action in Syria. He said there are “no good guys to get behind here” and can “only envision an escalation.”
He also said Kerry, Obama, and Biden have been ones to “advocate for anything other than caution when it has come to past conflicts” and then asked if they have changed their minds because the executive branch was so “intoxicating.” Duncan again emphasized it was important to know whether weapons were being directly or indirectly transferred to Syrian rebels or if weapons were being transferred from Libya to Syria.