Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) used Wednesday’s hearing on whether or not the United States will take military action in Syria to ask whether the whole debate was a ruse to cover-up the many “scandals” the Obama administration is facing.
Secretary of State John Kerry was present before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, to answer questions lawmakers had about the administration’s planning for military strikes against Syria. The Obama administration first indicated last Saturday that they would seek Congressional authorization to launch a response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians in an attack that allegedly killed more than 1,000. Since then, the debate has remained mostly non-partisan as those on either side of the issue find themselves split from other members of their own party.
That changed at today’s hearing, when Wilson used his time to directly attack the Obama administration over many of the alleged “scandals” it was said to be facing earlier this year. Wilson led off referencing an April White House assessment that Syria had used chemical weapons against their civilians. From there, the South Carolinian legislator suggested that the administration is using the Syria issue now to distract from the supposed real scandals:
WILSON: With the president’s redline, why was there no call for military response in April? Was it delayed to divert attention today from the Benghazi, IRS, NSA scandals, the failure of Obamacare enforcement, the tragedy of the White House-drafted sequestration or the upcoming debt limit vote? Again, why was there no call for a military response four months ago when the president’s red line was crossed?
Kerry took the conspiracy theorizing in stride, explaining that the use of chemical weapons in March was significant, but not on a large enough scale to merit the sort of military response for which the White House is currently seeking approval. “The president didn’t believe it was a compelling enough case to win the support of the American people, as well as the world,” he said. The administration instead opted to increase and change the kind of aid that would be provided to the Syrian opposition, including providing small arms.
Despite what Wilson seems to believe, the so-called “scandals” he cites have been both litigated in the public sphere and found wanting. The IRS, for example, was discovered to have been not targeting just conservatives as was claimed, but also investigating liberal groups. Likewise, the accusations of a cover-up regarding the death of four American citizens in Benghazi, Libya last year have been proven false as well.