Putin invaded Ukraine because (wait for it) Benghazi!

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has finally figured out why Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

You see… Benghazi!

As you may recall, a year and a half ago militants in Libya attacked a US consulate, tragically killing the US ambassador and 3 other employees.

In the immediate aftermath it wasn’t terribly clear who was behind the attack, though it looked like it might have been the work of locals ticked off about a filmmaker’s really trashy and low-budget film, called “Innocence of Muslims,” depicting the prophet Mohammad as a pedophile, among other things.

Actual scene from "Innocence of Muslims."

Actual scene from “Innocence of Muslims.”

Ironically, the same Americans who would probably go all “Benghazi” on any Muslim who dared to depict Jesus as a child-rapist, suddenly found their inner-lover of the First Amendment, and were outraged that anyone could think such a slight against the Muslim deity could possibly lead to violence in a foreign land, when slights against the Muslim deity had previously, and repeatedly, led to violence in foreign lands.

No, the Republicans said, it wasn’t that film, it was Al Qaeda!

Except now we know that it doesn’t look at all like it was Al Qaeda, and it still looks like that anti-Mohammad film played a part.

In the meantime, we also know that the GOP kinda sorta faked some emails to “prove” there’s a scandal here, and then they pimped a “Benghazi whistleblower” who apparently lied to CBS about being able to “prove” that there’s a scandal here.

Enter Lindsey Graham.

Graham has been fighting a Tea Party challenge to his re-election bid, which included accusations from the Tea Party that the confirmed bachelor is gay. Thus, the thinking went, Graham needed to bolster both his conservative and manly-man bona fides in order to win his primary.  And thus was born BENGHAZI!

The proverbial bodies in Benghazi were barely cold before Graham started running campaign ads about the unfortunate deaths only one month after the attack.


And now, Graham has outdone himself by suggesting that Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine because Benghazi somehow convinced Putin that President Obama was weak.  (It’s just as likely, if not more so, that Lindsey Graham is convincing Putin that if America spends this much time freaking out over four deaths a year and a half ago, imagine how averse Republicans would be to risking more than four American casualties in a challenge to a real adversary, Russia.)

Here’s Graham via Twitter yesterday:


Yes, we know why your eyes roll.  But back to the matter at hand, Graham still left the matter somewhat vague, until today:



Then some more three hours ago:


And then some more, one hour ago.  In this case, Graham simply retweeted the same tweet he tweeted five hours ago:


It’s hard to know exactly what’s motivating Vladimir Putin to think that he can invade Crimea with relative impunity, but the conventional wisdom is that no one in their right mind thinks we’re going to counter Russia by moving into Ukraine militarily, and that while Putin probably won’t like economic sanctions, they’re a price he’s willing to pay in order to secure Crimea as his own.

No one in their right mind thinks Putin was keeping an eye on “Benghazi” and that it inspired him to invade Crimea.

I’m always amazed at the Republican party’s newfound love of dead American diplomats.

The GOP has never been greatly enamored with the State Department.  In fact, they’ve regularly tried to cut its budget over the years – including GOP House Chairman and VP candidate Paul Ryan’s attempt to gut the State Department’s embassy security budget – while denouncing the entire building as a den of communists all the way back to the time of Joe McCarthy.

Heck, GOP presidential candidate and religious leader Pat Robertson even suggested we nuke the place.

But just like with 9/11, when Republicans, who had previously criticized Democrats for holding their party convention in that deny of iniquity, New York City, Americans died, the GOP smelled “opportunity,” and suddenly the Republicans just HAD to have THEIR party convention in the city that before 9/11 was their second biggest laugh-line after “San Francisco.”

Let me quote the Sarah Palin of his day, GOP Vice President Dan Quayle, on the absurd choice of NYC to host the 1992 Democratic convention:

“In so many ways, the liberal Democrats chose the perfect site for their convention,” Vice President Dan Quayle said last month, homing in on the theme. “Almost as if they feel a strange compulsion to return to the scene of the crime.”

So I think it’s swell that Lindsey Graham just loves the State Department, and is simply beside himself that four Americans died a year and a half ago.

But wouldn’t it be nice if Lindsey Graham cared nearly as much about the nearly 7,000 American troops who died in George W. Bush’s botched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Or if he cared about all the attacks on US diplomatic compounds that happened under George Bush’s watch?

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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44 Responses to “Putin invaded Ukraine because (wait for it) Benghazi!”

  1. goulo says:

    Ha! “Reality outpacing satire in real time”:

    Lindsey Graham is Poe’s Law in action.

  2. dula says:

    Freedom from EU austerity?

  3. MyrddinWilt says:

    The GOP constantly shows how stupid, bigoted and ignorant they are. Mitch McConnell always looks like he has just been slapped with a wet fish and Graham looks like he should be.

    The really stupid part of all this is that the one sure fire outcome of Putin’s behavior in Ukraine is that the US has become far, far stronger. Russia has no friends now apart from Iran, Syria and the ex-soviets. Even China is making its displeasure known, many of the other ex-Soviets that Putin might threaten have Han Chinese minorities.

    We are not back in the cold war but Russia is.

    Consider this, you are a company considering an investment in China, would the threat of having your investment stolen by the government be a worry? Now consider an investment in Russia, might as well put your money in Icesave or BitCoin.

    Putin’s goons are currently suggesting stealing Western company assets if the West imposes sanctions. Thats going to cause the value of Russian bonds an especially corporate bonds to crash.

    The Russian occupation of Ukraine is just as bad for the US as the US invasion of Iraq was for Iran – not at all.

  4. 3am Mystic says:

    Whether Lindsay Graham is gay makes no difference to me; but he would not be the first Right Wing Republican gay individual to live the self righteous delusion, “I’M not like THEM!” And when you think yourself more righteous than the rest of the country, as the “Tea Party, church going Republicans, many of whom have their own little secrets going on” do, you are convinced that everything you say is right…regardless of how nonsensical it is. We have to remember, these are people who can watch their religious leaders, as well as their own “history and science experts” open their mouths only to be totally destroyed by anyone with an actual high school education, then pretend it never happened.

  5. cole3244 says:

    we are propagandized just like the east and this isn’t a black & white but a gray situation as are most.
    its politics as usual on both sides and the 99% are in the middle as usual.

    after what america has done in the middle east we have no right to expect anyone else to act any differently especially if they are reacting in their own back yard.

  6. Wesley says:

    Citizens United did us in, it was the finishing touch. Oh, wait, there is round two.

  7. Wesley says:

    This should be about freedom of the Ukrainian people not about anything else. Go with the Ukrainians.

  8. Wesley says:

    A small minority extremists spawn a revolution. You are a true thinker.

  9. 4th Turning says:

    Thanks for this bit of in-sight. My sis got to be pretty high up in USAID.
    She was highly respected for her work (competency!) in country and by
    her staff and colleagues. Campaigning against Washington and big
    gubmint is in the end putting down the hard, conscientious, often
    hugely tedious day to day labor of fellow Americans deep down in
    the engine room that keeps this old ship of state moving.

  10. 2karmanot says:

    Once again Ms Scarlet has more vapors than old faithful.

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    The role of the State Department in all this is the usual mix of making excuses for Obama’s warmongering and interference in the internal political life of the Ukraine to further the interests of American and European banksters.

    That interference, which will lead quickly and inevitably to the penalization of workers in the Ukraine is as unjustified as the interference of the Putin gang, who have the same goal in mind.

    An excellent book that throws light on the great dangers posed Obama’s and Merkel’s brinkmanship The German Wars – 1914-1945 by DJ Goodspeed, a recognized scholar on the subject, Goodspeed paints a picture of the bumbling bureaucrats in the chanceries of Europe who pushed the world into war while tut-tutting that was was impossible and unthinkable. Their ineptness brought on a century of war and cold war which Obama and Kerry are now reviving. It’s time for the Russian and American anti-war movement to try to stop Obama and Putin in their tracks.

  12. pappyvet says:

    Absolutely John. Lets see…so many filibusters that the founding fathers are rolling in their graves. Can’t even support a republican idea without them turning against it. And all the while rending their garments with cries that the President will not negotiate with them. It’s not unlike walking up to someone and beating them with a baseball bat while screaming “help.”

  13. Hue-Man says:

    Sen. Graham is a fitting example of American exceptionalism. In this deserted socialist backwoods, we have to make do with undistinguished and uneducated politicians. For example, here’s one who used to have a high visibility in the United States before she had to retreat to the icy hinterlands, newly-elected MP Chrystia Freeland.

    “During an emergency debate on the Ukraine crisis on January 27,
    [Immigration Minister Chris] Alexander suggested there isn’t another member of Parliament — in either
    party — who can match rookie MP Chrystia Freeland’s proficiency with
    the Ukrainian language.”

    “Freeland, a Ukrainian-Canadian, has a bachelor’s degree in Russian
    history and literature from Harvard and master’s degree in Slavonic
    studies from Oxford. Her mother helped draft Ukraine’s constitution.” http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/02/27/chris-alexander-chrystia-freeland_n_4869534.html

    She is apparently in Kyiv now as a show of solidarity and support – the 2011 Census counted 1.25 million Canadians of Ukrainian ethnicity (= approx. 12.5 million Americans proportionately) so this is not a Noun, verb, Benghazi talking point here. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/liberal-mp-freeland-to-head-to-kiev-to-show-solidarity-with-ukrainians/article17186140/

    BTW, Has the word “Holomodor” been used in any of the reporting or is this like the Fawlty Towers episode where Basil keeps repeating “Don’t talk about the war”? 1932-1933 again…

  14. Bill_Perdue says:

    Ukrainians need what we need – socialism. Not Stalinism, not bankster capitalism or gangster capitalism, but socialism – democratic control of the commanding heights of the economy by the people whose labor creates wealth.

  15. labman57 says:

    Once again, a Republican politico attempts to use a “6 degrees of separation” approach to establishing nonexistent causal relationships between disparate international events.

  16. Anonymous says:

    They exaggerate Obama’s policies to justify their destructive, paranoid, knee-jerk reactions to Democrats.

  17. Bill_Perdue says:

    In my opinion lesser evilism is always a crock. Nixon ran on a anti-war program, promising to end the war (by nuking the Vietnamese). And now Obama is far to the right of Nixon on wars and unions.

    Republicans and Democrat politicians of all stripes are right wing and moving right. There is little of substance to differentiate them, which is why we’ll see more union and socialist candidates win elections and use cutting wedge questions like $15.00 or fight to help break up the Republican and Democrat parties.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Yes Lindsey, because going on Twitter and insulting people makes you look capable of handling a situation. What a baby. He and the rest of the uneducated wingnuts don’t even know how stupid they look. Have we reached the bottom of the barrel? These fools actually make money off doing nothing and filibustering. We pay for them to have a forum for insults so they can scoop up tax dollars. Why even complain about Russia when most of our voter base & politicians are also ignorant and stupid?

  19. Thom Allen says:

    Michelle Malkin is NOT happy with Lady Lindsey. She tweeted:

    UGH. @grahamblog , you are an embarrassment to all who truly care about Benghazi. Just stop==> https://t.co/CGBxaLVebu— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) March 4, 2014

    I love it when the Republicon vipers bite one another.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Democrats now have to come up with a bipartisan solution while Republican “politicians” like Graham sit around picking their butts.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Crimea is their territory – few people are disputing that…it’s just that the Crimea debacle is being used as a cover-up for the entire Ukrainian independence conflict. As well as the idea that “neo Nazis” have taken over Ukraine, and now Russians are justified in retaliating. Neo Nazi extremists were a minority; peaceful protesters were ignored during mass marches several months ago.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I always considered Obama the lesser of 2 evils, since he’s apparently become a Republican. His liberal ideas were taken hostage and compromised by Republican extremists.

  23. cole3244 says:

    we can invade iraq which certainly isn’t in our geographic area of influence but russia can’t invade crimea to protect their warm water port because of the instability in the ukraine.

    i guess my country right or wrong is the applicable response here.

  24. dula says:

    Russia may have lost the cold war but thanks to their nuclear weapons, they are still a superpower we don’t need to be picking fights with. In terms of income equality, the foundation of a stable, sustainable democracy, I’m not so sure Ukrainians will have a far better future tying themselves to neoliberal economic policies. They should pioneer something new. We would do well to do the same.

  25. Bill_Perdue says:

    In the aftermath of Watergate many said that the Republicans were dead.

    They miscalculated because they didn’t understand the importance of lesser evilism and the two party system, which has been used since 1877 to give people a chance to be deluded all over again. When one party – Democrat or Republican – has outworn it’s welcome they have a new lesser evil to offer.

    Those days are over. Both parties are headed towards they garbage heap of history, where they belong.

  26. Anonymous says:

    We’re a doomed country. You’re one of the few with their eyes peeled to reality. Most people would rather take some prescription meds and go to Walmart.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The Republican party is essentially dead. Useless. We can’t count on them to do anything meaningful except bicker about bullshit.
    I’d respect a Republican that actually did their job…but today’s crop of idiots doesn’t even come close to leading the country. More like the blind “leading” the blind.
    They are the “anti” party – against everything liberal, but with no concrete ideas of their own. I’m ashamed of what they have done to the country. Bush was good at being a bumbling idiot that ran the country into the ground, and other Republicans are just greedy and hateful.

  28. Interesting piece, but it still strikes me that as much as we like to think Republicans automatically say “war” then find a reason to have one, I read pieces like this and I feel like I’m hearing “do nothing!” or “blame us first!” and then the writer finding a reason to do so. I buy that corruption is not gone with the new leadership. I also think that Ukraine has a far better future tying itself to the EU than it does the great powerful coalition of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. And while Russia may not like it, the Soviet Union lost the cold war. In fact, it died. But Russia never had a catharsis, a full vetting, a full repudiation of the Soviet era. So we’re forced to still debate things like whether NATO has encroached too far into Russian territory when this dispute has nothing to do at all with either NATO or Russian territory. The Ukrainian people seem to want to ally with Europe. And, yeah, the country has ethnic fault lines. And that means things can get, and are getting, messy.

  29. dula says:

    Some are saying the Ukraine situation has more to do with NATO encroachment than anything else:


  30. ericxdc says:

    What happened to Solyndra and free cell phones? Can’t we blame ukraine on free cell phones?

  31. mononucleosis says:

    It’ll never happen.
    Someone on his staff has to be smart enough to protect him from that.

  32. mononucleosis says:

    Why does this surprise anyone? It is Lindsay after all.
    And to him, everything Obama revolves around Benghazi..

  33. AnitaMann says:

    A noun, a verb, and Benghazi. He should do a joint conference with Guiliani.

  34. dommyluc says:

    Not only do his eyes roll, but his knees get weak, and his lashes flutter, and he gets a serious case of the vapors.
    Man, I’d love to see this wuss go up against Rachel Maddow. She’d shred him into confetti. Actually, I’d even love to see him go up against Ellen.

  35. Monophylos Fortikos says:

    I’m reminded of the complaints, back when Bush Jr. was trying to get his freak on by invading Iraq again only to find that foreign occupations don’t always go smoothly, about how reports of trouble and American casualties in the U.S. news media were only emboldening our enemies. Because, you know, people halfway across the world angered by a foreign invader would be fine with being invaded if they didn’t read the wrong article in the New York Times.

    Cos, you know, the entire world revolves around us. The only reason any other nation does anything is because America.

  36. slappymagoo says:

    NOTICE ME! NOTICE ME! – Shorter Lindsey Graham

  37. Yes, because actually getting an education in foregin policy, learning various languages, living in various countries, and then working in foreign policy jobs for years doesn’t compare to the foreign policy crisis experience you learn being a plumber in Grand Forks.

    I’m happy to consider that I might not be right about any particular topic. I do bristle at the whole “anyone with glasses must die” logic that pervades the right wing in this country, and still more than a few on the left. The reason we screw up in international affairs isn’t because we’ve got people who far too much about foreign affairs and foreign policy decisionmaking. I take, and always have taken, umbrage at the whole “inside the beltway” slur that, again, far too many on the left enjoy routinely dragging out. But if you really want to screw up foreign policy, put someone with no education, and no job experience, in foreign affairs in charge of the whole thing. Then see how well you do.

  38. Indigo says:

    On the bright side, he didn’t blame same sex marriages so . . . business as usual with this Congress of Baboons.

  39. lynchie says:

    What a useless piece of skin is Graham. Every time i see him on tv i want to buy a bottle of that tag remover.
    Not that Obama has done an excellent job in foreign relations. After winning the Noble Peace Prize (for what I don’t know) he has expanded in Afghanistan, killed Americans in the middle east, droned wedding parties, women and children. Kept many of the Bush appointees, kissed the taint of Wall Street and the Banks, tried to push a new trade agreement, offered up SS and Medicare for cuts, did a half way job on Medical Insurance that still doesn’t work right, went after medical marijuana sales, I could go on but I am sure you get the picture, so my kindness is very diminished. For a supposed orator he does a lousy job at communicating. He speaks in broad brushes and never follows up, remember the speech on gun control he sure owned that didn’t he.
    The world is a complex place and the republicans have not offered a single thing in the way of a suggestion on how to deal with Russia and the Ukraine problems. The Dem congress are as useless as the Repubs and I am starting to think they dislike him as much as the GOP. Listening to Kerry’s horseshit indignation about invading a sovereign country made me throw up like a 17 year old after binge drinking all night.
    We sure as hell have no one in Washington who knows what the hell they are doing. Where is Hillary she hasn’t said boo, she is the most recent expert that has gone totally silent. Oh well the Dow is up, Haliburton is up, Lockheed is up, Northrop is up. Time to roll those troops out, send the fleet to the Mediterranean, Obama can wear the codpiece this time. What a sad, sorry joke we are.

  40. I believe that should read “hot mess.”

  41. BeccaM says:

    Yeah… as awful as Russia is behaving in all this, I have this terrible feeling that any day now we’re going to hear from some purported Ukrainian ‘ordinary person’, telling stories of Russian soldiers leaving incubator babies on hospital floors.

  42. nicho says:

    Makes as much sense as the nonsense about the Ukraine that you hear from Obama’s water carriers and the inside-the-beltway blogosphere.

  43. BeccaM says:

    Hey GOPers: First you bleat that we have a power-mad autocratic dictator, an ur-Hitler if you will, in the Oval Office. Now you say he’s ‘weak’ and ‘indecisive.’

    Make up your frickin’ minds already. Thanksverymuch.

    P.S. Senator Lindsey? I recommend you not use the phrase ‘get to the bottom.’

  44. LanceThruster says:

    I sometimes wish Ms. Lindsey would get an ‘attack of the vapours’ in a closed garage with his motor vehicle running.

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