When Tragedy Turns into Transformation: 5 Years After Benghazi
“Whoever forsakes the old way for the new knows what he is losing but not what he will find.”
-Richard Gambino, “Blood of My Blood”
The joys of this life are determined by the people that we love, our hard work and the blessings of our Creator. But the struggles and the tragedies that we experience are the real foundations of our humanity. The ways and methods by which we deal with the evils of this existence are the factors that determine whether that humanity increases or shrinks.
Since the death of my nephew, Sean Smith, in the Benghazi/Libya attacks of September 2012, I have learned how broad ranging and hard our fight for justice can be. Faced with the murder of my nephew September 2012, I started to walk on a path of intelligent activism that I continue on today. A path that has taught me that tragedy can be transformative for the courage of a person’s convictions.
Unlike the almost overwhelming sadness that I experienced when I lost my father, brother and many close friends, the sadness experienced by the loss of Sean was entirely different.
Sean Smith was my nephew via his marriage to my wife’s niece. Our contact was limited to a Christmas family dinner where I gave him some homemade Reggae CD’s. We also had some petty arguments about Obamacare on Social Media. I still regret those arguments. You see, Sean Smith was a staunch liberal and he loved and respected President Obama. Sean was an Air Force veteran who joined the State Department as an Information Officer. He served under Secretary of State Powell and Rice without incident.
My wife and I did extensive research on all the 2008 candidates and had expressed our concerns to our family members about Sean’s safety serving under Secretary Clinton and President Obama. Our concerns went unheeded and were proven tragically accurate after the Benghazi attack that lead to his death. I burned with the anger that comes from being raised in the American South. I can argue with a family member, but I will let no harm come to that family member from another person or persons. As they say in Virginia, “It gets my back up.”
Before September 11/12th 2012, my life burned with the single engine of a Journeyman Bluesman. I composed and performed music and used my writing ability to write occasional historical articles for music publications. I wrote several songs after Sean’s death about Benghazi. The songs did little to dilute my anger. I started to do research at my local library about America’s foreign policy towards Libya and what lead to the Benghazi attacks. I continue to do research on Benghazi and North Africa and the results continue to anger me.
In December 2012, my journey as an activist begin with my first conversation with Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf after contacting his office about his statements on the House floor about Benghazi. On or around December 18, 2012, I spoke with Congressman Wolf and agreed to write a letter supporting his efforts to establish an investigative body to look into Benghazi.
In the next year, I wrote two letters in support of Congressman Wolf’s efforts to pass a bill establishing a bi-partisan Select Committee to fully investigate the before, during and aftermath of the Benghazi attacks. I petitioned hundreds of members of Congress to co-sponsor Congressman Wolf’s bills, House Res. 824 and House 36 requesting a Select Committee. I called House Speaker John Boehner countless times, with little to no avail, and made sure I thanked the Representatives who showed the courage and fortitude to support Congressman Wolf’s efforts.
As I approached the one year anniversary of the Benghazi attacks, I found the most crucial transformation in my activism about Benghazi was the switching of the practice of operating as an “I” to the principle of working as a we.
We, the truly concerned of the American people, we the truly informed, we the truly compassionate citizens and the we that seek justice and accountability about Benghazi will never forget or stop demanding the truth and justice.
In the past five years, I have been blessed to make the acquaintance of and, in some cases, establish friendships with highly intelligent and concerned citizens in the Intelligence community, the legal profession, the Military, the media and in the government. These include, but are not limited to, Fox News Chief Intelligence reporter Catherine Herridge, Daily Caller writer Ginni Thomas, Congressman Louie Gohmert, Dr. Dave Janda, Lt. Col. (Ret) and former Congressman Allen West, Lt. Col. (Ret) Dennis B. Haney, Strategic Policy and Intelligence Expert Clare Lopez, and Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
Nearing the first anniversary of the attack, it was Ginni Thomas who connected me with a Benghazi Memorial Committee that included some of the Patriots referenced above. Additionally, it was Ginni Thomas who encouraged me to use my writing talent to write about Benghazi as an op-ed writer for the Daily Caller, who printed my first Op-ed on September 11, 2013.
On a similar basis, Catherine Herridge connected me with a news program on Fox and when I decided to make a transition, introduced me to the Opinion Editor at Foxnews.com, Lynne Jordal Martin. For several years, I appeared as a guest on such programs as America’s Newsroom, Fox & Friends, and Hannity, among others. I have also appeared on radio programs as varied as the BBC, among many, and continue to appear as a frequent guest on Dr. Dave Janda’s Operation Freedom radio program. All in all, I have been fortunate enough to do over 60 TV, print, and radio interviews on the subject on Benghazi.
These varied experiences have sharpened my skills as a speaker and as a writer. My current editor at PolitiChicks, Ann-Marie Murrell, consistently has encouraged me to write about not only Benghazi, but the music that moves me and the social issues that capture my passion. At PolitiChicks, I have found my own voice as a writer.
While I welcome the opportunity to thank a few of the folks that have supported my efforts to establish some real accountability about Benghazi; this is not meant to be only a trip down memory lane.
Benghazi is not nostalgia. It remains one of the biggest scandals and biggest cover-ups in American history and it is not over. We, as family members of the Benghazi victims, have been denigrated and insulted by “persons” as varied as fake news commentators, misinformed citizens, hack-eyed politicians and failed Presidential candidates.
I continue in this quest because of my innate stubbornness and because no one to date has been held to the appropriate standards of accountability for the murders of the four brave Benghazi victims.
In a recent conversation with my wife, Sharon, I mused the following consideration: If the mainstream press, in 2012, had covered Benghazi in the same manner as the recent Trump “Russian Collusion,” non-news story, one thing is abundantly clear; Barrack Obama would have never been re-elected for a second term. If the media had reported honestly about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, the illegal regime change and the gun running operation by the Obama/Clinton administration many crooked politicians would be in prison.
The media again showed their bias when they ignored the heartfelt speech by the Gold Star Mom, Pat Smith, at the RNC convention when she said. “For all this loss, for all of this grief, for all of the cynicism the tragedy in Benghazi has wrought upon America, I blame Hillary Clinton. I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”
The past five years we saw the death of honest journalism. We now see that the mind control media operates on a principle of hyena-like hysteria as opposed to an honest assessment of an issue or the reporting of living history. They do not report anything remotely reflecting an unbiased journalistic style. If they embraced their souls for one iota of an instant, they might even experience shame. But I truly doubt their capability of experiencing such emotions. With only a few exceptions, they never fairly or effectively reported about the Benghazi attacks. The media is losing their ability to manipulate and control how informed thinking people respond to the reality they see for themselves.
We also have learned that the problems of establishing accountability and justice for the Benghazi victims and their families lies not only with those twin doppelgängers, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barrack Hussein Obama, but also with Congress. The United States Congress is as useful and as attractive as a piece of rotted wood. They crumble at the mention of holding one of their own accountable. We do not need a new President, we need a new Congress. We need better stewards for our money.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi truly failed in establishing any measure of real accountability with their 2,000 plus page final report. To be fair to Chairman Trey Gowdy, he faced incredible obstacles with certain members of the committee. I urge all citizens interested in a true accounting of the before, during, and aftermath of the Benghazi attack to read the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. It is titled, “Betrayal in Benghazi: A Dereliction of Duty.” It is available at www.aim.org/benghazi
President Obama and Hillary Clinton practiced a form of American-Islamic Jingoism with their Libyan policy. In short, they instituted an illegal regime change, armed al-Qaeda, who in turn killed Qaddafi and American public servants with American weapons. They and their minions who aided in the cover-up need to face the full extent of the law. Treason is still a punishable offense. The sins of the Obama/Clinton Libyan policy spawned ISIS. The home grown terrorist group known as Antifa are a direct reflection of the principles of ISIS.
In essence, for me, activism is embracing the courage of your convictions and not letting go. It is the joining of our hearts, minds and the better side of our angels. My path in these five years has not been perfect and it was never something that I previously aspired to, but I will not stop.
In the past month, I have contacted the White House daily, from August 11th through September 11, 2017, and have respectfully petitioned the Trump White House requesting that all Benghazi e-mails be released and declassified on the anniversary of the attack that took the life of my nephew, Sean Smith. Considering the chaos and lack of cooperation President Trump faces from Congress and the media, this may not happen on that date.
Currently, Judicial Watch has FOIA lawsuits in the courts and there has been positive progress. Ultimately, I respect and like President Trump and find him to be a good and courageous man of his word.
Speaking with some humility, I am not a special man. I have my shortcomings and my sadnesses; but, I also have the courage and strength that I receive from my loved ones, my friends and most importantly from God. I feel as a collective, human beings can accomplish great things. Everyone has a voice and can make a difference. Sometimes all it takes is that first phone call and that first consistent point of commitment. I will continue to speak out until my last breath. I will continue to seek truth and remain an activist.