The Slatest

How Long Would the House GOP Have Investigated Iraq if It Cared About Iraq as Much as Benghazi?

Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Trey Gowdy, R–South Carolina, members of the Benghazi select committee, during another recent House hearing.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Republicans have released another report about the attack against American compounds in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11 and Sept. 12, 2012, during which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. citizens were killed. This report was put together by the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which according to the nonpartisan Politifact site is the sixth House Republican–led inquiry into the attack. The committee’s investigation has been long criticized as a politically motivated charade more concerned with damaging Hillary Clinton politically than in uncovering further information about what happened in 2012, a critique that gained credibility when a Republican House leader had to apologize for boasting publicly about how much the investigation had damaged Hillary Clinton politically.

Indeed, early word on the select committee’s report is that it does little to advance our understanding of how Benghazi happened and fails to make a case that Hillary Clinton committed any act of substantial incompetence or malfeasance. (For more on what the Obama administration really did get wrong before and after the attack, click here.) So that’s six investigations over the course of four years, ending with a shrug.

Which suggests a question: How much time would House Republicans have spent investigating the deaths of Americans in the Iraq war if they cared as much about Iraq as they do about Benghazi? (There were two major inquiries into the Iraq fiasco, but both were bipartisan and neither involved a serving House Republican.) There were four Americans killed in Benghazi whose deaths can on some level be considered a failure by our government; there have been some 4,500 American service members killed in Iraq for whose deaths our government was perhaps even more responsible.

So, calculating proportionally and assuming that those lives cut short in Iraq are worth as much attention as the lives cut short in Benghazi, House Republicans would have launched 6,750 investigations of the Iraq war to have been conducted over the course of 4,500 years. Wouldn’t that have been absurd?