Across the past four days I’ve been reminded once again of some of the prices one pays for living in this majestic state; this time said ‘price’ is in the form of the residue from wildfires. Last Thursday I made my every other week drive into Palmer to pick up donated food stuffs for the Upper Susitna Valley Food Pantry at which I’m a volunteer; just south of Willow (maybe 35 miles south of Talkeetna) I noticed the Talkeetna Mountains were shrouded in what appeared to be fog. Within another five miles I knew this was not fog as I could smell the smoke from wildfires. I knew there were two blazes burning in the Kenai (the Funny River fire and the Tyonek fire) but I was unaware the smoke from these fires had managed to make it so far to the northeast. By the time I arrived at the warehouse in Palmer visibility was down to less than a mile and the acrid smell of wildfire was everywhere. By the time I finished getting my own donations and assisting others with their loads my eyes felt like they’d been sandblasted; thankfully I keep Visine in my car so I could mitigate the effects of the smokey air. It was a shock to realize I couldn’t see the Talkeetna and Chugach Mountains normally so prominent in this small town just north of Anchorage; as I tuned in local radio stations I heard of the air quality warnings for the entire Anchorage Bowl. NWS was advising people remain indoors and if outside not to indulge in any strenuous activities. As I began my 70 mile drive north to the Pantry and home I couldn’t help but notice the thick, acrid smoke which was even blotting out the sun. And this started me thinking…
I wondered about our four brave fallen heroes from the Benghazi mission: Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. I wondered if the last thing they saw as they fought for their lives and prayed for the assistance that inexcusably would never arrive was thick, acrid smoke. I wondered if Woods and Doherty’s eyes burned with the same gritty, roughness that my own did while they heroically held off a hugely superior force for many hours. And I hoped and prayed that none of them realized that they struggled in vain, that politics and ineptitude were coming together to ensure there would be no rescue that dark, fiery night in Benghazi.
It’s now been almost two full years yet ‘We the People’ still have no answers regarding crucial questions in this outright attack upon America. There have been no arrests and although our lame-stream media has been able to interview the supposed perpetrators in local cafes we still do not know where our Commander In Chief was that evening or what exactly happened during those first four dreadful hours. We do not know how the administration initially responded to this horrific news. We do know the symbol of America in Libya, our ambassador, was slain along with another state department employee and two heroic ex-SEALs working as protective officers. We know they begged for assistance for hours while they fought against numerically superior numbers armed with larger and more diverse weaponry. And we know that ultimately they were abandoned and allowed to die at the hands of their aggressors.
Getting all the facts after such an event should supersede any political partisanship; there should be no question we should know the truth within a few months time and there is no question we should have left no stone unturned and no avenue untraveled to bring the perpetrators to justice. Yet here we are, twenty months from this cowardly attack upon our country, and we have few answers and we have brought no one to justice. Instead partisan squabbling has turned the deaths of these four proud and brave Americans into a media sideshow featuring bellicose politicians from both parties posturing for the cameras and working to get their faces and their voices on TV. And still we do not know the real truth. Is this what our great country has devolved into..? And maybe more importantly are ‘We the People’ okay with brushing this horrific event under the rug especially as it has the stench of political maneuvering to cover up the truth as well as putting one man’s, and one party’s, ‘needs’ ahead of the country’s?
Maybe we are okay with just ignoring the need to find out the truth behind what transpired within our government on that sad September 11th; maybe we’d rather just tune this out while we celebrate a day off work, eat barbecue and watch baseball. And maybe we will be okay when a leading figure in this scandal, someone whom was at the helm of the State Department that dark evening, runs for President in a couple of years. I do not know how the American people would answer these questions but I do know something; as sure as I can once again smell smoke on this Memorial Day morning if we continue down the path we currently tread we’re doomed to become a third-rate power on the world stage bereft of dignity and honor.