Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Was Benghazi a Scandal?

Scandals — or fundamental transformations?

photo by Getty images via NRO

photo by Getty images via NRO

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online


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About victorhanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture. He recently published an historical novel The End of Sparta (2012), a realistic retelling of Epaminondas invasion and liberation of Spartan-control Messenia. In The Father of Us All (2011), he collected earlier essays on warfare ancient and modern. His upcoming history The Savior Generals(2013) analyzes how five generals in the history of the West changed the course of battles against all odds. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 and the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson, who was the fifth successive generation to live in the same house on his family’s farm, was a full-time orchard and vineyard grower from 1980-1984, before joining the nearby CSU Fresno campus in 1984 to initiate a classical languages program. In 1991, he was awarded an American Philological Association Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given yearly to the country’s top undergraduate teachers of Greek and Latin. Hanson has been a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (1992-93), a visiting professor of classics at Stanford University (1991-92), a recipient of the Eric Breindel Award for opinion journalism (2002), an Alexander Onassis Fellow (2001), and was named alumnus of the year of the University of California, Santa Cruz (2002). He was also the visiting Shifrin Professor of Military History at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (2002-3). He received the Manhattan Institute’s Wriston Lectureship in 2004, and the 2006 Nimitz Lectureship in Military History at UC Berkeley in 2006. Hanson is the author of hundreds of articles, book reviews, scholarly papers, and newspaper editorials on matters ranging from ancient Greek, agrarian and military history to foreign affairs, domestic politics, and contemporary culture. He has written or edited 17 books, including Warfare and Agriculture in Classical Greece (1983; paperback ed. University of California Press, 1998); The Western Way of War (Alfred Knopf, 1989; 2d paperback ed. University of California Press, 2000); Hoplites: The Ancient Greek Battle Experience (Routledge, 1991; paperback., 1992); The Other Greeks: The Family Farm and the Agrarian Roots of Western Civilization(Free Press, 1995; 2nd paperback ed., University of California Press, 2000);Fields without Dreams: Defending the Agrarian Idea (Free Press, 1996; paperback, Touchstone, 1997; The Bay Area Book reviewers Non-fiction winner for 1996); The Land Was Everything: Letters from an American Farmer (Free Press, 2000; a Los Angeles Times Notable book of the year); The Wars of the Ancient Greeks (Cassell, 1999; paperback, 2001); The Soul of Battle (Free Press, 1999, paperback, Anchor/Vintage, 2000); Carnage and Culture (Doubleday, 2001; Anchor/Vintage, 2002; a New York Times bestseller); An Autumn of War (Anchor/Vintage, 2002); Mexifornia: A State of Becoming (Encounter, 2003),Ripples of Battle (Doubleday, 2003), and Between War and Peace (Random House, 2004). A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, was published by Random House in October 2005. It was named one of the New York Times Notable 100 Books of 2006. Hanson coauthored, with John Heath, Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom (Free Press, 1998; paperback, Encounter Press, 2000); with Bruce Thornton and John Heath, Bonfire of the Humanities (ISI Books, 2001); and with Heather MacDonald, and Steven Malanga, The Immigration Solution: A Better Plan Than Today’s (Ivan Dee 2007). He edited a collection of essays on ancient warfare, Makers of Ancient Strategy (Princeton University Press, 2010). Hanson has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, New York Post, National Review, Washington Times, Commentary, The Washington Post, Claremont Review of Books, American Heritage, New Criterion, Policy Review, Wilson Quarterly, Weekly Standard, Daily Telegraph, and has been interviewed often on National Public Radio, PBS Newshour, Fox News, CNN, and C-Span’s Book TV and In-Depth. He serves on the editorial board of the Military History Quarterly, and City Journal. Since 2001, Hanson has written a weekly column for National Review Online, and in 2004, began his weekly syndicated column for Tribune Media Services. In 2006, he also began thrice-weekly blog for Pajamas Media, Works and Days. Hanson was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz (BA, Classics, 1975, ‘highest honors’ Classics, ‘college honors’, Cowell College), the American School of Classical Studies, Athens (regular member, 1978-79) and received his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University in 1980. He divides his time between his forty-acre tree and vine farm near Selma, California, where he was born in 1953, and the Stanford campus.

8 Thoughts on “Was Benghazi a Scandal?

  1. Regardless of how we “assess” our dear beloved leader’s governance, the fact of the matter is he DID promise to “transform” this once great country when he ran for the first time. He DID it and continues “doing” it. It is sadden me to see how the American spirit that has had shone and permeated around the world (even though people envies of our country but down deep inside they are thankful that America is leading the world, not China, Russian, EU etc.) This spirit is dimming and fading each day as the conducive utopian view spreads like a cancer virus within the future of this country. For one thing I just don’t understand is- Why do we want to become like Europe when it is failing in very possible ways right in front of our eyes and some of the countries are “steering” away from this socialist model (i.e. who’d have thought some of Scandinavia countries) We have lost our identity w/ these narratives of inclusive, multiculturalism, and collectivism axiom. I am all for diversity for exchange of ideas and discussions but not on the main principles of liberty and freedom that was the foundation in building this great country. But it is evitable that every great civilization will succumb to its own success and we are on our way. It will be interesting if we can “see” the future and what this country will look like within the next two generations. For one thing that I know for sure, commnie DOES NOT end well. Speaking from experience of course.

  2. Myron Martin on June 10, 2014 at 1:41 pm said:

    An administration that will act lawlessly and willing to fabricate for political gain is certainly capable of creating a narrative for Bergdahl to use to vindicate himself. Unfortunately, the information will probably trash the solders of his unit. Would Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey do such a dishonorable deed in service to Obama and to the detriment of the USA? Of course they would and they probably have rehearsals underway with Bergdahl with the allure that if he remembers his lines he can become an American hero. Perhaps win a spot as a speaker at the Democratic convention in ’16.

  3. Stuart Milligan on June 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm said:

    The lies of Obama and his crew are now being delivered with smiles, because really, they’re too ridiculous to be delivered straight-faced. We’re already there, Dr. Hanson- the only hope that these freaks don’t own us outright is the possibility that we can prevent them from stealing the election again in 2016. Let’s not let it happen.

  4. Jeff Stanley on June 12, 2014 at 7:30 am said:

    Of course Lerner took the fifth, as was her constitutional right. The question is — when the possibility of a smoking gun smack-dab in the middle of the Oval Office desk seems highly likely — why didn’t the Republicans grant her immunity? Hmm? It’s a simple question.

  5. VDH, another great article. Why should the dems change? They lie, scheme, lose emails, cheat and STILL WIN… why should they stop.

  6. Arno on June 14, 2014 at 1:41 pm said:

    Benghazi illustrates the new guiding principle of US foreign policy: national security’s prime objective is to ensure that Obama is safe from criticism. Never mind everybody else’s safety. Obama is, in that sense, more equal than others.

  7. Doug Haas on June 16, 2014 at 11:49 am said:

    I am worried of the ripple effect this lawlessness will have on Americans.
    Will this behavior flow to citizens who see on a daily basis that there are no consequences for Your actions.

    Doug haas

  8. Michael D Marcus on June 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm said:

    Mr. Hanson,
    Over the years I have come to read many of your books and articles and seen many of your lectures and interviews. I perceive you as a wonderful example of the very best of liberal (not in the sense of current common usage of the word) education…intelligent, thoughtful, insightful and clear thinking.

    I am increasingly alarmed at the continued degrading of our quality of life and status as a nation. I hold the current administration to blame for many of these ills, as I know you do. I am heart-broke and sickened by the state of affairs, especially because of my family background. I am 2nd generation Greek/Italian. My grandparents came to the U.S as legal immigrants. They worked hard for the American dream. We fought hard, too. While not a “military family”, we served in WWI (grandfather), WWII (father and uncles), Vietnam (brother and me) and recently in Iraq and Afghanistan (my son). We served. We did our jobs and went back to our civilian lives. It wounds me to see the sacrifices that my family, and all the American families, have made, in service of this nation, being sacrificed at the altar of some harebrained ideology by this imperious president. It is counter to fundamental principles that built this nation.

    As such, I must ask you this honest question: have we not reached a point where this president can and should be impeached? What will it take for the this to happen?

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