Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Clinton Takes Responsibility For Benghazi, But Leaves All Critical Questions Unanswered

Sec. of State Clinton said this last night about the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi:

What she said is insufficient. If she was truly taking responsibility, she would have accompanied her mea culpa with a letter of resignation, or the heads of the "security professionals" who, she would tell us, made criminally reckless decisions. Instead, what Clinton gave us yesterday was a whimsical "my bad, sorry." Or to use the vernacular of Whoopi Goldberg, it wasn't 'taking responsibility taking responsibility.' It states the obvious, leaving all of the important questions regarding security, intelligence and foreign policy unanswered, and holding no one accountable.

Yes, as Clinton stated, the specific manning decisions for security in Benghazi would be made at the State Dept. and would never reach the White House. That said, if the decision to underman security in Benghazi irrespective of the actual threat was made in consideration of a policy, then we need to know where that policy originated. who approved it and why. That is either Clinton and or Obama. Bob Woodward highlighted this exact point several days ago on Fox News:

And then, of course, there is the now the well publicized testimony of LTC Wood, commander of a security detachment in Benghazi who begged the State Dept. for more security months in advance of the attack - "[f]or me, the Taliban was on the inside of the building. . ."

Moreover, there is the claim that "fog of war" lasted for near two weeks, during which time Susan Rice, Obama, Clinton and others in the administration claimed that this was a 'spontaneous' protest over a video that got out of hand. State Dept. officials who were in Benghazi on 9-11-12 have given a first hand account of what occurred on that day. To say that our intelligence agencies were mystified for weeks, let alone 24 hours, by the "fog of war" is utterly beyond belief. Charles Krauthammer highlighted that on a Fox News panel:

So that raises the next series of questions, regarding our intelligence capabilities. Who in our intelligence community briefed the White House and what was the sum of that briefing? Either our intelligence community has degraded to the level of the keystone kops or someone is lying to America. And further, we have been told again and again that our nation had no "actionable intelligence" regarding the Benghazi attack. Why not? Are we seeing degraded intelligence capabilities because of the President's decision to deal with al Qaeda almost solely through drone strikes and not through capture and interrogation?

Then there is the elephant in the room. If Obama was trying to deceive America about the nature of the Benghazi attack, why was he doing it? Others have answered that. Charles Krauthammer, in his column The Collapse of the Cairo Doctrine, points out that Salafism is resurgent in the Middle East, that Obama's "doctrinal premises were supremely naive" and that his policies have been "deeply corrosive to American influence." Laura Logan noted that Obama's deception runs deeper than just al Qaeda and the Benghazi attacks:

[O]ur government is downplaying the strength of our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a rationale of getting us out of the longest war. We have been lulled into believing that the perils are in the past: “You’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script.”

And indeed, twelve hours before the attacks on 9-11-12, I penned the following:

{The US. is experiencing] a false sense of security for no, we are not safer today. For the past eleven years, our soldiers and intelligence services have performed brilliantly. They have done all that we have asked of them. And yet, the future in the Middle East and, more particularly, as regards the radical Islamists, looks far more threatening today than it did on September 10, 2001.

I followed that prescient observation by noting that we have failed to engage in the war of ideas, and thus al Qaeda will be constantly regenerating in some form or another. This is not a 'war' that will end in 2014 as we turn off the lights in Afghanistan. Because we are not engaging in the war of ideas, this will be a conflict that will last for decades.

At any rate, the answers to all of the questions raised above were not answered by Hillary Clinton's whimsical acceptance of responsibility with no consequences. This is not a "political" diversion; it goes to the heart of our national security and the wages of four years of policy decisions by the Obama administration. It so happens that they are all encapsulated in the answers to why the Benghazi attack happened, why it succeeded, and why the Obama administration lied about it to America. Those are questions the Obama administration wants to avoid like the plague until after the first Tuesday in November. Those are questions America deserves answers to today.

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