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Benghazi Hearings, The 2016 Preemptive Strike

How scared is Rush Limbaugh and the right of Hillary?  [graphic via RushLimbaugh.com]

Graphic via RushLimbaugh.com

The express purpose now is to protect Hillary Clinton, to make sure none of this touches her. – Rush Limbaugh [Liberals Will Protect Hillary at All Costs]

THE BENGHAZI hearings today are trained on Hillary Clinton, which became clear if you’ve been listening to Republicans or Rush on right wing radio. The hyper partisan House Republicans and Rep. Darrell Issa intend to orchestrate a spectacle, which won’t offer any solutions or answer the real security questions, because that’s not their intention.

This is about casting blame, even though former Secretary Hillary Clinton already accepted full responsibility.

Amnesia has set in with Republicans, who are forgetting that it was James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who cut all references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points Ambassador Susan Rice was given on the Benghazi attack, with the CIA and FBI signing off. Neither the White House or the State Department made this change, all of which CBS News reported.

The arguments from Republicans and the right come from a hyper partisan view fueled by willful ignorance. The questions being asked and the accusations thrown around are not only 20-20 hindsight queries and charges, but the hypothetical solutions being offered sound like they’re attempting to recreate a movie scene, which has no root in reality.

The truth about our military capabilities that fateful day in Benghazi was stark.

“We didn’t have an official DOD presence in Libya. [Ayotte interrupts, asks again about "chartering a plane"] I would just reiterate, we didn’t have an official DOD presence in Libya.”Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey

Both CIA Director Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey have answered all the questions put to them, with both men respected by both sides.

In his remarks, Panetta said the initial reports of the attack were given “almost immediately” to the U.S. Embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Within 17 minutes, Panetta said, an unarmed, unmanned surveillance aircraft was dispatched to give U.S. officials a better idea of what was happening. It arrived at the site about 70 minutes after the attack, he said. Soon, Panetta and Dempsey met with President Barack Obama, the secretary told lawmakers. Obama ordered that the Defense Department respond to the attack with “all available DOD assets” and try to protect U.S. personnel, Panetta said.Panetta, Dempsey defend U.S. response to Benghazi attack

The Republicans and the right don’t want the truth. They can’t handle the truth, because it doesn’t comport to their wild conspiracy theories.

“The forces were moving… … There was no time or space available to be able to respond in time.”Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on C-SPAN

Suck on that a minute.

[...]

[...]

Now, if you want to go down the what if? road, you have to go all the way down it. If Obama hadn’t decided to bomb Libya in the first place, something I argued against from the start, we wouldn’t have gotten in the position of tenuously staking out a diplomatic mission inside a country that was teetering once you stepped outside Tripoli.

The Benghazi hearings today have nothing to do with solving security challenges in dangerous hot spots for our embassies and diplomats, let alone smaller consulates like where Chris Stevens was in Benghazi. It’s not about how to better fund our diplomatic security forces to make the diplomatic missions safer, because Republicans only want to cut the budget of the State Department or anything tied to soft power and diplomacy.

The real purpose of all this is to remind Hillary Clinton what it’s like to be back in the political arena. That there is a reason she was saying no to the presidency in interviews before she left the State Department. The Benghazi onslaught directed at Clinton is a preemptive strike before she decides to run to remind her what’s in store if she does. That she’s not going to walk to the White House if Republicans have anything to say about it. As if progressives are going to welcome her with open arms?

How Rush Limbaugh is coming at her, however, is personal, as it always is with the right. A partial transcript of Rush Limbaugh’s program on Wednesday:

Rush Limbaugh's fear of Hillary knows no end.

Graphic via RushLimbaugh.com

RUSH: In fact, I just got an e-mail during the break: “Rush, how long are the Democrats gonna try to protect Hillary on this? You would think by now, Rush, they might be sick and tired of trying to pull Hillary’s bacon out of the fire.”

[...] … no, no, no, no. Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president. She’s gonna be the first female president, and she’s gonna have the same insurance policies that Obama has as the first black president, i.e., you can’t criticize her or we’ll call you a sexist and a bigot.

…And can you imagine what a victory it would be to throw Hillary overboard? Forget that, folks, isn’t gonna happen.

The root of the problem lies in U.S. policy that is repeated again and again, leaving vulnerable diplomats, as well as soldiers, on the ground in dangerous places, while politicians and the chattering class all comfy at home rant and rave asking what happened this time?

The response by the Obama administration about what happened in Benghazi was poor. It came at the height of the 2012 election cycle, which compounded their reaction. The most harrowing element of the Benghazi attack is laid out in this ABC News report from October 2012. Read it and weep, because this is what happens when we bomb a country, decapitate their leader, waltz in with not enough security, with the Pentagon not supplying nearly enough security at our embassies, and includes a budget embarrassingly low for the diplomatic mission Ambassador Chris Stevens was leading.

McClatchy interviewed a judge who had visited Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya. An excerpt follows at the end of this article.

You want to know what diplomatic missions like Ambassador Stevens are about?

It’s about risk. Weighing it, deciding if it’s worth it, then taking your chances, because that’s your job. There are absolutely no guarantees, but Ambassador Stevens thought it was worth the effort. He gave his life and so did others.

If you think Rep. Darrell Issa’s hearing is about finding ways to prevent what happened in Benghazi from happening again you’re delusional.

[...] Security wasn’t much more advanced at the U.S. embassy, which Anderson entered after driving down an alley and through a gate. It was a far cry from the layers of security checks he’d encountered while working on similar legal initiatives in El Salvador and the Philippines. Anderson said he’d shrugged off the embassy’s vulnerability as “a work in progress.”

“I’m not critical of it. My impression was, ‘I’ve seen better,’ but, gosh, they’d only been there a short time,” he said. “We’re trying to win the hearts and minds of these people. Is it worth the risk? Yeah. We’re not selling our military power.”

Anderson was supposed to spend half an hour with the ambassador, but it stretched to double the allotted time as the two talked law, security and Middle Eastern politics. He said Stevens was worried about the struggle to build a police force. The ambassador didn’t like that so much of the policing was falling to the militias, former rebels who’d refused to disband and disarm after Gadhafi’s fall. Anderson said Stevens described tribalism and the proliferation of loose weapons as other threats to democracy building.

Anderson said he’d asked Stevens directly whether he was safe as an American visitor to Libya.

“He said, ‘Yeah, you’re pretty safe if you exercise caution, don’t go out at night and avoid certain neighborhoods,’ ” Anderson recalled. “He said, ‘It’s dangerous, no question. But use common sense and you’ll be OK.’ ”

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10 Responses to Benghazi Hearings, The 2016 Preemptive Strike

  1. secularhumanizinevoluter May 8, 2013 at 5:53 am #

    As usual the truth, facts and reality have nothing whatsoever to do with the obstructionist domestic terrorists in the House.
    And in 5-4-3-2-1…..we will be treated to the delusional bleatings of the wingnutesphere as resident spokesfolk for Limpy and his ilk along with the CDS crowd chime in.
    SSDD

  2. PeggySue May 8, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Politico had a piece up the other day [think you referenced it in another thread]–the Huckabee proclamation that this is Watergate-size scandal with some vague promise that Obama’s impeachment is a definite possibility. But Huckabee tipped his hand and said the only way his listeners could ensure that Obama’s neck was on the chopping block was if Repugs were successful in 2014–retain the House, take the Senate.

    So, I think this is a double-pronged attack. Hillary Clinton is definitely a target; they want to bring her down in case she runs in 2016. Her polling numbers are off the charts. And I agree–if she runs this is going to get very, very ugly.

    But the 2014 rallying call can’t be dismissed either. And for that, the GOP’s execution squad is using bigotry, hatred and lies to whip up the base. Promise them anything but promise them Obama’s head and he believers go wild. If you can convince your supporters that Barack Obama is a socialist/marxist Muslim, you can convince them of anything, everything.

    This is what the Republican Party has devolved to, a lower life form wriggling in the muck.

    • Ga6thDem May 8, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      The good news is that the GOP does not have enough of a base to win national elections anymore. And I predict that if Hillary runs, they are going to pull out the crap nonstop and piss off so many women in this country that she’ll win in a landslide.

      • fairmindedindependent May 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

        When it comes to general elections yes, but midterms are another story. I think the Republicans are going to do better than some imagine. There are many good Democrats leaving in 2014 and in states can swing either way. Tom Harkin of Iowa, that senate seat could go to anyone. West Virginia Senator Jay Rockerfeller is leaving and Shelly Moore Capito who is Republican is running for that seat and expected to win it, and Max Baucus of Montana. The list goes on. The Benegazi hearings are about putting a dent in Hilliary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run. They know she would win.

        • Ga6thDem May 9, 2013 at 6:17 am #

          I don’t know. I thought that the GOP was going to take the Senate in 2012 but it did not happen. If the GOP continues to put up bad senate candidates then I don’t think they are going to win the senate. Now if the house is a different story. The districts have been gerrymandered so as to keep the house in GOP hands.

    • Taylor Marsh May 8, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      I still think 2014 is going to be an NRA shoot out and competition on GOTV.

      Republicans are eyeing a congressional takeover through winning back the Senate.

  3. Ga6thDem May 8, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Yeah, Tayror do they even realize how stupid they look?

    1. The GOP has been attacking “bureaucrats” for decades and Stevens was definitely a government employee.

    2. This seems to be more about lathering up the base than anything else.

    3. The GOP simply is too stupid to realize that they don’t have any credibility anymore. I mean you can only scream about things like Whitewater which turned out to be nothing and Obama’s birth certificate which made them look even stupider before the majority of Americans just tune you out. And after Iraq in which thousands of American soldiers died for nothing and the GOP saw nothing wrong with that, Benghazi is small potatoes.

    • Taylor Marsh May 8, 2013 at 11:33 am #

      It’s a mostly fact-free festival, though when the facts surface you’ll likely be able to notice what is being said was already known.

      None of it is about preventing tragedies like Benghazi from happening again.

  4. DaGoat May 8, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    It’s ironic that this was what amounted to Obama’s 3 AM phone call and Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton end up taking most of the heat for it.

    Anyway as Taylor said the Obama response to Benghazi was poor. i think it’s a reasonable question to ask why that was. There have been some answers but they haven’t been very good. It also sounds like Gregory Hicks has some new takes on what happened, and it’s reasonable to hear them and also ask why such a principal figure wasn’t questioned by the review committee.

    Do I expect this hearing to accomplish much? Probably not since both parties will use it for their own purposes, either to attack the opposition or defend themselves. As with past hearings I don’t expect either side to fulfill the actual goal of the hearing.

    As far as I can tell most of the problems lie with either the Pentagon or the CIA, and not with Hillary. She was the one that stood up and took responsibility though – that may end up costing her or conceivably even helping her since no one else seems to want to act like a leader. By taking responsibility though she did leave herself open to continued criticism on Benghazi.

  5. newdealdem1 May 8, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    The Republicans lost today big time.

    Also, I believe in karma and karma descended upon the balloon heads of the GOP as they and the Fake News poopy-heads plan to massacre Hillary were interrupted by more commercially viable and American public obsessed “breaking news” story and more than one: the horrific ongoing story in Ohio and the breathlessly awaited jury verdict in the Jodie Arias case.

    Ah, poor dears, trumped by their own fevered, putrid partisan petards. :)

    “So, I think this is a double-pronged attack. Hillary Clinton is definitely a target; they want to bring her down in case she runs in 2016. Her polling numbers are off the charts. And I agree—if she runs this is going to get very, very ugly” PeggySue
    No doubt about it. It was ugly in the ’90′s and for 8 long years and then it was ugly in the primaries and it will be as you predict very, very ugly if Hillary runs. If she does, I’m certainly not looking forward to it but I am more prepared for it this time as prepared as Hillary has been for twenty years.

    “You want to know what diplomatic missions like Ambassador Stevens are about?

    It’s about risk. Weighing it, deciding if it’s worth it, then taking your chances, because that’s your job. There are absolutely no guarantees, but Ambassador Stevens thought it was worth the effort. He gave his life and so did others.” Taylor

    And, this very astute and knowledgeable analysis

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