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: 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.’ ”