January 16, 2014

Blaming Hillary Clinton for Benghazi.

From Amy Davidson's piece in The New Yorker (boldface added):
The talking-points controversy was always strangely misdirected—in part because, as this report makes clear, there is a lot that was substantively wrong with the way things were managed in Benghazi. That is true particularly if the subject of discussion is Hillary Clinton. She does not come out well in this report, in any part, although the Republican minority is more florid in its criticisms. The State Department made mistakes when she was its leader. One of the findings is that nothing changed even when “tripwires” meant to prompt an increase in security or suspension in operations had been crossed, and people in the Department knew it.

Why not? She doesn’t really have an answer; in the past, she has deflected questions by pointing out that Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who died in Benghazi, was someone she knew well and cared about; there is no doubt that he was. Despite her performance at a hearing last year, when she wondered why exactly what happened really mattered, callous indifference is not the answer here.... But her reluctance to change course may have been influenced by her heavy investment in the decision to take military action in Libya; the former defense secretary Robert Gates writes in his new memoir that hers was the voice that swayed the balance. (Joe Biden was on the other side.) Libya was one of the things she had managed in her stint as Secretary of State, for which she had been so praised. Also, again, Libya was supposed to be something we were done with; now it will be a question Hillary Clinton has to contend with in 2016, and, in fairness, rightly so.
Hillary has used her close association with Stevens as a reason not to blame her for what happened. She cared, specifically and personally, about him. But he cared about himself too, and he comes in for blame in that report for the circumstances of his own death. It looks to me — and, please, argue with me and correct me if I'm wrong — as though the idea of Libya was to win without putting our military personnel in the line of fire, and having seemingly won using that approach, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Stevens wanted to avoid needing to send our personnel in to provide security. They chose, for the sake of that image, to use Libyans for security, and that risk did not work out.

113 comments:

mccullough said...

Hillary's Benghazi problem is that she refuses to take responsibility. That's not leadership. It would be good for her to say that she and Stevens and the Obama administration made a strategic decision knowing the risks and the risks materialized.

Hillary's problem is she doesn't want to accept any responsibility for Libya because she doesn't know how it will shake out. If it becomes another terrorist haven, then people will hold her accountable for poor decisions.

Hillary in no way deserves to be President.

FleetUSA said...

I thought Stevens asked repeatedly for increased security but was rebuffed.

Hillary probably thought... been there done that. Move On.

FleetUSA said...

Hillary doesn't like to accept responsibility for anything.

Whitewater papers in her WH office.

"Try to remember..." "I don't remember..."

Mr. D said...

I'm still wondering why Stevens was there at all. It's strange that a sitting ambassador would be in harm's way like that, especially on 9/11.

SteveR said...

Well she wanted to be able to take credit and hoped to avoid responsibility. Regardless of the details (truth) and the type of analysis Ms Davidson provided here, I think she will get credit and avoid responsibility. At this point I have no faith in the process or the voters.

Revenant said...

Nobody, outside of a few nuts, thinks Hillary deliberately let the people in Benghazi be killed.

The accusation against her is that she screwed up and got people killed. That one of the people killed by her screw-up was a personal friend doesn't improve matters.

khesanh0802 said...

Lack of knowledge/experience in military tactics by our political leaders is going to produce this kind of thing again and again.
If there is a situation that is perceived as dangerous you do what you can to minimize the danger and provide for reinforcements if everything goes to hell. Our politicians (both sides of the aisle) have no longer had military experience. They believe that every thing is like the movies.
Hillary, and a bunch of other folks, should have been relieved of command for walking into this ambush unprepared.

Inga said...

I would be thrilled if Hillary didn't run. Elizabeth Warren would be a force to deal with. Those who want to bring up the "controversy" regarding her ethnicity will end up just looking sillyl and petty. Hillary's baggage is much more serious.

Shouting Thomas said...

Those who want to bring up the "controversy" regarding her ethnicity will end up just looking sillyl and petty.

Yes, observing that Warrent pretended to be Indian in order to game the quota system is just "silly and petty."

Warren is one of the most outrageous scam artists and liars to emerge on the contemporary political scene.

Figures she'd take in Inga, doesn't it?

madAsHell said...

I always wondered why Hilly took the SoS job under Obama. Maybe it was overcompensating for the dodging-sniper-bullets-in-Bosnia lie, or the empty CV. I'm sure Billy advised against it.

Ann Althouse said...

"I thought Stevens asked repeatedly for increased security but was rebuffed."

That's not the whole story. From the NYT story on the Senate report:

"It is also the first report to implicitly criticize Mr. Stevens, raising questions about his judgment and actions in the weeks before his death...

"At times, Mr. Stevens requested additional security personnel from the State Department in Washington. But the inquiry also found that in June 2012, around the time the threats were mounting, Mr. Stevens recommended hiring and training local Libyan guards to form security teams in Tripoli and Benghazi. The plan showed a faith in local Libyan support that proved misplaced on the night of the attack.

"During an Aug. 15, 2012, meeting on the deteriorating security around Benghazi that Mr. Stevens attended, a diplomat stationed there described the situation as “trending negatively,” according to a cable sent the next day and quoted in the report. A diplomatic security officer “expressed concerns with the ability to defend post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound.”

MayBee said...

It's so weird that we still have no idea what Obama was doing or saying during that time.

Ann Althouse said...

Trying to imagine what happened, I think Stevens wanted the happy-ending version of the story to fly, perhaps for Hillary, so she'd sail into the presidency, and he'd be there for her when she did. He put his life on the line as part of the propaganda of success, and it might have worked.

mccullough said...

I think it's fine for Stevens to willingly put his own life at risk. But it's a lot to ask the people around him to do so. His decisions didn't just lead to his death.

MadisonMan said...

Inga, what is the controversy with Warren's ethnicity, other than the fact that she used it to her advantage?

Dear Lord in Heaven, though, please let the next two candidates NOT BE SENATORS. SENATORS ARE NOT GOOD PRESIDENTS.

gerry said...

and, please, argue with me and correct me if I'm wrong — as though the idea of Libya was to win without putting our military personnel in the line of fire, and having seemingly won using that approach, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Stevens wanted to avoid needing to send our personnel in to provide security. They chose, for the sake of that image, to use Libyans for security, and that risk did not work out.

You may be correct about their motivations. Those motivations do not justify the imprisonment of a California whacko for exercising his First Amendment rights, however, or the deaths of marines and diplomatic staff, even if one of the staff was willing to die on a risk that might further Hillary's career. And I am sure he died with her name on his lips.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Inga,
Does Warren lying about her ethnicity not bother you?

LilyBart said...

"Elizabeth Warren would be a force to deal with. Those who want to bring up the "controversy" regarding her ethnicity will end up just looking sillyl and petty"

I don't know, I thought Warren looked pretty silly and petty claiming to be 'ethnic'.

I grew up in the same part of the country as she did, and we heard the same things around my house about our heritage (Cherokee Indian heritage, cheekbones, etc). However, I wouldn't have actually used that to claim to a university or employer that I was native American.

Matthew Sablan said...

Don't follow the squirrel about Warren guys; it's a distraction from the fact that Clinton is, to some extent, responsible for what happened as a result of the attack on Benghazi. The government could've handled it differently, but chose not to.

Dr Weevil said...

MayBee (12:52pm):

I think we can guess what he was doing during the attack. At the time, the White House schedule reported that his last appointment that day was with his doctor at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Since then, the White House website has been changed to say that he was in Bethesda, MD, but cut out any mention of the doctor. Are they worried someone might ask the obvious questions? Here they are:

1. What specific drugs did his doctor prescribe for him?

2. What specific drugs did he take, and in what quantities, between the doctor visit and the arrival of the news from Benghazi?

Yes, I know we have no legal right to know the answers to those questions, but I believe we do have a moral right to know whether the president of the United States was or was not incapacitated in a national emergency.

I strongly suspect that he had taken sleeping pills or antidepressants or worse, and that's why no one could get him to make a decision.

gadfly said...

"The idea of Libya was to win without putting our military personnel in the line of fire" is a political rather than military strategy - which has always left us with sometimes impossible, but always expensive, clean-up activities. Bush 41 would not commit ground troops into Iraq when Saddam was on the run in order to end the Gulf War and Clinton, of course, kept all ground troops (except for Ron Brown and Hillary) out of Bosnia. After all these years, the locations of both of these mini-wars remain hot.

paul a'barge said...

Hillary: She cared, specifically and personally, about him

Him: Dead.

surfed said...

The powers that be in the State Department having assessed the situation in Libya and the political lay of the land in the United States took their chances, rolled the dice and came up snake eyes.

Tank said...

To me the "problem" with Benghazi is not so much that we were unprepared, but rather:

1. We left those people there to die without any effort to save them or punish their killers and their killers' supporters.

2. The idiotic lying about it afterwards. A deliberate strategy to mislead us for political reasons.

Bob Boyd said...

Althouse said:
"Trying to imagine what happened, I think Stevens wanted the happy-ending version of the story to fly, perhaps for Hillary, so she'd sail into the presidency, and he'd be there for her when she did. He put his life on the line as part of the propaganda of success, and it might have worked."

So what does that tell us about Hillary? Her ambition trumps her judgement and the safety of her people?

Gahrie said...

"At times, Mr. Stevens requested additional security personnel from the State Department in Washington. But the inquiry also found that in June 2012, around the time the threats were mounting, Mr. Stevens recommended hiring and training local Libyan guards to form security teams in Tripoli and Benghazi. The plan showed a faith in local Libyan support that proved misplaced on the night of the attack.


Or, it showed an awarness that Washington D.C. and Clinton were going to continue to ignore his requests for troops, and decided to settle for what he could get.

RecChief said...

the questions for me have always been what did Clinton and Obama know, when did they know it, what did they do about it and why?

There might be excellent reasons for using local security, even with the accumulated evidence of unreliability in local security forces garnered from all over the middle east over the last 10 years, but the aftermath raises a lot of questions.

What was Stevens doing there? there might be national security reasons but obama and clinton play fast and loose with what is deemed national security information based on domestic political calculations rather than strategic calculations.

Was there a stand down order? why was that given? who gave it? Given obama's and clinton's ambivalence toward the military, this seems like an important question (and when it went bad, you cut these guys loose- A Few Good Men)

There seems to be a problem with taking responsibility in this White House.

Matthew Sablan said...

If I recall, Stevens actually thought things were going well. He'd take rides through the streets; the people seemed to love him. It may not have been political calculus at all. He may just have honestly thought that could rely on Libyan guards.

garage mahal said...

Don't follow the squirrel about Warren guys; it's a distraction from the fact that Clinton is, to some extent, responsible for what happened as a result of the attack on Benghazi.

Everything is a distraction! LOL

[And by your logic, Bush is responsible for 9/11 and 3000 deaths.]

David said...

The facility was an open invitation for an attack. It was bad judgment to have it there, if powerful security was not available. This may have partly been Stevens own bad judgment, though it's hard to believe that he had many illusions given all the time he had spent in the region. Thus the other possible reasons are compelling personal interest on Stevens part (cultivating Hillary?) or compelling institutional interest despite the risks. (What was the CIA involvement for?)

Bottom line is that Hillary was responsible for the judgment to hold that facility open. She had to know the security was inadequate. If she did not know, she should have. It was on her watch, in a high priority country she had taken a personal interest in.

Who signed that security waiver? My bet is that Hillary did. Or someone at her direction.

RecChief said...

Althouse said...
"Mr. Stevens recommended hiring and training local Libyan guards to form security teams in Tripoli and Benghazi. The plan showed a faith in local Libyan support that proved misplaced on the night of the attack."

Maybe after being rebuffed on increasing security, he asked for the next best thing? I've done that many times myself, in the military.

Matthew Sablan said...

Also, there's this that shows that there seems to be a LOT of failure to spread around.

Matthew Sablan said...

"[And by your logic, Bush is responsible for 9/11 and 3000 deaths.]"

-- This, by the way, is another example of an attempt to distract from the actual discussion.

garage mahal said...

- This, by the way, is another example of an attempt to distract from the actual discussion.

LOL!

Rusty said...

Ann Althouse said...
Trying to imagine what happened, I think Stevens wanted the happy-ending version of the story to fly, perhaps for Hillary, so she'd sail into the presidency, and he'd be there for her when she did. He put his life on the line as part of the propaganda of success, and it might have worked.

What story needed a happy ending? What was he doing there in the first place?


"At times, Mr. Stevens requested additional security personnel from the State Department in Washington. But the inquiry also found that in June 2012, around the time the threats were mounting, Mr. Stevens recommended hiring and training local Libyan guards to form security teams in Tripoli and Benghazi. The plan showed a faith in local Libyan support that proved misplaced on the night of the attack.

The original story was that STATE refused to send any more security and recommended that they use locals.

Ralph Hyatt said...

" They chose, for the sake of that image, to use Libyans for security"

Which, to me, non-diplomat that I am, seems obviously stupid.

I can think of any number of reasons why that was a bad idea without even thinking very hard.

For instance, why would the Libyan security people risk their lives for American diplomats. What's to keep them from taking the money and bolting at the first sign of trouble.

Which is, of course, exactly what happened, that and some of the Libyan guards turned out to be working for Al-Qaeda.

This isn't just 20/20 hindsight. When asked for their input on this the U.S. Military had to have brought this up.

An additional issue is, even if the mercenaries don't run (cause, you know, no actual loyalty to prevent them from doing so) how well are they going to be able to fight?

What training do they have? Are they even familiar with the concept of small unit tactical maneuver? Do they trust each other enough to watch each others' backs? What is the chain of command and how well do they follow it? If a leader is killed or incapacitated is someone else going to be able to step into that role?

Believe it or not, people with 20+ years careers in the military who spend large amounts of time thinking about issues like that do actually bring something to the table.

Inga said...

Matthew, it's not a squirrel. I have said Hillary has some major baggage, Benghazi is part of it. I do not absolve her of any blame, however I do not place it entirely on her alone. The Senate report indicates it was a perfect storm of sorts, blame goes to several different parties.

RecChief said...

The plan showed a faith in local Libyan support that proved misplaced on the night of the attack.

This sentence looks like a NYT construct. I gave up trusting in the NYT's conclusions long ago.

RecChief said...

perfect storm? so it was an act of God? An act of God that made "it was a spontaneous reaction to a video" just pop out of their mouths?

exhelodrvr1 said...

Bob Boyd,
"Her ambition trumps her judgement and the safety of her people?"

Fits with what Gates wrote in his book about her and Obama.

Hagar said...

I think a faction of Hillary!'s State Dept., with assistance of like-minded people at the CIA and Defense, had been doing something they should not have done in Libya, and Stevens probably was part of it. It has to be something they all could be in a lot of trouble for - legally as well as politically - if it became public knowledge to the point that the media had no choice but to take notice of it, in order to account for the immediate panic reaction, and the most peculiar defensive maneuvers and stone-walling since.

Humperdink said...

Since HRC's arrival on the national scene, I am hard pressed to see any tangible accomplishments.

During the former Command
er-in-Heat's tenure, she stood by her man. Well, there's that.

As junior carpetbagging senator from New York via Arkansas and DC, I can think of nothing that would distinguish her while in office.

The Benghazi disaster appears to be her only measurable accomplishment. And we have an anti-Islam video to prove it.

teej said...

"They chose, for the sake of that image, to use Libyans for security, and that risk did not work out."

He chose poorly.

Inga said...

Rec Chief, when I say perfect storm, I'm not indicating it was an act of God, leaving humans blameless. What I mean is that there were a set of circumstances which included bad decisions by several people which culminated in the death of the four. Why do some folks insist on misstating or misinterpreting comments?

Hagar said...

Anyone remember Ollie North and the Iran-Contra scandal and all the trouble that caused the Reagan administration?

Curious George said...

Stevens wanted Marines, Hillary got him some.

What's all the hubbub about?

C R Krieger said...

I agree that this was an attempt to continue doing this without "boots on the ground".  That is not necessarily a bad thing.  However, if it is coupled with a desire to prove we are beating al Qaeda (see Dana Milbanks a couple of days ago and this Fisking), then it might be a case of hope over reality and that is bad policy.

And the earlier note about the video maker in California is smack on.  It is poor form to jump to blame an American for exercising his or her First Amendment rights for some action by foreigners.  That can only lead in the wrong direction.

For Inga: As for Senator Warren, the one thing you can be sure of is that she didn't make that herself—she told us as much.

Regards  —  Cliff

MayBee said...

Dr. Weevil-
Very interesting. I did not know that about the doctor and the schedule.

It wouldn't surprise me if Obama is on a long term medication of some sort. The non- release of his medical records has always seemed odd to me.

Brando said...

I would like nothing more than to see that no Clinton shall ever be in the White House again (and whatever my other issues with Obama, I'll always be thankful that he stopped her coronation in 2008) but I'm still not seeing anything all that scandalous about Benghazi. There may have been some degree of incompetence or understandable mistakes that led to the deaths there (as well as the failure of the Libya adventure overall) but has anything really been closely tied to Hillary? If she personally made the call to not provide security over Stevens' request, or something like that, I'd understand. But at least from what's publicly available I'd say the opposition is going to have to find something better by 2016.

You've got a couple years--come up with something!

MayBee said...

Was Mitt Romney even asked to release his medical records during the election?

R. Chatt said...

My extrapolation: Obama's administration believed/believes his own fantasies about peaceful Islam and Muslims. (for example, "The Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular." James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence) From my understanding Stevens was in Benghazi arranging or trying to arrange shipment of weapons from Libya to the opposition forces in Syria. He believed that rebel tribal forces would be friendly because we helped to liberate Libya and they would willingly hand over the weapons they had acquired. He forgot all about that pesky jihad doctrine which trumps friendships with infidels. So yeah, that was his own fault plus his willingness to go along with Obama's policy.

Obama's admin denying the terrorism, blaming the youtube video for everything and abandoning people there to die is something I will never forget.

The next big question is will Iran produce their nuclear bomb before 2016? Hillary won't have a chance if they do.

Matthew Sablan said...

"If she personally made the call to not provide security over Stevens' request, or something like that, I'd understand."

-- Being in charge of State, she is responsible. If she had managed the follow-up well, gotten answers, and done a thorough investigation, then she could have salvaged it. "Yes, something went wrong, but I fixed it when it came to my attention."

Instead, she allowed the country to be misled into thinking this was an act of public protest over bad art instead of terrorist action.

MayBee said...

Answering my own question:
I see Romney and Ryan both released medical letters, as Obama had done in 2008. Apparently starting a new, less transparent and less intrusive trend

I can't find that Obama released anything in 2012.

Matthew Sablan said...

Not sure if they were ever ASKED to give out health info, but they did. Not as extensive as McCain's, but still a lot.

Matthew Sablan said...

[Well, a lot, considering they're giving it to random strangers. But, yeah. Expect fewer and fewer disclosures like this in the future.]

Hagar said...

The idea of something going on in Benghazi - a pre-existing condition, so to speak - would also tend to explain the conflicting orders and contra-orders flying around on the night of the attack and the all-around Sergeant Schulz responses since.

garage mahal said...

Not sure if they were ever ASKED to give out health info, but they did. Not as extensive as McCain's, but still a lot

Distraction. ↑

Matthew Sablan said...

Hagar: General incompetence could also explain that though.

Revenant said...

Elizabeth Warren would be a force to deal with.

Obama beat his Republican opponent by 23% in Massachusetts.

Riding those coattails and with a ringing endorsement from him in her pocket, Warren beat her Republican opponent by... 8%. In one of the most left-wing states in America.

Force to be reckoned with? Hm. :)

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe it wasn't ultimately Hillary's call, but a political decision made by the WH during the run-up to the election.
Maybe they told State to just hang on for a couple months so Libya would appear to be an unqualified success achieved without US troops on the ground in stark contrast to Bush/Iraq.
Hillary can't very well point fingers now. She may have even supported the decision.

RecChief said...

What I mean is that there were a set of circumstances which included bad decisions by several people which culminated in the death of the four.

Yes, and the question before us is which of those bad decisions were made by obama, which were made by clinton, and what have they done to take responsibility for those decisions? your use of "perfect storm" implies that no one is really responsible.

and my reading of "perfect storm" is not deliberately misstating or misinterpreting what you said. that is why I had question marks there. those were questions to see if my reading was correct.

Revenant said...

Being in charge of State, she is responsible

You know, I don't think that's necessarily true or fair. The Secretary of State isn't personally responsible for the security of embassies. We have an entire State Department for that. Ditto for Obama and the US military.

The problem I have with Benghazi is that we're just being told "it isn't Hillary's fault. It isn't Barack's fault". Ok, well, whose fault is it then? Why has nobody been fired over a fuck-up of this magnitude? If Obama isn't responsible it is because he delegated the task. Ok: to who? Ditto for Hillary.

If they aren't responsible, who IS? Why is it that we don't know this person's name yet? Why have we not seen a news article about their firing yet?

Maybe it is a September 11th thing. Nobody was held responsible for the failures of 9/11/01, why should 9/11/12 be different?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Hillary's problem isn't that mistakes were made and lives were lost, her problem is how she handled the aftermath. It will be interesting to see if the fallout gets bad enough for her to throw Obama under the bus at some point.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FullMoon said...

Cut and paste:
Hillary Clinton joked with a TV news reporter moments after she learned that Muammar Gaddafi had been killed in Libya.

She told the reporter: 'We came, we saw, he died' as she learned of the dictator's grisly end.

When the TV reporter asked if her recent visit to Libya had anything to do with Gaddafi's downfall, the Secretary of State quipped: 'No,' then rolled her eyes before adding 'I'm sure it did.'

So, how are things going in Libya?


Hagar said...

The problem for either is to get the other under the bus, but remain standing and dry with no splashes oneself.

MnMark said...

Has anyone seen an explanation of why no help was sent when they were under attack? Back when this happened, the story was that two of the deceased were military contractors who held off attackers for something like 8 hours, killing more than 60 of them, before being killed.

If it's true that they held out for that long, I find it hard to believe that there was no U.S. military help within 8 hours of Benghazi.

There was also a story that some high-level commanders were relieved of duty when they began to send help against the orders from Washington. Does anyone know what became of that story?

MayBee said...

You would think, considering Obama sent us into Libya without authorization from Congress, it would have been of special interest to him.

Did he ever ask anyone how the security situation was over there? Had he noticed when Britain and the ared Cross has been bombed out of there? Did he ever talk to Chris Stevens?

There were pretty special circumstances going on there, all set in motion by Obama. Did he follow up?

cubanbob said...

Hillary has used her close association with Stevens as a reason not to blame her for what happened. She cared, specifically and personally, about him. But he cared about himself too, and he comes in for blame in that report for the circumstances of his own death. It looks to me — and, please, argue with me and correct me if I'm wrong — as though the idea of Libya was to win without putting our military personnel in the line of fire, and having seemingly won using that approach, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Stevens wanted to avoid needing to send our personnel in to provide security. They chose, for the sake of that image, to use Libyans for security, and that risk did not work out. "

To cut to the chase take the Contra part of Iran-Contra and mix it with The Bay of Pigs and you get Benghazi although as Hillary said "at this point what difference does it make"?

traditionalguy said...

OK, the Image War is for domestic politics and also for making the Muslims believe we have no will to kill the SOBs.

Hillary has a point that the dead cannot be brought back by a Board of Inquiry into harsh truths. But future deaths and defeats CAN BE PREVENTED. Ergo: Hillary is a two bit sleazy murderer.

cubanbob said...

Revenant said...
Being in charge of State, she is responsible

You know, I don't think that's necessarily true or fair. The Secretary of State isn't personally responsible for the security of embassies. We have an entire State Department for that. Ditto for Obama and the US military."

It comes with the territory. yes she was responsible to leave them there without proper security in a know dangerous location. Now if this had happened in Ottawa you would have a point but in a country such as Libya at that time no excuse at all.

MnMark said...

As for Hillary being president: since it is demographically inevitable that the left will eventually choose every president, I would love for Hillary to be the first female President, and right after Obama. A one-two punch of diversity to the nation's gut. Let Hillary, with all of her baggage, her sour personality, her incompetence, and her side-show husband, be the public face of what left-wing leadership of this country leads to.

Bob Salsa said...

The cherry picking from the Report's noting the perfunctory requests for security is pretty indicative of the predisposition of typical Obama/Clinton haters. They do NOT mention the Report's note of Stevens specifically turning down, twice, increased detailed security measures offered by General Ham, the in-theater commander. Stevens read the situation wrong - and died for it. Clinton/Obama are gracious enough not to blame a dead hero; GOP knows that and tries, solely for political reasons, to fill the vacuum with their dark fantasies that their base will inherently enjoy. Hypocritical GOP has tried to reduced embassy security budgets for years. Yes, Stevens worked for Clinton/Obama, but exactly what info, from where, would give them grounds to override the in-country ambassador - only the clueless would suggest there was.

Brando said...

For the commenters noting that the buck stops with Hillary at State, I agree with that, however I don't think that's particularly effective in the upcoming election. A Sec. of State may be responsible ultimately for security at embassies, but that's really something delegated far down--sort of like how a President is ultimately responsible for the military, but Bush couldn't really be blamed for abuses at Abu Ghraib (despite his critics attempts to do so). Nixon only really got in trouble over Watergate when the scandal tied to decisions and actions he personally took. Same deal with Christie's bridge scandal now.

More effective right now is the fact that her tenure as SOS has not exactly been a success--"reset" with Russia? Zero progress on North Korea? Arab Spring getting us a loss of an ally in Egypt and a worse-than-Gaddaffi case in Libya? Hopefully the Democrats don't all part the waters for her, though, because I can easily see the GOP blowing it for the third time in 2016.

Revenant said...

It comes with the territory. yes she was responsible to leave them there without proper security in a know dangerous location.

In 2005, the IRS mistakenly told me I owed them additional money. I corrected them and the problem went away. George W. Bush was responsible for that mistake; he's the head of the executive branch and has ultimately responsibility for seeing that taxes are fairly and accurately collected.

But let's get real: the government is huge, so the people in charge delegate. Keeping the people in embassies *safe* is not the primary responsibility of the Secretary of State. A secretary of state who actually devoted the time necessary to reviewing security at our hundreds of compounds would have no time to do his or her *actual* job of supervising foreign relations.

Come on, now, be honest. How many of the people baying for Obama and Hillary's heads over Benghazi wanted Bush held personally accountable for the thousands of people who died on September 11, 2001? Is "preventing foreigners who are sworn enemies of the United States from killing thousands of Americans on US soil" somehow NOT the job responsibility of the man who controls the military, the intelligence services, and all the federal police forces? Let's try to not apply a double standard here.

khesanh0802 said...

Didn't the NYT just publish a piece about Benghazi and how it was, in fact, the movie or a spontaneous uprising that no one could have foreseen? You think they will retract that piece?

Fen said...

She cared, specifically and personally, about him.

Vince Foster too.

n.n said...

There were two failures in Benghazi. First, the mitigation strategy before the attack. Second, the response once the attack was underway. While Clinton may have been responsible for the former, Obama was responsible for the latter.

Fen said...

"blame goes to several different parties."

I know this game: Everyone's responsible so no one actually is.

pst314 said...

"You can't accuse me of being callous and indifferent. Why, some of my best friends are dead ambassadors."

Hagar said...

If the reason for the Benghazi attack was State-CIA-Defense activities that could not stand the light of day (domestically speaking that is), that very much is a problem for Hillary!, as her part in the "cover up" clearly shows that whatever it was, she was in on it.

Fen said...

She cared, specifically and personally, about him.

Vince Foster too.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Revenant,
I realize you're probably being stupid on purpose, but just in case:
1) If she wasn't directly responsible (as in personally acknowledging the security limitations), she should have been, considering the instability in the area. So at a minimum she deserves a very high level of criticism for decisions of that nature being made without her knowledge.

2) The larger issue (IMO) is her involvement in the coverup and her lack of cooperation in the post-Benghazi analysis.

So you have either
1) a serious level of ineptitude combined with a coverup, or
2) a serious deficiency in delegation, combined with a coverup.

Either case serious to the point that she should have either resigned or been fired.

Seeing Red said...

Revenant, this was her job. She got the 3PM phone call and FAILED.

She lied, 4 people died.

B said...

Benghazi is not about the attack itself. Anybody dealing with failed Islamic states, no matter how informed or experienced they are, faces the risk of any policy they initiate or endorse exploding.

The issue is and has always been why their was no US response to pull those folks out before the number of US deaths effectively doubled. That overt fact and the more subtle fact that the survivors have not spoken up leads me to believe that something very very hinky was going on.

Mike said...

The reason we don't have a clear understanding of the whole Benghazi mess is because:

1. The report does not provide the whereabouts of the Commander in Chief during the critical time when the attack was happening, so we don't know what he said and did, if anything.

2. He has always made self-serving and elliptical comments but never answered what did he know and when did he know it, nor what did he do and what happened to the orders he issued (assuming one of his "stories" about issuing an order is true).

3. He and his SOS Clinton blatantly lied about the events in Benghazi, did so repeatedly and with gusto, even to the po9int of telling relatives of the deceased that "We'll get the guy who made that video" -- all the while knowing full well the video had zero bearing on the events in question.

4. The media have collectively shown almost no interest in the events that cost Americans their lives, and in fact did as much as possible (cough...cough..Candy!) to obscure the actual facts of the event.

5. Hilary! simply straight-armed her way through the Congressional hearing with a blithe "What difference...does it make?" callousness. She did not assist the families, the media or the sworn representatives of the People in determining the facts.

That one despicable performance in item #5 is a good enough reason not to trust her with any public authority again...ever. There's much more but what else do you need?

Smilin' Jack said...

...Hillary Clinton and Christopher Stevens wanted to avoid needing to send our personnel in to provide security.

The Marines provide security for every American embassy in the world.

B said...

Globally addressing a few comment points:

In my opinion, no serving POTUS, Obama included, should reveal any medical info or status publicly and that includes during a re-election campaign. We have to depend on the POTUS to make the right decision on when/if/why he has to give over decision making in a health crisis and for how long.

Touting an Elizabeth Warren run for the presidency is asinine. She has less political experience than Obama did before running, does not share his charisma or mellifluous way of talking....she is no Barack. She was able to stonewall the fake Cherokee baggage when it was only the Massachusetts media vetting her but not nationally. It tool a full court press by Mass democrats and media and a lot of lying about Brown's positions and especially voting records plus hiding Warren's iffy history to win by only 8% in Mass.

Thinking she has a chance at the Oval ofice is like the idiots saying Alan Grayson should run. As a matter of fact, when Warren gets going in front of people already disposed to vote for her, she comes off a lot like Grayson - a fanatic.

By the way, there are lefty sites on the net that actually promote a Warren/Grayson ticket.

Revenant said...

If she wasn't directly responsible (as in personally acknowledging the security limitations), she should have been, considering the instability in the area.

Because Hillary Clinton is, of course, an expert in providing physical security for embassy compounts. You definitely wouldn't want someone like, say, a soldier or a CIA official in charge of that shit. No, when you really want security done right, you want an ex-lawyer on the job. Most definitely.

Look, I think Clinton has been a terrible Secretary of State and would make a worse President. But the idea that *she* is responsible for embassy security and not, say, the people who draw six-figure salaries for jobs with titles like "Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security"? It stinks of desperation.

The larger issue (IMO) is her involvement in the coverup and her lack of cooperation in the post-Benghazi analysis.

I already pointed out in my original comment that the real problem was that nobody had been held accountable and the names of those responsible hadn't been made public. My objection was simply to the "Hillary was personally responsible for the deaths" nonsense.

Bob Ellison said...

Chris Stevens, an obviously patriotic and talented guy, was probably gay. This is the 800-pound gorilla. Andrew Sullivan, call your office.

Revenant said...

Revenant, this was her job. She got the 3PM phone call and FAILED. She lied, 4 people died.

Like I said, you can take that view if you want to. But under that standard, Bush's FAILURE killed approximately 7500 Americans -- around 3k on 9/11, 4.5k in Iraq.

That's an average of one Benghazi every day and a half, for eight years.

If you want to hold the top executives responsible, hey, go for it. But be consistent.

befinne said...

Clinton and the rest of the administration told and retold the bad video story. even to the family members receiving the bodies of the slain. Simple, blatant lies.

befinne said...

Clinton and the rest of the administration told and retold the bad video story. even to the family members receiving the bodies of the slain. Simple, blatant lies.

paminwi said...

After the British Ambassador's car was bombed there was an offer by General Ham to add more security. That offer was turned down 2X. There were military people who knew nothing good was going to come of this situation and the numbskulls who make these decisions based on politics are the ones who should be there as sitting ducks.

As was asked "where the hell were all those political people?" when there was an American sitting on a rooftop for 20 hours with a blown up leg waiting to be rescued?

Dear God, this actually keep getting worse and worse every single day!

Rusty said...

Who gave the order to stand down?

Broomhandle said...

It's not the mistakes, it's the idiotic, transparent lies afterward. Their contempt for the American people could not be more obvious.

Paul said...

I don't blame Hillary for all of what happened at Benghazi, but I blame her for stonewalling and never accepting the responsibility for it.

But really, she had Bill for an example so what do you expect?

pm317 said...

Hillary took responsibility for lack of security. What I want to know is where Obama was during the attack and what he did. Unless Hillary spills the beans on that question, Benghazi will be an albatross around her neck in 2016. She is damned if she does and damned if she didn't. And she got herself into this mess associating with that incompetent guy.

damikesc said...

Who else should be blamed?

She was in charge of the Department.

The two people who SHOULD be blamed are Obama and her because, ULTIMATELY, it is THEIR job to fix the problems.

Elizabeth Warren would be a force to deal with. Those who want to bring up the "controversy" regarding her ethnicity will end up just looking sillyl and petty.

Lying to get racial set asides in her favor is silly and petty?

It shows she is quite willing to blatantly lie.

I PRAY she wins the nomination and every conservative group out there nails Fauxcahontas to the wall. Over and over.

She is as unlikeable as Hillary and a bit of a dimbulb to boot.

[And by your logic, Bush is responsible for 9/11 and 3000 deaths.]

A year after 9/11, NOTHING changed? Really?

Also, Bush was in office for 8 months when 9/11 happened. Obama had been in office for over 42 months when Benghazi happened.

I do not absolve her of any blame, however I do not place it entirely on her alone.

There is, literally, zero evidence that Ken Lay had any part in the accounting scandals that killed Enron. He did not know about it.

Does that ABSOLVE him? Or is it only in government when the least responsible person is the person "in charge"?

Do you know being "in charge" means? It means it is YOUR job to fix the problems. If your underlings fail you, it is YOUR job to fire them and fix the problems.

Clinton is responsible. Obama is responsible. That comes with the whole power thing. Power with no responsibility is a terrifying concept.

What I mean is that there were a set of circumstances which included bad decisions by several people which culminated in the death of the four.

Who's responsible? The person in charge.

Bush was personally blamed for the prisoner abuse done by a few random soldiers in Iraq.

You know, I don't think that's necessarily true or fair. The Secretary of State isn't personally responsible for the security of embassies. We have an entire State Department for that. Ditto for Obama and the US military.

Rev, got to disagree. Ultimately, it is her job to fix everything. Those that have the power have the largest responsibility for everything.

That's the agreement when you're given a lot of responsibility, lots of money, and major gov't benefits.

I can't think of a CEO of any private entity who wouldn't have been fired for similar things. If Walmart had a cashier who stole credit card data and the CEO didn't fire them, the CEO would've been booted.

Because Hillary Clinton is, of course, an expert in providing physical security for embassy compounts. You definitely wouldn't want someone like, say, a soldier or a CIA official in charge of that shit. No, when you really want security done right, you want an ex-lawyer on the job. Most definitely.

Power without responsibility is the worst possible idea humanity has ever devised.

You keep saying she isn't responsible...but who the heck is if not the person IN CHARGE OF THE DEPARTMENT?

And comparing Benghazi to 9/11 is absurd. Quite bluntly, the attack had zero to do with any actionable info. We knew 1) they were going to use planes and 2) they scouted federal buildings in NYC. No fed buildings were hit and shutting down air traffic nationally forever was not an option.

Sending in troops to try and rescue people in an hours long conflict is quite actionable.

But the idea that *she* is responsible for embassy security and not, say, the people who draw six-figure salaries for jobs with titles like "Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security"? It stinks of desperation.

Did that person get fired by her?
No? Then that means she APPROVES of the job done.

Thus, SHE is responsible. In the end, it is all on her and Obama. Literally nobody else.

Seeing Red said...

You really want to revisit the
90s Rev?

93 95 96 98 2000

and 9/11 is W's fault?

They spent years getting our attention. ICBM Camel Butt.

EMD said...

Let's play the supercynical game.

Maybe Stevens was involved in weapon-running through Turkey to Syrian rebels.

Maybe the embassy was supposed to be attacked.

Maybe Stevens was supposed to die.

Maybe the place was supposed to be looted.

(takes tin foil hat off)

C R Krieger said...

Smilin' Jack said...
...Hillary Clinton and Christopher Stevens wanted to avoid needing to send our personnel in to provide security.

"The Marines provide security for every American embassy in the world."

I don't think that is exactly correct. Marines provide security at the Embassy, including for the Ambassador and the classified material.  We depend on the Host Nation for a lot of the rest of the security.  Or we hire folks.  My guess is that Benghazi was beyond the responsibility of the Marine contingent.

Regards  —  Cliff

Revenant said...

Who else should be blamed? She was in charge of the Department.

And by that token, every single bad thing done either by or to the military or executive branch of the US government between 1/01 and 1/09 should be blamed entirely on George Bush.

His incompetence killed three thousand Americans on US soil. You expect Americans to give a good hard shit about your obsession with Hillary's *four* dead Americans in *Libya*? Heh.

Revenant said...

Did that person get fired by her?
No? Then that means she APPROVES of the job done.


Similarly, Bush approved of letting a bunch of known Muslim terrorists enter the country and kill thousands of people. Because nobody got fired for THAT, either.

Of course, the non-retarded explanation for the lack of firings is that firings require a tacit admission that things could have been done better. Bush couldn't fire anybody without admitting that his administration fucked up, and Obama can't fire anybody for the same reason.

Obama (and Hillary) faced the additional problem have having already committed to the story (*before* the attacks) that al Qaeda was on the run. With an election underway they had no political choice but to lie about the nature of the Benghazi attacks, just like Bush had no political choice but to lie about the difficulties we were facing in Iraq by late '04. The middle of an re-election campaign is no time to admit that the decisions you made in your first term were, in retrospect, retarded.

There is no need for conspiracy theories. The truth was embarrassing, so they came up with a less-embarrassing cover story. This happens every day in and out of government.

Kirk Parker said...

Brando,

" I'm still not seeing anything all that scandalous about Benghazi"

You've got to be kidding:

1. We had some military assets, that may have been of assistance, who were told to stand down. Exactly who make this call, and when?

2. The preposterous coverup/distraction afterward, and especially the fact that we haven't heard from any of the survivors. Your mileage obviously varies, but for me that's a pretty impeachable offense all by itself.


Rev,

with all due respect, you're missing the point about responsibility at the top. Yes, yes, of course the CEO can't involve themselves in day-to-day operations of a single facility. But when that same facility is in an urgent, life-threatening crisis? That's a different matter. And that doesn't mean taking over the job of Chief of Security, it involves making sure the Chief of Security has what he needs to give his attention to the matter, and is actually doing so.

Rusty said...


His incompetence killed three thousand Americans on US soil.


FDR did better than that.

I like the moral equivalency game.

A plane did not fly into he Pentagon.
UFOs are real.
Elvis is still alive.

Rusty said...

There is no need for conspiracy theories. The truth was embarrassing, so they came up with a less-embarrassing cover story. This happens every day in and out of government.

No. This was a little different.
A scapegoat was needed so a man was denied his constitutional liberties in order to make their lies work. Politburo stuff.

Who gave the order to stand down?

Michael said...

With Obama and Hillary, it's always about how it looks and not what it is. It's about the short and medium term political fallout and not about policy or national interest or what's going on in the "real world." For them, the real world is their personal ambition.

damikesc said...

And by that token, every single bad thing done either by or to the military or executive branch of the US government between 1/01 and 1/09 should be blamed entirely on George Bush.

They were, in case you missed it. Bush was personally blamed for Abu Gharib by the fucking Democrats in Congress. He was blamed for "torture" personally. Were you in a coma for 8 years?

His incompetence killed three thousand Americans on US soil. You expect Americans to give a good hard shit about your obsession with Hillary's *four* dead Americans in *Libya*? Heh.

His incompetence?

OK, he could've shut down all air traffic nationally forever and deported all Muslims.

Both...really, plausible alternatives as opposed to, you know, sending troops in to save Americans being attacked for hours.

Really, exact same thing.

Similarly, Bush approved of letting a bunch of known Muslim terrorists enter the country and kill thousands of people.

Given that they were here before he came into office, you might want to rethink this analogy a bit more.

Of course, the non-retarded explanation for the lack of firings is that firings require a tacit admission that things could have been done better. Bush couldn't fire anybody without admitting that his administration fucked up, and Obama can't fire anybody for the same reason.

See, I can name something Obama and Clinton could've done in Benghazi that they didn't do.

Send in troops.

You keep saying "Bush fucked up with 9/11" without saying what he could've done that he didn't do.

Using your "logic", Lincoln sure fucked up by having hundreds of thousands of Americans killed.

Obama (and Hillary) faced the additional problem have having already committed to the story (*before* the attacks) that al Qaeda was on the run. With an election underway they had no political choice but to lie about the nature of the Benghazi attacks, just like Bush had no political choice but to lie about the difficulties we were facing in Iraq by late '04.

Might want to re-read what Bush said about Iraq. Said it was going to be very difficult from start to finish.

damikesc said...

Honestly, Rev, you're hitting Sullivan and Klein levels of idiocy here.

El Rondo said...

Bush Benghazis Brought No Republican Outrage

Republicans are hypocrites!

El Rondo said...

Bush Benghazis Brought No Republican Outrage

Republicans are liars and losers.

MARK TRAINA said...

Hillary Clinton won’t be part of Benghazi “SLUGFEST”!

This statement sounds BOGUS coming from an Official of the most TRANSPARENT PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION in U.S. HISTORY!

Hillary Clinton in her upcoming book “Hard Choices” casts doubt on the motivations of Republicans who have continued to investigate the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and says she won’t be part of the “political slugfest.” Politico obtained the Benghazi chapter of the book, in which the potential presidential candidate says to her critics: “Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.”

The only WASHINGTON INSIDER who is willing to tell U.S. the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH and NOTHING but the TRUTH about exactly what’s going on inside the OBAMA ADMINSITRATION is

EDWARD SNOWDEN

… and the OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, the U.S. DEPARTMENT of JUSTICE and the MAINSTREAM MEDIA have all DUBBED him as being a "TRAITOR", when in FACT the real TRAITORS are PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, the U.S. DEPARTMENT of JUSTICE and the MAINSTREAM MEDIA!

“EDWARD SNOWDEN will geaux down in HISTORY as the GREATEST AMERICAN PATROIT of all TIME! (TRAINAISM)

“EDWARD SNOWDEN has already exposed thousands of OBAMALIES, and is on-course to derail HILLARY CLINTON’S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN!” (TRAINAISM)

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION for the ADVANCEMENT of WHITE PEOPLE - 2014