Jewish World Review Jan. 30, 2013/ 19 Shevat, 5773
Lady Hillary of Benghazi
By Paul Greenberg
"What difference at this point does it make?" she wanted to know.
What difference? It made the difference between life and death for
According to the official line, they were all the victims of a spontaneous demonstration that got out of hand. That was the story dutifully repeated on the Sunday talk shows by the administration's ambassador to
But what difference does it make at this point? It makes a difference because the questions that so upset
Those four Americans, as it turns out, were killed by a well-planned terrorist attack long in the making. Not because a demonstration got out of hand. As the administration knew or should have known almost from the first, and finally had to admit.
But at the time our president and commander-in-chief was engaged in a heated re-election campaign, and he was claiming he had al-Qaida on the run. It might have been embarrassing if he'd had to confess that our poorly defended station in Benghazi had been overrun by al-Qaida or one of its allied branches -- just when he was claiming it had been decimated.
She felt no need to go into detail: that the president made his generalized reference to terror as a postscript, almost an afterthought, to his statement that day, and made no specific mention of a terrorist attack. Or of the repeated requests for more protection that our people in Benghazi had made, and that the
No wonder the
Not until the truth becomes a truism may it be admitted. It took 10 days after the attack at Benghazi for Secretary Clinton, speaking to reporters in
Ms. Clinton also told the congressional committee investigating Benghazi that she had been quick to take responsibility for the
Really? She did publicly accept responsibility for what happened at Benghazi -- but that was on
But when explanations fail, there is always emotion to appeal to: "I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews," she told the senators. "I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters...." Which reminds me that, when Whitewater was the scandal du jour back in 1994,
What struck some of us most forcefully about that dramatic scene at Andrews was that the 24 Marines who accompanied those coffins home, six to each body, were 24 more than were assigned to protect our people at Benghazi when they were still alive.
A resignation is the sincerest sign that a public official is willing to take responsibility for what has happened on his -- or her -- supposed watch. As we were taught in the service, a commander is responsible for whatever his unit does or fails to do (emphasis mine). Yet
By now a number of assistant secretaries and other underlings have been fired or disciplined or reassigned, but at State, taking responsibility is apparently only for the lower-downs.
Benghazi was a test not only of American preparedness, which this administration failed, but a test of whether it could accept any intelligence different from its fondest preconceptions about the nature of the Islamist threat. It failed that test, too, perhaps because it lacks the most basic requisite for facing the realities of this world: humility. At Benghazi, that proved a fatal, a tragic, failing.
What difference does that make at this point? It could make all the difference if
That comment from then-Sen. Clinton is barely remembered now, and maybe Ms. Clinton is hoping this one will fade, too. For it would take a willing suspension of disbelief to think she was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth last week about what happened at Benghazi. For the more questions she answered during those hearings, the more doubts she raised.
Afterthought and suggestion:
What, will these hands ne'er be clean? Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red....
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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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