Saturday, January 26, 2013

P.T. Clinton

Evidently the Secretary of State is a devotee of the carnival ringmaster P.T. Barnum.   Barnum actually had a brief run at politics but was more famous for bringing in the rubes and for the nostrom - "every crowd has a silver lining."   The news coverage of the hearings on Benghazi were an example of that saying.  Most of the media covered the emotion of the secretary reeling off her prepared indignation rather than concentrating on the problems that came to put four embassy personnel in mortal danger.

The testimony of Secretary Clinton at the Benghazi hearings was appalling.   There is no better word for it.   CNN wrote about how resolute she was; how she actually teared up.   But I found her disingenuous.

Clinton said she "took responsibility" for the problems in Benghazi.   Ron Johnson, who the CNN gratuitously described as a "tea party backed Republican senator" asked the secretary why the Administration had laid down a story that was untrue.  He described the comments by UN Ambassador Susan Rice as "purposely misleading."  Clinton blustered back "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided they'd go kill some Americans?  What difference does it?   It is our job to figure out what happened and to do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator."

From my perspective it makes a lot of difference whether the Administration provided adequate security for embassy personnel in Libya.   The evidence at this point seems to indicate they did not.   It also makes a difference that Clinton argued she had no "direct" role in passing on the requests by Ambassador Stevens for additional security.   Isn't one sign of responsibility the ability to understand the difference between pressing and trivial needs?  Wouldn't a competent Secretary of State or her staff understand the Libya had the high potential for a problem based simply on the disruptions in the country?   The Secretary, despite claiming that she was taking responsibility, was merely passing on responsibility to the next secretary of state.

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