13 Hours, Amateur Video, Bengazi, Chris Stevens, Clinton Foundation, Diplomacy, Hillary Clinton, Leave No Man Behind, Muammar Ghadafi, Obama administration, Running Arms, Stand Down, Syrian Rebels, Whitewater Land Deal
The Clinton Can-o’-Worms is just as slimy and writhing as ever. We’ve heard about Hillary’s misadventures for decades: defending the rapist of a 12-year-old girl and later gloating (on tape) about the light sentence she’d helped arrange; dismissal from the staff of the House Judiciary Committee for lying during the Watergate case, and the shady Whitewater land deal. The most recent trio of scandals include 1) questionable decisions and misleading public statements in the Benghazi affair; 2) exposing national security to compromise via her private servers; and perhaps the biggest of the biggies: 3) suspicious relationships between the Clinton Foundation and foreign governments with whom she dealt as Secretary of State for four years. I’ll discuss Benghazi in this post, but I’ll return to Clinton’s grossly negligent email handling and the Clinton Foundation pay-to-play activity in the next few days.
The Benghazi attack in 2011 was at least in part a reaction to arms shipments that Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens was attempting to arrange. This is believed to have involved weapons belonging to Libyan rebels, some of them jihadists, and to the deposed Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Apparently, Stevens mission was to work to get those arms into the hands of Syrian rebels, many of whom turned out to be jihadists as well, of course. Apparently there were Libyans who wanted to see those arms stay at home. Stevens and three other Americans lost their lives in the attack. It turns out that Stevens had asked repeatedly for additional security in Benghazi, but the requests ware denied by Clinton’s State Department. When the attack went down, requests for aid in the form of air support and even a tactical team were denied, despite the fact that “assets” were within reach. “Stand down” was the order of the day, in keeping with the Obama Administrations “no boots on the ground” policy.
It is now clear that the attack was planned, but Mrs. Clinton, who knew the facts, told the American public that the attack was precipitated by an amateur video critical of radical Islamists. Why the misleading statements? The Benghazi mission was politically sensitive, of course. In addition, an objective during the presidential election season was to play down terrorism, to propagate the myth that the terrorists were “on the run” under Obama. There is no doubt that Clinton lied to the American people in this case, but apparently her supporters think that’s unimportant in a leader.
A recent defense of Clinton and the administration has it that aid should never have been expected for the Americans in Benghazi during the 13 hours of the siege. After all, according to this reasoning, Ambassador Stevens and the other personnel knew it was a risky mission. Well, so much for “leave no man behind“, which has a long and honorable tradition in the military. Soldiers on patrol often accept great risk, yet no one would suggest their acceptance of risk as an excuse to refuse them aid when in dire need.
While it is true that the host country is presumed to be responsible for providing the first line of security for foreign diplomats, that was not realistic in Libya at the time. The guards and contractors attached to the mission in Benghazi were obviously inadequate to defend the staff under the circumstances. Military assets are in place to respond under just such a contingency. Given the nature of Stevens’ mission, which was apparently to transfer arms to parties intended to serve as sub rosa U.S. military proxies in Syria, the military should have been allowed to honor the “leave no man behind” imperative. Unfortunately, the administration’s political objectives, and the terrorists, won the day in Benghazi. Hillary Clinton was complicit in this.