Friday, May 10, 2013

The Tears of Benghazi

From Family Security Matters.

The Tears of Benghazi

The Hollywood version of heroes is that of large, muscular men who show no fear and little emotion after a confrontation with the enemy. The images that come to mind are Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwartzenegger, and Bruce Willis who, while not a muscleman, has the swagger we associate with movie heroes.

On Wednesday, on Capitol Hill, three men, Greg Hicks who was deputy chief of mission in Libya, second in command to the assassinated Ambassador, Chris Stevens; Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was formerly the regional security officer in Libya; and Mark Thompson, a former Marine and an official with the State Department's Counterterrorism Bureau; sat at a table and gave short statements followed by answers to the questions they were asked.

In real life, heroes often look like someone in middle management. It was wrong-even demeaning-for the media to call them "whistle blowers." These men were patriots. Who else would go to a war zone to represent their nation or to protect its highest diplomat there?

At the hearing they wore suits and ties. And, when called on to tell the truth, they sometimes choked up from the mix of emotions that flowed through them from memories of colleagues lost in combat and the awful realization that the nation for which they put their lives on the line, the nation they served with honor, left them defenseless to come to the aid of those colleagues.

Looming in the room were the ghosts of the dead ambassador, two security personnel; Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were both former Navy SEALS, contracted by the Central Intelligence Agency, and Sean Smith, a ten-year veteran of the State Department and on temporary assignment in Libya as an information officer for the embassy. Smith, an Air Force veteran, left behind two young children.

The testimony was emotional at times as the witnesses had to pause to regain their composure. They were a sharp contrast to the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who became annoyed by the questions she was asked at a hearing on Benghazi. "What difference does it make?" she replied angrily to a question from Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

"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 to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?" Clinton asked the Republican Senator. "It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again."

Did she really believe it was just "because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill Americans"? On the anniversary of 9/11? Did she and the President really believe that the attack was because of a video? That is what they told Americans in the wake of the attack. That is what our ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, was sent out to say on five Sunday morning news shows.

What emerged from the hearings was the failure and the refusal of the State Department, the CIA, and the Department of Defense to activate any of the resources they had to send any forces to defend the consulate. Someone had to make a conscious choice to do that. Someone had to tell those forces to "stand down.

As Hicks said, "I am a career public servant. Until the aftermath of Benghazi, I loved every day of my job." As one watched, his quiet presentation was marked with moments of emotion. He was the last man to speak by phone to Ambassador Stevens. Thompson said he was rebuffed by the White House when he asked for specialized team known as FEST-men trained specifically to response to an attack. Asked how a team of Special Forces personnel were not given authorization to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi responded, Hicks said "They were furious."

Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-CA) the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told Fox News, "The question is, where's the accountability for lying to the American people?"

That's what the President of the United States did. That's what the former Secretary of State did. And that's why the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, replied to a question about Benghazi dismissing it saying the attack had happened "a long time ago."

The loss of the lives of four patriots and the testimony of their colleagues, still mourning their loss, is sad, but how much sadder still is the fact that our great nation is led and represented by such soulless people?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The main reason Republicans are politicizing Benghazi is because that is the only thing they can use against Hillary Clinton. But let us remember:
1. More people died from embassy attacks during Bush’s Administration
2. The non-partisan Accountability Review Board did *NOT* find Hillary responsible for what happened in Benghazi
3. We have had a total of 20 Accountability Review Boards throughout our history because security overseas is never 100%
4. Hillary implemented all of the recommendations the Accountability Review Board set forth
5. The biggest security failure, 9/11, happened under a Republican Administration
6. Republicans cut millions in funding for “EMBASSY SECURITY”
The bottom line is: those who decide to pursue careers in diplomatic work know the risks. Obviously we try to do everything we can to make sure our Embassies are secure, but Embassy security is NEVER 100%.
Hillary Clinton was not found responsible for the Benghazi attacks according to the non-partasian Accountability Review Board, and she implemented all of their recommendations. This is not the first, nor the last, Embassy attack that will result in the death of American lives. Remember — we had more people die in Embassy attacks during Bush’s Administration.It’s truly sickening that Republicans are playing politics with a tragedy like this. They must really be scared of Hillary in 2016.
*ALSO* -- Regarding this quote, "What difference, AT THIS POINT, does it make?" Republicans keep misquoting Hillary Clinton and forgetting the middle part. Hillary Clinton was referring to what difference does it make what Ambassador Rice said on the Sunday morning talk shows. Hillary was not talking about what difference does it make that these four Americans died. Anyone with half a brain should understand that. And guess what? Hillary Clinton is absolutely correct. Why were Republicans focusing on what Ambassador Rice said on a Sunday morning talk show? Ambassador Rice told the American people exactly what the intelligence communities talking points said. These were the same talking points Congress received. Obviously the intelligence community got it wrong, but that doesn’t mean the Obama Administration lied, it simply means the intelligence community got it wrong. Hillary’s point was that at this point, what difference does it make what Ambassador Rice said on a Sunday morning talk show? We know now the intelligence community got it wrong, but the Administration did not lie. The Administration simply told the American people the same talking points Congress received from the intelligence community.