Madame Secretary Dodges, Ducks, and Deflects

untitledThe second imperial presidency of King Barack I began with a bang this week as a well-prepared Hillary Clinton appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  The goal of this hearing was to get to the bottom of what went wrong in Libya on September 11, 2012. As Secretary of State, Clinton stands at the very top of a system that failed on that day, leaving four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The transcript of Clinton’s opening statement is worthy of analysis.  Such analysis will easily demonstrate that the woman who would be president accepts little genuine responsibility for what happened just 137 days ago in Benghazi.  Oh, perhaps you had forgotten.  You can’t be blamed, really.  The pro-Democrat “mainstream” press has mostly ignored the incident.  For them and for the Obama administration, our ambassador and his three defenders were expendable. Now they need to be forgotten lest they tarnish the Obama legacy or prevent the ascendancy of Hillary Clinton.

Madame Secretary’s statement began by mentioning the names of our honored dead from Benghazi, but quickly moved past them. She placed recent events into the context of other security failures since 1988 and boldly proclaimed that “our security professionals get it right 99 percent of the time.” Then she mentioned the presidential administrations and congressional members of “both parties” and their attempts to learn from past tragedies.

This was political speak in its highest form. It was the narrative version of a wink and a nod, meaning that we all just need to move on. Mistakes have been made before and they’ll be made again. Powerful political players enjoy their salaries and perks, but they don’t enjoy being in the spotlight of blame.

She then listed all the ways that she and the State Department under her leadership rose to the occasion on that fateful day in September–and what has been done since. According to her, these actions under her vigilance have been designed to “increase the safety of our diplomats.” Then, oddly, she stated that “concerns about terrorism and instability in North Africa are not new.”

She dutifully recalled how difficult it was to watch the flag-draped coffins of our citizens return stateside and offered a moving and patriotic ending. “Every time that blue-and-white airplane carrying the words ‘United States of America’ touches down in some far-off capital, I feel again the honor it is to represent the world’s indispensable nation.”

Then, as if to cement her camraderie with the members of the Senate committee, she thanked them for their “partnership” and “shared sense of responsibility.”

Let me be as fair as I can here.  Admittedly, Hillary Clinton said that she takes responsibility for Benghazi: “As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility. Nobody is more committed to getting this right.” Reading the convoluted message delivered to the Senate, however, I have grave doubts.

Getting it right in the future was not the only reason for this hearing. The questions left unanswered by Clinton’s self-supporting statement include “What went wrong back in September?” and “Why was our ambassador left in such a vulnerable position on a day that is soaked with bloody meaning for the terrorists determined to harm the United States?”

This has been the necessary question screaming for an answer yet to be given. It remains unanswered because an honest assessment must point to the very highest echelons of our government. This failure is one of epic proportions and it falls upon the shoulders of President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton. This is why, from the beginning, an anti-Islamic video was falsely blamed for the attack. That poor excuse was intended to give the political cover that Obama and Clinton so badly needed. If the nation were convinced that the attack was spontaneous, then the blame would be minimal.  Or so they hoped. When they were caught in their lie they perpetrated a second lie by claiming that they never acted in the way in which they clearly did act.

It’s all quite an impressive show.  But it has little to do with honesty or an attempt to get to the facts. “It’s been a cover-up from the beginning,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) reminded us. And the cover-up continued in this week’s hearing. It became especially disgusting when Clinton was questioned by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) who wondered about the official version of what happened in the days immediately after Benghazi.

The pressure was too much for Clinton. The light of responsibility was shining directly at her. She did what the guilty often do: she deflected. She dodged and she ducked, and she acted as if the senator had done something wrong by daring to raise the issue. Irritated, she lectured him. “What difference at this point does it make?” she yelled. “It is our job to figure out what happened and to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”

This is Hillary Clinton unhinged. Ever looking to the future and a possible bid for the presidency, this is Hillary Clinton dodging her responsibility and refusing to allow her failure to take root in the very spot where it belongs.

Ambassador Chris Stevens on September 11, 2012. Shortly after this photograph was taken he was gang-raped and murdered in the streets of Benghazi.

Ambassador Chris Stevens on September 11, 2012. Shortly after this photograph was taken he was gang-raped and murdered in the streets of Benghazi.

Madame Secretary, you’re out of line. You ask what difference it makes. It makes a great deal of difference. On the most dangerous anniversary in American history outside of declared warfare, you and your State Department were caught off guard. You were unprepared. You left our personnel in harm’s way. Then, when there was still time to save our ambassador, someone gave the command to stand down.

This colossal failure belongs to you and to President Obama. Sadly, as his re-election shows, it didn’t stick to him. Tragically, it probably won’t stick to you either. But it does matter. And it will always matter, regardless of how the media may ignore it.

Don’t give us sob stories about watching coffins as they are unloaded from transport. Your emotions are not the cause of our national grief. The bodies inside those coffins are the cause. You and President Obama put them there.

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