Monday, November 19, 2012

Rice Cooked?

I smelled a rat in Benghazi from the start. I first wrote about the incident on September 15 and many times thereafter. Republicans want Watergate style hearings. I personally think that it is time to put the whole thing to bed.More partisan chest beating is not what is required right now.

What do we know? It was a horrible tragedy. The State Department made the call that there was adequate protection in place. They were wrong. It wasn't intentional. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Lamb and her boss, the Secretary of State, both took responsibility for the grievous error. Lamb had made the call to restrict the number of personnel and she now admits that it was the wrong call.

Secretary of State Clinton had promulgated a policy directive known as the "No Marines, No Bullets" State Department Rules of Engagement for Libya document some time within the past year and a half after the fall of Khadafi's dictatorship in Libya. It ultimately proved disastrous, causing the deaths of four americans. Somebody guessed wrong.

For the past two months we have seen the Pentagon, State Department and CIA pointing fingers at each other on Benghazi. The President assures us that he will hunt down the killers of what we now know were CIA operatives and not private contractors and bring them to justice. He also says that he gave the marching orders to Susan Rice and if anyone has any problems with it to come after him, not her, the President now riding a considerable wave of political capital.

I also think we need to move forward. Nothing will be accomplished now by continuing to beat this to death. It will not bring the four men back.  It is obvious to me that the administration was soft pedaling the terroristic nature of the affair because they were trying to consolidate the political gains in the region that they rightly deserved for backing the Libyan uprising. That is what diplomats do, that's statecraft. They shade, they slant. They try to curry favor with recalcitrant players that might be friend or foe.

Over at the CIA they are now saying that they were reluctant to name the sources because they didn't want to divulge intelligence about how much they really knew about the nature of the terrorist threat. That is the most plausible answer yet and I hope that it is truthful. Way above my paygrade.

Having said all that I would be afraid of having Susan Rice in the position of Secretary of State. I agree with Lindsay Graham on this. There is something about her mien that I have a hard time believing. And her behavior in the past has been both quite caustic and occasionally unhinged. Kerry, Hillary, Powell, there has to be a heavyweight out there that the American people can trust and believe.

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