Contrary to what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in her recent testimony before a House committee, how the administration reacted to the attack on the Benghazi consulate in Libya does matter. It matters that four Americans, including our ambassador, died; it matters that warnings on a possible attack were either ignored or shoved aside by the state department; it matters that no attempts were made to send in military help over a five hour period; and it matters how the administration reported the attack to the public. Separately and wholly they make one cloth that represents a portion of our foreign policy, our preparedness, our sense of responsibility to our people stationed abroad, and whether we can trust the essence of dispatches from our government.
Addressing the last reference first, it has been conceded that the story about a spontaneous demonstration protesting an amateur "film" about Mohammed turned murderous was concocted. Concocted. Untrue. A lie. A blatant lie that the administration, including President Obama, repeated for days. Recent revelations by ABC news (after Fox news did most of the leg work) are that the administration deliberately misrepresented the CIA's initial report because it would make the State Department look bad. And, it can be reasonably inferred from that that the administration was also worried how all this would look at election time. Despite Press Secretary Jay Carney's grossly insensitive assertion that Benghazi "was a long time ago". It was in September. And, everything is just about politics.
Indeed, the rap about politics is an issue: for the administration. It can also be reasonably inferred that the essence of the Benghazi debacle was politics and that the lack of protection, lack of military response as well as the story afterward were more about political image than protection of American lives. Unfortunately, there is more than politics involved whichever political view one has.
There is a legitimate concern about how well the State Department protects its interests. A retired CIA acquaintance sent me a July internal memo (not classified), signed off by the then still living ambassador in which the need for additional security in Benghazi was requested. This was, apparently, not new nor the first request. But, it was ignored. The public needs to know why.
Whether there could have been a rescue will never be known, but the rationale behind not doing something should be further examined. What should be known, too, is why survivors of the attack weren't all interviewed, or made available and why some were threatened with discipline if they spoke out. Just why was there a coverup and a hushup?
Was it that the Benghazi operation was something it wasn't? Certainly, the heavy staffing by the CIA indicates clandestine operations, although nothing seemed to be so secret. The locals knew the CIA were operating there. One story that has circulated from the beginning is that the operation there involved unauthorized, or at least, undeclared gun-running to the Syrian rebels. If so, the public needs to know this too. However, if so, it is inexplicable that the operation was stripped of the ability to defend itself or be defended.
Spin it however you like but the conduct of the administration from start to finish was disgraceful.