Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Difference Indeed Ms Clinton

I guess I don't get it. For months, the US Ambassador in Libya, Chris Stevens, was sending cables, emails, and making phone calls to just about anyone who would listen about the unstable situation there, especially in Benghazi, where he and his staff had little in the way of US provided security (some former Navy Seals who weren't allowed to load their guns), and Libyan provided security personnel (can you guess how their loyalty ran if things got rough?) and other than some routine security measures (lights, alarms, etc), they were separated only by 10 foot wall. Yet, under questioning, a very defiant Secretary Clinton, shifted the blame for the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three aides to lack of adequate funding for security. Never mind that no one---apparently--bothered to read the cables or anything else being sent. Clinton even cited 4+ million emails coming into the State Department in the course of a year for the lack of oversight. Really Hillary?

Her job, as the Secretary of State, is the overall administration of that department, both directly and through her staff, including the Under Secretary and US Envoy, Susan Rice. The buck stops with her. It's her responsibility to see to it that cables marked "urgent", especially from a US embassy in what should be a highly monitored country like Libya where a nasty little dictator was recently overthrown in civil war and shot, and where the Moslem extremists have been allowed to gain a substantial foothold in the new government, would warrant a bit more attention than most would you agree?

Through it all, Ms Clinton seemed actually put out at having to be there; as if, somehow, her actions were beyond questioning. Even her remark, "What difference, at this point, does it make?" seemed to imply an elitist "let them eat cake" attitude. As a matter of fact, it does make a difference. It makes a difference to our allies who see us speak but do nothing. In the Middle East, action speaks louder than words. Action equates respect. Here, our embassy, a part of US soil, is attacked and our personnel murdered. Obama spoke serious. He acted serious. He made serious sounding promises. But he didn't act, and nor will he. If our allies can't trust our resolve, what do you think our enemies are thinking? Two words come to mind--paper tiger.

I'll tell you who else it makes a difference to. The American People. We expect better of our leaders. We expect our personnel to be safe. We expect our military be allowed to do their job and yet, our military units, despite being "locked and loaded" and on the tarmac, were told to stand down. The commanding officer of US forces in the region, General Carter Ham, was even relieved of command Defense Secretary Leon Panetta when General Ham insisted on sending a rescue team in (one, by the way, specifically trained for this kind of action). A nearby CIA station was highlighting by laser an enemy mortar crew shelling the embassy in the mistaken hope that a US aerial support would come to their aid. Instead, by highlighting the target, they also exposed themselves to the enemy mortar crew who then targeted and killed them. In addition, Rear Admiral Charles Gauette, commander of Carrier Strike Group Three, was relieved of command for what the Obama Administration called "inappropriate leadership judgment" for providing General Ham with intelligence and logistic assistance in preparing a rescue operation. Inappropriate my hind end.

And I'll tell you who else thinks it makes a difference, the families and friends of those who were murdered. Can you imagine how they must still feel knowing their government could have at least tried to save them and didn't? How no serious attempt at bring those to justice has even been attempted? How Obama, Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta could even look their families in the eye is beyond me. They both deserve an Oscar for their performance.

Now, with Hillary Clinton exiting the political stage, at least for now, the Senate begin the vetting phase of her replacement, Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate, John Forbes Kerry. Kerry is fine choice if you don't mind that he was Vietnam protestor who denounced the US government; referring, in a televised testimony to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1971, that the US government was guilty of "war crimes", or that he threw away his medals (including a Bronze Star, Silver Star, and three Purple Hearts) or that he lied about his actual experience in Vietnam (remember the "Swiftboat" controversy?). Despite being a Yale graduate and member of the secretive "Skull and Crossbones", Kerry appears to be just another rich liberal bureaucrat. Just what we need looking after US interests abroad. It almost makes me long for the days of Henry Kissinger. Almost.

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