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Boardman writes: "What is 'Benghazi,' Washington's long-running kabuki circus, really about? Is it about dead diplomats and CIA mercenaries? Foreign service security? Terrorist attacks and Islamaphobic movies? Emails and Sidney Blumenthal? Whether Hillary Clinton cares, or whether she spends the night alone? Does the Benghazi committee, or anyone else, really know what 'Benghazi' is about?"

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi October 22, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (photo: Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi October 22, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (photo: Getty Images)


Hillary "Wins" Benghazi Bipartisan Bad Faith Boogaloo

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

25 October 15

 

hat is “Benghazi,” Washington’s long-running kabuki circus, really about?

Is it about dead diplomats and CIA mercenaries? Foreign service security? Terrorist attacks and Islamaphobic movies? Emails and Sidney Blumenthal? Whether Hillary Clinton cares, or whether she spends the night alone? Does the Benghazi committee, or anyone else, really know what “Benghazi” is about?

On September 11, 2012, as Libya fell deeper into chaos, one of the organized and well-armed jihadi groups used outrage at an Islamaphobic movie as a cover for attacking the “special mission compound” (not the embassy in Tripoli, not a consulate) that served as a cover for the nearby CIA mission station. The jihadis in that attack killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and his information officer Sean Smith. One of the missions Stevens was working on was retrieving weapons in Libya before they fell into the hands of jihadi groups like the one that killed him. So far, for three years, no one has seemed to wonder whether the jihadis were aware of Stevens’ mission and his presence in Benghazi that night.

What gave “Benghazi” legs from the start was not any curiosity about why things happened as they did, but why the Obama administration started obfuscating immediately. One obvious reason was the 2012 presidential campaign, which might be hurt by admitting a “terrorist” attack. Republicans and mainstream media greeted the event with accusations and blame for the president. So the administration bobbed and weaved and sent UN ambassador Susan Rice out to TV land, where she told a long line of talking heads an unforthcoming and variable story that was essentially inaccurate. Rice’s talking points were vetted by the CIA, which had things to keep hidden. At the Benghazi hearing Republican congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio cited evidence that Clinton had spread the same false story while knowing it was false:

“You can’t be square with the American people. You tell your family it’s a terrorist attack but not the American people. You tell the Libyan president it’s a terrorist attack but not the American people. You tell the Egyptian prime minister it’s a terrorist attack but not the American people.”

Clinton denied Jordan’s interpretation of the evidence, but offered no alternative. No one mentioned the CIA. When the committee chair invited Clinton to respond at greater length, she ducked and plugged her book instead: “I wrote a whole chapter about this in my book, Hard Choices. I’d be glad to send it to you, congressman.”

Hillary Clinton’s performance was well prepared and impressive

From her opening statement on, Clinton made it clear what her talking points were and she maintained them with remarkable composure and occasional good nature. She began slickly, acknowledging the “terrorist attacks” and then taking the high ground of honoring the fallen:

“The terrorist attacks at our diplomatic compound and later, at the CIA post in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, took the lives of four brave Americans…. I'm here to honor the service of those four men. The courage of the Diplomatic Security Agency and the CIA officers who risked their lives that night. And the work their colleagues do every single day all over the world.”

Then she spent some time on Chris Stevens, whom she knew and admired as “one of our nation’s most accomplished diplomats.” In 2012, Stevens had been in the Foreign Service 21 years and was named to his first ambassadorship that May. By then he was well known for his sometimes unorthodox ingenuity and effectiveness, as Clinton said:

“When the revolution broke out in Libya, we named Chris as our envoy to the opposition. There was no easy way to get him into Benghazi to begin gathering information and meeting those Libyans who were rising up against the murderous dictator Gadhafi. But he found a way to get himself there on a Greek cargo ship, just like a 19th-century American envoy. But his work was very much 21st-century, hard-nosed diplomacy….

“I was the one who asked Chris to go to Libya as our envoy. I was the one who recommended him to be our ambassador to the president….

“Chris Stevens understood that diplomats must operate in many places where our soldiers do not, where there are no other boots on the ground and safety is far from guaranteed. In fact, he volunteered for just those assignments.”

A lawyer who never practiced law, Stevens had a resume that included stints as an embassy political officer in Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo, and Riyadh. He had served with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and with Senator Richard Lugar. At the State Department, he was special assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs and was in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs as the Iran desk officer. And he had worked in Libya twice before, in 2007-2009 and in 2011, as envoy to the opposition during the Libyan revolution.

One of Stevens’ jobs in Libya was running guns to Syrian rebels

Since Chris Stevens was a smart, savvy, alert operative who was surely aware of the significance of the 9/11 date, the obvious question is: why did he decide to be in Benghazi, with limited security, on that date? What seemed important enough to him to take such an obvious risk? Hillary Clinton answered the question this way:

“Nobody knew the dangers of Libya better. A weak government, extremist groups, rampant instability. But Chris chose to go to Benghazi because he understood America had to be represented there at that pivotal time. He knew that eastern Libya was where the revolution had begun and that unrest there could derail the country's fragile transition to democracy. And if extremists gained a foothold, they would have the chance to destabilize the entire region, including Egypt and Tunisia. He also knew how urgent it was to ensure that the weapons Gadhafi had left strewn across the country, including shoulder-fired missiles that could knock an airplane out of the sky, did not fall into the wrong hands. The nearest Israeli airport is just a day's drive from the Libyan border.”

That’s a nice bit of hide-in-plain sight deflection. Stevens was in Benghazi for two days. He wasn’t “representing” America there, his post was Tripoli. But it sounds good to have him in Benghazi to protect Egypt and Tunisia (even though Tunisia was blessed to avoid American “help” and is perhaps the most stable country in the region now). Clinton even throws in Israel to further blur her listeners’ minds with an imaginary and rather dangerous “day’s drive from the Libyan border.” That’s chutzpah! And well done, with a straight face.

The nugget of reality embedded in largely fatuous rhetoric is the urgency to secure “the weapons Gadhafi had left strewn across the country, including shoulder-fired missiles….” That seems one of the most likely reasons Stevens was in Benghazi, to secure those weapons somehow. Storing them at the special mission compound was not a good option, and even the CIA annex was only temporarily safe. These weapons had to go somewhere safe, or useful, and there was an operational stream already in place, from Benghazi through Turkey, to some of the Syrian rebels the US thought might be worth supporting there. Syrian rebels, with no air force of their own, were at the mercy of the government air force, and surface-to-air missiles would be helpful (we knew the technique worked, having supplied surface-to-air missiles to the mujahedeen to shoot down Russian aircraft in Afghanistan some 35 years ago).

In his last official action on September 11, 2012, Chris Stevens met with a Turkish diplomat thought to be involved with shipping Libyan weapons through Turkey to Syrian rebels.

Weapons flowed along a CIA rat line established in early 2012

Officially denied, but credibly reported by Seymour Hersh and others, the idea of US shipping arms to Syrian rebels without Congressional authorization is hardly radical or shocking. It’s a condition best assumed to be true, since means, motive, and opportunity are all aligned. In the London Review of Books of April 17, Hersh wrote:

“The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida.”

In early 2012 President Obama signed a secret order authorizing support for Syrian rebels. In early 2011, President Obama had signed a secret order authorizing support for Libyan rebels. Some of the subsequent covert action was known as Operation Zero Footprint. It was widely known within the intelligence community, the administration (including Clinton), and Congress. There’s no credible explanation of where the Libyan weapons went, and almost no one asks. When Republican congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas brought these covert operations up at the Benghazi hearing, his three questions to Clinton were all framed as “awareness” questions. His second question was about weapons to Syria (the other two were about weapons to Libyan rebels):

“Were you aware or are you aware of any U.S. efforts by the U.S. government in Libya to provide any weapons, directly or indirectly, or through a cutout, to any Syrian rebels or militias or opposition to Syrian forces?"

That’s a softball question with so many moving parts (and bad grammar) that any decent lawyer would have no trouble evading. The repetition in “U.S. efforts by the U.S. government” is a huge loophole, since the Libyan operation was run by NATO. Clinton answered the Syrian question and the other two with a single word: “No.” There were no follow-up questions. Clinton no doubt has credible deniability on Stevens’ involvements in gun-running, but that doesn’t explain why a Kansas Republican went out of his was to ask her cover-your-butt questions.

Living in denial means not having to explain what’s real

The official story, the consensus narrative for most of Washington and the mainstream media, is that gun-running out of Benghazi is “bogus” or a “fantasy” or a “myth.” Using all these words in Newsweek on October 21, Kurt Eichenwald goes on at some length to defend the official story. Late in his piece he gets to the gun-running and explains it away with a counter-myth of his own:

“No one advancing this fantasy ever explains how a secretary of state could be directing an intelligence operation that would be handled by the CIA.”

As if Clinton and almost anyone else in a position of intelligence authority in any administration wouldn’t know better than to make secret operations obscure. This is a classic strawman argument with Clinton as the strawman. The Newsweek story also cites a Republican report from the House Permanent Select Committee that said in part:

“All CIA activities in Benghazi were legal and authorized. On-the-record testimony establishes that CIA was not sending weapons (including MANPADS) from Libya to Syria, or facilitating other organizations or states that were transferring weapons from Libya to Syria.”

Yes, perhaps all CIA activities were legal and authorized by secret presidential findings. That doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. “On-the-record testimony” is pretty weak evidence for anything in the intelligence world. And even if the testimony is technically accurate, it’s hardly relevant to an operation run by NATO. The best evidence that we’re being lied to is the amazing amount of smoke and mirrors deployed to assure us we’re being told the truth. And that smoke and mirrors includes the Benghazi committee’s reluctance (as well as previous investigations’ failure) to look at the core issues with integrity – which is understandable, since that might well lead to a constitutional crisis. But while failure of integrity is quieter and calmer than confrontation, that failure is itself a constitutional crisis that we have lived with for decades now.

The Newsweek story castigates Republicans for refusing to “accept facts over fantasies,” which is fair enough as far as it goes. But when the alternative is a set of facts equally fantastical, that’s really no help. But Eichenwald piles on, virtually accusing Republicans of being terrorists:

“No doubt, the terrorists set on attacking America are cheering them on. Nothing could delight some terrorist sitting in a Syrian or Libyan or Iraqi hovel while hearing a top Republican congressman brag on television that a relatively small attack on a U.S. compound continues to threaten to transform a presidential election in the most powerful country in the world.”

That is shameless fearmongering. That is an intimidation tactic designed to enforce silence and reinforce denial. He could call for honest questions designed to get honest answers. That would be new. But the official answers have already been decreed, so everyone just needs to move on. And to add shamelessness to shamelessness, Eichenwald’s final, irrelevant, blatantly manipulative emotional appeal is to “allow the dead to finally rest in peace.” That offends the living and the dead.

Does anyone really want a serious exploration of the deeper issues?

Democrats on the Benghazi committee have outlined the omissions in the investigation (such as key witnesses from the defense and intelligence hierarchies) that demonstrate its lack of seriousness to date. It’s not that the Democrats were unduly concerned about the lack of a serious investigation, it took them months even to mention it, and their letter of July 15, 2015, was far from a call for integrity of process. What motivated the Democrats, understandably, was the appearance that the Republican majority had shifted its focus to make Hillary Clinton the primary target of the Benghazi committee.

The received wisdom on Benghazi is that, as The New Yorker dutifully put it: “There have now been seven full investigations of the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi attack, five in the House and two in the Senate.” This formulation omits other investigations by the State Dept.’s Accountability Review Board and news media, etc. Each previous investigation seems to have reached a conclusion that the events in Benghazi were somewhere between “untidy” and “a mess,” but none recommended any indictments. However the assumption that any investigation has been “full” is a false assumption. None of them have yet explored the shared assumptions that made Benghazi possible, if not inevitable.

In her opening statement, Hillary Clinton referred to the current shared

assumptions that shape American behavior in the world. No one on the committee contradicted her.

“America must lead in a dangerous world….

“We have learned the hard way when America is absent, especially from unstable places, there are consequences. Extremism take root, aggressors seek to fill the vacuum and security everywhere is threatened, including here at home. That's why Chris [Stevens] was in Benghazi. It's why he had served previously in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem during the second intifada….

“Retreat from the world is not an option. America cannot shrink from our responsibility to lead…. ”

This mantra is a variation on the creed of American exceptionalism, but it is only a belief system. This is not an analytical assessment of anything. “America must lead” is not a clearly self-evident proposition, it is only an article of faith. Others believe otherwise. Some surely believe the world would be a less dangerous place without American leadership, certainly without the kind of leadership America has provided for the past 35 years.

Clinton herself points to the contradiction inherent in her doctrine of American goodness. To defend her belief, she resorts to fearmongering. She is objectively wrong to assert, as a universal truth, that “when America is absent,” bad things happen. Tunisia is only the most obvious example of places where America’s absence is a blessing. Her list of places where Chris Stevens served is a list of horrors and failures – Syria is a failed state, Jerusalem continues to suffer, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are brutal dictatorships that we have helped sustain for decades.

“Retreat from the world” is, in fact, an option. But it is an option with a range of meanings from reduced engagement to isolationism. What we’ve been doing for decades has not helped make the world a better place. Our most engaged interventions have made the world a much worse place, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. When Hillary Clinton claims, as she did, that “America is the greatest force for peace and progress the world has ever known,” she must known that’s not true. And she must also know it’s especially not true for Libya, where she was the prime architect for the “peace and progress” that has produced yet another failed state.

Opposition to rampant American militarism is rare, but not unknown. At a hearing little more than a month after the Benghazi attacks, at an October 16, 2012, hearing, Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio spoke eloquently to the wider context in which Chris Stevens died, in an intervention taken without constitutional authority:

“We bombed Libya. We destroyed their army. We obliterated their police stations. Lacking any civil authority, armed brigades control security. Al-Qaeda expanded its presence. Weapons are everywhere. Thousands of shoulder-to-air missiles are on the loose. Our military intervention led to greater instability in Libya….

“We want to stop the attacks on our embassies? Let’s stop trying to overthrow governments. This should not be a partisan issue. Let’s avoid the hype. Let’s look at the real situation here. Interventions do not make us safer. They do not protect our nation. They are themselves a threat to America.

Pity the poor Republicans. They want to pillory Hillary Clinton without denigrating her rash rush to war in Libya. They want to blame Democrats for casualties without abandoning their policies designed to shed more blood. That’s a tricky tightrope, and it’s entertaining, at first, to watch them cling to it. The fun stops when you realize what the real stakes are for our nation, that USA that everyone at the hearing purports to love, even as they do it varying forms of grievous harm. Honest answers about “Benghazi” won’t be had until someone asks honest questions.



William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+10 # nice2bgreat 2015-10-25 15:27
.
http://www.democracynow.org/2015/10/23/ignoring_us_destabilization_of_libya_gop
.
 
 
+10 # WBoardman 2015-10-25 18:55
Yes, excellent segment, linked in my piece.
 
 
-4 # Vermont Grandma 2015-10-25 19:19
I don't agree Hillary "won" the Benghazi hearings. While I think the hearings have always been for purposes other than stated, what we now know is that 1) Sidney Blumenthal's emails got through to Hillary & she responded, 2) but emails about security issues at embassies did not, 3) Hillary chose to make Sidney Blumenthal an off-the-books worker for the State Dept despite being told by Obama that Blumenthal absolutely was not to be part of State Dept staff, 4) when Hillary wants something, she'll do it even when her boss instructs her not to, 5) getting "advice" & "reports" from her "close friend" Sidney Blumenthal was more important to Hillary than following her boss' instructions, 6) Blumenthal was paid $10,000/month by the Clinton Foundation from 2008-2013, 7) Hillary email Chelsea top secret info about Ambassador Stevens and another State Dept staff person being killed in Libya shortly after it occurred, 8) this email and emails back and forth with Blumenthal were on Hillary's private server, 9) Hillary knew the night Stevens was killed that is was an attack by "an Al Quaeda-like group," not a spontaneous demonstration re an objectionable movie, but kept up the movie-lie narrative for about a week. A few more confirmations of Hillary's being deceitful, and outright lying - not that the movie vs. Al Quaeda-like group responsibility for the attack on the embassy is of any great consequence. But lying and deceit are an issue in a presidential campaign.
 
 
+16 # Old4Poor 2015-10-25 22:39
What a load of malarky.

What we now know is that Blumenthal, a long time friend, emails Hillary and that ambassadors communicated with her via cables and secure video links.

You are trying to compare apples to monkeys.
 
 
-10 # nice2bgreat 2015-10-26 09:18
Quoting Old4Poor:
What a load of malarky.

What we now know is that Blumenthal, a long time friend, emails Hillary and that ambassadors communicated with her via cables and secure video links.


What a load of Old4Poor.
.
 
 
+7 # WBoardman 2015-10-26 14:25
Vermont Grandmas actually agrees with me,
as I don't believe Hillary "won" the boogaloo,
which was why I put "wins" in ironic quotes and
used words like boogaloo.

But there is much bigger game at stake than Hillary.
 
 
+2 # lfeuille 2015-10-26 16:23
Quoting WBoardman:
Vermont Grandmas actually agrees with me,
as I don't believe Hillary "won" the boogaloo,
which was why I put "wins" in ironic quotes and
used words like boogaloo.

But there is much bigger game at stake than Hillary.



Well, except that she is running for president and her dancing and weaving and the committees refusal to ask the right questions led the MSM and anyone who takes it seriously to gush about her poise under fire etc. while the serious questions about her judgment in contributing to our being there in the first place are papered over. All of which could help her become president, which is a pretty big game.
 
 
+1 # intheEPZ 2015-10-27 17:42
["But there is much bigger game at stake than Hillary".
Yeah, like: "If the Republicans were hoping for a bombshell revelation from their Benghazi inquisition, they sure got one. Except that it's about how George W. Bush and Tony Blair conspired to con the world on their predetermined invasion of Iraq in 2003.

It seems that among other things on Hillary Clinton's email server, she inherited former Secretary of State Colin Powell's email files. And tucked away in there was a memo for a secret summit documenting that Blair had some great PR ideas about how they were going to sell the war they were going to launch regardless. And this was all a full year before they broke all the pottery in stock at the Middle Eastern Pottery Barn. " The Pen
http://www.peaceteam.net/citizens_united2.php
 
 
+8 # dquandle 2015-10-25 22:47
Benghazi was never an issue. What is the supreme issue is that Hillary and her filthy acolytes Nuland and Power et al. in her criminal State department initiated a US-led NATO-executed terrorist attack on Libya, destroying the country, visiting staggering bloodshed and horror on its people for the foreseeable future, and allowing the horrendous ISIS access to the country and people, as a training and recruitment ground, all the while giggling with glee while Gaddafi was tortured to death. She is a war criminal and a monster. The US ambassador there was a proxy for the CIA, laying the groundwork for this atrocity.
 
 
+9 # Dongi 2015-10-26 02:56
And, once again, the US appears as the bad guy and rightly so. Clinton is lieing , many have suffered as a result of her actions and she is running for president. What would she do in the White House. What a truly, scary thought.

Stevens played with CIA fire and got burned. He went down as did Gaddafi. Tit for tat. When is the US going to get out of this imperial game? When we get rid of would be emperors like Hillary,
 
 
+8 # harleysch 2015-10-26 07:52
Dquandle and Dongi hit the right points, but we have to go one step further. Where is there mention of the role Obama played? Are we to believe that Hillary alone orchestrated the overthrow and murder of Ghadafi?

It has been U.S. policy, especially under Bush and Obama, to use "regime change" as a weapon for destroying sovereign nations which do not accept the globalized empire of the Wall Street and City of London financial powers. This explains what was behind the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. The ultimate targets are Putin's Russia, and Xi's China, which not only reject the global banker's dictatorship, but are setting up an alternative system.

The Republican's foolish narrow partisanship is part of the game, as the party, at the top, along with the Obama/Clinton Democrats, both owe allegiance to the global cartels out to prevent an alternative financial system from coming into being.
 
 
0 # intheEPZ 2015-10-27 17:50
"It has been U.S. policy, especially under Bush and Obama, to use "regime change" as a weapon for destroying sovereign nations which do not accept the globalized empire of the Wall Street and City of London financial powers." Yes, there was the "National Security Strategy of the United States" or some such policy introduced by ChBusheney and the neocons, that made the hitherto taboo notion of "pre-emptive war" the plan. If Obomba wasn't a shill to begin with, why didn't he trash this horrible, fascist piece of sick. Hillary is totally down with it, as Libya, her vote on the Iraq war, and her attitude toward Israel's apartheid oppression of the Palestinians, shows.
 
 
0 # jcoll71 2015-10-27 18:39
I agree with you about the "supreme issue" and well said at that, except I gotta say- Benghazi absolutely is an issue imo- the rat line, arms for terrorists depot and transit point being the real issue, and to an extent the lack of response while the attack was going on, something sketchy went on there. So all that and the subsequent cover up, the changing story, the death of an ambassador and others, I wouldn't call that a non-issue. If you mean the Benghazi "issue" as in the dog and pony show as presented by MSM and explored in these hearings and investigations and attempted republican "gotcha" partisan politics of it all, well, sure. Nothing compared to the horrors visited upon Libya and which continue to this day.
 
 
0 # dipierro4 2015-10-25 23:10
A few disconnected thoughts:

1) ... Clinton no doubt has credible deniability on Stevens’ involvements in gun-running, but that doesn’t explain why a Kansas Republican went out of his was to ask her cover-your-butt questions...

Perhaps to set her up for a perjury charge, whether before or after her inauguration? (Based on this article, her deniability seems less than wholly; anyway, the Kansas Rep loses little by trying)

2) As to Blumenthal's role at DOS (Thanks, Vermont Grandma!): Back in 2009 some senior Democrat (I don't recall who) said that appointing Hillary as SOS was a bad move, because DOS would become a power center that BHO could not control. Geez, shouldn't that have been obvious to everyone, even to the callow young President?

3) It's gonna be a long four years, maybe eight years. Best case scenario, she's the Prez. The other scenarios, of course, are unthinkable. Any set of scenarios in which Jeb! is the least bad -- I lack the vocabulary to describe it.
 
 
+15 # Dongi 2015-10-26 02:59
Best case scenario, Sanders is the President. Come on diplerro, where are you coming from?
 
 
+2 # dipierro4 2015-10-26 21:02
Sanders campaign crashes to a halt in South Carolina, where he gets less than 5% of the African-America n vote. From there it peters out. It's that simple.

Would I like to see Sanders as President? Of course. But it won't happen.
 
 
+16 # revhen 2015-10-26 05:06
Twin gods of America: Mammon (wealth) and Moloch (violence). All sides deeply worship both.
 
 
+1 # bmiluski 2015-10-27 12:08
And so it has been throughout human history.
 
 
-1 # ericlipps 2015-10-26 05:08
If the best case scenario is another crapshoot on an obscure senator whose primary qualification is that he doesn't look like other presidents, either literally (Obama) or ideologically (Sanders), we are in deep s**t.

Remember when Obama was going to "transform America"? He only got elected because America had ALREADY been transformed, and once in office he largely continued Bush's policies because he was too weak-willed to do otherwise. Only on health care did he show the kind of spine his followers had hoped for. (Why is Guantanamo still in operation?) Don't count on a President Sanders to do better.

Of course, any of the exhibits in the GOP freak show would do worse, but voting for the least bad alternative has gotten pretty old.
 
 
+7 # WBoardman 2015-10-26 22:07
contrary to ereclipps,
it doesn't seem that Obama showed real spine on health care.

Real spine would mean fighting for single payer.
 
 
+2 # Caliban 2015-10-28 00:53
Actually getting the ACA required compromise, however, a pragmatic strategy that can sometimes get positive results when nothing else can.
 
 
-5 # Sweet Pea 2015-10-26 06:15
And here we go again-another election with a choice of the lesser of two evils!
 
 
+5 # lnason@umassd.edu 2015-10-26 06:27
Good article. I agree with virtually every word.

I remain perplexed about the issue of why rescues were not performed. The guys in the annex said that they were told to "stand down" when they wanted to defend the diplomatic complex but the ARB reported that there was no formal "stand down" order given. Who did give the order? I doubt it was Clinton but I believe that whoever gave it should be held accountable. The ARB also said that there was insufficient time to mount a rescue but that is ridiculous -- we could have gotten half the air force and navy to Benghazi in the eight or so hours it took before the last two guys were killed given that we have massive bases in both Sicily and Spain which were about an hour's flight away.

After watching the testimony, I am convinced that Republicans are merely out to smear Clinton and Democrats are merely out to shield Clinton. A pox on both their houses.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+9 # kath 2015-10-26 07:52
After watching the testimony I had another thought: can any party really be that stupid? What if the Republicans just wanted to hold their fire until Hillary is the nominee...the one they'd much rather face?
It is sometimes useful to ask whether the actual outcome (Hillary looking pretty good) was actually the desired outcome.
 
 
+5 # WBoardman 2015-10-26 22:26
lnason@umass.edu argues that somehow
there was a possibility of military rescue.

The special mission was attacked about 9:40 pm
and was overrun in less than an hour.

Security re-take the compound about an hour later.

The CIA annex was attacked after midnight.

Where does any eight-hour opportunity to defend exist, never mind any rational use of air attack in an urban area?

The timelines are notoriously soft, for which no investigation can escape blame.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-19587068

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/timeline-how-the-benghazi-attack-played-out/2014/06/17/a5c34e90-f62c-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/06/politics/benghazi-attack-timeline/

Lacking more persuasive evidence, the rescue mission sent from Tripoli does seem to be about as much as could have been usefully done within the critical time period.
 
 
+8 # Bruce Gruber 2015-10-26 08:00
Presumably the DOD is not sitting around with fingers on triggers and engines hot for immediate dispatch to anyplace, anytime to identify, bomb, rescue, doctor, and evacuate individuals from firefights.

Your "pox", like syphilis, is the infection that CIA black ops empire expansion and chauvinistic self-righteous, amoral justification disclose and spread.

The politicians - from the various Presidents, Secretaries of State and House and Senate members are cowed, manipulated, purchased and directed by misinformation, financial and personal threats, and a selection (election) process that minimizes independent thought and investigation.

Perhaps Bernie - from his vantage point of experience since the Viet Nam fiasco and Civil Rights war - can bring some open honesty and transparency around which Americans can wrap their propagandized view of Uber America.

An even more dedicated, independent and motivated Vice President and House Speaker should force the out-liars into reconsideration of their options and goals.
 
 
0 # Robbee 2015-10-26 08:17
roland, come out, come out, wherever you are! make some sense out of benghazzi for us at last, please! - says # Roland 2015-10-24 14:13 "tswhiskers says - "So I in a quandary as to whether she can be trusted to mean what she says." That is the funniest thing I have read on these pages in some time!"

- roland, the funniest thing I have read on these pages 2015-10-24 is you drawing up plays for gowdy, fox news and bush 2, so they could have, in retrospect, behaved themselves like decent, reasonable, intelligent human beings! - more comedy, please! times being what they are on rsn, life being hard for us 99% at the mercy of our plutocrat betters, we would prefer that your future comments reach your pinnacle of 2015-10-24!

okay, roland, you're on! - help us out! - # Roland 2015-10-24 18:46 "... Hillary lying to the American citizens for political reasons."

roland, pop-quiz, you're gowdy's monday morning quarterback, okay?

as gowdy should have instead, in a sentence, tell the american public what hill did wrong;

next, in a sentence, tell the american public hill's political agenda;

next, in a sentence, tell the american public how benghazzi advanced hill's political agenda;

roland, gowdy flip-flopped his charges shiftier than romney - in clarity that gowdy never managed, tell us please what did hill do wrong? and why does it matter? then please marshall a persuasive argument for benghazzi advancing a hill political agenda - that would be worth reading, thanks!
 
 
+4 # Dale 2015-10-26 08:27
The terrorism in Libya is that brought about by Killary Clintlock. Stevens headed a CIA station in Benghazi and was killed in action.

"Qaddafi, overwhelmed by the bombings and the well-armed Islamic insurgency went into hiding. Located by NATO Special forces with their technology, Sitre where he was in hiding was carpet bombed. Mercenary militants were called in and killed him by sodomization with a bayonet. AmeriKa´s Diplomat-In-Chi ef, Hillary Clinton, busy advocating taking care next of Syria´s Assad and overseeing the arming of Islamic militants there, took a moment to be sage: “We came, we saw, he died.” And this person who celebrates murder of a head of state is designated to be the next President of AmeriKa Inc.
The results of the Libya attack, like Iraq and Somalia, is a country, no longer a nation, in total sectarian conflict of armed groupings, political stalemate, and social disarray, with Islamic extremists the dominant forces."
(excerpt from writing on Libya and perpetual war, for full copy email Dale at troporg@racsa.co.cr )
 
 
+2 # Bruce Gruber 2015-10-26 09:15
The failure of America to have UNpartisan public SERVANTS as elected officials never ceases to amaze me. Were it not for the buzzards - commended as "capitalist" (rather than 'lower case' opportunists) bribing, annoying and manipulating the public interest - perhaps lies as our greatest failure. Too bad we are so individually lazy and uninformed ...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1129951/posts

What goes around, comes around!
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2015-10-26 16:30
Quoting Bruce Gruber:
The failure of America to have UNpartisan public SERVANTS as elected officials never ceases to amaze me. Were it not for the buzzards - commended as "capitalist" (rather than 'lower case' opportunists) bribing, annoying and manipulating the public interest - perhaps lies as our greatest failure. Too bad we are so individually lazy and uninformed ...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1129951/posts

What goes around, comes around!


Get a grip. No one has non partisans as public servants. That was a fantasy of the founding fathers that just didn't pan out because it goes against human nature.
 
 
-2 # Bruce Gruber 2015-10-27 04:44
Human nature is like training pets via Pavlov. Trickle down awareness, properly timed and seasoned, can maintain self-destructiv e behavior at a fever pitch ... and make bourbon drinkers join a Tea Party.
 
 
0 # elkingo 2015-10-26 12:43
The whole notion of "winning/losing " in such an instance is a matter of predictive statements, made by 3rd party political "savants" about which group of assholes will be swayed in which directions and how far. American political discourse is bullshit
 
 
+4 # WBoardman 2015-10-26 14:27
That's why (partly) "wins" is in ironic quotes. ;-)))
 
 
+1 # Khidr 2015-10-26 13:20
Yes,we in America await for our next killingest
President with cohones, Madam Killery Clinton.
 
 
-1 # RMDC 2015-10-27 15:47
Hillary may have won but who was she up against -- the looney tunes characters who were rehersing for halloween. Really, the republican question askers seemed to have rehersed thier irrelevant questions to a T. No matter how irrelevant, they just would not stop. With opponents like this, we'd all be winners.

Libya was a CIA operation and a few CIA guys got killed. So what. Who gives a fuck. Chis Stevens was responsible for killing tens of thousands of Libyans, and he got killed in the process. He got what he deserved. He should have stayed home. Too bad Libyans did not kill all the CIA spooks in their country
 
 
+1 # Bruce Gruber 2015-10-28 13:18
"Libya was a CIA operation and a few CIA guys got killed." ... probably true, but in a world where transcribed lunch orders are considered "secret", it isn't likely anybody will admit it.

In answer to " Who gives a fuck(?)." ... we ALL do - in various directions for various reasons based on our widely divergent perceptions and philosophies about what 'America' means to us as a cultural , social, and governmental experiment.

As to, "Chis Stevens was responsible for killing tens of thousands of Libyans, and he got killed in the process. He got what he deserved. He should have stayed home." ... every nation has their amoral version of 'what' Stevens was, as well as versions of those who killed ours. WE, as the foundation of our 'government' are responsible for the thought, study, evaluation and expectation we ascribe to the people we elect who allow this crap to happen.

But I have to differ with your, "Chis Stevens was responsible for killing tens of thousands of Libyans, and he got killed in the process. He got what he deserved. He should have stayed home.".

On a case by case basis, in a legal system that allowed for democratic participation I find execution possibly acceptable as a punishment for rape, murder and larceny that harms the citizenry ... though I would vastly prefer life at hard public labor as the means to exact punishment for serious wrongdoing.
 
 
+1 # Bruce Gruber 2015-10-28 11:34
Seems like Hillary's "problems" with the emails lies in the erasure - not so much of classified material - but in the exposure of the personal and campaign oriented undercurrent attending every statement, position, reaction, thought or action being made.

No subject seems worthy of evaluation. Only the creation of a synthetic 'use' of events dominates the Blumenthal pandering (or mentoring, if you prefer), leaving one to wonder how petty and opportunistic the erased communications might portray her and her campaign organization and philosophy.

My biased filter always catches the sense that her words reflect her calculations, not her feelings ... and that those words are always open ended 'reflections' allowing disavowal or re-interpretati on or denial of understanding on the part of the audience.

I don't hear commitment and policy specifics. I hear shifty tendencies and allusion to input she acknowledges but has never previously determined to lead. There is too much, "We should ..." and far too little, " I will ...!". We need someone who wants to LEAD. Not someone who wants and expects to be IN CHARGE.
 

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