“I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It’s just plain wrong, and it’s unworthy of our great country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.” – Hillary Clinton, from her forthcoming book, “Hard Choices.”
It’s too late. Secretary Clinton and President Obama chose to politicize Benghazi within hours of the attack.
Clinton supporters like to talk about how smart she is, but if she thinks she can reduce the loss of our ambassador and three other Americans to 34 pages in her book and intimate she doesn’t plan to answer questions about her decisions, she’s wrong.
Much of the focus has been on the administration’s failure to respond to the attack. We were reminded of Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign commercial in which a voiceover says, “it’s 3 a.m. and your children are asleep. There’s a phone in the White House and its ringing. Something is happening in the world. Who do you want answering the phone?”
As it turned out, it was only about 4 p.m. in Washington DC and Clinton and her boss both failed to respond. This is where their politicization of the event began. They chose to blame an Internet video, and the President’s campaign speech to be given the next day in Las Vegas declared we had Al Qaeda on the run.
It wouldn’t be the first time they politicized an event to try to pull the wool over our eyes. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told of his dismay in hearing the admission by both Clinton and Obama that their opposition to the Iraq surge had been political.
In the earliest moments, Clinton began to blame the Internet video and continued to do so days later when the bodies came back to the U.S. as she referred to “an awful video that we had nothing to do with,” adding that we would catch the guy who made the film and make sure he was punished.
Describing the setting in the Andrews Air Force Base hangar as the loved ones of the four Americans gathered to hear Clinton and the President honor the heroes, Columnist Mona Charon wrote, “this egregious lie suggests that Mrs. Clinton’s conscience – if she ever had one – is growing flaccid from disuse.”
Little has been reported regarding the five months of warnings prior the Sept. 11, 2012 attack. The IED tossed over the consulate fence and another thrown at a UN convoy in April, the Al Qaeda attack on the Benghazi Red Cross office in May; the June 5, 2012 device detonated at the consulate gate with leaflets promising further attacks on U.S. interests there; and the June 10, 2012 rocket attack injuring two Brits, resulting in the withdrawal of the UK consulate staff from Benghazi. And Clinton would have us believe she didn’t see cables reporting these events, nor did anyone brief her on them. Really. Wasn’t she secretary of state?
Now she thinks she can describe her grief over losing the four Americans – “a punch in the gut” – and simply say that “as secretary I was the one ultimately responsible for my people’s safety,” and hope that we will forget the nearly two years of cover up.
She claims many are politicizing the tragedy by misinterpreting her “what difference at this point does it make” remark made in angry response to Sen. Ron Johnson during the Senate hearing. Clearly, she would have liked Congress to move past those responsible for the failures, including her, and look to future prevention of such attacks.
Clinton’s people have been conducting focus groups and recently met with the Third Way, a think tank that laughingly believes in pragmatic solutions and principled compromise. In the days ahead we will be treated non-stop to Clinton book interviews.