A report has just been released by the independent review board looking into the September terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi,
Four of those officials resigned Tuesday. The independent panel stated that blame rose only to the assistant secretary level, but Clinton will still be sporting a political black eye when she steps down from her job as planned at the beginning of
One stop she has canceled is a visit to Capitol Hill to testify about the Benghazi mess. Instead, two of her deputies will speak to the Senate and House foreign affairs committees on Thursday. Republican members of those committees insist that will not be enough. They want to hear from Hillary before she quits her job, and they say they will not start the confirmation process for her successor – who very likely will be Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry – until she shows up to take the heat for Benghazi.
That is probably reasonable; she is the boss, after all. Nevertheless, there is a heavy load of politics behind the demand. Republicans tried to hang the disaster at Benghazi on Obama in the final days of the election campaign. Having failed to do damage with the issue in 2012, they certainly do not want to miss a chance to cause trouble for someone who might be the Democratic nominee in 2016.
What needs to be discussed in those hearings is not only why American diplomats in Benghazi were left to operate in such a perilous locale with woefully weak protection, but why, for well over a decade, so little has been done to raise the security level at U.S. embassies and consulates in many increasingly chaotic and threatening outposts. A report in 1998 after embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania called for a dramatic increase in security, yet in the years since nothing was fixed, and the disaster in Benghazi is the result.
This is not just a management failure, this is also a political failure that can be attributed to both political parties. Security costs a lot of money, and, while presidents and members of