Answers still needed on Libya
First it was Bill Clinton. Now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is carrying water for the president.
Finally, someone in the Obama administration has stepped forward to take the blame for the recent attack on the United States diplomatic compound in Libya and the murder of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Unfortunately, it wasn't President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden. Instead, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stepped up to take the bullet, and, in doing so, she frankly admitted that her motive for doing so is political in nature.
"I take responsibility. I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha," she said.
Her loyalty is admirable, but there are problems with her statement.
For starters, Secretary Clinton is not the president — at least not yet. Second, it's not clear just what Clinton is accepting responsibility for.
She said that it's her duty as secretary of state to provide proper security for U.S. diplomats abroad. It seems obvious that security at our consulate in Benghazi was not adequate in the face of the Sept. 11 al-Qaida terror attack, but just last week, the lower-level State Department official who denied a request for beefed-up security defended that decision as the proper one.
In making her brief statement, Clinton did not explain why the State Department acted as it did. It must do so.
The other unanswered question, one to which Clinton barely alluded, is why high officials in the Obama administration, including Obama himself and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, characterized a terror attack by an organization at war with this country as a political demonstration that got out of hand.
Clinton suggested the "fog of war" explains the incorrect explanation Obama officials offered for roughly a week after the attack. Others, like Vice President Biden, have placed the blame on the "intelligence community." But, according to congressional testimony, there was no demonstration at the embassy prior to the attack and intelligence officials were able to link the attack to al-Qaida within 24 hours. Yet Obama officials tried to blame an American-made video lampooning Muhammad for sparking the attack.
Republicans have been quick to criticize how the Obama administration has mishandled the matter, and Democrats have been just as quick to criticize them for trying to politicize it.
This, however, is a political year, the time for one party to try to hold the other accountable for its failings.
This was not just a personal tragedy for the victims of this attack and their friends and families. It also was an intolerable attack on this country, one that must be avenged. Equally important, however, is finding out what happened leading up to the attack and who was responsible for the misrepresentations fed to the American public for so long.