So some nitwits and numbskulls who were somehow elected to Congress took on the most admired woman in the world last Wednesday and by most accounts, they went down for the count.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee each held a hearing to examine issues surrounding the murders of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others last September 11 in Benghazi, Libya. For two and a half hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon, the outgoing Secretary of State – who was hospitalized just a few weeks ago after doctors discovered a blood clot in her head – more than held her own against pandering politicians who were hell-bent not on getting to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi but on trying to tarnish the credibility and reputation of Clinton and her boss, President Obama. (Right-wingers insist the administration ignored intelligence that the attack was imminent, didn't provide adequate security for the U.S. Consulate and is now trying to cover everything up.)
|J. Christopher Stevens|
The administration initially said the assaults were retaliation for the release of an anti-Islamic video, “Innocence of Muslims.” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice appeared on interview shows on September 16 armed with talking points provided by the CIA suggesting that the brouhaha in Benghazi was “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi.” Two days later, the POTUS himself told David Letterman that "extremists and terrorists used [the anti-Muslim YouTube video] as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies."
It emerged later that it was in fact not an impromptu act by an inflamed mob but a clearly-planned, military-type attack resulting from American foreign policy.
So politicians decided this ambiguity warranted televised congressional hearings, and smarmy panderers like John McCain (R-AZ), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) went to town. McCain told Clinton, “The answers you’ve given this morning, frankly, are unsatisfactory to me.” Johnson, a Tea Party-backed first-termer, insisted that Ambassador Rice had “intentionally misled” people – a claim with which Madame Secretary did not agree.
Paul called Benghazi “the worst tragedy since 9/11.”
You know why these hearings are nothing more than a partisan dog and pony show? Because the same folks who are indignantly interrogating Hillary Clinton have stymied the Obama administration’s attempts to boost security and increase funding for the 260 embassies, consulates and missions that we maintain in 180 countries around the globe.
Last September 18, the Center for American Progress pointed out, “In each of the last two years, Congress has cut President Obama’s request for U.S. Foreign Service and U.S. Agency for International Development staffing levels despite repeated analysis by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, indicating that our embassies are critically understaffed.”
But wait. There’s more:
“In the 2011 continuing resolution, Congress, at the insistence of the House of Representatives, slashed the president’s request for embassy security and construction and forced another cut in fiscal year 2012. Altogether Congress has eliminated $296 million from embassy security and construction in the last two years with additional cuts in other State Department security accounts.”
“For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program — well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration. House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be ‘detrimental to America’s national security’ — a charge Republicans rejected.”
Don’t like the Center for American Progress or the Washington Post? How about the New York Times? The Old Gray Lady published an op-ed on October 14, 2012 that included the following:
“The ugly truth is that the same people who are accusing the administration of not providing sufficient security for the American consulate in Benghazi have voted to cut the State Department budget, which includes financing for diplomatic security. The most self-righteous critics don’t seem to get the hypocrisy, or maybe they do and figure that if they hurl enough doubts and complaints at the administration, they will deflect attention from their own poor judgments on the State Department’s needs.”
As I posted in Facebook the other day, I resent these guys using the deaths of four human beings to try to score political points and slow Hillary Clinton's rush to the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. After watching these sleazy bozos, I can't wait to knock on doors and lick envelopes for her.
Click here for a story entitled, “Hillary Clinton exits Benghazi probe looking stronger than ever,” and click here to read New York magazine’s “Seven Things Hillary Clinton Was Saying When She Adjusted Her Glasses.”
Sources: Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN.com, CBS News, Public Policy Polling, New York Times, ThinkProgress.org, Gallup, JustForeignPolicy.org, Center for American Progress.