So what happened at Benghazi that night, and more importantly, what happened in the months leading up to the attack, and what happened after the attack? Here are some links I’ve rounded up after watching the State Department testimony.
It’s worthy of mention that State Department officials feel it necessary to speak out against the chain of command.
Eli Lake At The Daily Beast–In Benghazi, CIA Trusted Local Militia That Melted Away. I think the State Department testimony showed that most people knew how sketchy the hired help was. Benghazi was a mission designed to establish an eventual embassy there. It was very dangerous, and getting more so. Pushing ahead with the embassy, despite increasing security threats, lines up with the political goal of succeeding in Libya, and being seen as having succeeded in Libya in the run-up to the presidential election. Signs of terrorism and a direct attack would compromise the leadership.
It was a judgment call, and the response to that judgment call is pretty political.
Also from Lake–They Knew It Was Terrorism-One would hope (such is politics) that the loyalty of the State Department employees would be met with similar loyalty from our political leaders when the shit hit the fan. A decision was made to stand down (which gets at the heart of morale and why people serve, and the ethos of those who do). Then, the video narrative took over, and it seems pretty clear the administration was happy to leave it at that, and try and keep it as quiet as possible, even making life uncomfortable for Hicks. There was a lengthy, none-too-impressive, highly compromised FBI investigation.
They just wanted it to go away. How far did they go? How much did they whitewash?
Peggy Noonan At The Wall Street Journal–The Inconvenient Truth About Benghazi-CYA and rather petty politicking probably took precedence over a more responsible leadership.
Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest–Benghazigate, Republicans Missing The Point-For Garfinkle, the point is that the Libyan war was a mistake in the first place, not the Bush-lite, masterfully played pivot off of Obama’s Cairo speech. It’s spilling out all over the place. It’s not meeting its objectives. Regardless, politics does have its uses, and the main one is to hold our leaders accountable, regardless of party affiliation.
We’ve got to get the incentives right.
Addition: Conditions on the ground in Tripoli are unstable.
Related On This Site: Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’
Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’…From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”…From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And Pakistan…From The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’…