Hillary Clinton steps forward and takes the blame for the blown-completely-out-of-proportion events in Benghazi:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday tried to douse a political firestorm over the deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, saying she’s responsible for the security of American diplomatic outposts.
“I take responsibility,” Clinton said during a visit to Peru. “I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”
But she said an investigation now under way will ultimately determine what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed on September 11.
Angry old Palin-picker John McCain is joined by his ambiguously gay sidekick Lindsey Graham and New Hampshire marble-mouth Kelly Ayotte (who will be taking over Joe Lieberman’s Yankee Weasel spot) to complain that This Is Not Good Enough:
Clinton’s statement of responsibility was “a laudable gesture, especially when the White House is trying to avoid any responsibility whatsoever,” the Arizona senator said in a joint broadside with Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. However, they added, “The security of Americans serving our nation everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the commander-in-chief. The buck stops there.”
Let’s search our memories for something, oh, I dunno, similar in American history that was – and I’m just picking a random number out of the air here – let’s say approximately 750 times worse than Benghazi. Oh, yeah, here we go. This is former National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice doing an exit interview with CNN almost four years ago:
QUESTION: Thank you so much, Madame Secretary.
SECRETARY RICE: Pleasure to be with you.
QUESTION: You’ve been in the Bush Administration for eight years.
QUESTION: Looking back, what was your worst moment?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think one of the hardest times for me was during the Lebanon war. I’m very glad that we were able to negotiate a ceasefire in that war. And I believe Resolution 1701, which ended the war between Israel and Lebanon, will show, it will stand as an effort that led to greater sovereignty for Lebanon, with the Lebanese forces throughout the country, with a strong government in place with Fuad Siniora. But standing next to Fuad Siniora in Rome as really, the country was being bombed to smithereens – things were very difficult – and having to say we can’t call for an immediate ceasefire that we can’t deliver, and that will ultimately lead back to the status quo ante with Hezbollah able to do this again was very difficult because I have so much respect for him.
QUESTION: If you could call a time out or a replay in foreign policy with a decision that you made and – you made a decision, you went back home and thought, gosh, you know, I wish I could do a redo of that –
SECRETARY RICE: Right.
QUESTION: – what would that be?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, it’s going to take some time to go back and think about that.
QUESTION: Well, just your gut.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, my gut is that there are, frankly, things that we could have done better in the early stages in Iraq.
Well, yeah, that was bad, particularly if, by “early stages of Iraq”, you mean “….not invading and destroying a country that had absolutely bupkus to do with 9/11 and also didn’t have those WMD’s that, quite frankly, we created out of thin air as the cherry for our casus belli sundae” then, yeah. you would be close for that “worst” thing, but still … no cigar.
Here. Here is a hint:
QUESTION: A little further back to your past and your role as National Security Advisor. Two months before 9/11, you were warned explicitly that bin Ladin would attack the United States.
SECRETARY RICE: You know, this is –
QUESTION: A Council report suggests that you were –
SECRETARY RICE: This is simply –
QUESTION: – distracted.
SECRETARY RICE: This is simply not true. I’m sorry, it’s simply not true.
QUESTION: There was no –
SECRETARY RICE: There was a single item that said bin Ladin determined to attack – not when, where, how, under what circumstances; largely historical data about al-Qaida had always wanted to attack at home. And by the way, threats that were multiplying in July, principally about the foreign threats in foreign places. But I am the one who said, well, what if something happens at home, and therefore convened, or had Dick Clarke convene, the domestic agencies, which did not report to the National Security Council, to deal with the potential for a domestic threat.
QUESTION: What about this meeting on the 10th of July 2001 with the CIA Director and the Counterterrorism –
SECRETARY RICE: I believe, if you look at the 9/11 Commission report, it says that we responded to what was presented to us by the agency. But you know, the fact of the matter is, we did not have the capacity in our systems to share information between law enforcement, the intelligence agencies, and to be able to act in a very quick and decisive way. We did not have that system in place, which is why the reforms that have been made since 9/11 to create true counterterrorism capability in the National Counterterrorism Center; to allow for the sharing information between law enforcement on the inside, and Justice, FBI and the intelligence agencies; the ability to have a Homeland Security Department that can actually pay attention to threats that don’t just come from the center, but also out in the states and the localities; all of that comes after 9/11 because President Bush realized that there were real holes in our counterterrorism capability.
QUESTION: The worst breach of national security in the history of the United States came under your watch.
SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely.
QUESTION: Did you ever consider resigning?
SECRETARY RICE: I believe that this was – this was –
QUESTION: Taking responsibility?
SECRETARY RICE: I do take responsibility. But this was a systemic failure. The United States of America had experienced terrorist attacks in 1993, in 1998 in our embassies abroad, in 2000 against the Cole, and then finally in September of 2001. But the fact of the matter is that we had not thought of this. We, the administrations before us, had not thought of this as the kind of war against the terrorists that we were going to have to wage.
That last part is what Joe Biden calls “malarkey” and what we call “Bullshit“:
Imagination is not a gift usually associated with bureaucracies. For example, before Pearl Harbor the U.S. government had excellent intelligence that a Japanese attack was coming, especially after peace talks stalemated at the end of November 1941. These were days, one historian notes, of “excruciating uncertainty.” The most likely targets were judged to be in Southeast Asia. An attack was coming, “but officials were at a loss to know where the blow would fall or what more might be done to prevent it.”11 In retrospect, available intercepts pointed to Japanese examination of Hawaii as a possible target. But, another historian observes, “in the face of a clear warning, alert measures bowed to routine.”12
It is therefore crucial to find a way of routinizing, even bureaucratizing, the exercise of imagination. Doing so requires more than finding an expert who can imagine that aircraft could be used as weapons. Indeed, since al Qaeda and other groups had already used suicide vehicles, namely truck bombs, the leap to the use of other vehicles such as boats (the Cole attack) or planes is not far-fetched.
Threat reports also mentioned the possibility of using an aircraft filled with explosives. The most prominent of these mentioned a possible plot to fly an explosives-laden aircraft into a U.S. city. This report, circulated in September 1998, originated from a source who had walked into an American consulate in East Asia. In August of the same year, the intelligence community had received information that a group of Libyans hoped to crash a plane into the World Trade Center. In neither case could the information be corroborated. In addition, an Algerian group hijacked an airliner in 1994, most likely intending to blow it up over Paris, but possibly to crash it into the Eiffel Tower.14
In 1994, a private airplane had crashed onto the south lawn of the White House. In early 1995,Abdul Hakim Murad-Ramzi Yousef’s accomplice in the Manila airlines bombing plot-told Philippine authorities that he and Yousef had discussed flying a plane into CIA headquarters.15
By the way, Rice had an opportunity to apologize during the 9/11 hearings:
As White House allies and Republicans investigating the Sept. 11 attacks pressed to hear open testimony from national security adviser Condoleezza Rice — with one member of the 9/11 panel calling her refusal a “political blunder of the first order” — Rice took to the prime-time airwaves Sunday night, renewing her claim of executive privilege.
“Nothing would be better, from my point of view, than to be able to testify,” Rice told Ed Bradley of CBS’s “60 Minutes.” “I would really like to do that. But there is an important principle involved here: It is a long-standing principle that sitting national security advisers do not testify before the Congress.”
When Bradley asked if she or the president were prepared to offer an apology to the families of victims of Sept. 11 — like the dramatic mea culpa offered by Clarke last week in his testimony before the commission — she demurred.
“The families have heard from this president — and from me personally, in some cases — how deeply sorry everyone is for the loss they endured,” she said. “But the best thing we can do for the future of this country is to focus on those who did this to us.”
And the she got promoted.
So, you see, being a Republican means never having to say you’re sorry. Or responsible. Or unimaginative. Or admitting that you are a completely incompetent boob who was really terrible at your job which ended up resulting in massive destruction and death and needless war and that, when people have finally grown weary of spitting on you on the street, you should be ignored until such time as your lifeless body is discovered one day in a sad one-bedroom apartment reeking of shame, failure, and cat pee.