On Sunday, September 16th, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, hit the morning talk show circuit to tell the American people that the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a spontaneous result of a mob that was protesting about a video, made in the United States, that disrespected their prophet Mohammed. Even though there was evidence that the attack had been an organized assault planned and executed by terrorists, Ms. Rice still blamed the video. The big question is why.
There is a group of Republicans in the House and Senate who are saying Susan Rice deliberately misled the American people or that she is simply incompetent and did not check facts before she spoke. I'm not sure I agree with either of those conclusions. I know there will be people on both sides of this issue who disagree with me but that's OK. These are my thoughts on it.
I think Susan Rice delivered the information to the American people that she was given to deliver. I believe she didn't check he information to verify its accuracy but trusted the administration to give her facts as they knew them. Is that incompetence? I don't think so. I doubt Ms. Rice could have attained or maintained her current position by being incompetent. I think she is loyal to the President and trusted him to not hang her out to dry. But it seems that's exactly what he did.
By that Sunday most Americans (who saw the information that was coming in from various sources, including the interim President of Libya) knew the attack had been a coordinated and pre-arranged terrorist attack on the anniversary of the attack in 2001. Weeks later even the President finally admitted that within hours of the attack he was pretty sure it was more than just a mob protest. The problem was, at that point in time, an admission by the administration that it was a terrorist attack could hurt the President's campaign. The lack of response to the attack, which was watched in real time by the State department, we now know, also was a problem. The President's campaign had to pretend they did not know the depth and scope of the attack at the time because they failed to do anything about it for at least seven hours and four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, died. In addition, the President had already been telling people that Al Qaeda was decimated and ineffectual, which turned out not to be true. He had to protect his re-election.
I believe Susan Rice was sent out to mislead the American people (whether knowingly or in complete ignorance of facts) for two reasons. First of all, she is our ambassador to the U.N., which gives her credibility with most Americas. (At least at the time.) Second - she was expendable. IF things went completely wrong and the White House needed a patsy, she was perfect. She's not a member of the President's cabinet but has an important position in the government. High enough up to be believable yet easy to dispose of if necessary.
I think the Senators and Congressmen opposing Susan Rice possibly being nominated as the next Secretary of State are putting the blame on the wrong person. Susan Rice did as she was instructed. Certainly she could have done her own fact finding before going on the talk show circuit but she trusted the President not to put her out there. And in all fairness to the President - he has stood behind her regardless of what the facts show. I'll give him that one.
If you're the President, who would be better to nominate to a cabinet position than someone who has just fallen on the sword for you? I certainly can't blame him for wanting her on board. And as I said - I think the Republicans are putting the blame in wrong place. But again, this is only my opinion and I know many may disagree with me. Each of us has our own thoughts on it and the truth will probably never be known - about Ms. Rice and the incident itself. No President is going to admit he failed to do anything as Americans were under attack. He's never going to admit he screwed up.
President Obama's re-election has secured this incident for now. No derogatory information will be released to the public. The Republicans will make their stand on principle, misguided as that may be, and this incident will fade away in the next six month or so. Particularly if we encounter the distraction of falling off that fiscal cliff.
Form your opinions now about the Benghazi incident. It will most likely be the only truth about it you'll ever know.