Hillary Clinton on Benghazi and ‘smart power at its best’
As the mainstream media gushes over how well Hillary Clinton performed at the first Democratic debate, they glaze over one of the most important answers that she gave in regards to a question about the Benghazi, Libya tragedy that cost four Americans their lives. In under two minutes, she masterfully spun the conversation in a way that had moderator Anderson Cooper pressing for understanding.
The inevitable question about Benghazi came up and Clinton’s prepared answer was what anyone would expect. First, she established the scenario that preceded the events.
Well, let’s remember what was going on. We had a murderous dictator, Gaddafi, who had American blood on his hands, as I’m sure you remember, threatening to massacre large numbers of the Libyan people. We had our closest allies in Europe burning up the phone lines begging us to help them try to prevent what they saw as a mass genocide, in their words. And we had the Arabs standing by our side saying, “We want you to help us deal with Gadhafi.”
Then, she defended the overall situation in Libya as a good move because there were no soldiers on the ground.
Our response, which I think was smart power at its best, is that the United States will not lead this. We will provide essential, unique capabilities that we have, but the Europeans and the Arabs had to be first over the line. We did not put one single American soldier on the ground in Libya. And I’ll say this for the Libyan people…
At this point, Cooper brought up the very obvious perspective that the President’s decision to not have American soldiers on the ground in Libya contributed to the deaths of four Americans.
But let — I’ll get to that. But I think it’s important, since I understand Senator Webb’s very strong feelings about this, to explain where we were then and to point out that I think President Obama made the right decision at the time.
And the Libyan people had a free election the first time since 1951. And you know what, they voted for moderates, they voted with the hope of democracy. Because of the Arab Spring, because of a lot of other things, there was turmoil to be followed.
But unless you believe the United States should not send diplomats to any place that is dangerous, which I do not, then when we send them forth, there is always the potential for danger and risk.
Let’s consider three things in what she said. First, she is considering it a good thing to not have had a single American soldier on the ground, but it’s very clear that there needed to be American soldiers on the ground. Because there were not, four men are dead. Had there been a few on the ground to appropriately defend themselves, all might be alive today. Her pride in not having troops to defend American lives is unacceptable.
Second, she said that they had a free democratic vote but because of the Arab Spring and other things, turmoil followed. That’s incorrect. They had elections because of the Arab Spring, not the other way around. The United States supported the groups that removed and killed Muammar Gaddafi and the moderate officials that she’s promoting have pushed Libya into the worse situations it’s been in for decades.
Third and most importantly, she says that the United States should send diplomats to dangerous places and she is correct. However, doing so should be done with enough security. Whether as Secretary of State or as President of the United States, decisions like these should come down to two options: send them with enough support or don’t send them at all. She chose to send Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty into a hostile and chaotic situation without the basic support they requested.
Looking at what transpired, the fact that she declared in the debate that Libya represented “smart power at its best” is a sign of complete and utter disconnection with reality. It wasn’t smart power at its best. The men who died were left powerless to defend themselves while the people of Libya are seeing “smart power” that does nothing to help them ease their suffering. There is nothing smart about our policy in Libya and there is no form of power being utilized whatsoever.
There are certain facts that everyone must remember when considering Hillary Clinton for President.
- She can blame President Obama all she wants, but this was her Ambassador, her responsibility to ensure that the men she placed in an extremely dangerous situation had adequate support and resources. Having an addition 10 American soldiers or hiring a private security firm to protect them would never have required permission from the President.
- This was done on September 11. If there is any day every year where diplomats in hostile countries should be on high alert with extra protection, that’s the day.
- This was a re-election year. Any other year, there would have been no need for spin. Because President Obama was up for re-election, they had to delay the scandal for as long as possible which is why they cooked up and sold to the American people the idea that it was a response to a YouTube video. She flat out lied.
- Deceit and poor decisions about the safety of Americans are traits that we cannot allow in the White House ever again.
The Republicans have unfortunately allowed the attention to turn to her email servers, but the real questions that must be answered center around her decisions that resulted in the deaths of four Americans. She is quick to point out that Gaddafi had blood on his hands. She refuses to acknowledge that she has blood on her own.