Sunday, June 22, 2014

State Department Diplomats Spit on Chris Stevens's Grave

Doris O'Brien
For all we know, Congress – or anyone else who gives a fig – may never get to the bottom of the Benghazi debacle.  Already the Obama administration’s sanctioned scenarios spun to explain the atrocity are beginning to harden on their way to being set in stone. 
When I discussed the matter recently with a couple of former diplomats, now retired and living in D.C., their explanations for what had happened during the attack and in its subsequent revelations left me stunned. 
As far as the attack on the compound was concerned, they chalked it up to “an error in judgment” on the part of Ambassador Chris Stevens.  The implication was that he should not have been in that dangerous spot altogether and, by extrapolation, that he brought about his own death.  It was regrettable, they agreed, but those are the chances one takes by serving our country abroad.   

When the horrific event first made news, however, these same diplomats had been a good deal more sympathetic toward the idealistic, if unfortunate, young Stevens, who had been generally liked by the Libyans.  Admiration had been expressed for his conscientious nature, his dedication to duty, and his desire to move around the country in order to understand its problems and its people, rather than remain sequestered behind the gates of an embassy.
Not anymore.  Among the liberal State Department community, an edict seems to have gone out to the effect that Foggy Bottom’s hide had best be covered at the expense of the dead man’s.  The revised talking point appears now to be that Stevens, rather than tempering his dedication with prudence, was actually somewhat rash.  Should he not have realized how unwise it was to even be in Benghazi, all things considered?  And if he had been so afraid for his life as to recognize the need for military support (which never came), why did he insist on remaining in that post?  After all, it was more of an outpost than a post, anyway. 
Yes, of course they agreed that it was all purely horrible, what had happened to our ambassador and three other Americans.  But such unexpected incidents come with the territory, especially when an envoy appears to throw caution to the wind.  I wonder whether they would want their own deaths explained away in such cavalier terms had they been the victims of violence. 
As for the administration’s handling of the issue with the press, followed by the tightly controlled talking points delivered by Ambassador Susan Rice on Sunday morning talk shows, the reasoning was simple enough: that was what the administration knew at the time.  Period.  As more information became available, the narrative was clarified to reflect it.  Obviously. 
I have learned that “discussions” with liberals turn quickly into lectures, with me on the wrong end of the harangue.  When I dared point out how from the start the administration was informed by the CIA that the attacks had been systematically planned and launched by terrorists, what I got in reply was a dismissive remark about how the whole matter of Benghazi is actually “very complicated” – more so than laymen could comprehend, especially Republicans whose underlying concern is not to get at the truth, but to get under President Obama‘s skin. 
Such smugness leads easily enough to the conclusion that, in the end, the truth of what happened in Benghazi is impossible to fathom.  Furthermore, the effort would be of minimal value, since, as Jay Carney remarked, it was all so long ago.  And as Hillary disdainfully added, “what difference does it make?”
Somehow I had expected that on the matter of an American ambassador’s cold-blooded murder in a sanctuary that should have guaranteed his protection, the outrage would have extended, without caveats, across party lines. 
Now we learn that several hundred military personnel have been sent to Baghdad to protect the ambassadorial staff.  But if anything happens to them, as it did in Benghazi, will we be told that their “lack of judgment” for remaining in such a hot spot did them in?

Page Printed from: at June 22, 2014 - 02:09:39 AM CDT

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