Published January 24, 2013
Republican Senators and Congressmen thought they finally had a chance to cross-examine Secretary Clinton Wednesday on the Obama administration’s failure to provide adequate security for our Benghazi consulate. They thought they could grill her about what happened both before the attacks that killed our ambassador and three others and the failure to mount rescue operations once the attacks began.
Instead, the Secretary turned the tables and chastised Congress for failing to provide adequate funding to protect our people.
She stopped just short of saying the Benghazi attacks were House Republicans’ fault. It was one of the most masterful political performances in recent times.
How did the Republicans blow it? Because they ‘went small’ in their questions, and looked small and petty for asking them.
The Senators and Congressman should have ‘gone big’ instead and expanded the scope of the hearings.
They should have grilled her on how “leading from behind” has allowed Islamic extremists and Al Qaeda to hijack the Arab Spring movement.
They should have hammered the point that in two short years the entire region from North Africa, to the Middle East, to the Persian Gulf and potentially all the way to Afghanistan has gone from relative stability with pro-American governments to economic, military and political chaos.
They should have asked why the Obama administration failed to round up and kill those responsible for the Benghazi attacks. The self-proclaimed mastermind of these attacks sitting poolside at a Benghazi luxury hotel sipping strawberry frappes and giving interviews to the New York Times and Reuters and bragging about killing Americans.
They should have asked why the administration failed to secure Qaddafi’s large stockpiles of weapons before they toppled him. Because of their inaction those weapons are now showing up in the hands of Libyan militants, Al Qaeda in Mali and rebels in Syria.
They should have pressed Secretary Clinton on what steps the administration has taken to ensure that Syria’s chemical and other advanced weapons don’t similarly fall into the hands of Islamic extremists.
And finally, they should have asked what plans the Obama administration has to protect the thousands of American aid workers and civilians who will be left behind and vulnerable as we withdraw from Afghanistan and the region. They should have pressed Secretary Clinton on whether we will rescue Americans if they're attacked or taken hostage.
Did the Senators and Congressmen ask any of these questions?
One after another they lined up to ask the same tired old questions about timelines and talking points and cable traffic. They spent more time grandstanding than grilling. They looked like a bunch of Pygmies going up against the great Zulu warrior. And worst of all they missed their only chance to get Secretary Clinton on the record on issues that will dog the United States for months and years ahead, and give answers she will have to stand by should she run for President. What a shame for the Republican Party and for the nation.