Diagnosis for Democracy
Insights into the State of Our Union
A Blog by Rob Tenery, MD


July 13, 2015: What Difference Does It Make?

By Rob Tenery, MD on July 13, 2015

The fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night, who decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”  Secretary of state Hillary Clinton, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations’ Committee on January 23, 2013.

The attack on the U.S. consulate and the CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, that left the American ambassador and three other Americans dead, began at 9:40 p.m.

Were the President and the State department aware of the impending attacks and, if so, did they take measures to increase the security at the compound? As early as February 2012, the White House received a request for additional security from Ambassador Chris Stevens for the American consulate in Benghazi. Again, on August 2, Stevens sent a cable requesting an additional 11 bodyguards, but his request was denied. Reported by the Wall Street Journal, as the anniversary of 9/11 approached, the Administration removed a 16 member, security detail from Libya to be replaced by Libyan personnel, even though Ambassador Stevens felt they weren’t reliable.

Did the administration and the State Department have enough warning that they could have sent reinforcements that would have changed the outcome? Just an hour flight time away, military assistance from the large naval air station in Sigonella, Italy, the NATO airbase at Aviano, Italy and the Naval support base at Souda Bay on the island of Crete could have mustered their forces of fighters and AC 130 helicopter gunships to breakup the siege at the American compound.

When was it first apparent that this was an orchestrated attack instead of a response to the anti-Muslim video? A chronology of the facts seems to differ from the Administration and the Secretary of State’s position. After an American surveillance drone arrives in Benghazi, at shortly after 11 p.m., Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey met with the President. At 12:07 a.m. of September 12, the State department sends an email to the White House, as well as the Pentagon and the FBI, indicating that the Islamist terror group Ansar al-Shari had already claimed credit for the attack. By 1:15 a.m., a rescue team from Tripoli arrives in Benghazi. About 30 Americans were rescued from the consulate building and holed up with Ambassador Stevens at the CIA annex. At 4 a.m., an email confirmed the assault on the annex was a military style attack, where two Navy SEALS were ultimately killed. By 10 a.m., the bodies of Ambassador Stevens and three other dead Americans were put on a transport plane out of Benghazi.

Initially, the attack was reported to the media by the representatives of the current administration in the White house as a spontaneous protest triggered by an anti-Muslim video, Innocence of Muslims.

At 10:08 p.m. of September 11, Secretary of State Clinton reported: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

Susan Rice, the National Security Advisor for President Obama, appeared on several Sunday morning talk shows, on September 16, stating, “Based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is, as of the present is, in fact, what began, spontaneously in Bengasi, as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video … We do not have information, at present, that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.”

In President Obama’s address to the United Nations on September 24, he stated, “In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening.  In every culture, those who have freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others. That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks is a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear the United States government had nothing to and video.  And I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity….”

Secretary Clinton’s initial statement at 10:08 p.m., on the night of the attack about the video, is plausible--- due to the lack of facts and the regional unrest about any comments that were anti-Muslim. But Susan Rice’s appearances and explanation on the Sunday talk shows, four days later, blaming the video just isn’t backed up by the facts that were widely known at the time. Then President Obama’s presentation, 13 days later, at the United Nations, still implying that the video was the cause, clearly demonstrates his denial of the ‘real’ world.  He can’t admit or realize that his foreign policy of amelioration is a failure. That not only makes him wrong, but dangerous!

When Hillary Clinton blurted out, before the Senate Foreign Relation’s Committee, “What Difference, at this point, does it make?” Sixteen months later, for the four dead Americans, she is probably correct. We can’t go back. What does matter is the veracity of this Administration and the questionable ability of Hillary Clinton if she is elected as this country’s next President!





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"the "difference (it) makes" is whether or not the apodictic Democratic nominee is reliable, forthcoming, and competent" - steve brotherton MD


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