Human Events Blog

Benghazi bungle achieves absolute zero “accountability”

Even in the new Obama era of high-level irresponsibility – in which the words “I take responsibility” are a magic spell, chanted to ward off consequences – it’s remarkable to achieve absolutely zero accountability for a deadly outrage like Benghazi.  But that’s exactly what happened.  The most serious price paid by anyone turns out to be U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice failing to get her desired promotion to Secretary of State, and that’s not much of a “punishment.”  Also, Rice played a key role in the Administration cover-up, but she had nothing to do with the decisions that got four Americans killed.

As for those who did have a role in that decision-making process, first we had the current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, telling CNN on the eve of the second presidential debate: “I take responsibility.  I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts.  The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals.  They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”

But nothing happened to Clinton.  She came up with convoluted health-related reasons to avoid testifying before Congress, then vanished completely, as chronicled by the Weekly Standard:

On December 19, Clinton missed the State Department holiday party. “I was going to congratulate her on her record-breaking travel,” President Obama said, noting her absence. “These are not frequent-flyer miles,” he joked. “She is tireless and extraordinary.”

On the same day as her office announced her illness, they also put out word that Clinton would be missing the Benghazi hearing scheduled for December 20 on Capitol Hill. Indeed, she did miss that hearing, and another one has not yet been scheduled.

And on December 21, Clinton missed President Obama’s announcement that John Kerry would be nominated as the next secretary of state. “Hillary wanted very much to be here today, but she continues to recuperate.  I had a chance to talk to her earlier today, and she is in good spirits and could not be more excited about the announcement that I’m making,” Obama said at that event, again noting Clinton’s absence.

Clinton’s last trip, to the Czech Republic, Belgium, Ireland, and Northern Ireland, returned December 7.

Nevertheless, Clinton has not been declared physically incapable of performing her job.  She’ll keep the seat warm until Kerry officially takes over.  No one seems troubled by America’s sudden lack of a functioning Secretary of State.

After Clinton took “full responsibility,” Barack Obama rushed forward to say that no, the buck stopped with him.  Or, at least, the buck would stop with whatever unlucky underling he decided to hand it to.  ”Ultimately as Commander-in-Chief I’m responsible, and I don’t shy away from that responsibility,” Obama said.

Tough talk!  But it swiftly developed that Obama primarily saw his “ultimate responsibility” as the careful selection of some fall guys.  ”If we find out that there was a big breakdown and somebody didn’t do their job,” the President vowed, “then they’ll be held responsible.”

So, we got all the long, drawn-out investigations Clinton and Obama promised – conveniently wrapped up long after the election – and attention was finally focused upon four previously obscure bureaucrats at agencies most Americans have never heard of.  And those heads rolled, by golly!

Except… they didn’t.  From Josh Margolin at the New York Post:

The four officials supposedly out of jobs because of their blunders in the run-up to the deadly Benghazi terror attack remain on the State Department payroll — and will all be back to work soon, The Post has learned.

The highest-ranking official caught up in the scandal, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell, has not “resigned” from government service, as officials said last week. He is just switching desks. And the other three are simply on administrative leave and are expected back.

(Emphasis mine.)  The State Department couldn’t even be troubled to identify one of the three officials who got “punished” with a paid vacation.  So it looks like America’s one and only chance to hold anyone “accountable” for the dead of Benghazi came and went on November 6.  If it’s true that we get the government we deserve, we have become a terminally irresponsible nation.

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