Many of us remember in 1993 during the Clinton administration the tragic death of American soldiers in Somalia that has been immortalized in the story of Blackhawk Down. We watched as the body of an American soldier was dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin had refused the request for additional resources to provide cover for the soldiers on the ground. As a result of his failure to respond to the call for help and the resulting deaths, he was forced to resign.
Nineteen years later we have the same exact situation with the brutal torture and murder of an American ambassador and the murder of three other Americans at our consulate in Libya. We all saw pictures of the ambassadors’ body. The parallel of the refusal to protect the soldiers in Mogadishu and the consulate staff in Libya had to be immediately and unmistakable to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. Why else do they now insist on casting blame on intelligence sources after initially and shamelessly trying to offer a video as the cause?
Some are asking whether the president is using the video along with the “We didn’t know” defense for re-election or ideological purposes. This misses the core of issue.
The Obama administration had placed Americans in a documented, physically vulnerable consulate that had already been attacked in 2012 and requests for added protection were denied. Action in response to the call for additional protection would probably have deferred the terrorists or at least have prevented the four deaths.
I believe this administration’s collective attempts to blame first a video and then others for the failure to respond to calls for protection is because they recognize what occurred is tantamount to criminal negligence, even if they are shielded by law. At least in 1993 there was some small measure of accountability.
Sadly this president will not even ask for the resignation of Secretary of State Clinton nor, I believe, will she will even offer it. Their political fortunes are tied together no matter how much they may not like it.