The worst thing about the endless investigations into the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya—an attack that killed four Americans, inlcuding Amb. Chris Stevens—is that they obscure the larger picture: WTF were we doing in Libya in the first place? President Obama involved us in a war situation (called a "kinetic action" back then, if memory serves) not just without congressional approval but without any sort of consultation. For the entire 21st century, under both Reps and Dems, American foreign policy has been an #EPICFAIL, but current Republicans keep focusing in on small-ball questions about what did Hillary or Obama or Susan Rice know and when did she/he/she know it.
On that last point, it turns out that Hillary Clinton adviser and chum Sid Blumenthal (a.k.a. "the human equivalent of a semen-stained dress") was quick to tell then-Secretary of State Clinton that yes, Benghazi was the result of a spontaneous demonstration against the YouTube vid "The Innocene of Muslims" and then no, it was a long-planned attack by an Al Qaeda affiliate. From The New York Times, which sifted through recently released State Department emails that may or may not have been claimed to have gone missing:
[Blumenthal's] memo said the attacks were by "demonstrators" who "were inspired by what many devout Libyan viewed as a sacrilegious internet video on the prophet Mohammed originating in America." Mrs. Clinton forwarded the memo to Mr. Sullivan, saying "More info." (Pages 193-195)…
The next day, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a more thorough account of what had occurred. Citing "sensitive sources" in Libya, the memo provided extensive detail about the episode, saying that the siege had been set off by members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan terrorist group. Those militants had ties to Al Qaeda, had planned the attacks for a month and had used a nearby protest as cover for the siege, the memo said. "We should get this around asap" Mrs. Clinton said in an email to Mr. Sullivan. "Will do," he responded. That information contradicted the Obama administration's narrative at the time about what had spawned the attacks. Republicans have said the administration misled the country about the attacks because it did not want to undermine the notion that President Obama, who was up for re-election, was winning the war on terrorism. (Pages 200-203).
Score one for Sid Vicious. This exchange suggests that Clinton knew by September 13 that the attacks were not a spontaneous demonstration. Other accounts show that "within 15 minutes" of the attack "that it was terrorism."
National Security Advisor Susan Rice would hit five major talk shows on Sunday, September 16 (Clinton was not available, we were told) and gave variations on the theme that "it was a spontaneous—not a premeditated—response."
So thank you, Sid Blumenthal, for accidentally raising issues that should be raised. You, sir, are a true patriot, even as you were trying to get business contracts for your pals to rebuild Libya.
As I said at the top, I care less about Benghazi coverups than I do about larger issues of foreign policy chaos. Here we are, a dozen years on from the "liberation" of Iraq and there is no question that the entire Middle Eastern region (not to mention a good chunk of North Africa, the broader Arab and Islamic worlds, and Afghanistan too) are worse off than they were before we sent our boys and girls over there.
Hillary Clinton isn't talking about here proposed foreign policy (or about anything else, really, other than guacamole) and the major Republican candidates for their party's presidential nomination in 2016 are trying to outdo each other when it comes to what 2008 Republican candidate John McCain used to joke about: "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran."
With one exception, of course—Rand Paul, the guy who spent most the of the past 24 hours talking against Patriot Act renewals. He alone among the GOP hopefuls has dared to ask questions such as "Was it a good idea to invade Libya?" and pointing out "that we negotiated with the Soviets for 70 years and we ended up coming to a peaceful outcome."
And let's not forget the way in which President Obama cynically used the "Innocence of Muslims" canard to push for self-imposed restrictions on free speech while talking at the United Nations. Knowing full well that the shitty YouTube video had nothing to do with attacks that killed soldiers and an ambassador, the Nobel Peace Prize winner still counseled, "I believe [the video's] message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity" and that "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."
Yes, because the video had so much to do with what again?