The 800-plus-page report of the House Select Committee on Benghazi was released earlier this week. It slams former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her willful indifference to her obligation to repel military-style attacks on American interests and personnel at the U.S. Consulate and a nearby CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya. She particularly failed to save the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his colleagues, all under her care and control while she was secretary of state.
The report also slams Clinton for her repeated lies about the cause of the attacks. After she told her daughter in an email that the Benghazi consulate had been attacked by an organized terrorist group using heavy military hardware, she told her colleagues at the State Department that the attacks were a spontaneous overreaction by locals to an American-made internet video about the Prophet Muhammad.
After telling that lie, she sent another email, this one to the Egyptian foreign minister, repeating what she had truthfully told her daughter.
The Obama administration then spread the "internet video-inspired" myth by dispatching Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., to repeat it to five Sunday morning American television talk shows. This was met with profound disbelief in the diplomatic and intelligence communities. Yet, still unwilling to acknowledge the truth publicly, Clinton then retold the myth to the families of the four dead Americans in the presence of their loved ones' bodies as the bodies were being reverently removed from a U.S. transfer plane at Joint Base Andrews.
What does all this say about the character of Clinton? How cold and heartless is she? How can she expect voters to reward her with the presidency when she failed to lift a finger to save Americans and then she repeatedly lied in public about her failures — while being truthful about them in private?
Yet the committee's report is incomplete and has aroused dissent from some Republican members of the committee. The essence of their dissent is that the unstated and unacknowledged but true mission of the committee was not to reveal facts but to conceal them. There is ample evidence to support their argument that Benghazi was the unintended consequence of Clinton's private war against Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
Yet the report does not delve into that.
The war against Gadhafi was, of course, never declared by Congress. It was conceived by Clinton, approved by President Barack Obama and agreed to by leadership in both houses of Congress and from both major political parties. It was supposed to be the crown jewel of Clinton's foreign policy stewardship — ousting the dictator, replacing him with a democracy, putting no American boots on the ground and avoiding American bloodshed.
As is often the case in war, particularly illegal ones and especially secret ones, there were unintended consequences. Here the consequences have been the destruction of the government of an American ally, the imposition of mob-ruled chaos in Libya, the empowerment of terror groups in the Middle East, the deaths of innocent American civilians, the rejection of the rule of law and the obfuscation of the truth.
One of those who signed off on this secret war was the person who appointed the committee and its senior staff with personal loyalists — former House Speaker John Boehner. Another is a former congressman whose wife personally prospered from all this by serving as the go-between in the delivery of military hardware from Western sources to terror groups on the ground.