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Liberty and security, &c.

Che Guevara

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For a transcript of Stephanopoulos’s interview with Hicks, go here. In the interview, Hicks reviewed what happened in Benghazi a year ago. This makes for pretty unsettling reading.

Our security in Libya was weakened, and the ambassador, Christopher Stevens, warned against this before he was killed.

When the attacks began, Hicks informed the State Department of this fact: Our consulate was under attack. He told them repeatedly. Later, the White House, through then-U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, said that Libyans were protesting an anti-Islamic video. But the video, Hicks told Stephanopoulos, was “a non-event” in Libya.

He expected the besieged consulate to receive aid, but it did not. An awful question: Could the four Americans who were killed have been saved?

“Sadly,” said Hicks, “I think that Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith, maybe not. Ty and Glen of course were killed in the mortar attack that took place eight hours after the initial attack. It’s possible they could have been saved, I think.”

Smith was a member of the diplomatic team; Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were former Navy SEALs who were working in security.

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Last May, Hicks testified before Congress. Since then, he has been without an assignment from the State Department. He told Stephanopoulos he had been “punished,” “shunted aside,” “put in a closet, if you will.” He was speaking on the show without State’s knowledge. He said he was doing so because “the American people need to have the story” of Benghazi. Also, because the four dead should be remembered “for the sacrifice that they made.”

You might say that Hicks is being disloyal to Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, and the Obama administration. But he is being loyal to the country, I think, and to the truth. The administration has emitted so much fog about Benghazi. This one man is trying to clear the air a bit.

Again, good for Stephanopoulos, for giving him some time. Presidential-debate hosts can’t interfere every time someone gets close to the truth about Benghazi.

This is kind of funny: Doctor Who has been running on British television for a half-century. Many actors have played the doctor: eleven of them. A twelfth has just been hired.

And some people aren’t happy about this: because, like the previous eleven, the twelfth is a white man.

For example, the actress Dame Helen Mirren said, “I do think it’s well over time to have a female Doctor Who. I think a gay, black female Doctor Who would be the best of all.” Of course.

(For an article about this, go here.)

This provoked a memory in me. A few years ago, I was talking to a Norwegian friend of mine about the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Why would the Norwegian Nobel Committee have chosen the U.S. president, Barack Obama?

We went over all the reasons — he was a social democrat, like them, he was skeptical of American power, he revered the U.N., etc. At the end, I said, “And he’s even black! He’s perfect!”

My friend said, “No, he could be gay. Then he’d be perfect.” I stood corrected.

From time immemorial, golfers at a range have done this: They hit the last ball in their bucket, and it’s a bad shot. They encroach on the range, retrieve another ball, and hit it.

Some years ago — let’s say, eight — I did this, and a range employee called me on it. He rebuked me for it. I was mightily abashed. I vowed (internally) never to do it again, no matter how bad the final shot of my session was.

I had not gone to get another ball until about two weeks ago. I was at a range far from home. As I ventured forth for the extra ball, I said, out loud — I swear — “Argument from tradition.”

Sophistry in action? Thanks for joining me, Impromptus-ites, and catch you soon.



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