Tale of Two Secretaries

by Peter Kirsanow

When the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal broke, there was outrage among members of the press, Congress, and the public at large. Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld was excoriated — and not just by Democrats – when he testified about prisoner abuse before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Numerous Democrats called for his resignation. A general was demoted and nearly a dozen soldiers were court martialed and sentenced to prison. The New York Times ran front page stories on Abu Ghraib for 32 consecutive days.

Fast forward a few years. Four Americans are dead because the State Department provided insufficient security to the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, despite numerous warnings and pleas for help — including directly to the secretary of state herself. A false story is promoted by the administration as to the nature of the attack on the consulate — a story that just happens to serve the administration’s electoral narrative. Any outrage about the debacle is not on the part of the mainstream press — indeed, the New York Times can barely be troubled to mention it. When Secretary Clinton testifies about Benghazi before two congressional committees, Senators Johnson and Paul are excoriated for daring to point out the State Department’s gross negligence and mismanagement leading to the Americans’ deaths. As for the others, congressional Democrats heap praise on the secretary. Not a single person is fired and the perpetrators are roaming free. And when the person ultimately responsible for this debacle is asked about the impetus behind the attack, she replies, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” And her reply is cheered by many in the mainstream media.

What would the reaction have been had Rumsfeld, in response to a question about how Abu Ghraib had occurred, said, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Yep.

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