Shortly after the September 11 terrorist attack on the U. S. consulate in Benghazi, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton famously took full responsibility for the debacle. Because she was “extremely fatigued” at that time, and because she’s too ill to testify today, we’ve heard nothing of substance from her since.
But the unclassified report of the Accountability Review Board shows that if Secretary Clinton was sincere in accepting responsibility for Benghazi, she was accepting responsibility for a catastrophic failure of leadership.
The report is an indictment of nightmarish management-level incompetence: State Department officials “demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability”; there was a “lack of transparency, responsiveness and leadership at the senior levels”; there was “confusion over who was responsible.” Such descriptions, attached to the failures of almost any other organization, would cause the leader of that organization to be sacked — even if the failures hadn’t resulted in four deaths.
The report raises numerous questions for the secretary of state. Although history (and an indifferent press corps) suggest Secretary Clinton may successfully run out the clock on this scandal, she mustn’t be allowed to evade testifying before cCongress. And if she ever does appear, she also should be asked, ”During your tenure as Secretary of State, in what countries or regions of strategic significance to the United States have America’s interests improved? Northern Africa? Iran? North Korea? Syria? Russia? China?”