The Corner

The Wages of Libya

We forget sometimes that four skilled and brave professionals were lost in Libya who, as the truth emerges, might well have been saved by greater foresight and/or less of a politicized agenda.

And when an untruth is told, the ripples also engulf all those who in a major or minor way were involved in it.

Susan Rice. Most assume that she was sent out as an eager emissary of the party line, as a sort of prep (or price) for her future Secretary of State billet, following Hillary Clinton’s scheduled departure. Her problem is not just that she did not tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but that she wove a false narrative in such an emphatic manner without much doubt, and did so repeatedly all day long on all the major news shows. The result of that embarrassing over-exposure is that she has little credibility left to assume the mantle of designing and explaining U.S foreign policy. It is difficult to imagine that she ever could be confirmed by the Congress.

Candy Crowley. Appearances were devastating: She may have a logical defense of why Obama spoke more often, why she and he interrupted more often, and why she interrupted Romney to defend Obama in a disputed point, to such a degree that it elicited a high-five sort of follow-up from Obama himself. But she adduced no credible defense other than some CNN mishmash about the number of words spoken rather than time allotted, and a half-hearted walk back of her intervention. And when coupled with her unwise pre-debate commentary, both about her muscular role to come, and prior critical comments in the past about the Romney ticket, she simply sacrificed her reputation as a disinterested journalist — and I don’t think will ever get it quite back.

James Clapper. His problem is that Libya was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. If his televised ignorance of twelve terrorists caught in London was disturbing, or his assertion that the Muslim Brotherhood was largely “secular” was ludicrous, or his prediction that Qaddafi would survive was not believed by most who did not have access to his intelligence sources, then his involvement in the Libya cover-up was finally too much. He too will at some not-so-distant point bow out and go the way of a Richard A. Clarke or George Tenet.

Hillary Clinton. The Libyan spin gave a bad sendoff to a departing Hillary Clinton. To this day, we don’t quite know why her State Department abetted the false narrative of an uncouth filmmaker sparking a riot that inadvertently ended up in violence against the ambassador. But we do know that State was forewarned about inadequate security, and about rising Islamist violence in Libya, and also seems rather quickly, if not in real time, to have had knowledge of a preplanned, professional Islamist hit. All this transpires amid the unloading of administration responsibility onto Mrs. Clinton, and is coupled with Bill Clinton’s efforts at the convention and on the campaign trail, and the previous enmity between the Obamas and the Clintons. In other words — a mess that leaves a cloud over her tenure as secretary of state, which will haunt her in the future. Her selection as secretary of state was a cynical political move by Barack Obama to nullify a potential rival at best, and at worst, in vindictive fashion, to ensure her a reduced profile not usually associated with the secretary of state. Why, other than ego and exposure, she assumed the post still remains a mystery. Let us hope that it was a desire for selfless public service at the price of personal ambition.


The Latest