By Paolo von Schirach
December 13, 2012
WASHINGTON – The terror attack against the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya has made another victim. It is UN Ambassador Susan Rice, the high ranking official who was sent back in September by the White House on all Sunday TV shows to push the silly explanation that the terror attack was in fact a spontaneous riot caused by the (unfortunately) made in America anti-Muslim video.
Ambassador Rice as messenger
Soon thereafter it became obvious that, when the White House sent Ambassador Rice as “messenger” on all Sunday TV shows, the administration knew very well what had actually happened in Benghazi. I wrote then (see link above to related stories) that Ambassador Rice was made to look like a fool, telling a lie to the American public because at the time –this whole affair was unfolding just weeks before the elections– the killing of a US Ambassador in the line of duty, (on September 11 of all possible dates), was treated like a potential political liability that needed to be explained away as a tragic event beyond Obama’s control.
Anyway, Susan Rice, the hapless loyal servant sent to play politics on TV is now paying a political price. As the messenger for the Obama White House untruths she has been openly attacked by senior Republican Senators, including John McCain. Having become a political liability, Ambassador Rice on December 13 withdrew her name from consideration as a possible future Secretary of State.
Of course this is all about politics. She was sent in front of the TV cameras because back then it seemed politically expedient to spin the story. She must have known that she was being used, just as a pawn. Still, being a good trooper, she went on her mission aimed at obfuscating, this way doing her bit to help Obama’s re-election. And now that she has become a political liability she lost her chance to be “promoted” by the boss she so loyally served.
She became the scapegoat. Obama regrets her decision to withdraw her name from consideration, but he accepted it. The Republicans who (along with the Murdoch media, that is FOX and the WSJ) clamor for the truth may feel partially vindicated, and so forth.
Truth about Benghazi yet to come
But this Benghazi story is not over yet. We are still waiting for the results of an official investigation that hopefully will reveal how was it possible to neglect basic security in such a critical diplomatic post like Benghazi. Someone made serious mistakes and this is the real blunder. Ambassador Rice is just an unfortunate political casualty because of her role as messenger. Indeed, as the President said, she had nothing to do with any decision-making regarding Benghazi. Certainly the UN Ambassador is not in charge of diplomatic security. (That being the case, then why was she chosen to tell the “video-did-it” story on all the TV networks? Because at the time it seemed politically expedient to send her).
Secretary Clinton unscathed
Ironically, for the time being, Secretary Hillary Clinton, the person who is in charge of the Department of State, and therefore ultimately responsible for any security lapses at the US Consulate in Benghazi, is left unscathed. So far at least, almost no political damage to her reputation. She will soon leave (voluntarily) the Secretary of State job sought by Ambassador Rice without any public embarassment. If and when Clinton will decide to run for president in 2016, this whole Benghazi story will have been forgotten.
As for President Obama who no doubt had a role in sending Ambassador Rice to tell a fairy tale on TV, any political consequences? Well, he just got re-elected; and it is unlikely that this story will damage him in the future.