September 13 2012

Secretary Clinton: How Could This Happen?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a stunningly naïve response to the murders of three U.S. diplomats, including the ambassador, in Libya:

How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?

Well, gosh, Miz Hillary.

This statement, according to Ben Shapiro on Breitbart, demonstrates the American Secretary of State’s “complete lack of knowledge about the region, her failure to anticipate security threats, and worst of all, her willful ignorance about the Islamists that she and President Obama trusted to take over Libya and Egypt.”

Secretary Clinton has used her position as the nation’s top diplomat to stand up for the rights of “girls and women,” in ages past not  such a high priority at the State Department. Alas, Mrs. Clinton has been less able when it comes to traditional foreign affairs. I can’t help quoting from a piece I did last year for Human Events on Ms. Clinton:

At a recent Capitol Hill hearing on the Middle East, the secretary’s puffy eyes darted frantically from side to side—always just above the heads of her interlocutors—as if she has become so much an appendage of her boss that she has taken to reading from an imaginary teleprompter.  She did say something interesting, though: that we needed to know more about the Libyan rebels. 

No kidding.  Certainly Clinton’s State Department needed to know more about Libya in general:  the September 2010 issue of the State Department’s in-house magazine featured Libya as its “post of the month,” hailing that country’s “bold past, promising future.”  Splashed with dazzling photos of Roman ruins (since joined by more recent ruins), the article celebrates the news that the U.S. Defense Attache’s Office was “cultivating a growing relationship with the Libyan military.”

Although in the 1980s and ’90s Libya “existed almost in a time warp” because of the “devastating effects of sanctions and global isolation,” the article says, “Libya today is booming, with constant roadwork and myriad new construction projects led by Korean, Chinese, Turkish, and Brazilian companies.”  Of course, anybody who took up the offer of a posting to this garden spot has long since vacated it on a rickety ferry to Malta.

There have since been additional repercussions of the Obama State Department’s innocence about the world beyond Foggy Bottom.

The latest attempt to dismiss the administration's bungles is a pathetic claim that the groveling post on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which blamed the developing crisis on an “abuse” of free speech in the U.S., didn’t reflect the view of the administration.

Reality Check: It took the administration 16 hours to correct (sort of) the statement. That the embassy posted the apology while the mob was gathering, and before it breached the walls, is somehow seen as a mitigating factor by the administration and (pardon me for being redundant) the media.

The gimlet-eyed editors of National Review Online, however, recognize that the administration's response to barbarity has so far been startlingly naive. The editors note that “the sacrosanctity of diplomats and their missions is among the oldest and most basic axioms of intercourse between civilized nations, and the fact that neither the Egyptian nor the Libyan government acted to prevent these assaults suggests that barbarism is alive and well in Arab North Africa.”

But look on the bright side: Our State Department is by no means idle—today is “the first-ever Global Female Condom Day,” to which both State and USAID have contributed money. Hooray!

Don’t miss “Why We’re Celebrating Female Condom Day,” posted Sept. 12, 2012, on the USAID website.

Hat tip: Michael Rubin at Commentary

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