Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Difference Does It Make?

Before I begin I want to thank the Senate and the House for all the hard work they did wasting five hours of my life.  Their accomplishments are truly inspiring to idiots everywhere in how to sound dopey on national TV.   I know I personally didn’t mind wasting five hours of my life, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me the amount of fellacio performed on national TV is quite frankly Jaw Dropping (get it).  I’m sure I could waste five minutes making a completely pointless statement about stoves, or how these idiots all want see Hillary 2016, in fact for the first part of the hearing I thought it was a campaign event.  
There were only three senators that I thought actually asked any serious questions, or made any serious statements, and Dick Durbin wins the cake for being a complete cake eater, by bringing up the Iraq war as somehow excusing the failures of the State department ignoring the very real concerns of the Ambassador Stevens.  The house side was all over the place too.  From constant mentions of Columbia (Look!  A Latin Paradise now.  It only took a decade and an half), to funding (Hey, we need more money and you guys are dicks for cutting our budget) it ranged all over the place.  Hearing the Rep from Texas was pretty humorous; I thought he might blow a blood vessel.

By far though, I thought Senators Johnson, McCain, and Paul.  Senator Paul, probably had the most memorable line.  He said: “Had I been president at the time, and I found that you had not read the cables... I would have relieved you of your post”.  Apparently that got Senator Boxer butt hurt, and most of America started saying Paul 2016, kind of tells you a lot there.  He was also asking about weapons moving to Turkey, and other nations which clearly caught Secretary Clinton off guard.  I think he was alluding to arming Syrian rebels, but to be honest even if he had info she couldn’t have responded in five minutes.

Senator McCain was also pretty harsh, saying “Here we are, four months later, and we still don't have the basic information.”  While I appreciate his direct statements, it’s clear that he missed a golden opportunity, because he’s been going on for months about the fact the Administration had been going on about the video (innocence of Islam, which supposedly set off this whole thing), but you really ought to take the time to watch the whole back and forth.  Secretary Clinton’s response to Senator Johnson was perhaps the most memorable of the whole affair. 
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans…Was it because of a protest or was it because a guy goes out for a walk one night and decided to go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Wow.  Please take a moment to appreciate that.  Go ahead.  Done?  Read it again.  Yeah.  WOW.  First off it makes a huge damn difference.  Aside from the fact that Hashmish didn’t just decide “hey its nice out lets go kill Americans,” that this was a coordinated assault, THIS IS WHAT THE OFFICIAL LINE WAS.  That it was at least *partially* our fault for allowing a poorly made privately funded B film about how bad Islam is to be released incensing Muslims the world around.  If we were a little more tolerant in our attitudes this wouldn’t have happened.  As Joe Biden kept saying “Osama’s dead and Al Qaeda is on the run”.  Right.  Well actually this proves that’s not even close to true.  I get that there was an election going on, but it took till the second presidential debate for the President or the administration to really acknowledge that it WASN’T the video that sparked this attack.  You don’t think the American people might need to know this?  All they had to do was say “we don’t know exactly what happened, but as soon as we do, we’ll let you know.”  I don’t care about Ambassador Rice, or who told her to say things that were clearly not true.  This is what the President, through a spokesperson, and even in official speeches told the American people.

Next, it also makes a huge difference because this WILL happen again, unless we’re clear on what the hell we’re doing with our people, why, and how.  We also need to be damn clear that in this Republic, we don’t hide the truth.  It doesn’t matter it the errors are of omission, innocent or intentional, if you tell the American people something about their sons and daughters in harm’s way you had better damn well tell the truth.  Why do you think the backlash about the Iraq War was so bad?  Because people felt they were lied to (they weren’t, the CIA was still recovering from getting their HUMINT slashed in the Clinton administration, and saw intel that made them shit their pants).  Let me be clear a US AMBASSADOR WAS KILLED.  The Administration owes it to the American people to explain how this happened.     

There’s actually a lot that came out in the House hearing that raised my ire.  For one when Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida asked WHY people hadn’t been fired over their poor leadership, the Secretary said that bad leadership is NOT a reason you can fire someone.  This kind of explains a lot which anyone that has dealing with State will explain why they always seem to have their head up their 4th point of contact, preferring form over function.  Really they ought to have been thrown out on the street.  Those people cited in the official review board, ARE STILL GETTING PAID. . . yeah.
Rep Jim Duncan put it best “Madame Secretary, you let the consulate become a death trap, and that's diplomatic malpractice... you're still in your job. At what point in time can our government... fire someone!”  Good question.  You’d think heads would have rolled.  They didn’t. 

There is one other Representative I want to highlight, Rep Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a US Air Force Pilot, who asked why there was no military assets scrambled.  He questioned how well this lead from behind approach was working (it’s not IMO) but he said something that really struck me, to the effect of if you’re in trouble your country will move heaven and earth to rescue you.  When I was in Iraq, there were a few times I was sure I’d get killed, but I knew that if I got in trouble my Platoon, Company, Battalion and Brigade would literally tare our sector apart to come to my aid.  We do this for the lowest private to the highest general.  We ought to do it for every American Citizen.  The thought that Americans may have been left to fight off such an attack without hope for back up, ought to trouble you.

Now I want you to think about something.  7 hours.  I want you to think about that.  7 whole hours, from the initial attack that killed the ambassador to the final action at the CIA annex, and from at least one report, that was not sporadic, that was pretty well constant, though heaviest right at the beginning and the end.  I don’t care what Secretaries Panetta, or Clinton say, if your Ambassador is killed, you punch out Marines, Rangers, Specters, whatever’s in the area, you get them on station, as soon as you get word.  They’re not called QUICK Reaction Forces because QRF sounds sexy.  Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith were already dead, but Woods and Doherty might have been saved.

If we are “leading from behind” now, it’s obvious that there need to be more Airborne Officers punched out to the Government.  As Mel Gibson said in We Were Soldiers, in the Airborne, the Officer is always the first out of the plane, because “to follow your instincts and to inspire your men, by your example you have to be with them.  Where the metal meets the meat.”  It’s becoming ever more clear we don’t have a freaking clue what’s going on in the Middle East, and Africa.  I get that we’ve stuck our noses and other body parts into places they don’t belong in the past.  There is a fine line between being reticent to get involved in every little brushfire, and being completely clueless as to what’s going on.  So yes, Secretary Clinton, it DOES matter, it DOES make a difference.  Lead, Follow or get out of the way!  


Whitey said...

Been reading your blog for a while, Doc. This is the first time I have posted a comment, though.

I think it was Ben Franklin who said, "I have found that we call one useless individual a disgrace. Two are called a law firm. And three or more are called Congress." This was yet another in the long list of examples proving him right.

I still can't believe that 90% of a legislative body with a <10% approval rating from voters keeps getting reelected. But then again, millions of people watch "Jersey Shore", "Real Housewives", or other similar garbage religiously but don't even notice when the news mentions the death of a soldier or marine overseas. I guess it's no wonder douchebags like Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi keep their jobs. Never mind the fact that if my job performance was on par with theirs, I wouldn't just be fired, I'd be in prison!

jquag115 said...

Spot on on