As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before Congress on Wednesday January 23, 2013, about her role in the Benghazi attack that happened on September 11, 2012, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul took a very hard line against her by characterizing her as “negligent” in her ability to do her job, calling it a “failure of leadership,” as he blatantly lambasted her with the blame.
Paul told Clinton: “I’m glad you’re accepting responsibility. I think ultimately with your leaving you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11. Had I been president at the time, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it’s inexcusable!”
Now Senator Paul sounded like a really big stud as he promenaded with his White male-dominated, conservative, good-old-boys club, machismo politics, but he is obviously off of his rocker with his statement about the Benghazi attack being the worst attack since 9/11. The attacks of 9/11 were attacks on American citizens on American soil that were supposedly carried out by adversaries stooped in foreign interests, while the Benghazi attack was an assault on a diplomatic endeavor in Libya. There is no comparison. If anything, Benghazi is probably the worst attack since the last attack on Americans abroad.
Maybe Paul was trying to draw comparisons between the intelligence breakdowns that happened during the 9/11 attacks and the intelligence breakdowns of the Benghazi incident. But in all honesty, the mishaps that led to the 9/11 attacks that allowed for the killing of nearly 3,000 people on American soil can hardly be partnered up with the 4 people that were killed in the Benghazi attack.
But here is a question for Paul. How many private, American contractors were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan? Well just between January and June of 2010 according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were more than 250 civilians killed. Who is going to sit before Congress and be held accountable for them, for those breakdowns in security and intelligence?
Maybe Paul will drag Rep. Jason Chaffetz from Utah out in front of his fellow Congress members and ask him to explain his audacious declaration that he “absolutely” voted to cut funding for embassy security.
In an interview CNN’s Soledad O’Brien asked Rep. Chaffetz if he voted to cut the funding for embassy security, and Chaffetz said:
“Absolutely! Look, we have to make priorities and choices in this country. We have — think about this — 15,000 contractors in Iraq. We have more than 6,000 contractors, private army there for President Obama in Baghdad.”
“And we’re talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces? When you’re in tough economic times, you have to make difficult choices how to prioritize this.”
Now Republicans and conservatives will yell at the top of their lungs how Chaffetz’s statement means nothing, but it does mean something. It means that you can’t be the party of no and the party of impeccable national security at the same time.
In other words, when Congressional members decide to play chicken with national security funding like they have happily done with an issue like raising the debt ceiling, it shows that people like Rand Paul only want to get serious about certain issues when it is politically expedient to do so. Otherwise, that same passion that Paul lambasted Secretary of State Clinton with would have been there for Rep. Chaffetz and the other House Republicans who backed him.
Excerpt from the Washington Post article: “Forget Big Bird. What about the Snuffleupagus in the room?”
“For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program — well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration. House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” — a charge Republicans rejected.”
And for the record, here are some of the previous attacks that Senator Rand Paul didn’t get a chance to talk about relieving someone of their duty over.
Excerpt from the Daily Kos article: “If diplomatic attacks are a sign of weakness, Bush was the weakest of all”
June 14, 2002, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
Suicide bomber kills 12 and injures 51.
February 20, 2003, International diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Truck bomb kills 17.
February 28, 2003, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan Gunmen on motorcycles killed two consulate guards.
July 30, 2004, U.S. embassy in Taskkent, Uzbekistan Suicide bomber kills two.
December 6, 2004, U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Militants stormed and occupied perimeter wall. Five killed, 10 wounded.
March 2, 2006, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan Suicide car bomber killed four, including a U.S. diplomat directly targeted by the assailants.
September 12, 2006, U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria Gunmen attacked embassy with grenades, automatic weapons, and a car bomb (though second truck bomb failed to detonate). One killed and 13 wounded.
January 12, 2007, U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the embassy building. No one was injured.
July 9, 2008, U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey Armed men attacked consulate with pistols and shotguns. Three policemen killed.
March 18, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen Mortar attack misses embassy, hits nearby girls' school instead.
September 17, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen Militants dressed as policemen attacked the embassy with RPGs, rifles, grenades and car bombs. Six Yemeni soldiers and seven civilians were killed. Sixteen more were injured.