2 years, 5 months ago
Douglas Kmiec writing for Huffington Post gives us one of the canned progressive responses to the debacle at Benghazi.
First, a reminder: the work of the American foreign service in the Middle- East extending into the Mediterranean is difficult, and often, dangerous. The particular risks of working in Libya were well-reported to the Department of State in cable and in person by Ambassador Stevens, who, readers of this column know, was a fellow diplomat serving in neighboring country. To meet Chris is to instantly like him and I grew ever more admiring. I know from conversation with Chris dating back to spring 2011 that he was well aware of the risks in his assigned mission. Chris understood the primary risk to be the absence of any governmental tradition.
This is a slight more polished response than the one given to me earlier by a Facebook “friend” named Philip Smucker, an independent journalist whom some may know (he has written about Afghanistan).
I listened to his rants as we debated Benghazi, with Philip claiming to be good friends with Ambassador Stevens. Good friends. He mentioned it enough times in his Facebook replies that it became rather odd and monotonous. He then gave me a long winded discussion about the risks associated with being in Libya, told me that Stevens assuredly knew about them, and then said, “What I’m trying to tell you is that shit happens!”
There you have it. Good friends with Mr. Stevens take the position that shit just simply happens. At that point I unfriended Philip not because we take different political views, but because I consider that to be one of the creepiest responses I can imagine.
Forget questions of who ordered what and when it was ordered and what assets were available to assist those poor souls at Benghazi. Smucker, a known and very vocal supporter of Mr. Obama, just thinks that “shit happens.”
It doesn’t work that way with other Presidents, or for those with whom he disagrees. For instance, he also went off on a diatribe against Mr. Bush for allowing UBL escape Tora Bora. For Smucker, who wrote a book on the subject, UBL’s escape isn’t about shit happening.
But for the right President, people like Smucker and Kmiec are willing to throw their colleagues and good friends under the bus. They are just so much collateral damage, and knew all about the risks associated with their job.
For those who have followed my prose, I was as hard on Bush for untimely reinforcement of the troops in Iraq as I have been on Obama for giving the Operation Enduring Freedom less than half of the additional troops requested, and much less than needed.
I also don’t care for the present discussion about why Stevens was at that “special mission” (although the reasons will be important in the future). When we find out all of the facts, I may disagree with the assignment. Some Americans disagreed with Operation Iraqi Freedom too. But when my son was deployed to Fallujah in 2007, I would have expected the 2/6 Marines to move heaven and earth to find my son had he been captured or upon learning that his fire team was under siege. Once the deployment is decided, America owes the very best to our men, including Mr. Stevens.
“Shit happens” isn’t even nearly an acceptable excuse. But then again, I suppose that’s the difference between me and Philip.