Posts Tagged ‘Benghazi’

WashPost came through on report

March 28, 2016

Today I made my first intentional effort to understand what the Hillary Clinton email controversy was all about. This initial reading session, which must have lasted about an hour, came about when I decided to read this morning’s digital Washington Post article entitled “How Clinton’s Email Scandal Took Root.”

As many years as this political controversy has been gathering steam, I have never paid more than cursory attention to it. It just seemed to me like a bunch of political malarky, although I did have a vague understanding that somehow the the security of our nation was involved.

If my sketchy Everyman Citizen memory serves me well at all, this hot issue came to the forefront of media exposure when Congressional Republicans raised the issues about Benghazi in 2012. Now let me say here that I am a Republican.

And about all I may know, or not know, about that tragic turn of Benghazi events is: my understanding of it is very small, based precariously on my limited retention of any details or vague narratives about the events that happened on that fateful day in 2012. But let me say this: I did see the movie!

So, as you can see I am, like most Americans, rather clueless about what is really going on in the inner recesses of our .gov  because I really don’t have a clue about it all until I, you know, see a movie about it.

So the movie, Thirteen Hours, gave me some notions about what happened the tragic assault on our consulate in Libya on a certain day in 2012. But who knows  why such a terribly fatal assault on our supposedly secure embassy might have happened? These issues in foreign lands are much more complicated that we simple-minded Americans make them out to be.

This morning, March 28, 2016, along comes this routine (daily) email from the Washington Post, a journalistic institution with which I have a minimally subscriptive connection. And when I open the email, this reported headline grabs my attention: “How Clinton’s Email Scandal Took Root.”

“Aha!”  I thought, here’s my chance  at last to glean some understanding about what this big brouhaha is all about.

Now our conservative and Republican friends may question my seemingly naive submission to that journalistic institution’s supposedly left-leaning reporting on such a hot issue. But hey, I saw Redford and Hoffman portraying Woodward and Bernstein back in the day, when I was myself a manipulated clueless college kid with a leftward bent. And I certainly understand and respect their Ben Bradlee legacy of Beltway investigative journalism; so yes, I am going to read this article and see what this reporter has to say about that whole dam Clinton email thing.

I mean, this is bound to be more reliable than the New York Times, n’est-que-c’est? and more journalistically thorough  than, say, Fox News.

Robert O’Harrow Jr., is the reporter (with journalistic contribution also from Alice Crites) and I must say: What an exhaustively long reporting job has been therein provided– quite informative about a vast chain of complicated, intertwining events that began mostly in January of 2009, yet still rolls on through 2015 and even spills out into this year–quite informative and yet, somehow, impressively concise.

Took me over an hour to read it.

My usual confusion in reading long journalistic reports aside–that confusion being frothed up in my uninformed brain about a multiplicity of persons whose first names are laid to rest after that first article-mention– and if that were not enough, all these names nested within the reporter’s dutiful covering of myriads of events and scenarios that happened in the dark recesses of securitized (or not securitized) .gov offices long ago or even quite recently, and what you have here is a confused citizen who is trying to become well-informed.


Now I am no Congressional committee, but I do have an opinion because I am an American. Furthermore, as both Jefferson and Adams advised, citizens of a free democratic republic should inform themselves about the issues of our times.

What’s really sad about all this is the disappearance of privacy; it seems so KGB and 1984ish to me.

If you care to join me in an assessment of same article by reading it yourself, then I commend you for doing so. And rather than render my half-baked opinion about the controverted content of Hillary Clinton’s thousands of emails, I will simply say this:

It seems to me that poor Hillary, finding herself at the crossroads of an electronic digital technological revolution that had not–and probably still has not–caught up with itself, made some attempts to find a middle path between two frustratingly extreme strategies of secure communication protocols; one extreme being absolute, classified security, which is systemically impossible; and the other extreme being her personal freedom and expediency in communicating persuasively with very important people all over the whole dam world.

And yes, she made a few bad choices, maybe even dangerous mistakes.

But hey, who wouldn’t make some screw-ups? with all that’s going on in this rapidly declassifying cyberspace world. I myself would probably be overwhelmed with it all, trying to negotiate with Wen Jiabao while making sure not to confuse the email accounts with recipes from Aunt Martha or whomever.

Nevertheless, although I may be willing to pardon the former Secretary of State for her (perhaps, perhaps not) innocent security breaches,  I will not be voting for Hillary Clinton for President; I will be voting for Ted Cruz.

Because: I think Ted would do better with the choices that a new President must face, better than Hillary, and most certainly better than Donald.


After Thirteen Hours, 13 Flowers

January 18, 2016

Such is the world we live in–that decisions which really matter are being made by people who don’t really matter.

I know this statement is true, because I am an American, and America matters in what goes on in the world today.

And my opinion matters, at least theoretically, because I am a voter in America. In November I will be called upon to vote upon a very important question: Who will be our next President?

On the other hand, I, being only one voter, don’t really matter, because, as one mere citizen among millions, I don’t know much about what really makes this country run, or what goes on behind the scenes, or what happens at important defensive and/or diplomatic stations in other parts of the world. I certainly don’t legitimately know anything about, for instance, our American embassy in Tripoli, Libya, or a diplomatic outpost that might or might not have existed in Benghazi in September of 2012.

And yet, this year I will be called upon to render my decision about who shall or shall not be President, based on perception of a host of issues.

One of those issues that presently heats up our brewing Presidential politics is the question of what happened in Libya at Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

Somewhere back in my memory of school classes in American history, I do remember there was a political party called the “Know Nothing” party. If it were an active political force in our day and time, I would have to consider joining it, because there are some political/economic/military matters about which I know nothing. For instance, I know nothing about what actually happened at Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

But hey, I did see the movie about it.

Just last night, actually.

The movie was a real barn-burner. Or, outpost-burner. In the movie’s story, based upon the novel by Mitchell Zukoff, which is based upon the true story, angry Libyan attackers attempt to destroy or take control of the American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. And they do set fire to the place. In the fire, our Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed, along with Information Officer Sean Smith. Hours later, two American defenders, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were killed during their valiant effort to prevent the attackers from taking control of the compound while many of our personnel were still occupying the building.

As you are probably aware, there is presently, and has been for the last two years, a whirlwind of political blameshifting that surrounds this incident, after the fact. The classic logistical questions are asked repeatedly:  Who’s in charge here? and Who was responsible for this fatal event in which four Americans were killed?

In regard to these two questions, I will mention no names here, because as I said before, I do not know what happened there, even though I did see a movie about it last night.

This morning, I was wondering about all of this. What really happened? Was the movie accurate? Was the novel accurate? Who knew? Who is supposed to make these determinations? (The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has already produced a decision about it.)

More specifically, if the movie’s credibility is in question, what scenes would implicate the moviemakers’ culpability in presenting a detail that misleads us viewers?

And then, as if by magic (the “magic” of the electronic matrix in which we live, see question above that initiated this commentary), my main question was answered.

Thanks to Jocelyn Noveck and Joshua Replogle, reporters for the Associated Press, and Paul D. Shinkman, who reported on this movie’s content and its opening weekend at the box office, I now know the specific movie scene in question. See the USNews report in which my question was answered:

If you would like to answer this question for yourself, watch the movie. You can also get a sense of the problem by watching the trailer, linked herein:

Although I now understand  a little more clearly where the real trouble of this divisive issue originates, I am in no real position to make a significant judgement about the matter.  I will, therefore, simply honor the persons who represented and defended our interests–the well-being of the citizens of the United States of America–on that fateful day in Libya three and a half years ago. I do this by awarding Thirteen “Flowers”, which are really nothing at all except a mention of their names.

After viewing Thirteen Hours, I offer Thirteen Flowers of appreciation to these who have served our nation:

Flower #1: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who gave his life in service to us, the citizens of the United States of America

Flower #2: Sean Smith, Information Officer of the U.S. Department of State, who gave his life in service to us, the citizens of the USA

Flower #3: Glen Doherty, former Navy Seal, who gave his life in service to us, citizens of the USA

Flower #4: Tyrone Woods, former Navy Seal, who gave his life in service to us, citizens of the USA

Flower #5: Kris “Tonto” Paronto, who valiantly defended the American outpost in Benghazi

Flower #6: Jack Silva, who bravely defended the American outpost in Benghazi

Flower #7: Dave “Boon” Benton, who successfully defended the American outpost in Benghazi

Flower #8: John “Tig” Tiegen, who skillfully defended the American outpost in Benghazi

Flower #9: The CIA base Chief in Benghazi, whose leadership in the midst of anarchic circumstances contributed to preservation of the lives of many CIA personnel there.

Flower #10: Mitchell Zukoff, who wrote the novel, Thirteen Hours, which told the story of what these brave men did on behalf of our nation

Flower #11: U.S. Representative Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who first asked these questions in an official capacity.

Flower #12: Michael Bay, who directed the movie, depicting the story of what these brave men did on behalf of our nation.

Flowers #13: to 13 million and more Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, State Department and CIA men and women who valiantly defend the best interests of the United States of America, wherever our flag is raised throughout this dangerous world. Thank you for your service.