Maureen Dowd’s devastating critique of the administration’s handling of Benghazi

Maureen Dowd, a reliably liberal columnist for The New York Times, wrote a tough article critiquing the administration’s handling of the Benghazi terror attacks. This column is significant because it reveals that this whole matter cannot be summarily dismissed as the latest fetish from Fox News. Intellectually honest liberal commentators are coming to the conclusion that something is amiss in the administration’s handling of Benghazi, and the American public deserves to know the truth. Dowd writes:

The administration’s behavior before and during the attack in Benghazi, in which four Americans died, was unworthy of the greatest power on earth.

After his Libyan intervention, President Obama knew he was sending diplomats and their protectors into a country that was no longer a country, a land rife with fighters affiliated with Al Qaeda.

Yet in this hottest of hot spots, the State Department’s minimum security requirements were not met, requests for more security were rejected, and contingency plans were not drawn up, despite the portentous date of 9/11 and cascading warnings from the C.I.A., which had more personnel in Benghazi than State did and vetted the feckless Libyan Praetorian Guard. When the Pentagon called an elite Special Forces team three hours into the attack, it was training in Croatia — decidedly not a hot spot.

Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Chris Stevens were rushing to make the flimsy Benghazi post permanent as a sign of good faith with Libyans, even as it sat ringed by enemies.

The hierarchies at State and Defense had a plodding response, failing to make any superhuman effort as the siege waxed and waned over eight hours.

In an emotional Senate hearing on Wednesday, Stevens’s second-in-command, Gregory Hicks, who was frantically trying to help from 600 miles away in Tripoli, described how his pleas were denied by military brass, who said they could not scramble planes and who gave a “stand-down” order to four Special Forces officers in Tripoli who were eager to race to Benghazi.

There is much more to this critique, and it is worth the time to read the whole thing.

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