BENGHAZI? HILLARY IS THROUGH!
“And you know what infuriated me is that he’s
so damned pleased with
himself. Talk of a cat swallowing a
And d’you know what he said
to me when he’d finished?
He looked at me with those innocent
eyes of his and said: ‘You know,
Father, I can’t help
thinking there was something wrong about the advice
you gave me. You said, don’t gamble; well, I did, and I
made a packet;
you said, don’t lend money;
well, I did, and I got it back;
and you said, don’t have
anything to do with women;
well, I did, and I made six
thousand francs on the deal.’”
“Well, Henry, if I were you,
I wouldn’t worry,” said the lawyer.
“My belief is that your
boy’s born lucky, and in the long run
that’s better than to be
born clever or rich.”
W. Somerset Maugham, “The Facts of Life,” from The Mixture as Before, c. 1933.
Even at my age, watching Hillary’s previous testimony for all five
hours, before Senate and House Committees, I never nodded off even
once. Her luckiest moment came when Herr
Doktor Senator Rand Paul (R.- Kentucky) averred that had he been President,
upon learning that she had not read (or otherwise learned of) requests from our
Ambassador to Libya for more security at Benghazi, he would have relieved her
of her post. In the tradition of the
precept, “physician, heal thyself,” we and the Senate need to know this: If Dr. Paul raised his own medication, would
he stop thinking of himself as President of these United States? In his exchange with the fifty-seventh
Secretary of State, he exposed not only a lack of graciousness, and grandiosity
de trop; but more important to his
self-evidenced ambition, he displayed a singular dearth of gravitas.
However, subsequent events demonstrate that he had a real point. I was incredulous to learn that
during the months preceding the massacre at Benghazi (on the anniversary of
9/11!), Mrs. Clinton had never been apprised of the need and application for
greater protection for workers at that American outpost in Eastern Libya. Since the days of Richard M. Nixon, I have
heard of the concept of “plausible deniability,” but to me this was not
Mrs. Clinton’s denial was not plausible because it does
not agree with the way things work in the real world. Mrs. Clinton supposedly had a close, personal
working relationship with the late Ambassador.
Had they never discussed the dangers of roving, heavily armed gangs
(upgraded to “militias,” in the lingo of America’s continued imperialist
longings) especially in Eastern Libya?
Pardon my French, but I must spell this out: would failing to inform
Mrs. Clinton of the porous security dangerous to Americans have comported with
the universal bureaucratic tenet known as: gird thy donkey (c. y. a.)?
In the world of business, they call a passing
on a decision that creates considerable career exposure, “delegating
upward.” Inside the Beltway, and
especially at “Foggy Bottom,” they say, “that is above my pay grade.” Was it within anyone’s pay grade, beneath the
rank of Cabinet Member, to have had in hand the Ambassador’s plea for greater
security and to have turned it down, without consulting the nation’s high
profile “foreign minister?” I am aware
of the fact that the ARB, headed by the former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman,
cleared Mrs. Clinton; on the other hand, it is also clear that Mrs. Clinton was
never personally interviewed – and her testimony before Congress was not under
If others reviewed the Ambassador's desperate attempts to gain heightened security for
Benghazi and refused, why has their accountability and supposed punishment been kept
secret from the American people? Why are they not subpoenaed to testify before
Congress? And if they would be inclined to refuse to testify on Fifth Amendment
grounds, shouldn't we see and hear that?
We then get to the general reputation of Mrs. Clinton for
truth telling. The subject may be
unsavory, but after all, I am a
lawyer. Mrs. Clinton always maintained
that until the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, she was unaware of her husband’s
extra-marital proclivities. She even
wrote a book saying the same thing. Frankly, I didn’t believe her then, and I
don’t believe her now. What ties these
two occurrences together, it seems to me, one involving her own spouse and the
other involving a man she called a dear friend, is a characterological coldness
that reinforces her ambition.
However, I am biased.
As a New York Senator, Mrs. Clinton voted for the Congressional
resolution that authorized George W. Bush to re-invade Iraq. In that regard, she said she never read the
classified briefing materials provided by the White House to Members of
Congress, which gave at least a few intrepid colleagues a basis for
understanding the fragmentary nature (hence, unreliability) of the contention
that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
So they voted “no.” Then Senator
Clinton said she had talked to former Clinton Administration officials, but she
never revealed who they were. The
universal opinion consensus was that she deemed her “yes” vote to be a
precondition to looking strong enough to qualify for the Presidential
Although that vote ultimately backfired because everyone
knew that then State Senator Obama had opposed the Iraq War, Mrs. Clinton, as
Secretary of State, has persisted in her view of an imperialist United States,
now shifting attention to Africa. Just
when the President was making nice to the “peace nicks,” in his Second
Inaugural Address, by abjuring perpetual war, along comes Mrs. Clinton to act
as a front, once again, for the military-industrial complex and their putative
As I said, I may be getting too old for this. But in my capacity as septuagenarian, I must
remind you that the remote memory is the last to go. Yes, it is true that I cannot remember what
Queen Elizabeth had for breakfast, yesterday.
On the other hand, I do recall how American military adventurism has
often commenced with the promise of cooperation and coordination with local
armed forces (often not yet existent or untrained and ill-equipped). Then we train them. Then we supplant them. Then we shoulder the burden ourselves. Then we engage American civilians by entering
into no-bid contracts (which Mrs. Clinton clearly advocated for the State
Department, for Western Africa, before Congress), then we begin nation building in places where people
have no sense of nationhood and no experience with self-government, then,
drained of more hundreds of billions of dollars, the loss of thousands of
American lives, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of local civilians, and the
strengthening of the very Jihadists we are supposed to be defeating, we grope
our way out, infinitely poorer and only infinitesimally wiser. As Bertolt Brecht once observed in another
context, “It always begins with reason.”
America: watch out. The man on the white horse whose advent we have all been fearing or
anticipating could turn out to be a woman. The personality cult building around Hillary is already off-putting.
And what we should really expect is what John Keats (1795-1821)
I saw pale kings, and princes, too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried – ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!’
Harvard Hollenberg is a writer and an appellate attorney in New York City.
© Copyright Harvard Hollenberg 2013. All rights reserved.