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Obama’s Foreign Policy: Amateur Hour at the White House

There's plenty of blame to go around for Benghazi. And plenty of incompetence.

by
Jean Kaufman

Bio

November 3, 2012 - 12:00 am
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So why did he appoint Clinton despite all this? Was it purely political — to (as LBJ so famously said of someone of a different gender) have her inside the tent pissing out rather than outside pissing in? Perhaps. But it is also likely that Obama considered Clinton’s lack of knowledge to be a feature rather than a bug. After all, a relative neophyte would be less inclined to interfere with his own policies or to challenge him with his/her own greater expertise. This was also true of Obama’s selection of Leon Panetta to head the CIA and then Defense, and his choice of Thomas Donilon as his National Security advisor.

Obama likes to think of himself as the smartest person in the room. He prefers to surround himself with mediocrities and/or trusted yes-men/women and party operatives. The result? Well, we’re seeing it in Benghazi.

We don’t know exactly who made the most egregious errors in Benghazi: Obama, Clinton, Panetta, or Donilon, or whether they all had significant roles in the debacle and the ensuing coverup. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and plenty of incompetence.

At Breitbart, for example, Colonel Hunt reported early on that it was Hillary who had made the general decision not to order a greater security presence at Benghazi:

Hunt told Breitbart News that the new State Department Rules of Engagement for Libya, approved and signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton since the 2011 fall of Khadafi’s regime, severely compromised the safety and security of murdered Ambassador Stevens and all American diplomatic staff in Libya.

He also stated that the decision not to staff Benghazi with Marines was made by Secretary of State Clinton when she attached her signature to the State Department Rules of Engagement for Libya document. Breitbart News has subsequently learned that under those rules of engagement, Secretary Clinton prohibited Marines from providing security at any American diplomatic installation in Libya.

Hunt told Breitbart News that…”We allowed a contractor to hire local nationals as security guards, but said they can’t have bullets. This was all part of the point of not having a high profile in Libya.”

What happened in Benghazi is an example of the triumph of leftist ideology over common sense. The idea is that, in order to project the appearance of friendliness and trust, we must forgo actually protecting ourselves. The fact that terrorists would see that as a golden opportunity for attack, and regard us as both weak and fools — and rightly so — does not compute. The idea is that people are more convinced by facades and poses than by reality, and that the proper ideology is more important than expertise.

But that’s not surprising; both Obama and Hillary Clinton (and the left as a whole) operate that way themselves to a great extent, and have based their own political careers on bravado and appearance rather than substance. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton represent, among other things, their own conviction that smart people (those who’ve done well in school, that is) can do anything they set their minds to, and that all it takes is a little posturing — which replaces actual knowledge and experience — to succeed. Bu they may have come up against reality in Benghazi.

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 Jean Kaufman is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.
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