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What is in a word? A simplistic question unless it is being asked of a politician or a lawyer. While the meanings of words may seem obvious to most they are but tools to those practiced in the art of subtle subterfuge.
President Clinton famously said, “it depends on what the meaning of the word is, is.” Rousseau called for fraternity, liberty, equality or death when what he meant was join the collective or die. Similar word games were witnessed this week in the Benghazi hearings.
The military said it had no way to get assets in place to defend the besieged consulate, technically correct. The nearest planes were too far away to be of much use without refueling and no “American” tankers were available. The fact there were plenty of NATO assets that could of been called on to help was not asked and so why go into it. In the same way, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declaration that no one capable of rendering aid was told to stand down was correct. They were not told to stand down, they were told wait and assist with the wounded instead. Also the State Department emergency support team (FEST) could not be said to have been told to stand down as they were never told to ready themselves in the first place.
Although these cutesy word games may play well in the White House they fall flat when played on those with a modicum of common sense. The Secretary of State personally approved the occupying of the consulate according to testimony and her staff not only refused to increase security they cut it. When the staff she sent in harms way lay dead and dying her response to their pleas for help was in essence to tell them to go pound dirt. Betrayal cannot begin to describe what happened that day.
The aftermath was just more word games accentuated with a touch of media added flair. The president mentioned terror in the Rose Garden his faithful quipped, as though that equated to calling the act terrorism and the perpetrators terrorist. Ambassador Rice’s lies to the the public and public castigation of a head of state for telling the truth was said to be just someone following the official talking points. Talking points edited by Hilliary’s personal assistant, an action she of course had no knowledge of. Then there was the the whole attempt to blame it all on a video, which had to be just an honest mistake. How could the President of the United States and his Secretary of State be expected to know as much as a Deputy Chief of Mission? Oh, unless you count the fact the CIA told him the truth on the first day. A Keystone Cops episode could not make up a scenario as convoluted as this has become. It would even make a great Monty Python skit if it weren’t for dead diplomats and those that were maimed and wounded.
All of the who, what and whys of this masquerade ball may be far from known but much is. Enough to know this story is one made up of layers of incompetence followed by betrayal and capped off with a comical farce of denial. Once more the last part of this story was carried out with the full collusion of a lapdog press. If it weren’t for a few determined Republicans the public would of never known how much they were being duped.
As the President goes on his change the subject tour, to lure the public attention away from what was revealed in the hearings, there are a few more things to keep in mind. Those that died were not military personnel. The Ambassador and Information Officer did not sign up for combat duty. These were unarmed civilians. People who go to the ends of the earth and live in hell holes in order to represent the United States. The reason they do so is simple, they know that without them diplomacy ceases to exist. In absence of diplomacy war is often the first resort to settle disputes instead of the last. If the military is to be the last bulwark against those that would do the United States harm the Foreign Service must be the first. These are people for whom words are everything and trust the only commodity worth trading in. Unfortunately, values their leaders do not share.
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