Republicans are smearing the reputation of UN Ambassador Susan Rice, while indicating that they will fight her nomination for Secretary of State, replacing the departing Hillary Clinton in a second Obama Administration.
Rice’s credentials are modest but quietly impressive. She comes of a well-to-do and highly educated black family resident in Washington D.C. She was her student body president and lettered in three sports in high school, and was the class valedictorian at a first rate D.C. private school.
She attended Stanford, University where she received a degree in History in 1986 and was made Phi Beta Kappa. She is a Rhodes Scholar and received both the Master’s degree and the Ph.D. from Oxford University.
She came into the State Department during the first Clinton Administration and rose rapidly to become an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. She was nominated and confirmed as UN Ambassador in December of 2008 where she has served with distinction, earning high marks for her dedication to the nation and her intelligence.
Essentially, she worked within the framework of the State Department from 1993 rising to cabinet rank in 2008. She has worked for both Republican and Democrat administrations.
In question is that she told Americans on Meet the Press, last September 16th that the terror attack on our consulate that killed four Americans was the product of a riot that arose from a reaction to a video Muslims objected to at the time and where riots were underway at the very same time in dozens of Arab capitals. The charge is that the Obama Administration covered up the fact that a terror cell associated with El Qaeda and much more organized was responsible.
Does this interpretative mistake when we now know through intelligence briefings given much later this past week to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and former CIA Chief General David Petraeus show Susan Rice was given only the information to impart to the American public that she gave amount to anything? It was confirmed in these briefings and via the record by the Obama Administration that this was the CIA interpretation and the Meet the Press tape will show as the host of the show said last Sunday, that Rice qualified her statements indicating we did not know for certain exactly what and who was responsible. It was still being sorted out.
Susan Rice gave her statement on TV based entirely upon what the CIA was then making available to the Administration. It is just possible that the information might have been known to Obama. But if so, it was almost certainly to keep the focus away from extremist groups in Libya that the CIA and our military have in their sights on this very night.
What the so called cover up comes down to when the facts intersect is this: how important is it that the attack was spontaneous and the result of a demonstration of Muslim extremists miffed at a film they deemed offensive to their religion OR that it was a simple and straightforward El Qaeda attack? Within a matter of days the CIA was pointing to an organized and heavily armed terror cell rather than a riot.
What’s lost in all this is that Petraeus told the Intelligence Committees in Congress that a combination of what was initially a demonstration at the Benghazi Consulate similar to what was being seen that same night all across the Arab world in the streets was used by a terror cell to cover their more organized and deadly attack on the consulate.
Three things about Benghazi are beginning to emerge: First, our intelligence community knew something was up but failed to pinpoint where and how the attack was coming. Second, the consulate asked for and did not get sufficient protection for consular personal to keep our people safe there. And third we lost four Americans killed by the attackers in an attack that accomplished its goal to kill those Americans in less than an hour—hardly time to figure out what was going on, make a decision and get the troops in. Marines from an annex to the consulate did respond but were unable to resist the attack in the end.
Two F-16’s came over the scene but even with their excellent night vision could not discern between Libyans who were helping defend the consulate and those who were the attackers. It was that difficult. It was wisely decided to wave them off and not have them strafe and bomb the area around the consulate—killing a great number of civilians in the area. It is very likely the Ambassador and the other three consular staff were already dead and the consulate building gutted and burning.
What does all this have to do with Susan Rice being dishonest to the American people? She sailed through confirmation in 2008 in her appearances before the Senate Intelligence committee who found her testimony in confirmation hearings impressive and more than competent. She since has received a great deal of experience working close to Hillary Clinton at State as President Obama advanced the position of UN Ambassador to Cabinet rank.
This would now be a lateral move from one cabinet post to another. She’s got twenty years of hard diplomatic experience in the State Department and in the national security apparatus. She still has the three college degrees from two of the finest institutions in the Western World where she excelled beyond measure.
She’s married with two children and is a happily and well-adjusted 46-year-old black woman.
The Benghazi disaster is a skirmish in the larger and ongoing War on Terror which this time we lost. President Obama in the second debate with Romney with almost sixty million Americans watching took full responsibility for what is turning out to be a failure of the intelligence community to sort this out rapidly and accurately, and of the State Department bureaucracy to close the consulate in the face of the mounting dangers, or reinforce the security of the consulate in Benghazi. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also taken full responsibility for the defeat.
For that is what this is: an American reverse in the now twelve year worldwide war on terror begun with 911. In fact, that war has been waged through the 1980’s of the Reagan years and with growing intensity during the Clinton and younger Bush Administrations. We’ve lost in two embassy bombings in Africa in 1998, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole which was difficult to anticipate, and on 911. But we have had many, many successes.
El Quaeda’s top planners and operatives in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen and yes in Iraq would tell you they have been getting hammered especially hard since President Obama took office. But they are dead and dead men tell no tales.
Now, Islamic extremist in a country like Libya where tens of thousands of Libyans marched in peaceful support of our Ambassador and those that fell with him, are using them as a smokescreen, even the very demonstrations on the video itself to mask their attack. Mark what Struggles of Justice tells you here: it will be shown that both a demonstration against the video as elsewhere in North Africa that night was going on and behind that came the murderous attack on our soldiers and Ambassador at the Consulate in Benghazi and the Annex there.
John McCain has said publicly that we have not been getting the information on the attacks that our intelligence community has. Yet McCain, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, did not attend the full briefing set up specifically for that purpose last week. He has called Susan Rice a “stupid” individual who is incompetent to direct the United States Department of State.
97 Republican Congressmen think the Obama Administration is in the midst of a huge Watergate style cover up. Why? What’s to cover up? Go ahead and say that it was a terror attack by a group of protestors who were heavily armed or a terrorist cell heavily armed and prepared that came in amidst them? Why parse this so finely?
Uncle Sam lost this round and we need to instead focus on what went wrong. Having studied American and British Diplomatic History in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries it is a commonplace thing for departments of state or foreign offices and its officials to essentially freeze up like a computer and simply drop the ball on something important—in this case acting decisively and proactively to be ready for the assault and to hit the attackers hard.
We’ll eventually win this battle to track down the perpetrators of this brutal act of terror. How many of the people who supported the 24 attackers on 911 from Afghanistan are still at large? Nearly all are dead or sitting in prison conditions in Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) or a similar facility not far from Kabul at our main airbase in Afghanistan.
Republicans are saying in their letter to President Obama that she “willfully mislead” the American people on the attack when the facts are showing that she merely repeated what the CIA was able to tell her for public consumption at that moment. There is no evidence that she mislead anybody for any reason except perhaps (if she knew otherwise) that it was still enmeshed in a highly sensitive CIA operation to get after the bad guys.
They say Susan Rice is incompetent. They say she is unintelligent. They say she is not qualified. Now it becomes clearer that her female and black characteristics—especially her race—is also a factor. The racial dog-whistling of the campaign has resumed. A battle is developing for her expected nomination and confirmation as our next Secretary of State.
Republicans: Go ahead and attack a black woman who has a sterling record of public service to the nation and academic credentials that are well—stellar. I was being modest here to begin with. I’m sure that women and black people will just love seeing one of their own being beat up and smeared with falsehoods while the real policy and national security interests of our nation take second place.
Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama are doing their jobs. They are not arguing over whether or not it is more harmful to the reputation of Rice or Obama or Clinton to have failed in a terrorist incident via rioting and heavily armed extremist demonstrators or a similar El Qaeda cell in Libya which will probably be seen to “claim” a loose association with the real thing in Yemen and Pakistan. That is just not worth denying the opportunity for the nation to have the service of this outstanding woman for the next four years as our Secretary of State.
She certainly has credentials every bit as impressive as Condaleeza Rice who is no relation.
Let’s get working in Congress on dissecting the attack and failure to protect the consulate on the tactical ground level and within the State Department bureaucracy so we are in shape to blunt any further similar assaults that are coming—as this one succeeded and criminals will do it again since it worked before. Where is that sense of urgency on the part of these 97 Republican buffoons who can’t find the nation’s true national security interests with a Geiger counter!
I must close by noting that the House Republicans saw to it that the State Department’s budget for protecting its embassies and consulates around the world was cut within the last session by three hundred million dollars.
Were I in Congress, I’d see to it that the funding is restored post haste, a fire is lit under the posterior of Hillary Clinton and the CIA and we get after these people with a will. Instead, Republicans are attacking a black woman of great value to the nation. Should she fall due to a slanderous assault on her character and reputation and be taken out of service to the nation add a fifth living victim to this terrorist assault.
Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke
For Struggles for Justice