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Fri Oct 23, 2015, 02:49 PM


IGNORING US Destabilization of Libya, GOP Benghazi Hearing Asks Clinton All the WRONG QUESTIONS [View all]

"..So, what we need to know is why Stevens was there in the first place, what the CIA was doing, and why there was no - virtually no security around the diplomatic facility, which was just a transitional facility, and because it was a TMF, it wasn't even eligible for an upgrade in security. It didn't come up on the radar screen. And to blame her for that is ridiculous. But to know what her position was on why military force was a good idea is important, particularly since she is going to be the Democratic candidate - she established that last week in the debate. And there's a very good chance she'll be occupying the White House for four to eight years in the near term..."

Former secretary of state and current Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton underwent a marathon day of testimony Thursday before the House Select Committee probing the 2012 attack in Libya, which killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Throughout the hearing, Clinton defended her record on Benghazi in the face of Republican criticism. Republicans say Clinton ignored pre-attack warnings and mishandled its aftermath, even though seven previous congressional probes have found no wrongdoing. Clinton handled Republican questions with a calm demeanor, and afterward panel chair Trey Gowdy, Republican congressmember of South Carolina, admitted the hearing failed to turn up anything new. Melvin Goodman, former CIA and State Department analyst, says the Benghazi hearing has ignored the real issue for Clinton to address: the US bombing of Libya that destabilized the country and set the stage for the fatal 2012 attack. "What was learned was irrelevant," Goodman says. "What was relevant, wasn't discussed."


AMY GOODMAN: The Obama administration has been criticized for its handling of the aftermath of the Benghazi attack. The White House initially said the consulate was attacked by protesters denouncing a short American film insulting the Prophet Muhammad. But it later turned out the attack was carried out by well-armed militants. The militants first attacked the diplomatic mission, then a secret CIA annex. Republicans say Clinton ignored pre-attack warnings and mishandled its aftermath. While previous reports have been scathing over security failures and have led to firings at the State Department, none have accused Clinton or other top officials of wrongdoing.

Well, joining us for more is Melvin Goodman, former CIA and State Department analyst, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and director of the Center's National Security Project. His latest book, National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Mel Goodman. Can you start off by talking about the significance of the hearing yesterday, what was learned, what wasn't learned, and what you think are the key questions to be asked that may have never been asked formally by any of these committees?

MELVIN GOODMAN: Thank you, Amy. What was learned was irrelevant. What was relevant wasn't discussed. And it was those areas that concern me. Why was the CIA operating a base out of Benghazi? Why was the State Department operating a transitional mission facility, a TMF - it wasn't a consulate - in Benghazi? Why was Ambassador Stevens, who was aware of the security situation, in Benghazi in the first place? So, none of these questions have been asked.

And remember, when the plane flew these survivors out of Benghazi to get them back to Tripoli, for every State Department official on that plane, there were five or six CIA employees. And my sources tell me that the CIA was there to buy back weapons that we had given to Gaddafi in the first place. So the question all of this begs - and this is where Hillary Clinton's remarks did concern me - is that we created a disaster in Libya. It was the decision to conduct regime change, the decision to go after Gaddafi, which eventually led to his death. And remember, Hillary Clinton welcomed that news with the words "We came, we saw, he died."

Now, there is a link to what Putin is doing in Syria, because, remember, we had to tell the Russians that we had very limited objectives, a very limited mission in Benghazi, so that they would not veto the UN resolution. And then, essentially, Putin finds out that our mission really was to go after Gaddafi, creating this instability, this discontinuity, this chaos in Libya.

So what really needs to be discussed is, what is the role of military power in the making of foreign policy? Why does Hillary Clinton think that Libya is not a disaster? And why was Hillary Clinton pushing for the military role in Libya in the first place? These are important issues.

As far as the hearings were concerned, she testified off and on for nearly 11 hours. She handled herself extremely well, and she essentially exposed the fact that these were a group of Republican troglodytes doing their best to marginalize her and humiliate her. And they totally failed.

AMY GOODMAN: Mel Goodman, the justification at the time, that Gaddafi was going to commit a massacre in Benghazi. Can you take us back to - again, it was September 11th - another September 11th - 2012. I think there is so little talked about, about what actually was happening there, that people don't realize exactly what the context was.

MELVIN GOODMAN: Well, in the wake of Gaddafi's death, there was total chaos in Libya. And essentially, there was a civil war being waged between forces in the western part of the country, based around the capital, Tripoli, and forces in the eastern part of the country, based around Benghazi. And what we have learned, essentially, over the last 34 years of foreign policymaking, that when you use military power in areas that are not stable, you usually create a worse situation. Israel invades Lebanon in 1982, and the creation of Hezbollah takes place. We arm the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and this leads to groups like the Haqqani faction, the Hekmatyar group, and even al-Qaeda. We go into Iraq, there's the Sunni Awakening. Now we're dealing with the Islamic State. So we took a very bad situation, where there was factionalism in Libya, and made it much worse by removing the only person who seemed to hold it together, even though he did it with incredible violence and threat, but Gaddafi was holding that nation, to the extent it was a nation, holding it together. So, we were a major force and a major reason for the instability that took place. We should never have been in Benghazi. All of the other international institutions, both government and nongovernment, had pulled out of Benghazi.


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Reply IGNORING US Destabilization of Libya, GOP Benghazi Hearing Asks Clinton All the WRONG QUESTIONS [View all]
Segami Oct 2015 OP
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