An Update on the Benghazi Scandal
by Aeshna Chandra on Friday, June 7th, 2013
Last year on September 11th, Islamic militants in Benghazi, Libya attacked American diplomatic compounds in a pre-meditated and symbolic act of terrorism. Both the U.S. and Libyan governments responded with grief for the slain American diplomats and condemnation for the terrorists. However, the Obama administration — notably former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — is still accused of having a “move along, nothing to see attitude” and for attempting to keep the events in Benghazi under wraps. Bringing up the issue to solve security problems at overseas compounds and to ensure that such an attack doesn’t happen again is extremely necessary. The criticism of the Obama administration was mostly from Republicans aiming to undermine Clinton, who many people believe could have become the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee if she had acted differently during the Benghazi crisis. In a time of such confusion, the administration must solidify its stance on the Benghazi attacks and stand by their actions to display an image of competence.
Although she is no longer Secretary of State, Clinton, should she choose to run for president in 2016, could win her own party’s nomination by a landslide. However, any potential campaign has undoubtedly been damaged by these events. In September, during the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks, many Republicans argued that Clinton was not aggressive enough and failed to prevent an event that could have been stopped. She was then placed under review by the Administrative Review Board, where she voiced her evident dissatisfaction with being “removed” from the case. Both the media and US citizens share her frustration at being held back from doing her job by a trivial review board. Clinton should have stood behind her actions more strongly and defended her decisions, which were based on the information she had at the time.
Similarly, the federal government must solidify its thoughts on Benghazi to lay out a clear plan that can prevent an attack of similar caliber from occurring again. Despite Obama’s announcement that the government is trying to locate and link the attackers to various terrorists groups, critics question why, even 9 months later, it still lacks an objective plan. Furthermore, opponents of the government’s handling of Benghazi discuss how the government’s disorganization led to evident signs of danger to slip under the radar, signals that hinted at the attacks even before they happened. Had a more definitive plan been in place, the likelihood of the attacks’ prevention would have been much higher. However, since no logical strategy was proposed despite the clear demand for a plan, the government needs to clarify its expectations, changes, and hopes for the future.
Benghazi happened 9 months ago. But now, no one can do anything but talk about what should have happened as opposed to what did happen. Yet in place of mentioning what the administration should have done better, both political parties and all members of the Obama administration should devise a future plan where preemptive actions are taken against such attacks. Using the assaults as an educational tool to plan for defense against future threats is the only way to move forward from these attacks in a safe and more prepared manner.
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