Mark Steyn’s Analysis Of Benghazi Hearings Wednesday
GB: It’s Thursday. When we’re lucky on the Hugh Hewitt program on Thursdays, we get a chance to chat with Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn, and he joins us now. Hello, Mark.
MS: Hey, Guy, good to be with you.
GB: Well, let’s dive right into this. You watched some of the hearings yesterday. What are your big takeaways from what you saw?
MS: Well, I didn’t watch as much of the hearings as I would have liked to, because the networks, under their rather curious priorities, seemed more excited by the verdict in whatever case that was in Phoenix, I think. So in that sense, it didn’t make as big a splash as it should have. But that in itself is very revealing. The United States government, the highest level of the United States government, lied to the American people in the immediate hours, and for weeks afterwards, about the death of this ambassador. That is a serious business. And the Democrats and Republicans alike, and ordinary citizens, need to think about whether they’re willing to go along with that lie, because to do so is to be complicit in it. And that’s not a healthy sign for a democratic republic.
GB: That’s definitely true, and when I’ve written and talked about this subject, to me, Mark, there are three distinct elements of this scandal. First is, this was a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that had literally sustained two previous attacks leading up to 9/11. It still had inadequate security for reasons that remain unclear. And those security assets were actually denied when they were asked for. Why? We don’t know. That’s element one. Element two is there were people under fire, our countrymen, including a U.S. ambassador and former Navy SEALs, under fire for hours in Benghazi, and yet no resources, militarily, were deployed for eight hours to save them. We don’t know why or who made those decisions. And finally is the talking point element, what you just touched on, and I really felt like all three of those, if you will, stages of the scandal were touched on yesterday by Republicans on the Committee who I thought really did an excellent job. They held back from showboating, and they did their job. They asked questions. The other side of the aisle, though, Mark, not so much.
MS: No, and again, you know, everyone thinks that’s partisan politics. The L.A. Times, a dying newspaper, had a lame headline, even by its own pathetic and abysmal standards, playing up the partisan element. There isn’t actually a partisan element here. All the players involved in this are Democrats. Chris Stevens is in fact the poster boy for the Obama-Clinton view of the Arab Spring. He’s one of their guys. I mean, as chaps like me look on it, he was in large part deluded about the nature of the Arab Spring, that he was a personally courageous and brave man who was on the front line of the Obama-Clinton narrative about the Arab Spring. And they let him die, and then told lies over his coffin. And Democrats, liberals should ask themselves about that, if they are willing to, that’s, no right wingers, no Republicans, no conservatives are involved in this. They did that to one of their own. And as you say, the three elements of this story all got moved slightly further on in the course of the testimony yesterday. For example, it is now clear that the local militia on who the security of these guys, to whom the security of these guys was entrusted, were actually complicit in the attacks. Elements of the militia participated in the attacks. His body, the dying ambassador was taken to a hospital in the control of one of the radical Islamic groups. He was there in Benghazi on a symbolic day at the personal request of Senator Clinton. In a sense, he not only died for the Obama-Clinton fiction, he was sacrificed to the Obama-Clinton fiction of the Arab Spring. This is absolutely disgraceful. I cannot conceive of how empty and dead you have to be inside to put Ambassador Stevens through that, then leave him to die, and all the nonsense we heard about oh, they couldn’t have got there in time? Oh, really? You had, it’s like a football match, is it? It’s like a football game, you’ve got an end time, you know they’re all going to pack up and go home at 5:00 in the morning or whatever? They didn’t know how long it was going to last. They left him to die. They decided to let their guy die in the confusion of the stuff happening in Egypt and Tunisia over the stupid no-account video.
GB: Mark, I want to circle back to a phrase that you employed just a few minutes ago. It’s a very powerful one. It’s an evocative one. You said they lied over his coffin, speaking of Ambassador Stevens. And that might strike some listeners as very sort of, a cruel thing to say, and a very strongly-worded accusation. But let’s be clear. Hillary Clinton, at the memorial service, literally standing next to the flag-draped coffin of Ambassador Stevens and the other fallen diplomats and ex-SEALs, invoked this video, this YouTube video, which we now know, we suspected for a long time, we had reports for a long time, but now eyewitness testimony saying that was an absolute fraud, and she personally knew it that night, because she was on the other end of a phone call where that exact topic had been discussed. I mean, she literally lied over his coffin, and I wanted to drive that home, because it’s sickening.
MS: Yeah, and I don’t know, I mean, I understand there is partisan politics. I accept that. You want your side to win. You put your side’s interests at heart. But I personally could not do that knowing the truth. She called him Chris. Obama called him Chris. Chris this…no Ambassador Stevens, no Mr. Ambassador, none of that, Chris, Chris, Chris like he’s, they’re best buddies. They’ve known each other all their life. And then she tells the families of the dead that they’re going to get this video maker, and they’re going to put him in jail. And all the time she’s doing that, she knows that is false. And as you say, she got the phone call. The very compelling testimony from Mr. Hicks, the number two guy in Libya, he calls her, he has this conversation with her. Then later, he calls back to leave a message that Chris, Chris, as Hillary Clinton calls him, Chris, Chris, Chris, is dead. He’s the first ambassador, first American ambassador to die in the line of duty in a quarter century. She doesn’t call back poor old Hicks on the front line trying to hold down what’s left of the American presence in Libya? She doesn’t call him back that night. She doesn’t call him back the following day. This is a failure of leadership at the top. And honor demands, she’s gone, she’s out of it. But if she were still in her job, honor would demand that she resign over this. I think there’s compelling evidence she actually perjured herself when she testified on this.
GB: Mark, you mentioned partisanship, and you have a lot of the tougher questions being asked by Republicans. Democrats were ham-handedly and shamefully playing hyper-partisan defense for almost the entire hearing, almost to a man. The problem that I think Democrats had yesterday was the nature and the integrity and the biographies of the three witnesses, none of whom came across as partisan or harboring some sort of secret agenda. They were there to say what happened to them, because they were on duty, and they were there. Do you agree that that was really one of the most powerful elements that the hearings offered to the American people?
MS: Yeah, these are career civil servants. They’re the kind of people that if they were saying this kind of stuff about Rumsfeld or Cheney, or George W. Bush, people would be saying these are unimpeachable career diplomats. There is no partisan agenda here. They are lifelong public servants who serve Republicans and Democrats regardless. They weren’t accorded that respect by Democrats yesterday. And yet in a sense, that’s the central fact here. They do not wish to live in the Obama-Clinton lie, as no self-respecting person would. And these pathetic Democrat Congressmen saying oh, there’s nothing new here, it’s all spin, whatever, as I said earlier, Guy, Chris Stevens was their man. He was Clinton’s man. He was Obama’s man. And they left him there to die and then in effect, produced him in death. And if they’ll do that to him, they’ll do that to all those pathetic nickel and dime Democrat shills on that Committee yesterday. At some point, at some point, at some moments, honor requires you to rise above your pathetic, stunted party political, feeble, reductive view of critical events, and what decency and honor require.
GB: Mark Steyn, you began the segment with a bit of media criticism. I’ll close with the same. CNN was going wall to wall, almost, with footage of a parking lot in Cleveland throughout these hearings. MSNBC was nowhere to be found until prime time, where their hosts let us all know that nothing had really happened, and nothing new emerged, and it didn’t matter anyway. Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, www.steynonline.com.
End of interview.