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    Posted January 24, 2013 by
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    Yes, Madam Secretary, At This Point It Does Matter

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     k3vsDad told me, 'While I understood her frustration and what she meant in replying to Senator Johnson, her remark came across as callous and unsympathetic to the families of the four Americans killed in the attack.' The moment during outgoing Secretary of State Clinton's testimony where she said 'What difference does it make?' went viral.
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee January 23, 2013

    Outgoing  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed two committees of Congress  on Wednesday about the terrorist attack on the US diplomatic mission in  Benghazi, Libya. It was during the first hearing before the Senate  Foreign Relations Committee that has sparked a certain amount of  controversy in her response to Republican Senator Ron Johnson of  Wisconsin.

    I  understand the Secretary's frustration. I understood what she meant  that "at this point" what is important is too learn from the mistakes  and move forward. We cannot bring back the dead nor undo the wrong, but  hopefully we can lessen a similar incident and similar mistakes in the  future. That I get.

    However,  I think Clinton did not quite grasp the issue being asked since Clinton  from day one and her department have rightfully characterized the  attack as being perpetrated by terrorists with connection to Al Qaeda.  Clinton has accepted her responsibility for the short comings and  failings that led up to the tragedy. But that is not the issue.

    Perhaps  the Secretary was the wrong person to be hammering on this issue.  President Barack Obama already came to the defence of United Nations  Ambassador Susan Rice for her appearance on five Sunday talk news shows.  The President said to ask him, to put the onus on him. He is right.

    While  State and Clinton have acknowledged from the beginning that Benghazi  was a planned terrorist attack on our mission, it is not really Clinton  who should explain why the President, the White House and Rice seemed to  try and divert attention away from what the whole world knew  immediately was a terrorist attack and blame it on an obscure, poorly  crafted video by a shady producer with an anti-Islam agenda.

    To me it is more a question the President should come before the committees and answer.

    Clinton  even noted that when you don't know the cause for sure, you should just  say that, rather than pull a response out of the air.

    The  question deals with being truthful and upfront with the American  people. The question deals with not making a storyline fit a political  agenda.

    A  terrorist attack on the Benghazi mission on September 11, 2012 did not  coincide with the Administration and the re-election storyline that Al  Qaeda was on the run, that Al Qaeda has been decimated. That storyline  still continues even today in spite of evidence to the contrary:  Benghazi, the Algerian hostage standoff with the deaths of another four  Americans, the ongoing conflict in northern Mali.

    While  the mother group of Al Qaeda may have been dealt a fatal blow, closely  aligned or new incarnations of the fanatical ideology of extreme  jihadism is alive and well and thriving. The war on terror, contrary to  some in the Administration, is far from over. We are losing and still  not wining the hearts and minds of those who would see our destruction.

    It  was a political calculation to deflect what happened at Benghazi and to  refrain from use of the terms "terrorism" and "Al Qaeda". But it was a  flawed calculation that just keeps giving fodder to those who buy into  cover-ups and conspiracies.

    Where  I disagree with Clinton is her reference in the hearings to allowing  the FBI to continue its investigation and not get in the way of that  investigation. The same occurred during her husband's administration  following the attack on one of our naval vessels docked in the Middle  East.

    This  is not a criminal case, where gathering evidence to prosecute in a  court must be done. Remember the same occurred after the USS Cole  incident. We had to gather evidence to prosecute those responsible  rather than call the bombing what we know now it was...a terrorist  attack by Al Qaeda. The US did not act to extract vengeance and justice.  The terrorists saw this as a sign of weakness.

    A year or so later, the Twin Towers tumbled in shambles and mayhem killing over 3,000 on American soil.

    Failure to admit that Al Qaeda, even in its offshoots, is not decimated  and is still a real threat is the problem and the issue. Had we  responded immediately and with force to Benghazi, perhaps the Al Qaeda  leaning terrorists would not have been emboldened to attack and kill  four more Americans and others in Algeria.

    The hesitancy shown  in dealing with Benghazi as a terrorist attack, as well as an act of  terror by Nidal Hasan in the Fort Hood mass shooting and not a "work  place act of violence",  only tells these fanatics and extremists bent  on destroying our nation that we don't have the balls to hit back and  hit back hard in spite of pronouncements to "bring the perpetrators to  justice".

    We have to stop thinking in terms of criminal cases  and realize and accept this is war, not a courtroom with adversarial  roles of prosecutor and defense attorney.

    It  matters, Madam Secretary, because over four months have passed. It  matters, Madam Secretary, because another four Americans have died  because of Al Qaeda related terrorists, this time in Algeria. It  matters, Madam Secretary, because Al Qaeda in yet another inception has a  foothold in northern Mali. It matters, Madam Secretary, because the  dialogue out of the Administration does not match the reality on the  ground.

    The  zealots of jihadist extremism, inspired by Osama Bin Laden, are growing  and becoming more daring and brazen. These fanatics see the United  States as weak and not having the wherewithal to follow through on  threats of swift justice and vengeance.

    No, Madam Secretary, the onus does not lie with you. The onus lies with the occupant of the Oval Office.

    From  the Cornfield, it matters that the President clearly tells the American  people that terrorism is still very real and a threat to our American  way of life. It matters that Congress addresses the questions to the  right people.

    As  Clinton noted herself, just because the mainland US has not been hit  since that awful day of 9/11/2001, it does not mean that these  terrorists are not still plotting, planning and waiting for another try  to inflict the most harm and do the most destruction.

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