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View Diary: Benghazi deaths tragic but part of foreign service risks (34 comments)

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  •  You are obviously a very knowledgeable source on (5+ / 0-)

    this, but I don't think there is any place for a defense of the killings of government workers that goes anywhere near, "Shit happens." This is an unmitigated tragedy no matter what way you look at it, and it was by any measure a very big failure by our government. It should be treated as such and investigated as such. The families of the dead deserve that, and they deserve to see the right people held responsible.

    •  Yes but (10+ / 0-)

      Even the family members of victims -- Stevens and one of the Seals -- asked that the tragedy NOT be politicized. That's what's wrong here. Politicians exploiting tragedy for political gain. This type of tragedy could have happened under any President. It's a tragedy for the nation -- not a tool for political attack.

      The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

      by LiberalLady on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:18:21 PM PST

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    •  Justice is happening.... that's what matters (9+ / 0-)

      As President Obama promised, justice will occur.  Members of the group that committed the attack have been arrested in Egypt and Tunisia.  Chances are, others have simply met an unfortunate fate.

      I think a proportional response to this is required, not a "the sky is falling" watergate type of fishing expedition posing as an investigation.

      Seriously, do you really think it matters in the grand scheme of things whether or not they attacked the consulate because of the video or not?  Would it matter if they were smoking ganja and one guy said, "let's grab our guns and attack the consulate!"  No matter what, it was a terrorist attack.  The outcome is set.  

      Lastly, the families of foreign service workers are also keenly aware of the risks that their loved ones endure.  

      •  I dont' disagree with anything in this comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rich in PA

        except the part about the families. As if it hurts less because they know. Again - I don't think there is any place for that kind of thing when responding to the horrible politicization of this by Republicans. "Yeah, it's a dangerous job" wasn't appropriate for the firefighters who ran up the Towers - and it's not appropriate for this.

        •  "Hurts less" that what? (0+ / 0-)

          Losing your spouse/parent/child on a battlefield? Losing a loved one to cancer? To your basic traffic accident? Nobody's saying losing a loved one is any easier in a dangerous job than in a cushy one. Shit happens. It hurts no more or less than any other circumstance of loss.

    •  On what basis do you know (9+ / 0-)

      that what happened at Benghazi "...was by any measure a very big failure by our government"?

      This is an unmitigated tragedy no matter what way you look at it, and it was by any measure a very big failure by our government. It should be treated as such and investigated as such.
      From what I am reading - which I seriously expect is but a fraction of the information available - the matter is being strenuously investigated by multiple US government entities.  The facts will be out on this, and then one will be able to make a decision as to whether there were failures, at what level they occurred, and what changes are necessary to prevent similar incidents in the future.

      So maybe it would be prudent to await the results of those investigations before declaring "a very big failure."

      I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

      by Wayward Wind on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:28:20 PM PST

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    •  It hasn't been shown that this was a failure (9+ / 0-)

      That something goes wrong does not always mean a failure, if by "failure" you mean actions or decisions that a reasonably competent person would not normally have done.

      Foreign service is risky. As the diarist notes, supplying security for these outposts is not a cut-and-dried decision. One must also factor in the availability of personnel, the possible affect on relations with, and the stability of, the host government, and who-knows-what other factors.

      When we acknowledge that there is risk, then we also acknowledge is the possibility of things going wrong. That is the nature of risk. It is possible that no "bad" decisions were made here. It is possible that there was a roll of the dice that turned out badly; yet that does not mean that it was wrong to roll those dice at that time. Sometimes -- no, often -- the President's job is to roll the dice.

      Mind you, I'm not really arguing the question either way. I'm just saying, it's way too soon to say that this represents a failure. It may never be possible to make that determination, at least in the public sphere.

      Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

      by Nowhere Man on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:29:45 PM PST

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      •  When foreign service workers are brutally murdered (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rich in PA

        and people say, "We don't know if there was a failure!" I want to kill a thousand kittens.

        What the Fuck are yo undoing? Does a government have a job to do in regards to its employees? Is one of those jobs protecting those employees? This is just astonishing.

        •  That should be "What the fuck are you doing?" nt (0+ / 0-)
          •  Well, the comment is undoing a lot. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Little

            You know, the notion that our government should protect its employees, that kind of thing.

            You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

            by Rich in PA on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:57:53 AM PST

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        •  If dichotomies are your thing... (8+ / 0-)

          If you can't see this situation in anything but black-and-white terms, then we're not really able to discuss this.

          Most words don't have a single meaning. Most words have multiple meanings. I can't help hearing "failure", in this context, as meaning much the same thing as "mistake", i.e., a demonstrated (if temporary) lack of competence. If that's not what you mean, then there's no need for us to discuss this.

          But otherwise...

          Your question can be paralleled in a number of different contexts. The parallels are stronger in some cases, weaker in others, but they exist and are real:

          - It's the job of NHTSA to keep our roads safe, yet 50,000 people are killed in automobile accidents every year. Is NHTSA failing at its job?

          - Except in rare (or criminal) cases, an army will try not to lose any soldiers in battle, yet soldiers are frequently lost in battle. Does every soldier's death represent a failure?

          - It's the job of the police to keep people safe from criminal activity. Yet people are killed in robberies daily. Does every such death represent a failure of the police to do their job?

          In all of these cases, the responsible party has to do a reasonable job of protecting their charges, where the meaning of reasonable is both fuzzy and context-dependent. It's not clear to me that the Obama Administration failed to do a reasonable job of protecting the embassy staff in this case -- especially given that it was, from what I understand, Ambassador Stevens's choice to go to Benghazi at that time, with the security arrangements (or lack thereof) fully known to him.

          Do you know anything that shows otherwise?

          Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

          by Nowhere Man on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:06:31 PM PST

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        •  Dangerous Jobs have Risks (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kurt, Egalitare, Joieau, Nowhere Man

          Policeman, fireman, correctional officers and many other workers lose their lives in the line of duty way too often. Is there a government failure when that happens?  There was a policeman that perished saving children during Hurricane Sandy was the government responsible? Sometimes it is but other times bad things happen to good people.  

          I worked in corrections and I remember a correctional officer was killed in the line of duty because he did not follow the protocol and opened a cell to give an inmate some of his lunch in violation of policy.  His death was tragic however the government did have policy in place that if followed would have possibly prevented his death.

          The republicans are trying their best to politicize a tragedy for an advantage.  When briefings occur on Benghazi and McCain and other republicans miss the briefing to hold a news conference and go about other routine business then complain about not having information; their actions are transparent to a thinking person.

    •  Big failure? (0+ / 0-)

      By what measure? The consulate was attacked and people were killed. A tragedy yes but a failure? When someone gets murdered walking down the street in Chicago gets murdered is that a "big failure" on the part of the US Government? What's the difference?

      "Good to be here, good to be anywhere."~Keith Richards

      by bradreiman on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 09:04:20 PM PST

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    •  Thank you for that, Little (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Little

      I am disgusted by the suggestion that what happened in Benghazi was anything other than a failure by our government.  That Republicans in their infinite cruelty and stupidity are incapable of understanding an operational failure as anything less that the Collapse of Our Republic is their problem, not something we should combat by saying it's No Problem at All.  

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:56:22 AM PST

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