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Maureen Dowd: Obama's Benghazi Decisions 'Unworthy of Greatest Power on Earth'

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Sunday, 12 May 2013 04:46 PM

The Obama administration's decisions during and after the deadly terror attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, were "unworthy of the greatest power on earth," writes New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, in a scathing Sunday column.

Dowd's opinion piece follows one a few weeks ago that declared Obama "still has not learned how to govern," and takes shots at the edits that were made to the Benghazi talking points.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

She also criticizes efforts to rewrite events in order to make Hillary Clinton – a presumptive presidential candidate in 2016 – appear to be leaving a legacy term at the State Department.

She also blames the lack of response to the attacks, plus the initial denial that al-Qaida operatives were involved, on Obama's presidential ambitions and Clinton's possible future ones.

"In the midst of a re-election campaign, Obama aides wanted to promote the mythology that the president who killed Osama was vanquishing terror. So they deemed it problematic to mention any possible [al-Qaida] involvement in the Benghazi attack," wrote Dowd. "Hillaryland needed to shore up the mythology that Clinton was a stellar secretary of state."

But Dowd also noted that the most critical voices, led by Karl Rove in early attack ads against Clinton, "cloud a simple truth: The administration’s behavior before and during the attack in Benghazi, in which four Americans died, was unworthy of the greatest power on earth."

But Dowd reserves her strongest, most scornful words for the entire Obama administration, including the military and its lack of response in the eight hours the Benghazi attack spanned.

"In this hottest of hot spots, the State Department’s minimum security requirements were not met, requests for more security were rejected, and contingency plans were not drawn up, despite the portentous date of 9/11 and cascading warnings from the C.I.A.," Dowd writes. "Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Chris Stevens (who was killed in the attack) were rushing to make the flimsy Benghazi post permanent as a sign of good faith with Libyans, even as it sat ringed by enemies."

She recounts the testimony of Stevens’s second-in-command, Gregory Hicks, who tried to help from 600 miles away in Tripoli, and who was given a “stand-down” order for four Special Forces officers in Tripoli who were ready to head to Benghazi.

She noted that Hicks was stunned when he saw the Sunday morning talk shows that weekend and saw U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice stressing the deaths were part of a protest over an anti-Muslim video than an coordinated, premeditated attack.

"All the factions wove their own mythologies at the expense of our deepest national mythology: that if there is anything, no matter how unlikely or difficult, that we can do to try to save the lives of Americans who have volunteered for dangerous assignments, we must do it," Dowd concludes.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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