This week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be making her swan song appearance on Capitol Hill, providing at last to Senate and House panels her testimony about the Benghazigate scandal. Under the circumstances, legislators may feel pressured to be deferential and to keep their questions more limited in scope and superficial rather than probing. For the good of the country, it is imperative that they resist going soft.
After all, the hearings Wednesday before the two chambers' committees responsible for foreign policy oversight afford the final opportunity to examine with the sitting secretary of state her legacy with regard not only to the fiasco that left four Americans dead in Benghazi last Sept. 11, but with the policies that led up to that event - policies that are roiling the region today and that will afflict us for many years to come.
In other words, the object of the exercise must be to understand how we got to the point in Libya where Shariah-adherent jihadists felt able to attack American facilities and diplomatic personnel murderously and with impunity. Consequently, Mrs. Clinton's interlocutors need to go beyond exploring the record of repeated rejections of requests from Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and others to enhance security at the "mission" in Benghazi and the lack of U.S. response once the attack was launched.
Legislators must ensure that the following issues, for example, are also addressed:
Who was responsible for devising and executing the policy of engaging, legitimating, empowering, funding and arming Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood? It appears to date back to at least March 2009, when the United States first co-sponsored a Shariah-driven United Nations Human Rights Council resolution criticizing expressions that offend Islam. What role did Mrs. Clinton play in that initiative and in the broader policy of which it was a leading indicator?
What responsibility did Mrs. Clinton have for the serial Team Obama decisions that helped bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt? Is she concerned that, by so doing, Islamists determined not only to foster hatred for Israel but to pursue its destruction are now in a position to try again, for the first time since 1973? How does Mrs. Clinton justify, under such circumstances, sending to the Egyptian military additional U.S.-made fighter planes and tanks - weapons whose use, as a practical matter, can only be for waging war against the Israelis?
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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