Jonah Goldberg

That's all very ominous, and I'm at a loss as to why it's outrageous for Congress to try to get to the bottom of what happened. But to listen to defenders of the administration and a lot of allegedly neutral journalists, this basic exercise in congressional oversight is a deranged and entirely fabricated partisan witch hunt. It's an odd charge given that the only obvious fabrication in the whole affair was the relentless effort to cast the attack that killed four Americans as a spontaneous reaction to an obscure and shoddy YouTube video.

But we probably know what happened. In the midst of a hard-fought presidential election, the administration, and specifically the president, was caught embarrassingly flat-footed by a terrorist attack. And even when it knew the attack was still going on -- without any possible knowledge of when it was going to end -- it still failed to send any help. The ARB establishes that much.

In their testimony Thursday, Pickering and Mullen softened that criticism by noting that the U.S. military can't be expected to defend every diplomatic outpost everywhere in the world all of the time. Fair enough. But maybe it's not unreasonable for the military to be ready for an attack in, say, the Middle East on Sept. 11? Particularly in a country where officials knew security was a huge problem?

At the time, the Obama campaign had been touting its success in the war on terror. The last thing it wanted less than 60 days before the election was to lose that issue. So, afraid of the political fallout, the White House and the State Department circled the wagons.

Hillary Clinton is a master of the passive-aggressive art of dragging out investigations until the press and public lose interest and spinners can use abracadabra phrases like "it's all old news," "let's just move on" and, most famously, "what difference does it make?"

The irony in this case is that it's precisely that tactic that has now turned a political problem for Obama into a political problem for Clinton. And unfortunately, the only real accountability we can hope for on Benghazi will come when she runs for president herself.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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