On this past Memorial Day, I know there were many recalling J. Christopher Stevens as a valued diplomat, dearly missed son and brother, friend.
Remembering Chris in this way reminds us that his beautiful life and heroic death transcends the unfortunate partisanship that is propelling yet another politicized investigation of Benghazi. These rehearsals of investigations of investigations surely must aggravate the grief felt by the Stevens family, though having the privilege of knowing them, I also know that this extraordinary family that remains devoted in action and prayer to keeping Chris' vision of a thriving democracy in Libya alive are far too noble to raise objection to the less than subtle effort to either dissuade or disparage Hillary Clinton.
There was, of course, misjudgment in Benghazi; Mrs. Clinton herself dismissed several high-ranking bureau directors who deferred the need for additional diplomatic security. Additional Marines or diplomatic security personnel were warranted in Benghazi, but in fairness, there was also equally compelling needs in a half dozen or more troubled locations, and Congress has not then or now provided the State Department with those resources. Want to have a hearing? Fine. Just make sure you call your Congressional selves and be prepared to describe how closely you monitored diplomatic security needs around the globe.
Yet, lack of money could be pointed to in reference to every public function; it is a bit too easy an out, since there is never enough money appropriate to go around. In Benghazi there is a deeper misjudgment, but it takes no dog-and-pony show to see it. Congress keeps squinting, however, because it does not like to see its own reflection in the investigative mirror.
When Congress looks again, if they are not posturing, it will discover its own legislative disregard with respect to providing adequate funding for defensive resources that could come into play to defend our diplomatic outposts on the African continent, including those in Tripoli, Tunis, Cairo or even neighboring Valletta all of which share the Mediterranean region. If it is being honest, Congress will need to hold itself in contempt for failing to fully fund and supply the African command (Africom) With the assets comparatively available to the European command (Eucom). These strategic plans remain classified and will not be discussed in open forum but the absence of meaningful resource in a geographically proximate place is the answer to why none were deployed on the fateful, sorrowful night when four diplomatic patriots were lost to us.
The classified status of the background planning has not prevented an accomplished journalist like Adam Houseley from reporting on this months ago.
Houseley also disclosed the further unhappy fact that even borrowed resources were out of range on maneuver on the night of the attack and the military command misjudged what was occurring -- thinking Chris to be the object of a kidnap rather than fatal assault, and failing to anticipate that those perpetrating the attack on the consular facility and residence had both incentive and means to launch a delayed second attack on the nearby annex. General Carter Ham, who retired within days of the Benghazi attack disclosed his own error at an Aspen Institute seminar -- underscoring the real dissuade or disparage Hillary nature of the new inquiry.
If Congress has a lot of excess hearing time -- and the House seems to have it in abundance since there seems little interest in addressing the real national security threat of our broken immigration system or even something basic as extending unemployment benefits to the long term unemployed -- I recommend they inquire into the unrealized initiative that had been well-conceived by President Obama to promote interfaith understanding and diffuse antagonisms that terrorist forces could uses to turn impressionable young men into the very antithesis of Islamic belief or any of the teachings of peace with Abrahamic root.
The state department bureaucracy scuttled the President's interfaith effort, and it remains largely dormant even at this late hour of Obama opportunity. I have been prompted by these and other distortions in our constitutional system -- such as the mal-distribution of wealth and the reservation of public office to the wealthy -- to ask my neighbors here in California to send me of average wealth but advanced age and experience to Congress to address the real economic, environmental and security problems we face. Because the injustice of the times is often disproportionately felt by the poor and the unprotected migrant, I have focused the attention of my campaign on rectifying matters of social justice for those of middle or working class origin like myself who are invisible and excluded, as Pope Francis reflects, from the crumbs heartless economic decisions of the past have left for our less well off brothers and sisters.
I intend to prevail in the primary because of the merit of my cause, notwithstanding the lack of campaign resources available to an independent candidate. If, however, this effort at elective service fails to mature, Memorial Day is the ideal time to renew my previous offer of service to remember J. Christopher Stevens. While even basic civil order does not exist in parts of Libya today, those valiant men and women in uniform and in diplomatic service whom we honor on Memorial Day gave their last full measure of devotion, as Lincoln said at Gettysburg, putting aside their personal interests and concerns while expressing in different faiths the genuine pursuit of peace.