In what will likely be her last appearance on the Hill as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton clashed with Republican members of the House and Senate Wednesday while testifying on the September 11, 2012, attacks on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi where four Americans died including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. When pressed by Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson during the morning session, Clinton erupted, raising her voice after Johnson said "we were misled that there were supposedly protests" rather than a terrorist attack.
"Was it because of a protest? Or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?" Clinton shouted. "It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."
Conservatives were not happy with Clinton's responses and attitude Wednesday, with some alleging she turned to emotion rather than answers when presented tough, important questions. Victor Davis Hanson writes on National Review Online that knowing the actual causation and circumstances of the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi does make a difference:
Did it matter, for example, whether Hezbollah pre-planned the Marine barracks bombing or the Khobar Towers attacks, or the American deaths were just the results of angry youths who spontaneously coalesced to commit violence? Do such circumstances matter to the families of the deceased, to national-security officials responsible to prevent further occurrences, to a public that demands honesty and transparency from its officials?
Secretary Clinton did not mean to show indifference, but her rhetorical question was one of the low points in her long career, one that might pass without too much fanfare at the moment but will reverberate a lot in the future.
Clinton has said she takes responsibility for the Department shortfalls, but to many this does not alleviate the need to know what happened to prevent similar outcomes in the future. At both hearings Clinton said she accepts all 29 recommendations of the independent Accountability Review Board that investigated the State Departments actions before and after Benghazi.
On TheBlaze TV Wednesday, Andrew Wilkow discussed with Brandon Webb of SOFREP and Lisa Schiffren of the Independent Women's Forum what--if anything--was learned from Wednesday's hearings, and will we not make the same mistakes with Benghazi again.