|Posted by MLGoodell on February 1, 2016 at 4:15 PM|
One of the more disturbing features of George Orwell’s “1984,” is the Two Minutes of Hate, in which all good citizens shout their contempt for the villain du jour at the top of their lungs. The only real world comparative would be sports radio, or the comments section of HuffPo.
After watching the film, “13 Hours,” I decided we need something called Thirteen Hours of Shame, in which all good citizens are required to watch this heartbreaking tale of brave men and women left to their own devices because a sclerotic bureaucracy could not bestir itself to find a solution. That only four people did die is a tribute to the courage, the experience and the grace under pressure of a handful of contracted “operators.” It could have been a whole lot worse.
“13 Hours” is not a political movie, though it is, by virtue of its existence, a political act. And the result of this act should be the end of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. As is fitting for the would-be-FLOTUS, the assessment I made of her husband, that if he had any character he would resign, though if he had any character he wouldn’t have to resign, is suitable for the Mrs. as well. If Hillary had any character, she would drop out of the race, though if she had any character, she wouldn’t have to.
The filmmakers, dedicated to the whole truth, did not mention the Secretary of State, the president or any ranking members of the national security establishment. They were only able to tell the story through the eyes of those who fought to save themselves and their colleagues from a series of concerted and steadily escalating assaults through the early hours of September 12, 2012.
Seriously, this movie conveys no sense that anyone was guilty of anything greater than hubris. There is a poignant scene of fighter pilots in their jets, their engines idly spooling, waiting for the command that never came. In retrospect, they might have done some good, but they would have had to have been scrambled almost immediately after the attacks began. It was clear nobody knew how concerted and relentless they would turn out to be. One likes to think if they had known, they would have ordered the jets into the air.
If the decision was made, not out of ignorance, but from the determination that the consequences of intervening were greater than the potential massacre of nearly 40 American soldiers, analysts and administrators, it would be acceptable. They knew the risks they were taking. The nature of their job was to put their lives on the line. These weren’t cruise ship passengers or Holy Land pilgrims.
It could be justified. In fact, the world would likely be a better place if Jimmy Carter had taken that attitude toward the Americans taken hostage in Tehran in 1979. I don’t suggest he should have acted with callous disregard for their lives, but he could have given Iran an ultimatum, demanding their return in very short order, or face the consequences. If he had been willing to sacrifice their lives, he might well have saved them anyway, without the US being dragged into more than a year’s worth of humiliation. Instead we told the world that we were weak, that we would fold when confronted, that we would always lose.
It is not hubris, miscalculations or a hard but justifiable conclusion that if lives were to be lost it was because the price to save them was too high that renders Hillary unfit for office. No, the damning act is she lied. Now, some might argue in her defense, “Hey, she’s a Clinton. That’s what they do.” Point taken.
Obviously, there are times when National Security demands a touch of mendacity. As Winston Churchill once said, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she must always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” However, a political campaign is not war, and a lie told to protect one’s campaign theme is not the same as one told to protect the lives of soldiers or to conceal a crucial strategy.
If the full force of the United States government is used to construct and protect that lie, then it is worse than offensive, it is morally, and arguably criminally wrong. Thanks to the grudging release of Hillary’s emails we now know that on the very night of the attack the Secretary of State knew this was a terrorist assault on the United States, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. She knew this. She told her daughter this. On that very night.
The entire national security establishment of the United States knew this was an act of terrorism. Yet they chose to lie to the American people, and to the grieving parents of those who died that night. Hillary said it was a protest that got out of hand. A protest against an Internet video which showed disrespect to some religious figure. And that’s why she should not be president.
That’s what “13 Hours” drove home. The calm courage, the willingness to die that others might be saved, the very honor of the American soldier was on display that night. When Hillary deliberately told lies about how those men fought and died, she dishonored their sacrifices, she demonstrated that she neither valued nor respected them or their service; she effectively spit upon their graves. At the very least she rendered her unfit to fulfill the duties of the office of Commander in Chief.