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In the Media

article imageOp-Ed: Is the GOP too hard on Susan Rice?

article:337671:7::0
By Burton Wiborg
Nov 26, 2012 in Politics
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As GOP lawmakers attempt to block Rice's nomination for Secretary of State, should they be focusing their attention elsewhere?
Arizona Senator John McCain and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham have constantly kept pressure on U.N. Ambassador to the U.S. Susan Rice over her statements on the attack in Benghazi, Libya where four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens were killed.
Rice appeared on five Sunday morning talk shows on November 16th claiming the attack wasn't premeditated or linked to terrorist, but sparked by an anti-Islamic video.
As details came to light, Rice's statements were deemed less than accurate and generated a flurry of controversy, mostly among the Republican party.
The question of Rice's intentions during the Sunday morning interviews are under fire, but how much blame does she deserve? There is little doubt now what she said was a political smokescreen given the facts, but did she intentionally mislead the American people or was she honest in her best knowledge to what she said?
No doubt she was following orders from a higher source. In one sense you can't blame her for that. It's no different than an employee following orders from their boss. But did she actually have the correct intelligence available or did she just read a script that was handed to her without any questions? Being an ambassador she certainly would have had access to intelligence reports. Would she appear on national television and just read what she was told, without confirmation? If so, there is a very serious communication gap between her office and the rest of the intelligence community.
I seriously doubt her not knowing at least most of the facts that were available by September 16th. But in her defense, if she was told "here Susan, read this", what else was she suppose to do?
There's a fine line in as whether she done right or wrong that day. To some, she should have disregarded everything but the truth, considering she knew or had access, and in my opinion she had to know given her stature.
But looking at it through her eyes, I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing she done if I were in her position. She didn't get to be an Ambassador to the United States by being disobedient.
In my opinion too much has been laid to blame on her, there's far more blame to go elsewhere and she was merely following orders. If she honestly wasn't aware of the true nature of the attacks, that would be a major lack of competence on her behalf, which is no crime. If she did knowingly lie to the American people, it was part of her job description and odds are she would have faced being fired if she refused.
Another point is does she deserve to be excluded from a nomination of Secretary of State? There is a potential argument and defense either way you look at it. Some will claim incompetence while others try to paint her as a liar. Then some will point at her qualifications and many achievements which are impressive by any standards.
It's hard to say where her path will lead from here, but in the meantime, the GOP ought to put pressure where the actual blame lies and quit focusing so much on the little fish in the pond.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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