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Benghazi hearings widen credibility gap

| Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, 9:06 p.m.

One day, I hope, Hillary Clinton's Benghazi hearings will stand as testament to the smoke-and-mirrors dangerousness of U.S. foreign policy, circa 2013 — both as executed by the government's executive branch and as weakly grasped by the legislative branch.

Did we learn who in the Obama administration concocted and/or coordinated the story about a totally imaginary video protest that was supposed to have led to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on 9/1 112? No.

Did we learn why the maker of the so-called anti-Islamic YouTube video clip is the only person in the world in jail for the attacks (for “parole violations”)? No.

Did we learn whether it was coincidental that the video-protest lie ended after President Obama blamed the video (six times) in a Sept. 25 address before the United Nations in which he declared, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”? No.

Did we learn anything about the decision-making process that prevented U.S. military relief from being ordered to Benghazi during the seven-hour attack? No.

Did we even learn about the official madness that permitted the U.S. government to hire jihadist militias to secure U.S. lives and interests in the first place? No.

But we did learn that Secretary of State Clinton is now concerned about the “spreading jihadist threat.” This was unexpected news — not the existence of the threat, or the fact it's spreading, but rather that Mrs. Clinton was using the word “jihadist.” What was that about?

The Obama administration has worked relentlessly to eradicate “jihad” — the word, anyway — by replacing it with the content-free and thus blinding term “violent extremism.”

And why was Mrs. Clinton warning against allowing Mali, hot spot du jour, to become safe haven for AQIM (al-Qaida in the Maghreb)? It has become such a haven mainly due to Obama-Clinton policies that toppled “war on terror” ally Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. Clinton may be talking up “global jihad,” but it's worth remembering that Gadhafi already was its opponent on the northern African front — at least until he was killed by U.S.-backed, al Qaida-linked Libyan “rebels.”

If the administration was so worried about security at the Benghazi compound, couldn't someone have asked Clinton why the suspected head of al-Qaida in Libya, Wissam bin Hamid, leader of Libya Shield, a militia that fought Gadhafi under al-Qaida's black flag, was one of the U.S. compound's security providers?

At least Republican Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania did go to the trouble of displaying pictures of black al-Qaida flags recently waving over Libya and the wider Islamic world. He also asked Clinton whether she was aware of the Library of Congress report “Al-Qaida in Libya.”

Clinton's response was to note the many reports out there — also the many flags. “The United States has to be as effective in partnering with the non-jihadists, whether they fly a black flag or any other color flag, to be successful.”

Madame Secretary, what “non-jihadists” would ever fly the black al-Qaida flag?

Diana West is the author of “The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization” and blogs at dianawest.net.

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