“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”
— a fiery Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, testifying before a Senate committee today about the attacks in Benghazi.
Video of the exchange: http://usat.ly/VjSW22
What difference, at this point, does it make? Well, I’d argue it actually makes quite a big difference why attacks on American bases/embassies/people/etc. occur — and to suggest that the motivation behind the attack doesn’t matter is to majorly limit the likelihood of preventing future incidents.
Consider the importance motivations make in Yemen, which isn’t so far from Libya:
Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants; they are not driven by ideology but rather by a sense of revenge and despair…. [R]ather than winning the hearts and minds of Yemeni civilians, America is alienating them by killing their relatives and friends.
Motivation matters. It matters in Yemen, and it matters in Libya too.
Clinton believes the “fact” is that “we had four dead Americans,” and it doesn’t matter whether they are dead because of a protest or because murder seemed like a fun way to spend the evening.
The killings are unequivocally to be condemned. But for the terrorists involved, the “fact” is that America has a long history of unwanted and unwarranted military involvement in the Middle East.
For us, “fact” is that until we rein in our out-of-control, aggressive foreign policy, we cannot claim to have done “everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.”
These facts matter too, and, at this point, they make a very great difference indeed.