huffingtonpost.com — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is departing from the State Department on her own terms and with a formidable legacy intact. Given that Clinton, no matter what she decides about 2016, will undoubtedly remain an influential figure in American public life for years to come, one might have expected her long-time detractors, who have been trying for more than 20 years to trip her up, to land some solid blows to her widely admired reputation for leadership on the global stage. Instead, we've been treated to salvos that were silly, at best; and on the one potentially serious issue raised, the Fox News-initiated and Mitt Romney-fortified Benghazi craze, all the attacks fell flat.
consortiumnews.com — Ten years ago, Katharine Gun, then a 28-year-old British intelligence officer, saw an e-mailed memo from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) that confirmed for her in black and white the already widespread suspicion that the U.S. and U.K. were about to launch war against Iraq on false pretenses. Doing what she could to head off what she considered, correctly, an illegal war of aggression, she printed a copy of the memo and arranged for a friend to give it to the London Observer. Those early months of 2003 were among the worst of times – and not just because the U.S. and U.K. leaders were perverting the post-World War II structure that those same nations designed to stop aggressive wars, but because the vast majority of U.S. and U.K. institutions including the major news organizations and the nations’ legislatures were failing miserably to provide any meaningful check or balance.
tomdispatch.com — Compromise, conflict, or collapse: ask an Afghan what to expect in 2014 and you’re likely to get a scenario that falls under one of those three headings. 2014, of course, is the year of the double whammy in Afghanistan: the next presidential election coupled with the departure of most American and other foreign forces. Many Afghans fear a turn for the worse, while others are no less afraid that everything will stay the same. Some even think things will get better when the occupying forces leave. Most predict a more conservative climate, but everyone is quick to say that it’s anybody’s guess. Only one thing is certain in 2014: it will be a year of American military defeat. For years, a modest-sized, generally unpopular, ragtag set of insurgents has fought the planet’s most heavily armed, technologically advanced military to a standstill, leaving the country shaken and its citizens anxiously imagining the outcome of unpalatable scenarios.
prospect.org — Republicans are wondering why they didn't manage to make Hillary Clinton fall whimpering into a fetal position of the floor of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing room, then get up and admit that the Obama administration had engaged in a massive cover-up of their terrible crimes in Benghazi. Senator Ron Johnson, one of the most intellectually challenged members of that august body, with whom Clinton had an exchange that ran on all the news programs, triumphally told a reporter he had got "under her skin." John McCain, on the other hand, blamed an "adoring media" for not helping the Republicans stick it to Clinton. Could be. Or it could be that when you trump up some inane faux outrage over something, and then the person at whom you're directing said outrage actually has a chance to respond directly and decides to call bullshit on you, you don't end up looking too good.
dailykos.com — Republican Sen. Ron Johnson had a bit of a tough day yesterday. His attacks on Sec. Clinton did not go well (if there is one person you ought to think twice about trying to bully in a hearing, it would possibly be the ex-senator and former first lady most intimately familiar with the last 20 years of asinine Republican scandal-trawling), which resulted in a wounded Johnson sniffling that Clinton dodged his questions by being "emotional." Today isn't shaping up much better for Johnson, who this morning was gets quietly chastised by secretary of state nominee John Kerry for missing the damn Senate briefing on Benghazi where Johnson could have gotten some clarification on the things Johnson has decided are, probably, outrages.
washingtonpost.com — Republicans wanted nothing more than to summon Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Capitol Hill and grill her about the tragic fiasco in Benghazi. Sadly for them, they got their wish. Clinton’s smooth and confident performance at Wednesday’s Senate and House committee hearings was fun to watch. When her would-be inquisitors asked serious questions, she gave serious answers. But when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), full of bombast and faux outrage, accused the administration of initially misstating the nature of the Benghazi attack, she responded with table-pounding thunder: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” And when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that he would have fired her had he been president, she answered with an icy cut of her eyes that said: Fat chance.
dailykos.com — No doubt you've seen Sen. Rand Paul's made-for-TV tantrum yesterday at the U.S. Senate's Benghazi hearing. Setting aside Sen. Paul's thickheaded and insensitive remark that the murder of four Americans in Libya is "the worst tragedy since 9/11"—worse, for example, than 4,000 Americans killed in a pointless and costly war—his tea party toadying, "Had I been president," should not pass without comment.
If Sen. Paul had been president, of course, the mess in Benghazi probably would've been a lot worse, as our embassy personnel would have had much less protection, given the GOP's deep cuts to Secretary Clinton's security requests. But he's not president, and here's why he shouldn't even open his pie hole to entertain the possibility.
alternet.org — Three weeks after her release from a New York hospital with a blood clot on the brain – a health emergency mocked on the right as “Benghazi flu” — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave Senate Republicans their day of rage over the Sept. 11 Benghazi killings on Wednesday. From the intellectually underwhelming Ron Johnson of Wisconsin to the ever-angrier John McCain, with cameos by unimpressive 2016 hopefuls Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, Clinton stood up to the raging bulls with grace and fire of her own.
juancole.com — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton let Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) have it in her testimony about Benghazi on Wednesday. It was not the only emotional or pointed moment. I share her frustration at the bad faith and conspiracy theories that underlay a lot of the question.
tomdispatch.com — Don’t look now, but conditions are deteriorating in the western Pacific. Things are turning ugly, with consequences that could prove deadly and spell catastrophe for the global economy. In Washington, it is widely assumed that a showdown with Iran over its nuclear ambitions will be the first major crisis to engulf the next secretary of defense. Lurking just behind the Iranian imbroglio, however, is a potential crisis of far greater magnitude, and potentially far more imminent than most of us imagine. China’s determination to assert control over disputed islands in the potentially energy-rich waters of the East and South China Seas, in the face of stiffening resistance from Japan and the Philippines along with greater regional assertiveness by the United States, spells trouble not just regionally, but potentially globally.