The Pickering report on Benghazi is a good start, and it shows pretty clearly that the State Department wasn’t working effectively to protect U.S. diplomats in the rapidly deteriorating situation in Libya.
What the report did not do, but which still needs to be done, is investigate the whole policy mix leading up to that night in Benghazi. What kind of planning was done for the aftermath in Libya? Did the White House and State Department have any idea what they were getting into? Was the failure to respond to the security problem in any way related to a reluctance to admit just how pear-shaped our Libya policy had become—especially during an election when a big Libya policy scandal would have hurt the incumbent?
When Republicans screw up, we can usually count on the mainstream media to pick over the bones of the scandals and mishaps pretty thoroughly. But when these things happen on the Democrats’ watch, it is harder to get the press to gin up the necessary energy. This is where Congress needs to come in.
In the meantime, it is very good news that Secretary Clinton is planning to implement the recommendations of the nonpartisan Pickering report. Our diplomats deserve the best protection we can give them. They do good work in bad places, and those who send them into these situations have a moral obligation to ensure that they have the support they need. It looks as if our diplomats in Libya didn’t have that support. It also looks as if the policy they were called to implement was poorly conceived.