Thursday, January 3, 2013
Where Does the Buck Stop in the Benghazi Situation?
An important political, if not constitutional, question has arisen over the meaning of the statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on October 15, 2012 that "I take responsibility" for the actions or non-action of the State Department over the events in Benghazi, leading to the death of four Americans.
What action by the State Department or by the White House should follow from such a confession? Clinton herself declared, "I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000 people all over the world," and took the matter very personally.
British political experience might be helpful in providing an answer to the appropriate course of action. Democratic political systems embody a fundamental proposition that ministers or heads of a unit are answerable for actions of subordinates who are technically under their supervision.
Ministers should take or be accorded the consequent credit or blame for the successes or failures of those actions.