EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 7, 2013

Editorial: A look at what others are saying

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — The following are excerpts from editorials from other newspapers across New England:

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee released their draft review of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigation surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans.

According to the House Oversight Committee report, the ARB downplayed security decisions made by senior officials at the State Department -- especially that of Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy -- and instead blamed four subordinates who “had little to no” responsibility for the key events. In some cases, “the ARB correctly identified poor individual decisions while apparently failing to take into account decisions made by more senior (State) Department officials,” reads a draft of the report obtained by CBS News. “Such senior-level decisions played an equal if not greater role in the vulnerability of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.”

The House report critical of the ARB says Undersecretary Kennedy authorized the temporary nature of the Benghazi compound, which left State Department diplomatic security “struggling” to provide adequate resources. Furthermore, State Department witnesses told the House committee that Kennedy approved the exemption of the Benghazi special mission from State Department physical security guidelines; that it was Kennedy’s decision to send home the 16-man military security team the Defense Department had offered to provide at no cost to the State Department.

The clear conclusion is that the State Department’s board is nervously covering up the decisions and omissions of higher ups in the Department, including Kennedy and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. From other news reports we now know that the four State Department employees put on leave following the attack are now happily secure in positions elsewhere in the department.

What happened in Benghazi is a tragedy that claimed the lives of four American heroes. The State Department cover-up is a disgraceful dishonor to their sacrifice.

— The Caledonian Record of St. Johnsbury (Vt.)

Talking with Iran is a start

When the president of the United States sent a letter to the president of Iran, no one knew what might next occur.

Tehran could have simply refused the missive. Iran’s top political and religious leaders could have disagreed about the proper course of action, leaving in place today’s unhappy stalemate.

Instead, when President Barack Obama sent a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, none of those things transpired. Rouhani sent back a reply. And both sides made it known that they considered the correspondence a good first step.

Then, Iran’s supreme religious leader let it be known that Rouhani had his blessing to negotiate with the United States.

What we want at the end of the day is a nuclear-free Iran. The diplomatic overtures Obama has made are a start toward that goal.

There’ll be the usual assortment of military hawks, of course, who will dismiss the president’s moves -- and Iran’s response -- as nothing more than show. Concerns about Iran’s sincerity are real.

But a couple of simple questions knock those arguments aside:

How has our non-diplomacy with Iran been working for the past 35 years? And how successful have we been in our various military engagements around the globe since World War II?

Talk isn’t always cheap; sometimes it offers the only reasonable course forward.

— The Republican of Springfield (Mass.)