Jon Huntsman Calls Out Republicans Over Benghazi

Jon Huntsman is back at it, being the only adult in a room full of children that is. He recently commented on the conniption certain Republicans are throwing over Susan Rice’s possibly appointment to Secretary of State. This is what he had to say:

Huntsman, who served as U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama, said that it would have been nearly impossible for authorities to instantly obtain accurate intelligence about who was responsible for the September attack, which resulted in the death of four officials. Because of that, he said, recent criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for not immediately declaring the attack an act of terror was either politically motivated or misplaced.

“The issue of Benghazi, I think you can attribute to the fog of war, more than anything else,” Huntsman said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “When you’re in a wartime setting and you have an attack like that — let’s face it. No one is prepared for an attack like that. There is, as Robert McNamara used to say, there is a fog of war. And it takes awhile to sort through the details. And it doesn’t do a whole lot of good for the political class to point fingers before you even know what was behind it. And you’re not going to know that [immediately].”

In offering up his assessment, Huntsman became the rare Republican to downplay the boiling controversy surrounding the matter….

…For Huntsman, the debate over who massaged what talking points and when is a distraction. While not downplaying the deaths in Benghazi, he noted that there have been other foreign policy developments in the past month that have also demanded attention.

“I heard endless chatter about Benghazi during the last several weeks and not a bit about the leadership changes in China,” said Huntsman. “Now I needn’t tell you which over the longer term is going to impact us as people. You’ve got once-per-decade leadership changes in China, whose economic and security policies will have a profound impact on the next generation of Americans.”

Speaking from his home in Washington D.C., Huntsman called this a moment of unique, historic possibilities in U.S.-China relations. The new leader of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, has more political flexibility than his predecessor, Hu Jintao, and he comes into office at a moment of acute pressure for both economic and domestic political reform, Huntsman noted.

Calling for regular head-of-state negotiations between the U.S. and China and a toning down of some of the political rhetoric — “You can’t just designate them a currency manipulator without reverberations recurring on the other end,” he said — the former ambassador outlined the obstacles ahead.

The goal for the Obama administration, he argued, is “helping China understand that in being on the world stage, there are greater expectations of the role that they will play. It is helping them understand that a weapon obtained by the Iranian government would result in tremendous instability in the region that would upend their raw material supply line. Sometimes it is walking them through things they never had to consider before because they’re new to the world stage.”

I have said it before, but the fact that Huntsman performed so poorly in the GOP primaries is testament to how dysfunctional the party is right now.

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14 Responses to Jon Huntsman Calls Out Republicans Over Benghazi

  1. Pingback: Hillary Clinton’s Senate Hearing Got A Little Heated | Reason and Politics

  2. Pingback: Jon Huntsman: “You saw where honesty got me in the primary” | Reason and Politics

  3. john zande says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Huntsman garnered 1% support and in all truth he was the ONLY one who could have mounted a serious run on the WH.
    Although an Australian (living in Brazil) i’m fascinated by American politics. Actually, i’m mesmerised by the modern Republican Party. It’s the fabulous freak thing: you know you should but it’s hard to look away.

    • Oh yes. They are a fascinating bunch, Its sad because we need them, but the GOP is sort of a freak show right now.

      How is Brazil? Does is look like they’ll be ready for World Cup?

      • john zande says:

        Brazil is a love-hate relationship. So much very, very good… so much very, very bad. A country of mind-bogglingly huge extremes which stand out like dogs balls to an Australian used to middle of the road egalitarianism. Politics is a write-off, politicians are a joke (and that’s putting it mildly), no clear direction for the country, but the nation rolls forward by the weight of its population (burgeoning middle class) and natural resources. It’s a crying shame. I’ve been here for 10 years now but inside the first 6 months I realized if the British had settled this place 500 years ago Brazil would be a true world power.
        Are they ready for the world cup? That’s a question no one knows. I’m still asking how they even won it… and the Olympics. The Cup itself (the games) will be fine. The players will be in a bubble. It’ll be loud, musical, and fun. Brazilians do “fun” better than anyone. The Olympics are going to be more challenging. One thing Brazilians don’t like is interfering outsiders and personally I don’t they’re prepared emotionally for the microscopic inspection that is coming.

      • Fascinating. Thanks for your insights.

        I will say Brazil for World Cup makes more sense than Qatar. No beer with football? Outrageous!

      • john zande says:

        Agreed… that one left me scratching my head!

  4. I agree that Susan Rice shouldn’t be prevented from being appointed to Secretary of State. She simply relied on the intelligence that was given to her. I think the opposition is political in nature more than anything else. You know how much I like Huntsman. I disagree with his “fog of war” assessment. I dont think you can argue that when we know the words “Al-Qaeda”, “terrorism”, and “terrorist attack” were purposely omitted from Rice’s report. We definitively know, from the hearing, that the State Department knew it was a terrorist attack. To me the focus should be on why was it stricken from the reports. I dont think it is Rice’s fault. Her report was four days after the attack, enough time in my opinion to have a good assessment of what occurred.

    BTW I too like David Frum, although I wouldn’t consider Andrew Sullivan a conservative. He seems pretty liberal to me. Always enjoy reading your blogs.

    • Thanks, its always good to hear your thoughts. I list Sullivan as a conservative because that is how he sees himself: a Tory. Admittedly, they are basically democrats, but in the UK he’d be considered a conservative.

  5. Huntsman would have been a better candidate if he didn’t come off as a mini-Mitt. In this case I think he’s spot on.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m a big fan of Huntsman myself. He’s always good for a contrarian, and honest, opinion about current events. I have high hopes for him.

      Thanks for looking at my blog. I’m still new at this. Any feedback would be appreciated.

      I like the look and content in yours. It seems you have the same goals as David Frum (one of my intellectual heroes) to modernize the GOP. I completely support those goals.

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