Mitchell Reports | January 24, 2013
>> that they are going to in a responsible and measured way open combat opportunities to women. republican senator kelly ayotte serve says on the armed services committee . what is your reaction to this?
>> i want to commend secretary panetta. i think this is a very positive step, and it reflects the reality of what's happening, obviously, in defending our nation and the reality of our country. you know, already 20,000 women have served in afghanistan and iraq. you heard the secretary say that 152 of them have given their lives in the line of duty. two of those women have earned the silver star , so this reflects the reality of what's already happening, what needs to happen, and make sure that our nation is defended.
>> at this stage do you think that it's going to move very quickly? what are you going to want to monitor in terms of your oversight of how rapidly this can be done?
>> well, i think that secretary panetta and general dempsey laid out a very important plan. they are in general going to give opportunities for women that they deserve, and they'll evaluate the qualifications of each position and make sure that it's appropriate. given the readiness of our forces and like so many of them do now very bravely serving.
>> i know that you were one of the big critics of benghazi and how the administration handled it? you must have been watching the hearing with secretary clinton yesterday.
>> i was.
>> are you satisfied now that you have the answers that you want, or do you think that more needs to be done?
>> well, andrea, i still think there are some outstanding questions. we all respect secretary clinton's service as a secretary of state. i did have some questions following it. she said yesterday that she was clear-eyed about the dangers and threats in benghazi, but it lael didn't make sense to me that the requests, for example, that august 16th cable where ambassador steechbs had said that the consulate could not with stand a coordinated attack. it seems like there's there should be a trip wire particularly where we come out of a war zone in libya did go up the chain of command . that did not happen here. i think that's a very important to be clear-eyed i would think that you would want to be more focused on the actual security request, and she also was aware that the british had closed their consulate and the tashg on the british ambassador, so if made me wonder why weren't we asking tougher questions about the security and whether our consulate should remain open in those circumstances. at the confirmation hearing for john kerry , one of your colleague, senator ran paul, was very sharply critical of the administration's decision to go into libya in the first place without coming to congress for a war resolution. let me play this for you.
>> you can be absolutist and apply it to every circumstance. the problem is it just doesn't work in some instances. when 10,000 people are about to be wiped out by a brutal dictator, and you need to make a quick judgment about engaejment, you certainly can't rely on a congress that has proven itself unwilling to move after weeks and months sometimes.
>> apparently they went at each other. we'll show more of that later. senator, what do you think of the whole issue of congress's responsibility to declare war or under the war powers act , notification -- is that notification enough to be relevant committees?
>> andrea, first of all, you know, i think that congress has an important responsibility when we declare war . also when we're involved in a military conflict, and as a member of the armed services committee , i want to make sure that we're involved in those decisions and we support our commander in chief. i supported the president's decision to intervene in libya . what i think also is important is to understand when we do become involved in some way, one of the biggest concerns i have about libya is the fact that we didn't secure those weapons. the weapons cache that the gadhafi regime had, and now we're seeing those weapons go across the sinai. we've heard that some of them may have showed up in algeria where the three american hostages were murdered. when we're involved, i think the congress has to be involved, but we need to be working together on this to make sure that the outcome in these situations we're securing weapons that are in place and things like that, and i'm very worried about that in syria as well.
>> thank you very much, senator.