Some thoughts on the Benghazi attacks and subsequent fact suppression.
First, we are continuously surprised when we are attacked:December 7th; Korea, 1950; USS Pueblo; USS Cole; Khobar Towers; African Embassy bombings; Mogadishu, Somalia; September 11th, 2001; September 11th, 2012.
Besides being surprised, our response plan is ineffective or nonexistent and resources are not available.
We just think we can just go anywhere and be safe. We ignore history, however, which tells us otherwise.
Having some experience in air support, and as part of a NATO affiliated organization, I have knowledge of military assets.
v The United States had ample warnings that the Benghazi area was dangerous: in the year preceding the September 11th attack, there were more than 200 “security incidents.” The United Kingdom and the Red Cross deemed the area too dangerous and pulled out of Benghazi. However, Secretary of State Clinton wanted a permanent presence there. Ambassador Stevens, like the good soldier, said he would “make it happen.”
Then the attack and deflection of responsibility.
v We learned that Military forces in Tripoli were ready to deploy, but were twice told to stay in place—the infamous “stand-down” orders.During “testimony” in February, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey wrote:
§ “We positioned our forces in a way that was informed by and consistent with available threat estimates.”§ “Our military was appropriately responsive.”
§ “We did what our posture and capabilities allowed.”
§ “This does not mean we accept the status quo as sufficient in this new
1. The threats were well known, but ignored.
2. The military response was non-existent--I hardly call that “appropriate” when Americans are dying and there was no way to know when attacks would end.
3. If you did (nothing) “what the posture and capabilities allowed”, then you were negligent.
4. “New Security environment”? You mean since September 11th, 2001? More than a decade ago? ?
General Dempsey further said that forces were not sent because the State Department didn't ask for them. However, the on-site commander--acting Ambassador Hicks-- did ask for help. Dempsey added that
“there simply was not enough time, given the speed of the attacks, for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference."
Completely irrelevant and easy to say after the fact--no one could say how long the battle would last, and if all American personnel were going to be overrun.
On October 25th, 2012, Secretary of Defense Panetta gave his excuses:
There’s a basic principle here, and the basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place”
So that’s the standard now? Send American forces into a war zone--then when things go bad, deny them support? When can we ever deploy forces?
“Also, the Pentagon would not send forces or aircraft into Libya --a sovereign
country --without a request from the State Department and the knowledge or
consent of the host nation.”
Let me think about that. We bombed Libya mercilessly for months without their permission, toppled Kadhafi, but we can’t go in to Save Americans? Besides, when foreign forces are attacking our diplomatic missions, they are attacking American real estate--so any “sovereign” issues are invalidated, to my mind.
During Congressional testimony on February 7th 2013, Panetta said that fighter aircraft were not in the vicinity and would have required at least nine to 12 hours to deploy.
Panetta, you are the Secretary of Defense. If that is how your organization is set up, then you are negligent. Flight time from Aviano, Italy is about 3 hours. Signalla and Tripoli, about 2 hours.
“Even if aircraft could have arrived quickly, the chaos would have prevented them from getting the accurate information they needed to hit the right targets”.
How the hell do you know that?? You Didn’t Even Try.
Senator Kelly Ayotte asked General Dempsey why F-16 jets in Aviano, Italy, weren't sent to Libya.
“This is the middle of the night now, these are not aircraft on strip alert. They're there as part of our commitment to NATO and Europe. And so, as we looked at the timeline, it was pretty clear that it would take up to 20 hours or so to get them there. Secondly, Senator, importantly, it was the wrong tool for the job.”
So United States Air Force F-16’s are “part of NATO”-- to keep Italy safe from invasion--But Cannot Protect Americans???
TWENTY Hours to get an F-16 airborne?? Total BS!! Raise the red BS flag!!!Let me tell you how it works in the Military. A commander says to a subordinate,
“Make it Happen.” And it Will; Get; Done. Simple as that. If given the order and the assets--there were planes and pilots available--the Military will get the job done. PERIOD. Problem is, they were Never Asked. If you recall, during the original attacks in September 2001, National Guard aircraft were airborne within an hour of tasking. National Guard!! And the Secretary of Defense and The CJCS are telling us that front-line NATO fighters cannot be over target in less than 20 hours?? TOTAL BS.
Further, Gen Dempsey asserts that the F-16 was “the wrong tool for the job.”
Huh? You know, you use what is available. The “tool” is not so much dependent on the platform, but on the capabilities of the pilot and the controllers on the ground. In Afghanistan, overflights (known as “shows of Force”) are frequently used and are often effective in disrupting attacks. Regardless--just because we don’t know how the aircraft can be used, doesn’t mean we don’t send anything. Or do we? Is this the new standard of “supporting” those we put in harm’s way?
On May 8th, the number two man in Libya, Gregory Hicks, told Congress that he was told by the military attaché that the nearest fighter planes were at Aviano and that it would take 2 to 3 hours to get them airborne, but that there were no tanker assets near enough to support a flight from there.
The F-16s would only need tanker support for a return flight. If fuel was a problem, they could have been fitted with external tanks. It would be beyond belief that a NATO base does not have external fuel tanks available.
Leon Panetta claimed that there were no "undue delays" in decision making and there was no denial of support from Washington or from the military combatant commanders when the attack happened. The Accountability Review Board (ARB) asserted that they “found no evidence of any undue delays in decision making or denial of support from Washington or from the military combatant commanders.”
Those assertions directly contradicted testimony from Gregory Hicks who said he and the military decided that a team of special-operations forces in Tripoli should go. But the team was told to stand down (twice.) Mr. Hicks said he believed the order came from the military.
He further related that a lieutenant colonel told him: "This is the first time in my career that a diplomat has more balls than somebody in the military."
Panetta related that President Obama ordered the Defense Department to respond with "all available DOD assets”.
We want to know: who gave the order to deny support to those on the ground in Benghazi?