The events in Benghazi last month were not only a tragedy for our country and the families of those killed; it was a humiliation to the dignity and respect of our nation. It is a sad and disturbing example of the world-view and attitude of the current administration regarding the standing of the US vis-a-vis the Muslim world.
First and foremost it is dangerous and disheartening to note the failure of BO and cohorts not to immediately come to the defense of our right of free speech. There is no problem with stating they regret that some in the world may find items published, produced or written in the US via any medium offensive but the right of free expression is inviolate in our nation. It is in the first of our Bill of Rights for good reason. Rather than bowing and scrapping to those perhaps offended they should have been vigorously been defending the right to speak and take positions on any matter. Rather than talking about offending a “great religion” the administration should have been talking about a great right being threatened by violence.
It is painfully obvious except to the die-hard Democrats that the narrative of the spontaneous protest against the little known youtube video was put out to support their publicly stated position that bin Laden was dead and that Al Qaeda was on the wane. This myth and lie they viewed as helping their crippled foreign policy story of success and acceptance in the Muslim world. It is quite apparent now that a planned attack was under way against our consulate and that this engagement lasted for a number of hours. One can only imagine the horror, fear and hopeless feelings of those trapped in that consulate during those hours. As bad as the lie about the spontaneous protest (which was repeated as late as BO’s appearance at the UN over 10 days later) is the lack of any effort to mount some rescue effort.
Panetta and other in the administration have said that there simply wasn’t enough time to attempt any rescue effort and that there wasn’t enough intelligence to justify sending the military into harm’s way in Benghazi that night. One can appreciate the theory that there were lots of messages coming into the State Dept and the White House and that such cable or email traffic can be confusing. Got that. But, but, but….every organization has priorities. Yes, probably hundreds or even thousands of communiques reach State from all over the world every day but only a fool would believe that there are certain embassies and locales that have a much higher priority than others. Messages from Benghazi would have a higher priority than one from Japan for example where things are calm. Libya, Syria, Iraq etc. would be looked at before others. If they aren’t then it is gross incompetence. There is another factor in those first messages from Benghazi that are telling.
The first critical email from the consulate used the word “attack”, the phrase “under attack”. It didn’t say protest or demonstration. Now how many messages from our embassies and consulates around the world would use that word or phrase on any given day or month or even year? Talk about a red flag or a screaming SOS. This is especially true when those folks sitting safe and comfortable in Washington knew that there was no military protection for our consulate there. It was unusual enough that we know Panetta et al were meeting at the White House by 5 pm shortly after the first message. Yet they made the decision not to send any aid.
One can understand that the military likes to have all the intelligence it can acquire before mounting a mission–the number of the enemy, location and types of weaponry they have. They like to practice and train for the specific mission. Again, all understood and makes sense when circumstances permit. But there are a few problems with the argument they couldn’t do anything because of that lack in this case. One of the oldest adages in military lore is that you always “march to the sound of the guns”. It means just what you would think. When in the field with an enemy and you hear the gun fire you go there immediately. That is where the fight is and guess what–that is your job! The military is in the risk business. Yes, some missions are going to be very difficult, almost suicidal but that is your duty and job description. Remember those dive bombers at the Battle of Midway. They knew they really had little chance against the Jap fleet when first spotted but they attacked anyway and none made it back. But their attack opened the way for the later formations to sink 4 Jap carriers.
I know any mission sent to Benghazi might not have resulted in a successful rescue. But success in saving those guys was not the only purpose of such a mission. We could have done something. Maybe we couldn’t have gotten special forces there in time. Maybe planes from Sicily would not have been able to identify enemy targets when they got there. Our planes could have gotten into the air. Ask anyone military guy and they will tell you there is always a “ready team” at those air bases that can be activated very quickly, minutes not hours time. We should have tried. Even before we knew all the details they should have been sent to Benghazi. If it turned out that things were not bad they could have been called back. Maybe they would not have been able to see targets. They could have at least flown low over the consulate. Maybe strafed the area around it. At least they could have dropped flares. We’ll never know now if such action could have helped. Maybe those jets flying right over would have scared off some of the bad guys, maybe not. You can rest assured it would have made those men inside feel better even if only briefly to know they were not alone, they had not be abandoned or forgotten. Ask any old vet who was a prisoner of war of the Japs or Germans during WWII how they felt when they saw American planes overhead even though they knew it didn’t mean they were rescued yet.
The point is dammit–we should have tried. That is what we do. Americans don’t just keel over or bow to adversaries or at least we didn’t used to do that. The Demo left probably don’t even remember the words but our national anthem ends with “the home of the brave”. Not the timid, the pusillanimous. Shouldn’t we expect bravery and honesty from the White House rather than political calculation and lies? This treachery against American values and tradition should not be forgiven or forgotten. If you agree pass this message along.
“If all that Americans want is security they can go to prison. They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and roof over their heads. But if an American want to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government.” Dwight Eisenhower. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com