Wow! Who knew nasty e-mails warranted so much attention. In retrospect, Ambassador Chris Stevens would have gotten more attention sending snotty e-mails to random citizens rather than asking the State Department for more security.
Victor Davis Hanson, in characteristic fashion, draws upon Classical metaphors to editorialize upon Barack Obama and Benghazi.
The Libyan plot is Sophoclean to the core: the heroism of outnumbered Americans who chose to confront a deadly enemy, and were killed and wounded in the defense of their endangered comrades — while the world’s greatest military hesitated to use its power against a ragtag militia to save them. Bureaucrats ignored not only pleas for beefed-up security before the attack, but also more requests that followed during the assault for reinforcement. A concocted story about a culpable obscure video gave opportunity for the administration to brag about their cosmopolitan multiculturalism as they damned the unhinged filmmaker and, in doing so, systemically lied about the real terrorist culprits of the killings.
The strange thing about Libya is not so much who lied, but rather the question of whether anyone has yet told the whole truth. When American diplomatic personnel are murdered abroad, an administration usually is vehement in blaming likely suspects; I cannot remember a single incident, however, when our government ignored those most likely responsible to focus on others least likely to be culpable. Once the election is over, and reporters no longer feel any remorse about hurting the reelection chances of Barack Obama, perhaps some of their usual incentives to crack open a cover-up will reassert themselves.
In Sophoclean terms, hubris (arrogance) — often due to a character flaw (amartia) — leads to atê (excess and self-destructive recklessness) that in turn earns nemesis (divine retribution). In that tragic sense, an overweening Obama must have known that — despite the Drone killings — al-Qaeda was far from impotent. And it was not wise, as Obama once himself warned, to high-five the bin Laden raid and leak to the world the details — knowing as he did that bin Laden’s death was not his trophy alone (or indeed a trophy at all) — but better left an unspoken collective effort of military bravery and the dividend of the often derided Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols that Obama had both damned and then embraced. Ironically (another good Greek word), it was probably not so much an obscure video, but the constant chest-thumping about the grisly end of Osama that infuriated the al-Qaeda affiliates. Nothing, after all, is quite so dangerous as talking loudly while carrying a small stick.
Excuse me if I disagree with the learned Professor Hanson on this one.
The heroic death of former Navy SEALs, Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods, fighting to the last against overwhelming odds, possibly in defiance of instructions to the contrary by higher authorities, which then declined to come to their aid, did strike an echo from the classics, but it reminded us of Greek history, of Leonidas and the Spartans at Thermopylae, of Xenophon’s Greek soldiers who volunteered for “forlorn hope” assignments to make possible the march of the rest of the 10,000 up country and out of enemy territory to the sea, or (as in Macauley’s poem) Horatius Cocles:
Then out spoke brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?”
But Obama is not Sophoclean in the least, and the Obama Administration’s mishandling of the situation in Benghazi and their subsequent misstatements, evasions, and attempts at a cover-up, in my eyes at least, fail to rise to the moral level of the Greek tragedies.
Obama is not Oedipus, a mythic hero doomed to disaster from a point even before his birth by prophetic fate. Obama is no figure out of Sophoclean tragedy. What he really is is a stereotype figure familiar from Roman comedy: Obama is actually Plautus’s clever (and totally immoral) slave Pseudolus (familiar to most readers from Stephen Sondheim’s 1962 musical adaptation A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum).
Like Pseudolus, Obama is a trickster-hero who easily bamboozles the pompous and self-important with an innate cunning superior to their own and a glorious gift of gab, and who makes a success of posing in the role of a person of far superior station to his own.
In the Roman theater, or on the Broadway stage, the tricky slave getting above himself and (for a time, at least) pulling off the role makes for excellent humor and entertainment, but when serious decisions are required and lives are at stake, the unprincipled trickster-hero is not the ideal personality type to have in charge.
Barack Obama appears to have been principally concerned, during the seven hours of unequal combat in Benghazi, with avoiding an international incident featuring the US violation of Libyan sovereignty, possibly also provoking more Islamic wrath, and spoiling his own triumphant narrative of successfully leading a series of “Arab Spring” democratic revolutions from behind. Besides, he needed to run off to a campaign fund-raiser in Las Vegas.
When events concluded worse and in a far more dramatic fashion than he had hoped, President Pseudolus reverted to type, doing everything he could to talk his way out of the mess.
The tragic hero will be killed, or at least blinded and exiled in atonement. The comic rascal, on the other hand, will merely dazzle the audience with ever greater shifts, lies, and inventions.
Obama, of course, has one major advantage that the clever slave of Antique Comedy lacked, the chorus (in our case, the mainstream media) is thoroughly on his side, and will do everything possible to help him get away with everything.
Bing West identifies the Obama Administration’s standard methodology for burying a scandal.
The following is a lead story about Benghazi from the Washington Post on November 2:
U.S. intelligence officials said they decided to offer a detailed account of the CIA’s role to rebut media reports that have suggested that agency leaders delayed sending help. . . . The decision to give a comprehensive account of the attack five days before the election is likely to be regarded with suspicion, particularly among Republicans who have accused the Obama administration of misleading the public.
Suspicion? The accurate word is confirmation.
Identical stories appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The Times explained that, “The account, given by the senior officials who did not want to be identified, provided the most detailed description to date of the C.I.A.’s role.”
So what’s going on here? The national-security staff in the Obama White House has a standard operating procedure. If a military action, such as killing bin Laden, succeeds, then immediately leak selected details to shape the narrative to the political advantage of Mr. Obama. If the action is botched, as in Benghazi, then say nothing and tell the quiescent press that there is no story worth pursuing. If questions persist, the second line of defense is an investigation that wlll drag on for months. For instance, bureaucrats in the Justice Department are still investigating the leaks last spring about the U.S. cooperation with Israel in the software sabotage — cyber warfare — of Iranian centrifuges.
If pesky Fox News persists in asking questions, then the third line of defense is to give the nod to the CIA to leak a diversionary story to favored news outlets and reporters. Thus the leaks to the Washington Post and New York Times showing that CIA operatives did try to rescue their comrades. Then authorize the CIA to go public with the same timeline, further throwing the press off the trail. The New York Times, the recipient of record for White House leaks, published on November 3 a diversionary story on its front page, fixating upon the CIA director, General Petraeus. This implied that the main issue about Benghazi centered around CIA secrecy — a tautology irrelevant to the real cover-up.
The intent is to cause the press and the public to lose interest in a story that seems exhaustively repetitive, while the key issues are never addressed.
Mark Steyn scathingly reviews the recent performances of two chief executives.
In political terms, Hurricane Sandy and the Benghazi consulate debacle exemplify at home and abroad the fundamental unseriousness of the United States in the Obama era. In the days after Sandy hit, Barack Obama was generally agreed to have performed well. He had himself photographed in the White House Situation Room, nodding thoughtfully to bureaucrats (“John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; David Agnew, Director for Intergovernmental Affairs”) and Tweeted it to his 3.2 million followers. He appeared in New Jersey wearing a bomber jacket rather than a suit to demonstrate that when the going gets tough the tough get out a monogrammed Air Force One bomber jacket. He announced that he’d instructed his officials to answer all calls within 15 minutes because in America “we leave nobody behind.” By doing all this, the president “shows” he “cares” – which is true in the sense that in Benghazi he was willing to leave the entire consulate staff behind, and nobody had their calls answered within seven hours, because presumably he didn’t care. ...
Last week, Nanny Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, rivaled his own personal best for worst mayoral performance since that snowstorm a couple of years back. This is a man who spends his days micromanaging the amount of soda New Yorkers are allowed to have in their beverage containers rather than, say, the amount of ocean New Yorkers are allowed to have in their subway system – just as, in the previous crisis, the municipal titan who can regulate the salt out of your cheeseburger proved utterly incapable of regulating any salt on to Sixth Avenue. Imagine if this preening buffoon had expended as much executive energy on flood protection for the electrical grid and transit system as he does on approved quantities of carbonated beverages. But that’s leadership 21st-century style: When the going gets tough, the tough ban trans fats.
Back in Benghazi, the president who looks so cool in a bomber jacket declined to answer his beleaguered diplomats’ calls for help – even though he had aircraft and Special Forces in the region. Too bad. He’s all jacket and no bombers. This, too, is an example of America’s uniquely profligate impotence. When something goes screwy at a ramshackle consulate halfway round the globe, very few governments have the technological capacity to watch it unfold in real time. Even fewer have deployable military assets only a couple of hours away. What is the point of unmanned drones, of military bases around the planet, of elite Special Forces trained to the peak of perfection if the president and the vast bloated federal bureaucracy cannot rouse themselves to action? What is the point of outspending Russia, Britain, France, China, Germany and every middle-rank military power combined if, when it matters, America cannot urge into the air one plane with a couple of dozen commandoes? In Iraq, al-Qaida is running training camps in the western desert. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are all but certain to return most of the country to its pre-9/11 glories. But in Washington the head of the world’s biggest “counterterrorism” bureaucracy briefs the president on flood damage and downed trees.
I don’t know whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can fix things, but I do know that Barack Obama and Joe Biden won’t even try – and that therefore a vote for Obama is a vote for the certainty of national collapse.
Just days before the presidential election, U.S. officials are striking back at allegations they failed to respond quickly or efficiently against the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, detailing for the first time a broad CIA rescue effort.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday that CIA security officers went to the aid of State Department staff less than 25 minutes after they got the first call for help from the consulate, which was less than a mile from a CIA annex. The detailed timeline provides the first in-depth look at how deeply the CIA was involved in the rescue attempt, and it comes amid persistent questions about whether the Obama administration responded as quickly and effectively as it could to the siege. ...
The intelligence officials told reporters Thursday that when the CIA annex received a call about the assault, about a half dozen members of a CIA security team tried to get heavy weapons and other assistance from the Libyans. But when the Libyans failed to respond, the security team, which routinely carries small arms, went ahead with the rescue attempt. At no point was the team told to wait, the officials said.
Instead, they said the often outmanned and outgunned team members made all the key decisions on the ground, with no second-guessing from senior officials monitoring the situation from afar.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide intelligence information publicly. ...
The officials’ description Thursday of the attack provided details about a second CIA security team in Tripoli that quickly chartered a plane and flew to Benghazi but got stuck at the airport. By then, however, the first team had gotten the State Department staff out of the consulate and back to the CIA annex.
As the events were unfolding, the Pentagon began to move special operations forces from Europe to Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily. U.S. aircraft routinely fly in and out of Sigonella and there are also fighter jets based in Aviano, Italy. But while the U.S. military was at a heightened state of alert because of 9/11, there were no American forces poised and ready to move immediately into Benghazi when the attack began.
The Pentagon would not send forces or aircraft into Libya—a sovereign nation—without a request from the State Department and the knowledge or consent of the host country. And Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the information coming in was too jumbled to risk U.S. troops.
According to the detailed timeline senior officials laid out Thursday, the first call to the CIA base came in at about 9:40 p.m., and less than 25 minutes later about the team headed to the consulate. En route they tried to get additional assistance, including some heavier weapons, but were unable to get much aid from the Libyan militias.
The team finally got to the consulate, which was engulfed in heavy diesel smoke and flames, and they went in to get the consulate staff out. By 11:30 p.m., all of the U.S. personnel, except Stevens, left and drove back to the annex, with some taking fire from militants along the way.
By that time, one of the Defense Department’s unarmed Predator drones had arrived to provide overhead surveillance.
At the CIA base, militants continued the attack, firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The Americans returned fire, and after about 90 minutes, or around 1 a.m., it subsided.
Around that time, the second CIA team, which numbered about six and included two military members, arrived at the airport, where they tried to figure out where Stevens was and get transportation and added security to find him.
Intelligence officials said that after several hours, the team was finally able to get Libyan vehicles and armed escorts, but by then had learned that the ambassador was probably dead and the security situation at the hospital was troublesome. The State Department has said a department computer expert, Sean Smith, also was killed.
The second CIA team headed to the annex, and arrived after 5 a.m., just before the base came under attack again.
According to officials, militants fired mortar rounds at the building, killing two of the security officers who were returning fire. The mortar attack lasted just 11 minutes.
And less than an hour later, a heavily armed Libyan military unit arrived and was able to take the U.S. personnel to the airport.
The LA Times version makes it clear that today’s unofficial release was intended specifically to contradict Fox News’ reporting of events.
At every level in the chain of command, from the senior officers in Libya to the most senior officials in Washington, everyone was fully engaged in trying to provide whatever help they could,” a senior intelligence official said in a statement. “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.” ...
Fox News asserted in a story last week that CIA managers had ordered agency security officers to “stand down” and remain in their own facility, known as the Annex, when the attack on the diplomatic compound began about 9:40 p.m. and that there was an hour delay before officers disobeyed orders and went to help repel the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and State Department officer Sean Smith.
Among those who rushed to help was Tyrone Woods, a former Navy SEAL who was part of the CIA security team and who later died in the attacks.
The Fox story also asserted that the CIA “chain of command” refused to pass along requests from its officers for military aid and that special operations forces in nearby Sicily could have been sent to help but were not. Intelligence and Pentagon officials strenuously denied that Thursday.
They insisted there was no viable military option to disrupt what amounted to a series of sporadic attacks in a crowded city full of people sympathetic to the U.S. There were no armed drones in the region and airstrikes were not called for, officials said.
“Let’s say we were able to get an aircraft there. Do you go in and start strafing a populated area without knowing where friend or foe is?” a senior Defense official asked. “If you did that, you could kill the very people you are trying to help.”
A special operations team was sent to Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, but the team arrived after the attack ended, said the senior Defense official, who would not be quoted by name discussing potentially classified information.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta learned of the attack shortly after it began, about 4:30 p.m Eastern time, Defense officials said, and discussed it in a previously scheduled meeting with the president. Obama ordered him to pursue whatever options were feasible, a Defense official said.
Panetta “ordered all appropriate forces to respond to the unfolding events in Benghazi, but the attack was over before those forces could be employed,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said.
Shortly after 11 p.m. a surveillance drone had arrived from elsewhere in Libya — about an hour after it was requested, officials said. But the video feed was not seen by the president, contrary to some news reports. And the feed did not offer analysts a clear understanding of what was happening on the ground, officials said.
After the CIA team arrived at the compound, “over the next 25 minutes, team members approach the compound, attempt to secure heavy weapons [from Libyans], and make their way onto the compound itself in the face of enemy fire,” the senior U.S. intelligence official said.
The senior intelligence official disclosed that the CIA also sent a second six-member team from Tripoli on a chartered plane to help repel the attack. The team included Glen Doherty, another former SEAL, who was later killed when attackers fired mortar rounds at the CIA Annex.
The team arrived around midnight but got bogged down at the airport. Ultimately, it learned that “the ambassador was almost certainly dead” and headed to the agency facility “to assist with the evacuation,” the official said.
It arrived with Libyan support at the Annex at 5:15 a.m., just before mortar rounds began to strike. Woods and Doherty were killed as they fired on militants from the roof. The mortar attack lasted 11 minutes, the official said.
The drone overhead was not armed. Even if it had been, there were no viable targets, officials said.
Yesterday, CBS News was the first of the Lamestream Media to break the deliberate establishment press boycott on pre-election coverage on the Benghazi debacle, actually publishing a leak from inside-government sources disadvantageous to the Obama Administration.
CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG).
“The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies,” a high-ranking government official told CBS News. “They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”
Today, Jake Tapper of ABC News commented venomously on the Administration’s stonewalling and endeavored to depict ABC as a vigorously investigating news organization.
In the place of a detailed description from the Obama administration about what happened more than six weeks ago comes the drip-drip-drip of stories about the failures of the Obama administration to provide those Americans on the ground in Libya with all the security assets they needed.
Hurricane Sandy’s arrival on the East Coast was a godsend for the establishment media and Barack Obama, filling up the front page columns and dominating TV news coverage for several crucial days just a week before the election. But the hurricane is now over, there are still four days to go, and the Benghazi story continues, bit by bit, to leak out.
Roger L. Simon observes that the Benghazi scandal will continue long past election day and will hang, like an albatross, around the neck of a second Obama presidency.
One way or the other, Obama will pay. And as he pays, through the relentless accusations of an impeachment, inevitable or otherwise, his party will be constantly on the defensive, the reputations of their leadership incalculably besmirched. Though they do not realize or choose to ignore it now, the Democrats will be lucky if Obama loses on November 6.
If he wins, not even the mainstream media will save him. Although a few will try, the walls are already crumbling.
He’s quite right. If Obama loses, the Republicans will most likely accept his electoral rejection as sufficient punishment for Benghazi and the subsequent cover-up. If he wins, they will pursue him like the Furies, and the truth will inevitably come out to destroy him.
There are rumors, which seem to have originated in military circles, floating around that the commander of U.S. Africa Command and the commander of the aircraft carrier strike group USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) were both relieved of their commands for defying orders to stand down, and attempting to send US forces to the assistance of the two former Navy SEALs besieged at Benghazi on September 11th.
The Carter Ham story was reported by James S. Robbind at the Washington Times:
Is an American General losing his job for trying to save the Americans besieged in Benghazi? This is the latest potential wrinkle in the growing scandal surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack that left four men dead and President Obama scrambling for a coherent explanation.
On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared unexpectedly at an otherwise unrelated briefing on “Efforts to Enhance the Financial Health of the Force.” News organizations and CSPAN were told beforehand there was no news value to the event and gave it scant coverage. In his brief remarks Mr. Panetta said, “Today I am very pleased to announce that President Obama will nominate General David Rodriguez to succeed General Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command.” This came as a surprise to many, since General Ham had only been in the position for a year and a half. The General is a very well regarded officer who made AFRICOM into a true Combatant Command after the ineffective leadership of his predecessor, General William E. “Kip” Ward. Later, word circulated informally that General Ham was scheduled to rotate out in March 2013 anyway, but according to Joint doctrine, “the tour length for combatant commanders and Defense agency directors is three years.” Some assumed that he was leaving for unspecified personal reasons.
I heard a story today from someone inside the military that I trust entirely. The story was in reference to General Ham that Panetta referenced in the quote below.
“(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,” Panetta told Pentagon reporters. “And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”
The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.
General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.
The story continues that now General Rodiguez would take General Ham’s place as the head of Africom.
This version of events contradicts Mr. Panetta’s October 25 statement that General Ham advised against intervention. But so far there is nothing solid to back it up. Maybe Ham attempted to send a reaction force against orders, or maybe he simply said the wrong thing to the wrong people. Perhaps he gave whomever he was talking to up the chain a piece of his mind about leaving Americans to die when there was a chance of saving them. At the very least U.S. forces might have made those who killed our people pay while they were still on the scene. The Obama White House is famously vindictive against perceived disloyalty – the administration would not let Ham get away with scolding them for failing to show the leadership necessary to save American lives. The Army’s ethos is to leave no man behind, but that is not shared by a president accustomed to leading from that location.
The New York Times ran an article by Elisabeth Bumiller titled “Panetta Says Risk Impeded Deployment to Benghazi.” The article refers to the night of 11/12 September and includes the following: As a result, Mr. Panetta said, he and two top commanders “felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.” The commanders are Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Carter F. Ham of Africa Command, which oversees American military operations in Africa, including Libya. You probably have seen similar clips on TV. The impression being given by Mr. Panetta is that the three of them agreed upon the course of action.
Not how it works in the military. The junior person present gives his views, the next junior, his, and so on up the line until the senior person, in this case Mr. Panetta, makes the decision. It is not a vote and there is only one person with a veto, the senior person, Mr. Panetta. Of course, he could have had marching orders from higher up in the chain of command. Note also that the NYT piece, written eight days after Mr. Panetta’s announcement, makes no mention of General Ham being replaced as commander of U.S. Africa Command. Is it not relevant?
SundanceCracker is skeptical.
I doubt, allow me to repeat and emphasize, “doubt“, these reports are accurate. Why? Because Congressman Jason Chaffetz is on record stating that in his visit to Libya he travelled with General Ham. When Chaffetz asked Ham about whether he had a ready reaction force, according to Chaffetz – Ham told him “yes, however, we never got a request to assist in Benghazi”.
So why would there now be reports of Africom Command General Ham being replaced because of his non-compliance? He said he never got the request for help, or call to mobilize? He is not going to lie to the House Intelligence Committee – No motive, Period.
Ace successfully, I’d say, debunks any connection of events in Benghazi to the relief of Admiral Gaouette
The Stennis Carrier group is in the Persian Gulf area, which is the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility. It’s nowhere near Libya, which is in the 6th Fleet AoR
Most importantly, this little tidbit in the [Stars and Stripes] story.
The Stennis group deployed from Bremerton in late August and had entered the Navy 5th Fleet’s area of operations in the Middle East on Oct. 17 after sailing across the Pacific.
I don’t know exactly where Stennis was on SEPTEMBER 11th but it was nowhere near Libya.
Calendars….How do they work?
My prediction: Gaouette’s “judgment” issues have more to do with the port calls in Thailand and Malaysia than nefarious politics.
Conclusion: Probably both Snopes fodder, though the General Ham story is not yet totally dismissable.
Scott published some amazing details of the heroism of the two former Navy SEALs at Benghazi.
Ambassador Stevens and Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, along with administrative staff, were working out of temporary quarters due to the fact that in the spring of 2011 during the so-called Arab Spring, the United States cut ties with then president Moammar Gadhafi. Our embassy was looted and ransacked, causing it to be unusable. It is still in a state of disrepair. Security for embassies and their personnel is to be provided by the host nation. Since Libya has gone through a civil war of sorts in the past 18 months, the current government is very unstable, and therefore, unreliable
A well-organized attack by radical Muslims was planned specifically targeting the temporary U.S. embassy building. The Libyan security force that was in place to protect our people deserted their post, or joined the attacking force. Either way, our people were in a real fix. And it should be noted that Ambassador Stevens had mentioned on more than one occasion to Secretary of State, “Hillary Clinton”, that he was quite concerned for his personal safety and the welfare of his people. It is thought that Ambassador Stevens was on a “hit list.”
A short distance from the American compound, two Americans were sleeping. They were in Libya as independent contractors working an assignment totally unrelated to our embassy. They also happened to be former Navy SEALs. When they heard the noise coming from the attack on our embassy, as you would expect from highly trained warriors, they ran to the fight. Apparently, they had no weapons, but seeing the Libyan guards dropping their guns in their haste in fleeing the scene, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty snatched up several of these discarded weapons and prepared to defend the American compound.
Not knowing exactly what was taking place, the two SEALs set up a defensive perimeter. Unfortunately Ambassador Stevens was already gravely injured, and Foreign Service officer, Sean Smith, was dead. However, due to their quick action and suppressive fire, twenty administrative personnel in the embassy were able to escape to safety. Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction.
As it became apparent to these selfless heroes, they were definitely going to lose their lives unless some reinforcements showed up in a hurry. As we know now, that was not to be. I’m fairly certain they knew they were going to die in this gun fight, but not before they took a whole lot of bad guys with them!
Tonight’s Presidential Debate will be centered on foreign policy issues, which means the prime issue on the agenda will be the Obama Administration’s failure to protect the lives of four American diplomatic personnel in Libya and the subsequent series of misstatements concerning events in Libya by the President and Administration spokesmen.
Jennifer Rubin, in the Washington Post, considers whether to ascribe the blame for what has happened to Ideological Denial, Willful Deception, or Simple Incompetence.
Pick your favorite theory or a combination thereof. Lay blame at the intelligence community or at the feet of national security adviser Tom Donilon, whose job is to make sure all aspect of national security are in sync. But the president, even if not willfully misrepresenting events to the public, has engaged in a great deal of magical thinking ( from refusing to call jihadists “jihadists” to believing he had al-Qaeda on the run to thinking he could engage the mullahs). His executive skills, which lead to havoc and missed opportunities on the domestic side, can prove deadly in matters of war and peace.
Whatever the explanation for the fiasco, it is hard to muster any confidence that this president has the judgment, will or skills to be a successful commander in chief. He hasn’t been one so far.