Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Questions Linger On Benghazi

     The terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed our ambassador and three others on September 11th of this year, has been talked about and written about to the extent that the subject has filled a large part of our collective public discourse over that period. But for all that discussion, we still do not know the truth. It's not so much the facts about the actual attack, but rather remaining questions about the administration's action and inaction that are the unknown aspects of this story.
     What has been brought to light by the House Intelligence Committee, is the existence of a security video that shows the attack on our consulate. The video makes clear that there was no demonstration and the attack was executed by a group of well-armed, well-organized terrorists. The video would tend to contradict the administration's immediate characterization of the attack as a spontaneous demonstration in response to an anti-Muslim You Tube video. The larger question is not so much why the administration mislead the American people for two weeks after the attack, but when did they see the events recorded on this video?
     Clare Lopez, former CIA operations officer, makes the startling assertion that the real time live feed from Benghazi would have been watched by the State Department, the Department of Defense and the White House as the attacks occurred. This, Ms. Lopez claims, would have been standard operating procedure for such an event. If Ms. Lopez's assessment is correct, two conclusions are clear. First, that multiple members of the administration witnessed the attacks in real time and knew the truth from the outset. And secondly, members of the administration sat by and took no actions that may have saved the lives of Ambassador Stevens and the others.
     The attack in Benghazi proceeded for an agonizing 6 hours. The U.S. has three military bases within a couple of hours of the attack site, one only half an hour away. One has to question why a rapid response team was not sent to Benghazi to secure the compound. The dots can easily be connected linking President Obama's ideology to any decision made to not protect a U.S. consulate with an armed military unit designed specifically for the task. Knowing that the President has a disdain for projecting American military strength, it is clear that he felt defending American lives in Benghazi would have been too provocative. But if the President understood our enemies and the nature of geopolitical relationships, he would know that not defending our interest, here or abroad, is a sign of weakness and an open invitation for similar attacks as the one in Benghazi.

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