The other day a person commented to me that they assumed I vote Republican all the time. They were surprised to find out that is not true. I wanted to write this column about our privilege, and responsibility, in voting. But, instead I really need to vent about something that has me extremely disturbed.
As more and more information is coming out about the terrible events that happened in Benghazi Libya, I am getting more and more upset.
As everyone knows, our consulate in Benghazi Libya was attacked by terrorists on 9/11/12 – over six weeks ago. In that attack, which lasted over seven hours, our Ambassador, his aid and two military men were killed. For almost two weeks, the Administration said this attack evolved from a spontaneous demonstration that Muslims had about a video made by an American that was uncomplimentary to Islam. They are still saying the incident is "under investigation" and ducking questions about it. Despite this, more and more evidence is becoming public and it is very unsettling! (Not incidentally, the man who made the video falsely blamed for this attack was arrested by our government and is still in jail….So much for freedom of speech.)
Let’s start with some background: The Consulate and its grounds are American property; an ambassador and his staff are diplomats and have diplomatic immunity and protection. Please understand that that means every attack on one of our embassies or consulates is an attack on America. The Mideast, which includes Libya, is politically unsettled and highly prone to violence. Since the overthrowing of Gaddafi in Libya and before the attack on our consulate, there had been over 230 security incidents that had been reported. The British had pulled their diplomats out of the country because of the dangers. Ambassador Stevens had received death threats. The American consulate in Benghazi had been bombed twice – the most recent time only five months earlier, in April. (Isn’t it interesting that these bombings were not reported by the American media?)
To this information add the fact that the consulate did not meet the State Department’s own physical security recommendations and they had requested better security on several occasions. Each time their request was turned down. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, eventually came out and took responsibility for turning down the increased security requests. (I believe this was shortly after a memorandum about this matter with her signature on it became public.)
After the attack, we are expected to believe that the President and Vice President didn’t know what was happening, that they were not informed. I might accept that they didn’t know about requests for increased security but I find it impossible to believe they were not well aware of the attack as it was happening!
As time passes, we learn there was no spontaneous demonstration going on like the Administration said. The attack had nothing to do with the tasteless video that had been out on the internet for over three months. We learn the Libyan government said on the day of the attack that it was a well-planned, well organized terrorist attack on the consulate.
No help was sent in to defend the people or property. We were told this happened because they didn’t have enough "real-time information". Then at a Congressional hearing about the attack, we find out that the attack was being watched live on video from the consulate. I don’t know Mr. Panetta, Secretary of Defense, but real-time live video sounds pretty "real-time information" to me. Now we have found out that not only did they have and watch the video from the consulate, they also had at least one drone flying over the consulate and annex sending images! Mr. Panetta, your story is starting to smell pretty fishy.
What about those brave SEALs at the consulate? Sorry, they weren’t at the consulate, they were at the annex. When the shooting started and they heard it they requested permission to go protect the consulate and the staff there. They were told to stand down! In other words they were told NOT to go, NOT to protect the Ambassador, the staff or the consulate. They asked a couple of times and were told the same thing! Finally they disobeyed orders and went to the consulate to try to save the people there. While there fighting, they requested assistance several times, but didn’t get it. How much more "real-time information" do you need???? The SEALs had not only reported the coordinates for where the mortars the terrorists were firing were located but had also laser designated them. This is an act done when you expect to have air support.
The CIA has been catching some criticism for not aiding the soldiers. On Friday General Petraeus, Director of the CIA, said "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate." Honestly, there are not many people above the level of Director of CIA who could order the refusal to assist the soldiers.
Somebody, somewhere high up in the executive branch of our government refused to assist them and even refused to send in a missile strike to eliminate the mortars. The SEALs were killed by mortar hits on the roofs where they were fighting. That somebody should be found and charged with dereliction of duty. Unfortunately that won’t help any of the four dead Americans. May they rest in peace.