Monday, November 12, 2012

Benghazi

It's amazing how little so many know about one of the most important terrorist attacks in recent years. So I'm taking it upon myself here to educate and inform those who have heard something, but don't know the details, in nutshell form.

Benghazi is the 2nd largest city in Libya, and is located along the Mediterranean Sea in northern Africa. Just last year it was the scene of one of the key uprisings in the rebellion against the longtime dictatorial government of Muammar Gaddafi.

Towards the end of his 2nd term, President George W. Bush and his security people made the determination that Africa was under such a large threat from various sources, particularly from al Qaeda and other Islamist terror organizations, that a separate 'Africa Command' for American forces military response on the continent was required.

In 2008, 'AfriCom' was officially activated. However, with the Bush administration leaving office, it would be left to the incoming Obama administration to fully establish the commands effectiveness. To say they dropped the ball would be generous.

A full four years after it's establishment, General Carter Ham was in charge, but AfriCom was still a command "in paper only" with "very few assigned forces", as The Washington Times reported in a comment from a former Bush administration official.

At 9:40pm on the night of September 11th (date sound familiar?), the CIA reports that senior security of the US State Department called the CIA and requested assistance. The CIA states that it was told to wait. Just before 10:00pm, Ham, who was in Washington at the Pentagon, directed a drone to Benghazi to assess the situation visually. By 10:04pm, a CIA team finally responded to the embassy.

It was not for another half hour that the US Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs were notified, despite the fact that it was now obvious that a US  ambassador's life was in jeopardy as the American embassy was under attack.


Roughly 20 minutes later, Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey entered a previously scheduled meeting with President Barack Obama, each with full knowledge that the attack was well underway.

The CIA team rescued all surviving personnel of the initial attack on the American embassy, but this did not include our ambassador, Christopher Stevens, who died from smoke inhalation during the fiery attack on what was essentially his home in Libya, his home on what is considered American soil.

On returning to their annex, the CIA team and the survivors of the embassy attack immediately came under fire from small arms fire and RPG's, and began making calls for help and air support. Back in DC, Pannetta takes until almost five hours after the attacks began to formally order US Marines and Special Forces teams to respond. It was too late. Way too late.

The questions and repercussions began to emerge almost immediately: who knew what about this specific attack, when did they know it, and why was the embassy so insecure? The President, presumably with knowledge of American interests around the world, most definitely knew that AfriCom was unprepared and that the situation in Benghazi was perilous.

In the months leading up to these September 11th attacks, the American consulate in Benghazi had come under attack, had requested increased security, and was denied it on the basis that the threats against it were not sufficient to justify such forces.

Further more, the Obama administration had received intelligence information through a diplomatic cable a full two weeks prior to these attacks, alerting it that the embassy at Benghazi could not withstand a coordinated attack, particularly from the Islamist militia forces and al Qaeda itself, which had training camps within the city.

So the facts as President Obama knows them are these: AfriCom, a key American strategic initiative in a highly unstable area of the world, was in need of serious security attention the entirety of his first term. He did nothing. The American consulate in Benghazi was in particular danger. He did nothing. During the attack, which he became aware of at some point, he and his key advisers delayed to the point where they may as well have done nothing.

This is not political rhetoric. An American diplomatic official at an Amercian embassy in a foreign land on American soil was murdered. Very little was done to protect him and the diplomatic mission, either on the front end or the back end. Nothing has been done since the attacks in response against the attackers.

This is a fundamental example of the ineffectiveness and/or unwillingness of the Obama administration to protect and defend American diplomatic and security personnel and interests around the world.

Another problem? Many in the former "mainstream media" knew all of these facts well in advance of the election, knew it to be a major story with political implications for the President's leadership and possibly for his re-election itself, and suppressed the bulk of the story details intentionally.

There are many problems in America today, and three of them are perfectly highlighted by the attack on our embassy and murder of our ambassador in Benghazi:

One, the President of the United States, who promised that his would be the most open and transparent administration in history, is anything but.

Two, the American mass media are clearly "in the bag" for the Democratic Party, to the extent they are now willing to bury a story that is bigger than Watergate.

Three, the Liberal supporters of the President have given this whole system carte blanche to exist, despite their cries of wanting honesty and openness from their government officials.

That is Benghazigate in a nutshell. It is a sad story, not so importantly about politics, but about how insecure the world is becoming with a shrinking American will to respond in crisis situations, even to the point of defending our own citizens and direct interests.

Nothing will change, because the President was just re-elected with help from the mass media, and with his constituents unwilling to call him on his greatest transgressions.

Can you imagine the headlines from that media, and the howls from these Obama supporters, if the only thing that were to change in this story were that the President behind this scandal was instead named George W. Bush?

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