Friday, October 26, 2012

A pointless sacrifice to political ambition.

The September 11 Benghazi tragedy resulting in the death of four Americans is instructive on Pres. Obama's leadership and the question of how Americans are sorely ill served by a national security establishment whose senior leaders are slaves to the Obama political agenda.

According to Investor's Business Daily (IBD),[1] two former U.S. Seals continued to fight to defend the "CIA annex" there even after they were wounded. They did this for more than six hours after the attack began. IBD observes that the two might have wondered if any help would be forthcoming.

A ridiculous thought, as it turns out.

Assets available.

CBS News reported that "hours after the attack" a Predator drone was over Benghazi and that other reconnaissance aircraft observed the last part of the battle as well.[2] The Predator can carry ordinance but whether it was armed has not been made clear to our knowledge. (Update: The Predator was unarmed.)

However, from IBD and CBS we know, at a minimum, that these military assets in Europe and the Mediterranean were available to help Woods and Doherty:

  • A Special Operations force at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy. Also, fighters and Spectre AC-130 gunships.
  • F-16s and Apache helicopters at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy. Also, Spectre AC-130 gunships.
  • Assets at Souda Bay, Crete, including fighters and Spectre AC-130 gunships.
  • Two destroyers in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya.
Suffice it to say that an F-16 fighter carrying a moderate combat load has a speed of 915-1,500 mph and, even from northern Italy, could have been over Benghazi in 30-68 minutes. Whatever transport was capable of moving the Special Operations force from central Europe to Sigonella was capable of moving it to Benghazi. A CH-47 transport helicopter travelling at 155 mph could have moved that force to Benghazi in three hours with six hours and 20 minutes to land somewhere in the desert and wait until the moment that Woods and Doherty were killed.

Assets readiness.

Sen. John McCain, America's Weasel, today (October 26, 2012) announced on FoxNews that the Senate concluded that no military assets could have been used to aid Woods and Doherty because all available assets were in "an insufficient state of readiness," or words to that effect. Besides being classic weaselspeak it's a blatant falsehood as the Special Operations force in Sigonella was obviously in a sufficient state of readiness to be moved from central Europe to Sicily and is unlikely to have been told to go into town for some brewskis and a little boom boom right after their arrival. An Army Reserve transport unit drilling in Louisiana might not be in a "sufficient state of readiness" to deploy to Benghazi in a matter of an hour or two but Delta Force guys take showers with their radios and weapons and the destroyers off shore sure as heck were ready at a moment's notice to provide fire support. Utter, complete, total, gold-plated nonsense.

Weapon accuracy.

The Predator has a laser designator for the Hellfire missile allowing pinpoint attacks with that missile, assuming it was armed. A Specter AC-130H 480 miles away in Sigonella could have been on station (i.e., doing nothing but standing by for orders to intervene) over Benghazi within one hour and 36 minutes after it became known the annex or the consulate were under attack, namely, one could have been overhead at 11:16 p.m., available for all of the remaining four hours and 44 minutes while Doherty and Woods called for help . . . and fought on until they were killed at 4:00 a.m.

Guided munitions have been tested for guns on our destroyers and if operational now, accurate fire was available by that means as well, and was available within minutes not hours.

The accuracy of the AC-130H is such that it could have swept the streets around the annex with highly accurate fire (e.g., this video at 4:18 and 8:08), where no innocent civilian had any business to be. Let it be said.

Actionable intelligence.

Add to this this stripped-down timeline:

2140, Sept. 10 – attack on annex begins.
2300, Sept. 10 – Pres. Obama meets with Defense Secretary Panetta and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office.
2316, Sept. 10 – earliest time an AC-130H gunship from Sigonella could have been available on station over Benghazi.
0007, Sept. 10 – White House Situation Room, among others, receives email indicating that Ansar al-Sharia claims responsibility for the attack.
0400, Sept. 11 – Woods and Doherty are killed.

Muslims oh-so-torqued-off about obscure videos casting aspersions on Islam don't customarily commence demonstrations expressing their displeasure after 9 o'clock at night. Since arson was much in evidence at either the consulate or the annex, or both, not to mention the infra red signature of hot rifle barrels or streams of tracers from machine guns, of which there was at least one, it's clear to any observer that something a lot more organized and serious was underway than a "demonstration." Videos of street scenes in the vicinity of the consulate or annex in Benghazi on FoxNews clearly show that it was no demonstration in progress but small numbers of armed men milling around out in the open on the streets. The heat signature of their bodies alone would have revealed the situation in the streets to the drone overhead at the outset.

These practical considerations plus (1) information available from communications that we now know existed between the Seals and other Americans, (2) the evidence available from an ever-greater number of surveillance platforms, and (3) emails arriving in the White House Situation Room itself could leave no doubt in anybody's mind what exactly was going on at the annex.

Respecting the decision to commit troops or not in Benghazi, Defense Secretary Panetta, with furrowed brow evidencing the determination of a Chihuahua instead of someone with serious military responsibilities, stated that

a basic principle here, and 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.

As with everything issuing forth from the president and Administration officials on this, this is pure shuck. The left will forego their sneers about "military intelligence" for the duration of this inquiry into the nature of the Obama presidency and fall at the feet of its practitioners. Holy writ, no less, that one must know what one is about before one can act. Well, hold the general principle and focus back on the issue of real-time intel and you've got your finger on the nerve. Obama's inbox was overflowing with it.

He knew.

Available intelligence laid out with crystal clarity that some of our people, including one of our ambassadors, were in mortal danger and needed the president's help. Any military officers with whom Secretary Panetta conferred had to have urged military assistance. No military leader would do less, unless from the Wesley Clark school of politico-military decision making. Only the basest of political maneuvering would have caused such urgings to be ignored.

The President knew of the attack at least one hour and 20 minutes after it began and he knew unequivocally it was an al Qaida operation at the most three hours and 27 minutes after the attack began.

Yet he did nothing while Woods and Doherty fought on for their lives for another three hours and 53 minutes.

Any pretense of some vital national interest dictating inaction is transparent nonsense in view of the "horrid video" rationale taken to heart by Secretary of State Clinton who debased herself, and the nation, by talking about our Plymouth-rock-solid religious tolerance toward Muslims who, far from reciprocating such sentiments, tear down Christian churches and gun down Christians in Muslim lands as a religious duty. Contrived Muslim outrage over the any video had nothing to do with the Benghazi events and Clinton's holding fast to that preposterous idea long after the truth was known to her is despicable.

So rest assured that right now there are a lot of enraged U.S. military people around the world who know damn well that military assets were positioned where they could be available if the president gave the green light and acted like the damned commander in chief he reminds us he is every hour on the hour.

That commander did exactly nothing for our fellow Americans in peril of their lives when he could have easily saved them. He had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the place where he gave the green light on taking out Bin Laden and it's no surprise that he wouldn't life a finger for a couple of mere Seals, a mere U.S. ambassador, and Sean Smith, a State Department computer expert.

". . . [T]hey watched my son die,” said Woods's father, Charles Woods.[3]

The story of the president's failure as a leader and of his moral failing to tell the truth about what he knew is a story that will not go away.

To what end the Defense Department?

We have looked at the needless death of some Americans who were with easy reach of comrades who could have saved them. Accurate, devastating, and immediate fire could have been sent down like a curtain around our people. That was the ONLY thing that mattered.

The larger point behind this is that it calls into contrast the huge gap that exists between the military assets that the United States has and the uses to which they are put by our political class. In this I do not spare Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack H. Obama. All of them sent American troops into harm's way at the cost of life and limb to many of them for transient or insubstantial reasons. At the same time they did that, the borders of the very nation that sent those troops to fight in strange places to vindicate insignificant or nonexistent U.S. interests are studiously and deliberately undefended.

Our military boxes with shadows elsewhere in the world but not one U.S. troop stands guard on our southern border to repel an actual invasion by millions of incompatible, welfare-seeking, sometimes criminal, sometimes diseased, third-world illegal immigrants with little or no intention of assimilating and whose first act and every subsequent daily act here are in defiance of our laws and a detriment to our own people.

That they are unarmed for the most part and seek a better life for themselves here in no way subtracts from the simple fact that they are part of an invading force that is unwelcome to the majority of American citizens, but whose views are unsolicited or ignored.

Billions and billions of dollars spent for defense seemingly defend only foreigners, and even when some of our own are in peril of their lives overseas the vast military machinery for which so many billions have been expended is told to stand down. WMAL-AM's (brilliant) talk show host Chris Plante's favorite images demonstrating something utterly futile is "chasing squirrels around your back yard with a tennis racket." The nearest equivalent in the foreign policy arena is our na├»ve infatuation with "democracy" and "nation building" – two foreign policy goals, in Muslim lands, for sure, as idiotic as the goal of teaching square dancing to members of the Aryan Nation or table manners to Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

In short, vast state resources are expended in our name in the pursuit of "defense" but they do not defend us at home or abroad.

The interests that they do advance are only the narrow and partisan self interests of our national leadership who resort to blatant lies and transparent misdirection to conceal their true purposes.

Woods, Doherty, Smith, and Stevens died so that Pres. Obama's political objectives would not be compromised.


[1] "Benghazi Consulate Could Have Used Marines With Bayonets." Editorial, Investor's Business Daily, 10/25/12.
[2] "Could U.S. military have helped during Libya attack?.", 10/20/12.
[3] "Joe Biden to Father of Former Navy SEAL Killed in Benghazi: "Did Your Son Always Have Balls the Size of Cue Balls?" By Jason Howerton, The Blaze, 10/25/12.


ken anthony said...

It was not a tragedy. An attack on an embassy or consulate is an act of war. It's not even terrorism which should not be confused with acts of war.

Our response to an act of war doesn't have to be military.

Col. B. Bunny said...

You're right about it's being an act of war. Speaking of it as a tragedy does take the focus off the specific intent involved in acts of war.

It is a tragedy for the families of the dead in that once that act of war was initiated the man responsible for ordering a response was not up to the task and, in fact, motivated by base instincts in no way related to the safety of those who were killed.

I agree it's not terrorism. Simply a straightforward military assault.