Herschel Smith at The Captain's Journal isn't buying the Pentagon's just-baked tale that there simply were no assets available to support beleaguered Americans in Benghazi. On considering a recent post by Paul Wolfowitz advancing this same claim (interesting how Wolfowitz and Condoleeza Rice have been vocal in supporting O narrative), Smith writes:
According to this claim, the Africa command (based in Europe) had no assets to which it could turn. None. Contrary to reports (that I have cited), there were no Delta operators at Sigonella. There was no AC-130, there wasn’t even Marine Force Recon, again, contrary to published reports that I have cited.
They were apparently all in the field, deployed across Africa. No one was available. There were no air assets available to assist the poor souls at Benghazi. Not even an MP or cook could have responded from Sigonella. The base (the American side of it, anyway) was a ghost town. The closest asset was … the Eastern coast of the United States.
I don’t believe it. I’m not saying that I don’t believe Wolfowitz, but I don’t believe his sources. How the hell does one run Africa command with no assets at your disposal? Besides, this answer is too easy to produce and then move on after the furor dies down. ...
In a detailed follow-up post, Smith also examines (and finds wanting) the rebuttal presented by Pentagon spokesman George Little against charges that available military assets were not deployed to Benghazi. Smith notes the curious fact that the Pentagon presentation, reported by ABC here, makes it evident that a potential hostage situation "lasting for days" was high, if not foremost on the Pentagon's mind.
I think I have made a mistake in framing the question so broadly, i.e., what assets were available to the DoD to assist at Benghazi? One important but easily overlooked exigency in the DoD rebuttal above is this idea of a hostage situation. It is mentioned at least twice in the ABC News article.
The Department of Defense rebuttal answers nothing, but adds to the list of problems. The proper way to frame this discussion is this: What assets existed at Sigonella that night (Delta Force, SEAL Teams, Marine Force Recon, MPs, cooks, administrative staff, etc.)? This report leads to more questions, such as did the National Security Counsel or Pentagon war game this scenario in such a manner that precluded the consideration of assets available at Sigonella because they weren’t specifically related to the scenario being gamed (e.g., a hostage situation)? Why weren’t forces of any kind sent to relieve the poor souls in Benghazi?
So, what Smith seems to be extracting from the Pentagon narrative is that the Pentagon reacted to the Benghazi attack mainly if not only as if a hostage crisis were about to ensue. Such forces did indeed take too long to arrive in the region to be of assistance in the second wave of attacks on the CIA annex, after the arrival (escorted by Libya Shield) of what one source described to Fox News as "a ragtag team" of first responders from Tripoli (It was not a Marine contingent as originally reported). "This is not even what they do for a living. We had a first responder air base in Italy almost the same distance away."
This same Fox News story reports on multiple British and American sources who "insist there were other capabilities in the region and are mystified why none were used." These include British and Turkish forces in Benghazi itself or nearby. Clare Lopez has come up with a compelling scenario that indicates the Turks may have been complicit in foreknowledge of the attack, so that might scotch Turkish assistance. But Fox reports the British had more people in Benghazi than we did. Why weren't they tapped to relieve Americans under fire?
This is where the political expediency narrative must be brought back into the same focus as the military fiasco narrative. The Obama administration had multiple reasons for not mightily intervening militarily in Benghazi that night, none of them having to do with saving the lives of Americans under fire. Presumably, a post-attack hostage mission would be okay.
First of all, there was the presidential campaign mantra that because BHO killed OBL, there was no more AQ. Deploying US military to fight Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Libya would have taken that wind out of the stump speech.
Then there was the State Department, Stevens, Obama NSC orthodoxy which held that because there was no more Qaddafi -- another Obama production -- this supposedly non-existent Al Qaeda (and assorted generic jihadists) had no more causus belli to fight the USA. (Never mind Islam and jihad.) This story, too, is shot down in a real Benghazi battle.
And think about the collateral Muslim damage that saving a few Americans lives would cause (the O administration no doubt did). And think what a pitched battle in Benghazi would do to the agit prop the administration tried to put over on the American people to the effect that the Youtube video was the cause of everything. Here is Big Benghazi Lie No. 1, which must be kept front and center in our analysis. This lie would have collapsed in such a battle, and stalled Obama administration efforts to use the Islamic video-rage cycle then kicking off to chip away at American faith in the First Amendment and further assist the OIC to enact laws against criticizing Islam, as SecState Hillary Clinton -- ably assisted by her Muslim-Brotherhood-linked top aide Huma Abedin? -- has been working to do. If the US had repulsed an Islamic terror attack, how could the president go to the UN on September 25 and cite the video six times, saying: "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam"? Not incidentally, it was only after this world address that the White House Youtube story went quiet. The moviemaker, however, remains in jail for "parole violations" until a court hearing scheduled for after the election.
Then there is the Obama administration's "Arab Spring" policy in general. We supported these same militias and jihadist elements who attacked us on September 11, 2012 to overthrow Qaddafi back in the 2011 "February 17 Revolution." Could Obama seriously fire on them without firing on his own policy as well? He was also probably afraid of what they might do next in retaliation. How bad would that look out on the campaign trail.
But there is something else to point out about the Pentagon timeline:
“We didn’t have forewarning of this tragic event in Benghazi,” Pentagon spokesman Little said with a straight face.
Really? On September 12, Breitbart reported:
One day before September 11, al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri posted a 42-minute video on Jihadist forums urging Libyans to attack Americans to avenge the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, the terror organization’s second-in-command, whom U.S. drones killed in June of 2012 in Pakistan.
That would be September 10.
In the video, al-Zawahri said al-Libi’s “blood is calling, urging and inciting you to fight and kill the Crusaders,” leading up to a date heralded and celebrated by radical Islamists.
Another version of the video was actually posted on YouTube on September 9 and yet, President Barack Obama, who has not attended an intelligence briefing since September 5, and his administration did not beef up security at the embassy and consulate on September 11.
What the Pentagon spokesman meant was: "We didn't pay attention to multiple forewarnings -- including previous attacks on the consulate, pleas for added security from embassy personnel, and a specific warning on 9/10 or even 9/9 by the leader of AQ specifically urging Libyans to attack the US."
A few closing questions. Why not? And, why did the O administration choose the Innocence of Muslims Youtube to react to and not Zawaheri's? And, how dumb do they think we are?