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Dec 26

Written by: Diana West
Wednesday, December 26, 2012 11:45 AM 

At the Washington Times today, American hero (and, I am honored to say, Team B II colleague) Gen. Jerry Boykin writes:

In 1993, Task Force Ranger fought an 18-hour battle in Mogadishu, Somalia, against a tribal militia numbering in the thousands. I was there as the commander of the Delta Force and bore responsibility for getting 99 warriors out of the city that day after having accomplished our primary mission. The mission was to capture a band of loyalists and supporters of a warlord and tribal leader named Mohammed Aideed. We succeeded in that task rather quickly, but when a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down, the mission changed to one that was even more critical. The battle is chronicled in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.”

What most people do not realize is that the special operations forces involved in that fierce fight, which claimed 15 U.S. lives, were fighting over the bodies of two of their comrades. Both the pilot and the co-pilot of the crashed helicopter were killed on impact and trapped in the twisted wreckage. No one was willing to leave their bodies behind because everyone lived by a code that is encapsulated in the fifth stanza of something called the Ranger Creed: “I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy.”

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta had multiple options with which to respond to the [Benghazi] consulate attack, yet he explained that he was not willing to commit U.S. forces without knowing exactly what was going on at the scene. That is an unacceptable response from the man in charge of our military. Aircraft from the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet could have responded with close air-support platforms, or U.S. Marines in the region could have been dispatched, probably from Sigonella, Italy, a U.S. base in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, a U.S. Navy SEAL team and a U.S. Army Special Forces battalion were co-located with the U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, and both are trained and designated for rescue operations. Why did CNN reach the consulate before any military or U.S. government elements?

Americans must demand answers about why there was no effort to save Stevens and his team — or, as a last resort, to recover their bodies and return them to American control. It would seem that a special investigation by a bipartisan team is in order. The actions of the military during the Benghazi attack must be examined thoroughly. Did the military refuse to respond? Or was it told to “stand down”? Who gave the order not to respond? Why did U.S. leadership decide to let the bodies of Stevens and his cohorts fall into Libyan hands? These questions must be asked, but it appears that these are not concerns of the congressional committees.

Why not?

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