Human Events, 30 October 2012
Retired Admiral James A. Lyons, former commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, published a tough editorial in the Washington Times on Sunday, calling for President Obama to “come clean on what happened in Benghazi.” Lyons describes the situation in stunned disbelief:
There is an urgent need for full disclosure of what has become the “Benghazi Betrayal and Cover-up.” The Obama national security team, including CIA, DNI and the Pentagon, apparently watched and listened to the assault on the U.S. consulate and cries for help but did nothing. If someone had described a fictional situation with a similar scenario and described our leadership ignoring the pleas for help, I would have said it was not realistic—not in my America – but I would have been proven wrong.
He discusses an aspect of the Benghazi attack that has not been widely discussed in the media: the “gun running to Syria” theory, which would make the thin protection afforded to Ambassador Stevens even more inexplicable.
We now know why Ambassador Christopher Stevens had to be in Benghazi the night of 9/11 to meet a Turkish representative, even though he feared for his safety. According to various reports, one of Stevens’ main missions in Libya was to facilitate the transfer of much of Gadhafi’s military equipment, including the deadly SA-7 – portable SAMs – to Islamists and other al Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting the Assad Regime in Syria.
Lyons also discusses the looting of two enigmatic warehouses that occurred during the attack, and which seem connected to the weapons-related mission that brought heroic ex-SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty to Benghazi. Naturally, much of Lyons’ editorial focuses on the grim picture of the attack which has emerged over the last few days, as we learned that Woods and Doherty held off a mass of terrorist attackers for seven hours, as they waited for help that would never come.
The Obama national security team, including CIA, DNI, State Department and the Pentagon, watched and listened to the assault but did nothing to answer repeated calls for assistance. It has been reported that President Obama met with Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in the Oval Office, presumably to see what support could be provided. After all, we had very credible military resources within striking distance. At our military base in Sigonella, Sicily, which is slightly over 400 miles from Benghazi, we had a fully equipped Special Forces unit with both transport and jet strike aircraft prepositioned. Certainly this was a force much more capable than the 22-man force from our embassy in Tripoli.
I know those Special Forces personnel were ready to leap at the opportunity. There is no doubt in my mind they would have wiped out the terrorists attackers. Also I have no doubt that Admiral William McRaven, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, would have had his local commander at Sigonella ready to launch; however, apparently he was countermanded—by whom? We need to know.
It is simply amazing that reporters are not pressing these questions on President Obama, who looks like he’s going to skate through the rest of the election behind his “how dare you question me?” defense. Lyons notes that if Obama’s claims of ordering the protection of the besieged Americans in Benghazi are to be taken seriously, the President is acting remarkably blase about a stunning (and highly improbable) failure of the military and intelligence chains of command:
Somebody high up in the administration made the decision that no assistance (outside our Tripoli embassy) would be provided, and let our people be killed. The person who made that callous decision needs to be brought to light and held accountable. According to a CIA spokesperson, “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need.” We also need to know whether the director of CIA and the director of National Intelligence were facilitators in the fabricated video lie and the overall cover-up. Their creditability is on the line. A congressional committee should be immediately formed to get the facts out to the American people. Nothing less is acceptable.
Or we could just worry about the private equity firm Mitt Romney worked for over a decade ago, because Democrats think that’s somehow more relevant than the orders Obama is giving to our military, or the ghastly “investments” he’s making with our money.
Phi Beta Iota: On Fox News the Admiral has today spoken about the 150+ Marine unit at Signonella [he may have been referring to the Fleet Anti-Terrorism Support Team in Rota, Spain], and the availability of jets, all within 2 hours at most of the beseiged CIA unit in Benghazi. For who are unfamiliar with similar cover-ups in the past, remember the USS Liberty. We are not satisfied with the view that Admiral Stevens (RIP) was the lead for the transfer of Libyan military weapons to the Syrian rebels, we would have expected at a minimum some form of US military logistics presence; and if this was small enough for CIA to handle, it did not need an Ambassador. The complete story is still lacking.