A lot of email on this — all negative about leadership at the top.
By Bing West
Naional Review Online, May 7, 2013 11:40 AM
General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has concluded that generals do not live up to the standards they demand of others. According to the New York Times, “Under General Dempsey’s plan, teams of inspectors will observe and review the procedures . . . in effect for all generals. He said he would be subject to the same rules.”
Those new rules would seem to require an assessment of Dempsey’s own performance last September, when he decided not to respond with force to the terrorist attack in Benghazi for ten hours, although our ambassador to Libya was declared missing during the first hour of the assault and two former SEALs died in the tenth hour. Why did Dempsey choose to do nothing?
The military has conducted hundreds of assessments for battles throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. At the platoon level, an “After Action” critique is required whenever there are American fatalities. But at the highest level, there has been no military After Action assessment about Benghazi.
The fight at the U.S. consulate waxed and waned for ten hours. Yet during that time, the Marine Force Recon unit on Sigonella Air Base, 500 miles away, was never deployed and not one F-16 or F-18 was dispatched. Granted, Force Recon and fighter aircraft weren’t on alert and did not appear on the Pentagon’s official list of “hostage rescue forces.” But they were one phone call away, and no general asked for them. Ten hours provided adequate time for a range of ad hoc responses. Commanders are expected to adapt in battle.
Phi Beta Iota: Our understanding is that Hillary Clinton personally denied an improved security posture for the Benghazi force because it was a CIA base, not a diplomatic activity; David Petraeus was not kept informed by the Directorate of Operations (DDO) at CIA, and Leon Panetta personally freaked out and lost all composure in the belief that it was some sort of trap that would replay Blackhawk Down. The facts are that the military chain of command up to the Commanding General of AFRICA Command were instantly ready to send forces (see map) and were over-ruled by Leon Panetta, probably himself acting on, or having his fears reinforced by the White House, where a public relations flack has the title of “National Security Advisor.” John Brennan was also running his own operations, keeping Petraeus out of the loop, and is probably liable for this failure as well. Between ideology and incompetence there is no room today for intelligence with integrity.