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First, Aid the Living

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WrittenBy: Bing West
NATIONAL REVIEW October 22, 2012

A U.S. ambassador is missing and his diplomatic team is desperately fighting off terrorist attacks. Our commander-in-chief and his national-security team in Washington are listening to the phone calls from the Americans under attack and watching real-time video from a drone circling overhead. Yet the U.S. military sends no aid. Why?

On September 11, at about 10 p.m. Libyan time (4 p.m. in Washington), Ambassador Chris Stevens and a small staff were inside our consulate in Benghazi when terrorists attacked. The consulate staff immediately contacted Washington and our embassy in Tripoli. The White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and numerous military headquarters monitored the entire battle in real time via the phone calls from Benghazi and video from a drone overhead.

Our diplomats fought for seven hours without any aid from outside the country. Four Americans died while the Obama national-security team and our military passively watched and listened. The administration is being criticized for ignoring security needs before the attack, while the CIA falsely attributed the assault to an imaginary mob enraged by a YouTube video. But the most severe failure has gone unnoticed: namely, a failure to aid the living.

By 4:30 p.m. Washington time, the consulate building was on fire and Ambassador Stevens was missing. In response, the embassy in Tripoli launched an aircraft carrying six American and 16 Afghan security guards. Benghazi was 400 miles away.

At 5 p.m., President Obama met with Vice President Biden and Secretary of Defense Panetta in the Oval Office. The U.S. military base in Sigonella, Sicily, was 480 miles away from Benghazi. Stationed at Sigonella were Special Operations Forces, transport aircraft, and attack aircraft — a much more formidable force than 22 men from the embassy.

In the past, presidents have taken immediate actions to protect Americans. In 1984, President Reagan ordered U.S. pilots to force an airliner carrying terrorists to land at Sigonella. Reagan acted inside a 90-minute window while the aircraft with the terrorists was in the air. The Obama national-security team had seven hours in which to move forces from Sigonella to Benghazi.

Fighter jets could have been at Benghazi in an hour; the commandos inside three hours. If the attackers were a mob, as the CIA wrongly speculated, then an F18 in afterburner, roaring like a lion, would unnerve them. This procedure was applied often in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Conversely, if the attackers were terrorists, then the U.S. commandos would eliminate them. But no forces were dispatched from Sigonella.

In the meantime, the terrorists - untrained and poorly led by American standards - were proving to be lethal. They forced the Americans to abandon the Benghazi consulate, with the ambassador still missing, and fall back to an annex a mile away. When the terrorist gang followed the Americans, looters took the opportunity to ransack the empty consulate. But when they found Ambassador Stevens unconscious on the floor, they stopped looting and rushed him to a hospital. Unfortunately, the doctors could not save his life. Not knowing who he was, they took the cell phone from his pocket and called numbers. By about two in the morning, the American embassy received word that the ambassador was dead.

About the same time, the 22 reinforcements from the embassy in Tripoli arrived at the Benghazi airport. They drove to the annex to assist in its defense against persistent terrorist attacks. Around 4 a.m. Libyan time — six hours into the fight — enemy mortar rounds killed two of the defenders on the roof of the annex. If even one F18 had been on station, it would have detected the location of the enemy fire and attacked. The fight - that began at 10 p.m. - persisted until dawn, when the Libyan militia came to the aid of the Americans.

For our top leadership, with all the technological and military tools at their disposal, to have done nothing for seven hours was a joint civilian and military failure of initiative and nerve. Secretary of State Clinton has said the responsibility was hers. But there has been no assertion that the State Department overruled the Pentagon out of concern about the sovereignty of Libyan air space. Instead, it appears passive groupthink prevailed, with the assumption being that a spontaneous mob would quickly run out of steam.

Firefights, however, wax and wane from dusk to dawn. You cannot predict ahead of time when they will stop. Therefore a combat commander will take immediate action, presuming reinforcements will be needed.

The administration wrongly blamed a mob for the attack. Yet ironically, Mr. Obama’s chances of reelection would have plummeted were it not for the human decency of a mob that took the ambassador to the hospital before the terrorists returned. If the terrorists had taken his body and, with no Special Operations Forces hot on their trail, taunted America the next day — claiming the ambassador was still alive — the Benghazi tragedy would have escalated into an international disaster.

Why did the National Security Council watch passively for seven hours while our ambassador and three other Americans died?

— A former assistant secretary of defense, Bing West is co-author of Into the Fire: a Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle of the Afghanistan War

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Eodghost · 7 years ago
    Sadly it's a different administration, and an incompetent one at that.
    A pair of F-18s should have been sent screaming into Libya with their middle fingers outstretched.

    If they can't protect our people, then we violate their airspace and do the job. End of story

    This administration fail to protect them, then lies about the attack.

    My Absentee Ballot has already been cast, please Vote and change out this regime.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Neatie Hillman · 7 years ago
    And the buck still hasn't landed on anyone's desk...Makes you wonder what happened to leadership. God help our men serving in foreign countries. They sure won't get any backup from D.C..
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Sun Tzu · 7 years ago
      [quote name="Neatie Hillman"] God help our *men* serving in foreign countries. They sure won't get any backup from D.C..[/quote]

      And women, please

      Lets not forget how many young women have been KIA and injured in the ME FUBAR, more that any other time in our history :sad:

      MMMMKAAY!
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Sun Tzu · 7 years ago
        I'd like to know who are the jerkoffs that are putting negatives on this comment

        Are U coward clickers, haters of women, or just haters of women being in the military or both :-?

        Cowards too afraid to speak their mind on the truth and facts, just click the negative button in asinine self righteous indignation :eek:

        How disgusting that we have such misogynistic jerks hanging around here :-?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      glissmeister · 7 years ago
      The elephant in the room? They were all following standing orders; orders ultimately dictated by 'he who shakes hands like a dead fish.'

      Which means the decision to deny or refuse to release that fateful night was likely made or determinatively advised by Valerie Jarrett, as she was most likely the only 'most senior trusted authority' presiding in watchful defense of the President's political interests as he and Biden campaigned.



      So. Which is it? 



      Were the "GO" or the "NO GO" orders already in place? 



      Or were they changed specifically for this 9/11 meeting? 



      Or were they changed specifically for the Libyan theater to placate rumored demands by EU superiors for the US to reduce its military profile in Libya?



      Or were they changed opportunistically as events unfolded to deny Ambassador Stevens and his detail emergency rescue interdiction?



      Was it the dead fish or the mullet queen? Or both?
      • This commment is unpublished.
        RVN SF VET · 7 years ago
        What it is is that there were no troops to send - period. By thye time troops were moved forward, it would have been too late to do any good. The distances from appropriate troops to Benghazi were just too great. For 9/11 in the ME, we should have moved elements closer to our embassies in the ME. That would have been a EUCOM, CENTCOM, AFRICOM decision that they failed to make. Once they went over the outer wall in Xairo, we should have been leaning forward.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      lancepharmd · 7 years ago
      Because, at the Commander-of-Chiefs said, "The buck stops with you."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SgtStriker · 7 years ago
    When all representatives of other countries and the Red Cross bail out because the situation is too dangerous, why would representatives of the country known as the "Great Satan" be so naive as to think that they will be fine and not at least bolster security?
    All personnel involved in this failure should be in either the unemployment line or prison.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Cynthia Belisle · 7 years ago
      [quote name="SgtStriker"]When all representatives of other countries and the Red Cross bail out because the situation is too dangerous, why would representatives of the country known as the "Great Satan" be so naive as to think that they will be fine and not at least bolster security?
      All personnel involved in this failure should be in either the unemployment line or prison.[/quote]

      I vote for prison for all.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sun Tzu · 7 years ago
    like an American who is exasperated seeing the complete and utter incompetence of the lying filth and cowardly human trash that is currently occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and the State Dept.

    The Obomination is a disgrace to our national pride and an incompetent jackanapes of the highest order when it comes to fulfilling the duties of the CIC.

    Comparing IT to a pile of shite would be an insult to all piles of shite in the world

    It has surrounded itself with liars, communists, socialists, America haters, and traitors!

    We as Americans must no longer tolerate this defiler of our American heritage and seek to oust this trash before it really causes more harm.

    Impeachment is not good enough for this half-white Benedict Arnold!! A very long prison sentence @ Ft. Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary would be more appropriate for this traitor!!

    IT does not deserve to be called POTUS :-x
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ironargonaut · 7 years ago
    I have a Libyan friend in the states and he told me it wasn't a protest way before the President or the American media did. The Libyans liked our emabassador, and would not have cared if we sent in the fighters or commandos. As long as we didn't kill the good guys who were also dying to defend our people. 10+ Libyans died defending our people. Unfortunately you don't hear that in our media. The Islamic radicals lost in the elections, you don't hear that either.
    Because he was well like is why Al-queada targeted him.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Travis · 7 years ago
    The lack of action taken by our "Commander and Cheif" is un-acceptable!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Travis · 7 years ago
      sorry "chief"
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Sun Tzu · 7 years ago
      [quote name="Travis"]The lack of action taken by our "Commander and Cheif" is un-acceptable![/quote]

      I say, "Communist in Thief"!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Toaster · 7 years ago
    While I agree that the current administration's foreign policy is incredibly naive and counter productive (i.e. wrong/bad), I would like to see an account from a source other than the National Review. Seriously Michael, you are better than the National Review. What's next, Mother Jones? ;-)
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Sun Tzu · 7 years ago
      [quote name="Toaster"]While I agree that the current administration's foreign policy is incredibly naive and counter productive (i.e. wrong/bad), I would like to see an account from a source other than the National Review. Seriously Michael, you are better than the National Review. What's next, Mother Jones? ;-)[/quote]

      Did you even take the time too see WHO Bing West is, what he has accomplished and what he has written :-?

      Are even aware that MEJ is an anti American communist rag and rant sewer pit, that tacitly supports terrorists and other America haters :-?

      While NRO is a truthful, incisive, conservative publication whose authors and contributors make the MEJ kooks look like a bunch spoiled brat high schoolers pitching a fit because their Mommas pushed them off the teat :-?

      Michael should be proud to quote anything from NRO and I am happy he does 8)

      SHALOM
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Toaster · 7 years ago
        If you would pause your ranting and read you would notice that I am patently aware that both periodicals are chock full of extremist rhetoric and was not endorsing either.
        • This commment is unpublished.
          Sun Tzu · 7 years ago
          [quote name="Toaster"]If you would pause your ranting and read you would notice that I am patently aware that both periodicals are chock full of extremist rhetoric and was not endorsing either.[/quote]

          Just what "extremist rhetoric" are U referring to in the National Review :-?

          Since when has telling the truth about the Communist/socialist cretins currently trying turn our great country into a turd world shite hole become, "extremist rhetoric" :-?

          The NRO has more and learned men and women contributors on board than any left wing Demoncratic socialist rag on the planet, which are generally chock full of left wing celebrities, left wing university agitprop professors and all the fawning followers of Saul Alinsky, Fabian Socialism, plus the sycophants of murders like Che and Castro!

          Get a clue burnt toaster and wake up, YO

          BTW you need to look up the definition of 'rant', you show your ignorance by applying it so vapidly to me 8)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ken · 7 years ago
    Hindsight is 20/20, Monday morning quarterbacking may commence.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Sun Tzu · 7 years ago
      [quote name="Ken"]Hindsight is 20/20, Monday morning quarterbacking may commence.[/quote]

      There is no MM QB here sir :-?

      That is patently irresponsible sarcasm that is totally uncalled for and despicable

      We should have had the IRT's that where pulled out of Libya by the Communist trash running the DOS!

      We should have had all the security Mr West outlined in place and to not do so is criminal :eek:

      There is NO MM QB here, only the facts of an irresponsible traitorous lying administration that is occupied by America haters and radical murdering Muslim sympathizers :sad:

      We have no HOPE for CHANGE while the current trash is defiling the office of POTUS and the DOS
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cynthia Belisle · 7 years ago
    I cannot wipe from my mind's eye the vision of those brave Americans standing strong against the onslaught. My heart breaks for them and their families with the knowledge that they fought on and on with the thought of "when will they come help us?" only to realize that they had been abandoned. For that one act, this administration is forever damned to hell in my eyes. I cannot pardon or excuse this lack of leadership and human compassion. How dare they abdicate their responsibility to the citizens and fighting forces!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    TheOldMan · 7 years ago
    Actually sending out forces would require a decision and there is always the possibility that something will go wrong. Of course four Americans dying is already something wrong but that did not require a direct decision by the POTUS. Which do you think makes bigger headlines: Four Americans killed in Benghazi (where? huh?, snooze...) vs 47 innocent Libyan lambs of peace killed by evil American airships and commandos (oh the humanity!)?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    QM1 · 7 years ago
    Improvements in command and control. Forces nearby, perhaps on the sea sat on their hands when in the past perhaps, in receipt of signal and request for help, absent orders a commander of a fast ship may have made a decision and rendered aid. It might not have made a difference but it would have been right. No way with modern technology would a captain or commander risk ridicule, court martial or any mistake in responding on his own, not in the age of the strategic corporal. Though if he did, he might be the election write in landslide winner.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Heath · 7 years ago
    Vote Obama out of office in 2 weeks this November.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Sun Tzu · 7 years ago
      [quote name="Heath"]Vote Obama out of office in 2 weeks this November. :o[/quote]
      Just curious Heath 8)

      How does a "photon challenged" voter, vote :-*

      SHALOM
  • This commment is unpublished.
    RVN SF VET · 7 years ago
    People writing comments really ought to read Bing West's article. The "facts" differ from story to story. There was a drone, we just put up a drone. 8 security personnel flew to Benghazi from Tripoli on a plans or on a helicopter. Mr. West says there were 6 Americans with 16 !Afghan! security personnel on a plane to Benghazi. The Libyan commando Captain who met them at the airport said he picked-up 8 Americans wearing USMC utilities. Our 2 ex-SEALs were killed by the 6 round mortar barrage near the Annex's front gate or on the Annex roof by 1 or 2 additional rounds. The Libyan Captain says 1 guy was blown off the roof, landed on him, and injured while he was dragging a wounded American guard to cover. American security personnel were wounded and hospitalized and 1 remains in the hospital.There is a strong possibility that another American guard was killed by the mortar attack, but we do not report contractor casualties!

    Bing West is a Vietnam era Marine with significant combat experience followed by significant experience in the Pentagon. The guy has humped a ruck with Marines in Afghanistan at age 72! Read his books.

    Having said that, Bing West is the only person saying that there are F-18s or SOF personnel at Sigonella. NAS Rota Spain has a USMC FAST Company permanently stationed there and they could have moved quickly but didn't. Any troops would have arrived too late to help at compound one.

    We had no consulate in Benghazi! We had a rented villa largely used by the CIA. Why the Ambassador chose to visit on 9/11 leaves me dumbfounded. Everybody should have been granted paid leave and dispersed. The compound was not defensible by anything other than a reinforced Infantry platoon - look at the aerials.

    The intelligence was messed-up and the report by the CIA Tripoli Chief of Station was put in a stack to be evaluated in light of other sources. He nailed it and said it was an opportunistic, but preplanned attack. To anyone with combat arms training, the accuracy of the first mortar rounds gave it away. Also, the feint at the front gate followed by a 3-pronged attack from the other sides was not amateur night. It was amateur night at the NSC and at the Directorate of National intelligence.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      ChevalierdeJohnstone · 7 years ago
      Thank you for a very insightful comment. I wonder, were there really Afghani security personnel in Tripoli, or is that a typo? If there were that is astonishing. What's next, bringing back the Tuareg?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      RVN SF VET · 7 years ago
      Bing West was referring to a EUCOM unit dispatched to Sigonella too late to do anything. So he was right about the unit, but it would have made zero difference unless the embassy was later attacked.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Frank · 7 years ago
    If this Jackass Administration doesn't care about 4 Americans what do you think will happen with the entire USA?

    I hate to think or even mumble the "Conspiracy". Yet this information never makes it to the Nightly News. Another Presidential Executive Order taking over the networks and airways?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rudy · 7 years ago
    R u unaware of two SEALs who rescued 18 Con civilians and who died after fighting those f$&kers for 2.5 hrs???
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gene · 7 years ago
    Everyday there is more coming out about this. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/26/cia-operators-were-denied-request-for-help-during-benghazi-attack-sources-say/
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mitch · 7 years ago
    http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/10/26/ac-130u-gunship-was-on-scene-in-benghazi-obama-admin-refused-to-let-it-fire/

    According to this we had assets in the air with a firing solution and were denied permission to engage. If true, someone needs to go to jail.. or worse.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Gene · 7 years ago
      The operator painting the mortar team would have been using a AN/PED-1, which the news media probably has no clue about. When they say "laser" civilians think laser pointer for powerpoint presentations, not a coded military LLDR. This gives the lie to statements about not having assets available.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    RogerDane · 7 years ago
    Several cogent commentaries here and many with good military experience. I've read several of West's good books. He is an experienced source. I see others belittling him, ad hominem is always a poor sign.
    Now a few days to election and this issue is still not being sufficiently picked up by the media. The imposter sitting at 1600 has not the slightest concerns about "valid" issues, or issues of Americans living or dying, or even working, supporting a family. Research his background and you find a man who's goal is to destroy America from within, cripple it financially, weaken it unto death militarily and create a "Romanov" like class conflict.
    Vietnam was lost not because we lost battles and not because 'we should not have been there' (oh, that will get a response) but because America never woke up to the 'style' of warfare being conducted against it, successfully ultimately. Psychologically and philosophically to the doom of our effort and the death of millions as the Domino effect proved pretty valid. Obama is getting away with his plans because most Americans don't realize our "enemy is at 1600 Pennsylvania" and his HCM trail winds throughout his cabinet and in the Congress. On Nov 6th we must 'cut off the head' and get rid of the remaining. Will that happen?

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