Skip to comments.Behind crisis in Benghazi, a lack of firepower
Posted on 11/05/2012 12:20:11 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
As Americans fought for their lives in Benghazi, Libya, the Pentagons options for direct intervention were narrowed to one: a fleet of F-16 fighters parked across the Mediterranean at NATO's air base in Aviano, Italy.
How the best military in the world came to having only one real choice in a terrorist attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. citizens is the story of an ill-equipped commander.
U.S. Africa Command, which oversees military options in North Africa, had no access to AC-130 gunships or to armed drones, such as the Predator, that could have killed the attackers from the air.
The command also lacked ground forces and had to look to others for help. Two quick-reaction special operations units one from central Europe, the other from the United States would arrive in Sicily, but it was too late for insertion into Benghazis chaotic streets on the evening of Sept. 11 when the attack erupted. The siege by militants at the U.S. Consulate and a CIA base ended hours before the morning of Sept. 12.
..............But on Sept. 11, AfriCom was still a command in paper only, as one former Bush administration official put it.
The military source told The Times, AfriCom has very few assigned forces.
Gen. Ham lacked what is called a commander in-extremis force, which other combatant forces have set up to respond to crises such as Benghazi. He also lacked the assets to assemble a generic quick-reaction force..........
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
Obama: A Man Without a Conscience "......................................................Damning as all of that is, however, it is less soul-revealing than his subsequent video protest cover story. During the second presidential debate, when Mitt Romney challenged him on Benghazi and the lies, Obama went into his carefully memorized diatribe about his response to the attack, staring Romney down indignantly all the while. He also said this:
As soon as we found out the Benghazi consulate was being overrun, I was on the phone with my national security team, and I gave them three instructions: Number one, beef up our security and procedures, not just in Libya, but in every embassy and consulate in the region. Number two, investigate exactly what happened, regardless of where the facts lead us. ... And number three, we are going to find out who did this and we are going to hunt them down.
As I noted at the time, the grammar in the first sentence is an acknowledgment that he was aware of the events while they were happening, and yet his "three instructions" are absurd as a response to an ongoing attack.
Interestingly, he used those same practiced talking points again last week.
The minute I found out what was going on, I gave three very clear directives: number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to; number two, we're going to investigate exactly what happened and make sure it doesn't happen again; number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.
Between these two recitations, we learned that the administration knew more than enough about "what was going on," while it was going on. But this did not stop Obama from continuing to press his absurd talking points. While his embassy staff and security people in Libya were being attacked, burned out, asphyxiated, sodomized, murdered, he was, he claims, giving abstract instructions about "securing our personnel" and investigating "exactly what happened."
And in the weeks between his live updates on this atrocity, and his proud account of his complete lack of specific orders to do something, he went to the Rose Garden to say this:..............."
This article is all a load of malarkey. The QRF was relocated to Sigonella in plenty of time to get to Benghazi and make a difference. I don’t believe that there was no air support available either.
Regardless of which candidate wins, the American people deserve answers to the many unanswered questions about the attackand the events that preceded and followed it. The Benghazi debacle is a drama in three parts: the lack of security before the attacks, the flaccid response during the attacks, and the misleading narrative after the attacks. There are unanswered questions about each part. Here are some of the most important.
Before the attack, a wide array of U.S. officials provided stark warnings about inadequate security in Benghazi. They include Eric Nordstrom, former regional security officer for the State Department in Libya; Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, a site security commander in Libya from February to August 2012; the unknown author of letters dated the day of the attack and found on the consulate floor; and, of course, the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself. Why didnt they receive the assistance they requested?
During the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden claimed: We werent told they wanted more security there. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor later clarified that Biden was speaking for himself and the president. In fact, an August 16 State Department cable summarizing an emergency meeting at the U.S. mission in Benghazi was circulated to White House and NSC officials just three weeks before the attack. It reported that the regional security officer expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support and the overall size of the compound. Does the administration maintain that no one at the White House or NSC was aware of these urgent requests?
Several officials with responsibility for security in -Benghazi spoke of a normalization directive that included a conscious effort to reduce the security posture at the consulate. Who proposed normalization and who issued the directive to reduce security?
Citing sources on the ground in Benghazi, Fox News reported that Tyrone Woods was painting mortar sites with a laser from his rooftop position shortly before he was killed. A subsequent CIA timeline provided to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius contradicts this, saying that the rooftop defenders never laser the mortars, as has been reported. Can the CIA make this claim with certainty? If Woods was painting the mortar sites as eyewitnesses claim, presumably at considerable personal risk, why was he doing so? Did he have reason to believe that reinforcements were coming?
President Obama says that he gave three very clear directives. They were: Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, were going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesnt happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. To whom was the first of those directives transmitted and when?
A CIA statement claims that no one in the CIA chain of command denied requests for help. A statement from NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor claims no one at the White House denied requests for assistance. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that the military did not have real-time information to act on. Did military officials not communicate with top State Department officials such as Charlene Lamb, who testified under oath that she and others were following the attack in real time from their post at the State -Department? Was President Obama aware of requests for assistance from the men under attack in Benghazi? Panetta also said: You dont deploy forces into harms way without knowing whats going on. Does this statement imply that there were requests for help from the field that senior defense officials judged it imprudent to act on? In any case, isnt going into harms way without complete information precisely the job of our most highly trained military personnel? Does the president agree with Panetta? Doesnt announcing that the U.S. military needs perfect intelligence before engaging an enemy encourage similar attacks in the future?
State Department officials in Washington followed the attacks as they happened and knew instantly, in the words of Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy, that the assault in Benghazi was an unprecedented attack by dozens of heavily armed men. A CIA timeline provided to reporters late last week notes that at 1:15 a.m. on the night of the attack, less than five hours after it began, CIA -officials attempting to rescue Ambassador Stevens reported that terrorists from Ansar al Sharia had surrounded the hospital in Benghazi. On September 12, the day after the attack, the CIA station chief in Libya cabled Washington to report that the assault had been a terrorist attack. By September 13, the FBI was interviewing CIA officials who were on the ground in -Benghazi, several of whom described a sophisticated terrorist attack on the compound.
Yet when CIA director David Petraeus briefed members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on September 14, he suggested that the attack was triggered by a YouTube video. Two days later, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice made the same claim about the video on political talk shows. Two days after that, President Obama blamed the video in an interview with David Letterman. And a week after that, the president cited the video six times in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly. Why all the misleading information from senior administration officials?
While President Obama and other administration officials misleadingly tied the attack in Benghazi to an anti-Islam film, they have been reluctant to discuss al Qaedas very real ties to the assault. We know that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a terrorist organization that has sworn loyalty to al Qaedas senior leadership, was involved. So was Ansar al Sharia, which has al Qaeda ties. CNN has reported that members of Al Qaeda in Iraq, another terrorist organization that has sworn loyalty to Ayman al Zawahiri, are suspected of taking part in the attack. And then there is a terrorist named Mohammed Jamal, an Egyptian with longstanding ties to Zawahiri, whose fighters, according to multiple reports, assaulted the compound. Instead of a spontaneous attack that grew out of a protest, the assault on the U.S. consulate was carried out by a consortium of al Qaeda allies. To date, the administration has not identified the terrorists responsible for killing four Americans. When will the administration present the American people with an accurate description of the terrorists responsible, including their al Qaeda ties?
Whether Barack Obama remains president or not, he owes the American people a full accounting of the Benghazi fiasco." [end]
I can’t vouch for any of the information in the article. However, it does seem plausible that our defenses in the entire area are as anemic as they are in Benghazi (neglected and requests for more ignored). This reality would explain Obama’s statement, “Number one, beef up our security and procedures, not just in Libya, but in every embassy and consulate in the region...” [trying to close the barn door after the fact, and in the face of 4 dead Americans]. And his and his administrations need for a cooling off period — thus the concocted lie about an Internet video.
It is true that we had no carrier group in the Mediterranean on Sept. 11th. Or even now AFAIK.
I am sure I read that 2 C-130’s were actually assigned to Libya.
And this, in the face of indisputable facts [it is (was) no secret] that “al-Qaeda” — in all its Islamic terrorist manifestations under that umbrella name — are training, spreading out and building strength; much of it due to “Arab Spring.”
This would explain why Ambassador Stevens believed that the CIA annex and its resources would be their “cavalry” — it was all there was. And why he was alarmed about being overrun by a coordinated attack. He knew what was coming and he knew they weren’t prepared. And the administration knew it too - and have repeatedly, and very publicly, lied about it.
I agree, there was TONS of support available, this was a decision to not go in for political reasons. From what I’ve been hearing it was because there were Al Qaeda ambush teams waiting for the rescue response to cause another Blackhawk down situation and POTUS probably decided it wasn’t worth the risk to his re-election hopes. That makes the most sense and explains Panetta’s moronic “we don’t go in unless we have more intel” statement.
So here it is in a nutshell:
In the four years after being established to fight growing terrorism and al qaeda in Africa, AfriCom has no quick response forces or urban warfare capabilities.
Way to go Pentagon and obama!
Yeah. Find it odd that the Times and Scarborough would spout the regime’s line.
This is hardly the regime's line.
The Obama Administration's leveling of the global power "playing field."
Even if this story is factually inaccurate on when the “national response force” became available for use in Benghazi, it hardly rebounds to the administration’s credit. Either they were cowards afraid to deploy the forces into combat or they were incompetents who put our assets in Libya in danger through gross negligence and dereliction of duty. So “spouting the regime’s line” or not, the story documents the complete and utter collapse of the administration’s foreign policy.
Agreed. Rowan’s story would indicate that Obama couldn’t help when the truth is he wouldn’t help. Is a long term policy failure worse than a shortterm policy failure? Not if there was a decision to disallow a rescue that night.
While terrorist organizations are left to multiply and attack, Americans will dutifully toss away personal items, take off their shoes and belts, funnel into long rope lines - their identification in hand, waiting to be groped and x-rayed, just to get home for the holidays.
And he wants to reduce the military more???????
A lot more.
Bill Clinton: United States military now less racist, less sexist, less homophobic "Campaigning in Virginia on Saturday, former President Bill Clinton praised President Obama for bringing the country together and promoting diversity as commander in chief......."
Mumbling gneralities about "give them all the support we can blablah" doesn't mean squat without CBA being granted.
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