Skip to comments.Why did Obama choose to “stand down” in Benghazi? (Best explanation of motive I've read.)
Posted on 10/28/2012 8:11:58 AM PDT by StandAndDeliver1
As John and Scott point out, the CIA has issued a statement making it clear that no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need [in Benghazi]; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. That statement surely was issued with the approval, and presumably at the direction, of the CIAs director, General Petraeus.
Who, then, made the several decisions denying help to the Americans in Benghazi who needed it? Who, initially, told CIA to stand down in face of the attack? Who decided that American defense forces an hour or two away in Southern Europe would not be deployed?
Bill Kristol argues that, at least with respect to not sending in the military, the decision must have been made by President Obama. Given what was at stake the safety of Americans, including an ambassador, in the face of an attack by hostile forces Kristol surely is right. It is inconceivable that none of the key actors Secretary of Defense Panetta, Secretary of State Clinton, and General Petraeus failed to present to Obama the decision of how to respond. And if Obama failed to make a decision, that would be more damning than making the wrong one.
Kristol goes on to ask: When and whyand based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversationsdid President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?
The key question is why.
Leon Panetta has provided an answer. He says the basic principle is that you dont deploy forces into harms way without knowing whats going on, without having some real-time information about whats taking place. At one level, this answer doesnt work. He and the others involved did know the essence of what was going on, and they did have real time information.
At another level, Panettas statement provides a window into the thinking at the White House that day. Although the administration knew, in general, what was going on, there was much uncertainly in Benghazi. We didnt know for sure what the outcome of the attack on our personnel would be; we didnt know whether military forces, if deployed, would have succeeded in saving them; we didnt know how many of our rescuers would have been killed; and we didnt know (as far as I can tell) what Libyas reaction to the use of large-scale use of American military force would be.
Faced with uncertainty, Obama apparently opted for caution, hoping that somehow the CIA contingent from Tripoli, aided perhaps by Libyan forces, would save the situation.
This is just the decision one would expect from Obama. By temperament, he is a non-interventionist and (except when pet domestic policies are in play) a non-risk taker. He was highly cognizant of the consequences of a failed U.S. military operation in Libya, including, I suspect, the electoral consequences in an election that he believed on September 11 he was winning fairly handily.
Lets also remember that, although Obama decided to approve the raid that killed bin Laden, his team apparently considered this (and his campaign has promoted it as) a difficult decision. Bill Clinton and Joe Biden praise Obamas alleged courage on this occasion, pointing to the adverse consequences to Obama of a failed mission against bin Laden.
If the decision to kill an unsuspecting and poorly defended bin Laden Americas enemy number 1 for a decade was difficult for the Obama administration to make, then the odds were always against a decision to fly our military blind into harms way in Benghazi in response to situation whose precise contours werent well known. Obamas decision not to intervene was likely less about the fog of war than about fear of the fog of war.
In hindsight, Obama made the wrong decision. The extent to which he should be criticized for the decision is difficult to assess because we dont know all of the information he had at the time the decision had to be made. Perhaps the decision was a reasonable one to make at that time. But lets keep in mind that our inability to assess this is due mainly to the administrations unwillingness to speak about the decision and the surrounding events.
Voters, then, must assess the administrations handling of Benghazi with limited information. But we do know this: (1) the administration erred grievously by leaving open our mission in Benghazi while turning down requests for more security, (2) the administration made the wrong decision on the day of the attack by not bringing our military to bear, a decision consistent with Obamas instincts, and (3) the administration has not been forthcoming or honest in its discussion of Benghazi after the fact.
These facts, without more, present a serious indictment of Obama.
So if this is true, wouldn't it be wise to err on the side of caution and have the rescue ready to go? Or, better still, when the consulate was requesting additional security , give it to them. If it turns out it wasn't needed fine, but if it was needed it would be there. The next point, why the song and dance about the youtube video? Why the apology film given to the afghans? Why is some guy still sitting in jail for "insulting the prophet of islam"?
Sorry, too many questions remain not only unanswered but unasked by the media. We all know that if this had happened on Bush's watch in '08 it would have been a huge campaign issue.
More BS. If not, then why was the Ambassador still there? The British and the Canadians were smart enough to pull out there people when confronted with intelligence stating a threat.
The call was placed. No one answered.
He left them to die.
My thought exactly! This is BS.
I don't remember where I heard it, but not long after the attack I heard that there were 65 Marines on a US naval vessel just off the Libyan coast who could have been flown into Benghazi (sp?) by helicopters in time to save the men in our embassy. 65 US Marine fighting men vs a gang of poorly trained muzzies would have been similar to a turkey shoot with live turkeys.
Obama should be impeached for his actions, no, make that his INaction, during that span of time when those 4 far better men than him could very likely have been rescued. IMHO mere impeachment would be too little punishment for him in this situation, conviction and possibly even imprisonment would be more appropriate.
I know that would never ever happen, but I can dream can't I? Lord, how I despise that excuse for a man!
As a side question, does anyone know why Valerie Jarrett is entitled to secret service protection?
As a side question, does anyone know why Valerie Jarrett is entitled to secret service protection?
Exactly- what was Pakistans reaction to our Seals going in and getting Bin Ladin without notifying them first? Did we care? No- we just did it. However, there was major hand wringing over what the Lybian government would think, do, etc. Most Powerful military in the world, with state of the art technology yet Panetta says we couldn’t be sure what was going in. Really?
Recall what Clinton said of Obama on the decision to kill OBL
....Look, he knew what would happen. Suppose the Navy SEALs had gone in there and it hadn’t been bin Laden. Suppose they had been captured or killed, the downside would have been horrible for him.
Horrible for Obama, so close to an election!!!
Are you kidding me!!!
Indeed. History is littered with leaders who would have given their firstborn to have the intel capabilities of the modern American President, but who acted, in their time, nonetheless.
The procedures our SpecOps, Navy, Air Force and Army have set up to rescue endangered Embassy personnel has been around for decades.
Our military was ready and waiting for their authorization from our Faux POTUS, which never came.
One of our own and a Seal Officer, Travis Mcgee, explains the protocols that have been established for decades.
Obozo refused to pull the pin and authorize the rescue. He went to bed to prepare for a hard trip to Vegas.
Then he and his evil minions lied and good Americans died.
Below is Travis’s explanation of how this stuff works unless the POTUS doesn’t authorize the final actions.
Now I was only a LT for 5 years active duty in NavSpecWar, but it was imprinted deeply upon my brain that ONLY the PUTUS can give cross-border permission. Probably a million living ex-military officers know this like they know 2+2=4. This Benghazi fiasco is Obamas baby 100% and there is no way for him to wiggle out.
The system is designed to ENSURE that when a crisis is happening, (and a missing ambassador with a consulate under attack is Crisis Level Infinity), and military assets are already charging in to the rescue, the president must be in the loop to grant the the cross-border authorization. Nobdy else can do this. This one formality must be followed, just put your intitials here, Mr. President, for history, so to speak. Boiler plate, but it must be done.
(Can you imagine Reagan or either Bush saying No. Cross border permission not granted. Stop the rescue. Stand down.)
The POTUS has to tell the Sec. State and JCS, Yes, do it, execute the rescue, cross the borders. Then it WILL happen, without delay, since the military is already on the way, flying in from all directions toward Benghazi.
But if POTUS says at 5pm DC time, No military action, no cross border, and then he becomes unavailable, then his last standing order stands until he changes it. So if he went to bed, for example, nobody could change his standing orders.
I imagine that a lot of extreme military, CIA and State Dept. craziness was going down while Obama was sleeping. Aircraft must be told proceed, or return to base, or they fall from the sky. I imagine many HEATED arguments around the globe on phone, text and email, subject, Well wake the damn president up! Followed by, I cant! You MUST stand down the mission!
Just imagine dozens of inbound planes, jets and helos. Ships moving at full speed into position to be lilypads for long-range over-water helo refueling. Airborne refueling tankers all head to the area. Its a complicated ballet. The Pentagon is wide awake, the military is on full alert. The rescue is in process, from the first minutes after the alarm.
Everybody in all the planes and involved HQs knows how many minutes/miles to the Libyan border, Benghazi, and their bingo fuel moment, when they must turn around or run dry and crash. Ships can loiter, but planes fall from the sky.
So you can imagine why General Ham of Africom was relieved for refusing to stand down. He probably KNEW Obama was unavailable, and was screaming over the phone, Well, wake him up, dammit!!
Planes and jets and helicopters and ships and commando teams are zooming all around the central Med, keying in on Benghazi
And in that environment, OBAMA WAS ASLEEP AND UNREACHABLE!!!!! Resting up for Las Vegas! With a MISSING AMBASSADOR, in Al-Queadatown!
Anybody not furious is a vegetable.
And I know there is a vast number of repubs that would gladly return the favor.
I am surprised that so many so called Liberal lawyers are stepping up to defend the ‘scapegoat” being held until after the electin. “Sarcasm”.....
The media threw everything they had into getting Obama elected and destroying the Republican party. They destroyed a good black man, Alan Keyes, to bring this black, Democrat grifter into a position where he could really steal some money. Ooohhhhh the headaches this morning from the hangovers the liberal media has from trying to drink away the realization that they’ve been played like cheap harmonicas by the Democrats. Their heroes Obama and Hillary are incompetent grifters. Their heroes are so incompetent that Americans are getting killed. Their heroes are cowards. Oh God, the Republicans were right! What a day!
I cant prove it but when President Berkeley starts acting all Patton-like with the decision to get bin Laden., I smell a rat. The fix was in and the Pakistanis pulled back the security detail.
I think Ill go watch Black Hawk Down.
And let’s not forger 55 DAYS AT PEKING. Different outcome.
To what extent were decisions influenced by the “Blackhawk Down” disaster which was like the worst possible tar baby scenario. If you haven’t seen the movie watch it to see just how badly a situation can deteriorate with inadequate information. Incidentally, I have a son in Afghanistan and think about this stuff a lot.
The TRUTH will come out!
Obama pounded the table and declared:
We will NOT inject American forces into another mid-East country and create the impression were involved in a civil war!
From there, the team set about blaming a video trailer.
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: Sir, Custer was a pussy. You ain't.
From the Movie “We were Soldiers Once and Young”
I would like to have the janitor contract for CNN and ABC and NBC and CBS and the New York Times and the LA Times because their heads must be exploding as they come to the realization that this is way worse than Watergate and way worse than Iran Contra and it’s their team that’s done it! Oh, wait until the money side of this comes out and we find Obama’s and Hillary’s and the Democrat party’s sticky little fingers all over the cash that’s behind this! We didn’t have any clue that the Democrats were like this, well, except for Nobel Prize winner Al Gore wandering around that Buddhist monastery with all that Chinese cash. Oh media! You are sooooo guilty!
Naw, being the gutless coward he is, he would have just blamed it on everyone else involved and the media would have dutifully backed him up.
Zero only takes credit for successes, failures are blamed on GWB.
Exactly right, the man, and I only use that term to differentiate him from the opposite gender, is despicable.
Words fail me to describe the utter revulsion and lack of respect I have for this sorry excuse for a Commander in Chief of US armed forces. No other president in US history would have failed those 4 brave American heroes the way this self-serving CinC did.
And no, his skin color doesn't matter to me at all, I'm a southernor by birth but I got over that un-Christian nonsense many decades ago. It's his actions and in-actions as US Chief Executive and CinC of our armed services that matter to me, and should matter to every American voter on Nov 6.
Mr. Panetta should be edified or reminded that many times you have to put boots on the ground to develop the intelligence picture.
It’s called “reconnaissance” and all infantry and spec ops types are trained extensively in it.
Again, this is inexcusable from the POTUS.
Well, we know the movie will be a tearjerker.
I can give you a fairly accurate guess about the outcome when the security of the compound are armed only with flashlights and billy clubs while the aggressors were armed well and willing to use it.
Maybe Valerie Jarrett told him not to send help.
If you were Admiral Ham, aboard the Stennis I believe, you are removed and replaced, pending investigation. He thought, in opposition to C in C, that assistance of personnel in Benghazi, was warranted.
Looks like his career may be over.
My explanation is better: ZerO didn’t want Arab blood on his hands; preferred to let our guys die. He’s on Brotherhood’s side. Wake up America!
Friend of yours?
SEAL’s were sent to kill Osama...(former) SEAL’s were on the ground giving intel in Benghazi. These SEAL’s were elite, “trained” military working for the CIA, how can they expect us to believe they didn’t have “on the ground” intel?!
We should note here that Obama, via intermediaries, delayed the decision to go get Bin Laden twice. Likely delayed until what was at risk was a scandal if he didn’t act and the risk opportunity might be squandered. But, the longer the delay the closer to election.
Majorly--he failed to mention Obama would do ANYTHING to keep from offending Muslims in general and the Muslim Bro'hood in particular.
I really think Kristol, along with many RINOS just doesn't get the whole picture in real time.
the key actors Secretary of Defense Panetta, Secretary of State Clinton, and General Petraeus.
The author misses the most important key actor... Valerie Jarrett. I think her role in this has been totally hidden from public view.
Very powerful. Very insightful. Very agonizing to see.
Obama and administration should get copies of it, shouldn't they?
I think I will send it to my representations, etc. Maybe they can show it to the right people - like the investigative committee.
That would be General Carter Ham of Africom who was relieved of his duties 30 seconds after ignoring his order to stand down on the afternoon of 9/11. Good story today in American Thinker showing the chain of command.
Tony Schaffer says his sources tell him Obama *was* in the situation room during the whole debacle. I’ll trust him over anything in any adminstration since Reagan.
Nowhere to run, folks. Nowhere.
Stevens was meant to die. Why, we can only guess. There are basically two possibilities.
Great Netflix movie we saw the other night “Act of Valor”-
Instant watch, released 2012. One of the finest military movies I’ve ever seen.
Very thoughtful post. Thanks.
“The author misses the most important key actor... Valerie Jarrett. I think her role in this has been totally hidden from public view.”
BINGO! IMO, She is the ENGINE powering the train!
There's also the theory that he was meant to be taken hostage, so that Obama could look presidential negotiating a deal to get them released, but it all went sideways when the contingent from Tripoli launched that rescue attempt against orders.
The best theory that I saw was developed from material that I saw on the Canada Free Press website. Keep in mind as you read this that I have seen no direct supporting evidence for this theory, but I do believe that it makes sense.
After Eric Holder was held in contempt of congress for Fast and Furious on June 28, 2012 it became clear to the White House that the Mexican gun-running scandal was not going away. The White House had been supplying massive amounts of weaponry to al-Qaeda from Qaddafi’s stores of weapons, and sent Ambassador Stevens to Benghazi to negotiate for the return of some of it and supervise the shipment of more of it to al-Qaeda in Syria, in collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned government in Turkey.
Because Amb. Stevens knew so much about the program, Obama and his most inner circle decided that he had to be eliminated. Therefore, they first had an informer (originally called Sam Bacile) post the Muhammad video in early July), and then used this video as a diversion to conceal their plan to assassinate the ambassador.
On September 11, the President and the CIA sent Ambassador Stevens back to the mission (not a “consulate”) in Benghzai, with no protection, assuming (or knowing) that he would be attacked and murdered, and his secrets would die with him.
Then, Obama, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Jay Carney blamed the video, which first was attributed to 100 Jews led by an Israeli-American and ultimately was attributed to a Coptic Egyptian-American.
Ultimately, too many people were involved in the events of September 11, 2012 for the betrayal of Ambassador Stevens to stay hidden, as Obama intended. First, the two Navy Seals defied orders and went to protect the Ambassador. In addition, the senior Navy person sought permission to intervene. In addition, the attack was being broadcast in many locations (I saw that it could have been as many as 15), and many people were outraged that nothing more was done.
In short, the President of the United States collaborated in the scripted assassination of the US Ambassador to Libya as a way to eliminate the one witness who knew the most about Obama’s secret program to send armaments to al-Qaeda from Libya. He hoped to divert attention to the set-up of the Muhammad film, and that failed because too many people who really care were outraged.
She is the president's brain.
No. AQ doesn’t play sofball when they’re on a roll.
They prefer to select and take their own hostages in quick grab and runs, then play the media game. Play along with an enemy they won’t do, because if you try playing their game you’re weak and they’ll show their contempt.
This was a heavy, sustained assault with a significant force, and they obviously had detailed pre-worked information on the target.
This is pretty damning. Especially when we know that they had real time video and we know they knew what was going on...in spite of what Panetta and the others say, THEY DID HAVE INTEL!
And it is obvious - THEY ARE, FULL ON, IN COVERUP MODE.
Considering that Obama does drugs—I mean, really, he was seriously mis-medicated in the first debate and if you can’t wrap your mind around that, watch him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNu9xjUwPEk —and if true that he had to be retrieved from the golf course which is a perfect cover for getting high (or whatever), he was probably under the influence of ....... something ...... at the time this fiasco was happening and he either made the wrong decision or was not capable of making any decision at all.
I think Powerline is bullshiite... I pretty much ignore them anyway...