Thursday, May 30, 2013

At Dusk We Slept

I remain puzzled at claims we had nothing to send to Benghazi to respond to the September 11, 2012 attacks. We still don't know what might have been sent.

If information about what we could have sent to Benghazi is classified, doesn't that strongly imply that we did have forces available?

Lawmakers apparently learned a lot, but not the public. What fighter aircraft were available to go to Benghazi, either from a U.S. base in Sicily or elsewhere? It’s classified. What other planes? Classified. What about drones, especially armed ones, in addition to the unarmed aircraft the Pentagon has said was sent to the site shortly after the attack began? That’s classified, too.

What about the precise movements and locations of those American emergency response teams? Classified. Navy ships? Classified.

We had lots of ground troops in Europe. We had lots of aircraft in Europe. We couldn't put a platoon in a transport or a couple fighters into the air on a couple hours notice? With more to follow?

Yes, our formerly massive 6th Fleet is now just a shadow of its former self reliant on transiting ships for any presence at all in the Mediterranean Sea, so perhaps publicizing that is the classification issue.

And no, I'm not complaining about the lack of Navy ships there routinely. The USSR is gone. Times change.

Perhaps the only real naval asset available was a cruise missile sub or two somewhere from the eastern Mediterranean to CENTCOM's area of responsibility. Again, classifying that is understandable. And cruise missiles wouldn't have been relevant, anyway.

I think we could have responded to the attacks and made it in time to affect the Annex battle. Indeed, if the administration truly believed that the attacks were a demonstration gotten out of hand, the excuse for sending even unarmed aerial assets in a show of force is more inexcusable. If we'd flown a crop duster hired at Benghazi over the Annex, tossing flares out the window, it is possible the attackers would have assumed it was an armed gunship.

Our enemies were waging war on us that night. We weren't at war at all, it seems. Our enemies prefer it that way.