Our government has said that it did not react to the Benghazi attacks because we could not have reached the area in time to make a difference.
I've argued that this excuse for inaction relies on knowing when the crisis ended--which we could not have known while the crisis was going on.
We keep a large force in Europe and it was inconceivable to me that we had nothing to send south in the hope we could make a difference at some point, depending on how long the crisis lasted.
So I've long speculated that our military failed to even try to move based on command influence from above that pushed the notion downward through the chain of command that the war was won and so don't react like we are at war and challenge that narrative.
Yet some of our security people didn't get the word to pretend we were at peace. Both the local security team at the annex and the paramilitary reaction team in Tripoli rushed to the sound of the guns in Benghazi.
Why didn't our military do the same? That has puzzled me immensely. The same impulse to do something rather than abandon fellow Americans exists in our military. Why didn't our military start to send forces in case they could make a difference in an unfolding crisis whose endpoint was as yet unknown?
Apparently, our military did react to send forces to Benghazi (tip to Instapundit):
The Sept. 11, 2012, email was sent at 7:19 p.m. EST by then-Department of Defense Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash. The text reads:
“I just tried you on the phone but you were all in with S [an apparent reference to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton]
“After consulting with General Dempsey, General Ham and the Joint Staff, we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak. They include a [REDACTED].
“Assuming Principals agree to deploy these elements, we will ask State to procure the approval from host nation. Please advise how you wish to convey that approval to us [REDACTED].”
Among the recipients of Bash’s email are Jacob Sullivan, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, and Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides.
I'm assuming that the force "spinning up" was a ground element since I imagine "host nation (Libyan} support" wouldn't be needed for aircraft flying over the battle area.
Mind you, even this force probably couldn't have made a difference given the timing--unless the force was on the move already waiting for permission to cross into Libyan air space. But we did in fact try to move to the sound of the guns.
This news makes me feel better about our military. Although I'd still like to know why, on the anniversary of the original 9/11 attack, we couldn't spin up even a small ground element in a shorter period of time.