Thursday, June 30, 2016

As the "Move On Chorus" Breaks into Song

The Benghazi report still doesn't answer my main question: why were no American forces on their way to Benghazi during the attacks? Even if they would not have made it to the sites before the attacks ended--a time which could not be known--what kept them on the ground in Europe?

Fine. The Congressional report on Benghazi does not have new information that condemns Hillary Clinton. It is "old news" that Hillary Clinton simply lied to the American public that a video caused the jihadi terrorists to attack our diplomatic outpost (the "consulate") and CIA annex in Benghazi. She lied to the point of actually arresting the man responsible for the video (well, not her, but other agencies on unrelated charges since making a video isn't completely illegal in America yet).

But the Left and the press were unwilling to condemn Hillary when the news was new. Will they condemn the news now that it is confirmed yet old?

There is no reporting of a "stand-down" order nor any evidence of weapons running.

I haven't addressed either--or any other apparently wild accusation that undermines the credibility of those who simply want to know what happened that day--so they are of little importance to my concern.

If weapons were being run? Well, governments do that all the time. If we did, it isn't a scandal as far as I'm concerned, although the wisdom of it is certainly a debatable point.

And a "stand-down" order that halted American forces in motion isn't necessary to ask why we didn't have military forces on the way during the attack.

That's my main concern and has been from the beginning:

The consulate was beyond saving. But not the annex. And saying this is possible isn't just Monday morning quarterbacking. It is reacting the way Woods and Doherty did--and as any soldier should know--that you can't go far wrong if you march for the sound of the guns.

This doesn't mean charging in foolishly so more can be killed in an ambush. It means moving toward the fight and figuring out what is happening so you can use your forces to affect the fight. This is armed reconnaissance.

Our military didn't move to the sound of the guns. Why? Was our military under instructions either directly or indirectly not to do anything to disturb the president's reelection them that the tide of war was receding?

I suspect that we did not even try to react to the ongoing attacks at Benghazi on September 11, 2012, despite our relatively large concentration of forces in Europe because our military commanders understood all too well the administration themes that the tide of war had receded, jihadis were on the run, and our president was responsibly ending our wars.

Under those circumstances, the natural military inclination to move to the sound of the guns was suppressed. Because that's a wartime instinct. And we weren't at war, as civilian leaders believed (perhaps even sincerely).

Yet from past information, both the CIA and the State Department did move to the sound of the guns!

The first instance of rushing to the sound of the guns was carried out by CIA security personnel who defied an order to wait in order to run to the consulate[.]

[There] was a second instance of forces rushing to the sound of the guns. This time the State Department's security forces from Tripoli who made it to the annex to join the CIA reaction force. They did not make it in time to save the consulate.

But neither did they just sit in Tripoli, excusing their inaction by saying they couldn't make it to the consulate in time to do any good.

What I find really odd is that Hillary Clinton could use the fact that her own security people did rush to the sound of the guns! Yet I have never heard her or her supporters raise this obvious defense of her actions. Why?

Would this action by Hillary Clinton's security people contrast too much with the failure of the president's armed forces to even begin to move (he is commander in chief)? Would the president then have to reply with information that would harm Hillary Clinton? Is it mutual assured destruction that keeps both silent?

Is this why Bill Clinton and the United States Attorney General just happened to bump into each other and have a private conversation on a plane on the ground in Arizona?

Amid an ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of email and hours before the public release of the Benghazi report, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch met privately with former President Bill Clinton.

The private meeting took place on the west side of Sky Harbor International Airport on board a parked private plane.

Lynch was on a planned trip that would have surely been known by Clinton. This is no coincidence.

Because if it was a coincidence they would have known better than to create the appearance of collusion. So the simple explanation is that the subject of the talk had to be important enough to risk discovery and people wondering about what they talked about.

And Ms. Lynch is too old for the Lolita Express plane travel.

Excuse the side trip into the criminal enterprise that is the Clinton family.

The key facts of the public version of the new report highlight factors addressing my concern:

Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141] ...

A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times. [pg. 154]

None of the relevant military forces met their required deployment timelines. [pg. 150]

I've yet to read the public report, but the key points highlight my concern that is still unanswered: why didn't our military move to the sound of the guns? We didn't know how long the siege and crisis would last, yet still apparently decided to write off our people on the ground:

As I've written from early on, we certainly could not have responded militarily in time to defend the diplomatic facility (often called the "embassy") where our ambassador died. I accept that.

But the annex held on longer, and Americans were still on the ground even longer than that, awaiting evacuation. The fact that the actual outcome was that these Americans escaped largely on their own with help of State Department armed reaction forces does not excuse the failure to order American forces to Benghazi.

What if the enemy had pursued those Americans? The outcome could have been several dozen dead or captured Americans. So essentially, a decision was made to accept the potential loss of a couple dozen Americans rather than attempt to intervene.

We could have sent armed forces in time to intervene in the annex battle or in the time from the abandonment of the annex to the time when Americans were finally evacuated.

That all but four survived had nothing to do with our military. That's pretty damning.

I'll have to go through the report and update this post with my thoughts.

UPDATE: While I bet the excuse that AG Lynch and Bill Clinton only talked about grandchildren and whatnot, nobody asked if either gave the other any type of written communication from their respective bosses.

Living through the Clinton era has taught me to parse language for how bad things could be true given the words spoken.