The Scapegoats at State

“It’s not the military’s job to protect diplomats; it’s the host government’s.  But in the absence of a real government, we never asked the question, ‘So how do we do this?'”

A “senior Pentagon official” quoted in the NYT, “4 Are Out at State Dept. After Scathing Report on Benghazi Attack,” Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt

I am tired of these insulting and infuriating whitewashes like the Pickering-Mullen Benghazi report that merely create scapegoats without addressing the real issues and speaking the honest truth.  I’ve seen too many of these in my lifetime, going back to the Warren Commission.

The truth is that why they call a “diplomatic compound” in Benghazi was just cover for the extensive CIA operation there.  To explain why there were so many Americans running around, we had to pretend to have a diplomatic presence.  When you join the CIA, you know that if you get into trouble overseas, you’re probably on our own because you’re not supposed to be there.

The four State Department officials who have now lost their jobs had no control over the CIA’s activities in Benghazi.  They couldn’t adequately protect diplomats in countries like Libya that don’t have a real government.  It was up to officials above their pay grade to decide what our diplomatic and intelligence presence would be in both Tripoli and Benghazi, and how we would protect those people.

Ambassador Stevens probably shouldn’t have been in Benghazi at all, but he sure as hell shouldn’t have been there on 9/11.  He had many friends there, but he also knew it is one of the major terrorist centers in the world right now.

Why isn’t anyone complaining that the Pentagon’s Africa Command, which is responsible for Libya, is the only one of our commands without a Commanders’ In-Extremis Force (CIF), which is designed to send special forces quickly in an emergency?

We Need More Facts

The Obama administration is being criticized for not better protecting Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three Americans killed along with him.  Critics are saying that he shouldn’t been at the consulate in Benghazi, which was not as well protected as the embassy in Tripoli, on 9/11.  But I don’t believe we know all the facts.  What if he was told/advised/warned not to go, and he went anyway?  He believed, with some justification, that he was popular in Libya and especially well-liked in Benghazi because of his efforts supporting the rebels before Qaddafi was overthrown.  He also knew that the country is filled with terrorists, especially the eastern part where Benghazi is.

But if the Ambassador was not following instructions or advice, is the President or Hillary Clinton going to stand there at Andrews Air Force Base in front of his casket and say, “We told him to stay in Tripoli and hunker down?”  Of course not.

In general, we’re hearing stuff from all sides that doesn’t make sense.  At the White House, Jay Carney is arguing that the Benghazi murders were because of the inflammatory video “Innocence of Muslims.”  He is saying that while others in the administration and in Congress, who have access to classified materials, are saying that the Benghazi attack was separate from and unrelated to the video-related violence.   They believe that it was revenge for the killing of Al Qaeda’s #2 in Pakistan in June, who was a Libyan.  The fact that it occurred on 9/11 seems to bolster that theory.  Someone Stevens trusted, but who was really working for the terrorists, may have lured him to Benghazi so he’d be there on 9/11.

On the other end of our political spectrum, The Weekly Standard has an article up on their web site, “The Video Didn’t Do It,” by Lee Smith.  Smith argues that none of the violence we’ve been seeing in 20 different countries is because of the video, which I believe is equally wrong.  He says the attacks are about “American principles and power and policy.”  Well, yes, but anti-American sentiment is a big wood pile always sitting there waiting for a match.  The video was that match.

It seems as if two different things happened simultaneously.  As best I can tell right now, the Benghazi murders were Al Qaeda or Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists seeking revenge for a murder in June and seeking to show they can still hit us on a 9/11 anniversary.  People protesting a video don’t show up with rocket propelled grenades and mortars.  It was a sophisticated attack at two locations, the consulate itself and then the safe house.  The other attacks seem to be sparked by the video.