Here are two accounts that claim only Obama could have issued a “stand-down” order. The implication being that we held back troops as our people were dying.
The Pentagon disputes the contention.
Could the U.S. military have done more to help? Not according to the Pentagon – and the hearing’s key witness. Aircraft that might have buzzed the compound where the second pair of Americans died – and scared the militants away — were 900 miles north in Italy. “Time and distance are a tyranny of their own,” Admiral James Stavridis, who responded to the attacks as the NATO commander, told Congress earlier this year. Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, estimated it would take as long as 20 hours to get the planes above Benghazi. Hicks testified that he asked the U.S. defense attaché in Tripoli if planes could be scrambled to help those under attack in the CIA annex in Benghazi, a battle that unfolded hours after the initial assault on the nearby U.S. consulate, which killed Stevens, and led to two more American deaths. “He said that it would take two to three hours for them to get on site, but that there also were no tankers available for them to refuel,” Hicks said Wednesday. “And I said, ‘Thank you very much,’ and we went on with our work.” Hicks also testified that a four man team of Green Berets in Tripoli were denied a request to deploy to Benghazi the morning after the attack began, though officials doubt they could have arrived early enough to save lives at the CIA annex. “We continue to believe there was nothing this team could have done to assist during the second attack in Benghazi,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters.
Dempsey says as much as 20 hours to get planes to Benghazi. Panetta testifies in this video that it’s 9-12 hours. Dempsey states that the State Dept. never asked for help.
Panetta also testified that Obama directed both himself and Dempsey to do “everything we needed to do to try and protect lives there”. Maybe it’s just me but doing everything possible doesn’t require a State Dept. request for assistance now does it Gen. Dempsey?
Here is the Hick’s assertion that a stand-down order was given.
Let’s be honest about what this boils down to. Hicks testified that the denial to send in the 4 Green Berets was to secure the airport for securely transporting our personnel out of Benghazi. This would have taken place after both attacks had occurred and the 4 Americans were already dead. The Pentagon statement supports that timeline. The GOP is making hay with the potential “stand-down” order given to leave our people to die. That’s not what happened. Anyone who has ever read this blog knows that I don’t support Obama in the slightest, but we need to get the facts straight on Benghazi and this isn’t being portrayed accurately.
Sending in the 4 Green Berets wouldn’t have saved a single American life. One could make an argument that we had no way of knowing the attacks were over with and prudence would have merited sending them anyway to aid in what was still unknown at the time. That’s a valid point, however, it wouldn’t have saved any of the 4 lives being debated so the GOP needs to stop with the disinformation campaign in order to make political points. Securing an airport for personnel removal isn’t the same as holding back troops and allowing our people to die on the battlefield.
If they’re serious about holding the Administration to account for Benghazi, then they should focus on the testimony above. Panetta and Dempsey had been directed by Obama to do “everything” necessary which they did not do. This was approx. 5:15pm EST, about a half hour after the attacks had started at 9:40pm Benghazi time. Nothing Panetta or Dempsey would have done would have saved Chris Steven’s or Sean Smith’s lives as they died in the first attack. But they could have certainly done something to save the lives of Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods who died nearly 7 hours later in the CIA annex attack.
To think that it would take anywhere from 9 to 20 hours just to get a plane in the air over Benghazi is hard to believe. I’ll bet we could get a B-2 all the way from Missouri there in that time frame with air-to-air refueling. Now, does Hick’s contention that merely flying around the area with a fighter jet would be effective at scaring and dispersing the crowd? No one knows the answer to that. But clearly, if Panetta and Dempsey had taken steps at 5:15pm EST to reposition assets, something surely could have been done before the 2nd attack commenced. Let’s not forget our NATO allies with assets in the region as well since Dempsey would have us believe that it takes nearly a full day to scramble a jet to Benghazi. Garbage!
Bottom line is that the GOP is never going to “get” Obama on a stand-down charge. They know it. They are simply playing it up for political points. That’s what disgusts me about the whole thing. Both sides still just playing politics. They could make a legitimate charge that Panetta and Dempsey should be held accountable as they had direct orders from Obama to act and do everything possible. As well, Hillary Clinton is responsible for the security lapses leading up to the attacks. If they could secure proof that an order was given not to arm the surveillance drone overhead, than they would have something legitimate. Truth is, if they had it, we would know it by now.
Where is the GOP focused? Altering talking points. Who gave a “stand-down” order that wouldn’t have saved a single life anyway.
Where is the GOP not focused? The gun-running to al-Qaeda! The silenced survivors. The mission of Benghazi.
Seems to me that where they aren’t focused is far, far more damaging to the Obama Administration. Problem is that it’s also lethal to the CIA, the State Dept., our global standing concerning foreign policy and whatever else we don’t know about with other government agencies involvement. Boehner and Issa aren’t going anywhere near there in an attempt to tarnish Obama and Clinton.
If somehow it were to ever all come out, it would make Watergate look like a non-event. Neither Democrats or Republicans are going to allow that to happen.