Originally posted on National Review
Despite the best attempts of the mainstream media (and mother nature), Benghazi-gate is not going away. More and more questions arise each day, with no solid answer from the White House. Bing West’s piece in these pages raises two key questions: did the President truly give the directive to ‘do whatever we need to do’ to secure personnel on the scene? And if so, why then was it not followed? One or the other is true–both equally damning.
More on-the-ground questions continue to emerge (presumably not from the White House for the purposes of glorification). K-Lo’s post last night includes a strong piece of information to consider–the former Navy SEAL on the ground (Tyrone Woods) who was using the infrared laser to “paint the target” (enemy mortar team) was doing so at the risk of exposing himself, which someone with his training would have known. This fact would lead you to believe that there were armed air assets available (AC-130 Gunship or Predator/Reaper) drone) in the skies above the consulate and annex. Previous reports have indicated that only a surveillance drone was monitoring the attack, but if that drone was armed, it ups the ante. More than likely–pending more details–Woods was taking the risk to identify himself, in order to identify the enemy target for an immediate air strike. The questions then become–why didn’t they fire? And who made that call?
Moreover, we know that Woods and his fellow Navy SEAL Glen Doherty were told to “stand down” rather than aid an besieged Ambassador. Who gave that order? And why?, especially in light of the President’s directive. There’s lots of finger pointing going on, and very few answers. Eventually the buck will stop and the truth will come out–it always does.
Taken together, the events on 9/11 in Libya tragically illustrate this Administration’s “Stand Down” foreign policy. Rather than aggressively confront enemies (with the notable exception of Bin Laden), we appease them. Rather than call the threat what it is (radical Islamists), we sanitize our enemies or wish them away completely (it was an internet video, dammit!). And rather than make the tough call to save American lives–including our Ambassador–we stand down. Any rescue attempt or U.S. counterattack would have been risky and/or complicated, but could not have been worse than doing nothing.
Pete Hegseth is the CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, and the former executive director of Vets for Freedom. Hegseth is an infantry officer in the Army National Guard, and has served tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay.