- - Thursday, October 18, 2012

An absence of accountability now overshadows the Obama administration’s failures to defend Americans from radical Islam. The initial attempt to brand the attack on the Benghazi U.S. consulate as a spontaneous outburst over an anti-Muslim video has been discredited by the slow revelation that the September 11 terrorist attack which killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans was carried out by an Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)-affiliated terrorist group, Ansar al-Sharia, led by a former released jihadi Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu. We now also know that not only were embassy requests for increased security forces denied, but security was scaled back and replaced by local Libyan Militia personnel.

There is another aspect to the terrorist attack that remains unanswered. According to reports, there was a cadre of CIA operators at a consulate nearby annex. The sophistication of the attack indicates it had to have been well rehearsed: The jihadis came armed with mortars and rocket propelled grenades and were immediately able to zero in on the consulate compound. This attack had to be rehearsed at one or both of the AQIM training camps in eastern Libya. Further, it has been reported that we were tracking the movements of the leader of the Ansar al-Sharia terrorist group for several months. How could the CIA operators not detect the pre-planning leading up to the attack on Sept. 11, 2012? Was this total incompetence, or is there other information being withheld? It should be noted that all of the CIA operators were able to escape the attack.

There remain other unanswered questions: Why has our consulate compound not been retaken and secured by our military forces? Why have we not conducted strikes to totally destroy the AQIM training camps in eastern Libya? Where is the funding coming from to support these terrorist militias? There are some indications that much of the funding is coming from Qatar and Saudi Arabia; it obviously needs to be redirected. Sovereignty issues are not a factor when it comes to protecting our national honor. It’s still “street respect” that matters throughout the Middle East. We clearly do not have it in Libya.

The Department of State’s Security Service (DSS) is directed by a career Deputy Secretary of State, Charlene Lamb. It should be noted that she is not a trained security expert. Ms. Lamb testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on October 10 that she believed that we had the correct number of security assets in Benghazi on September 11. Obviously, this was not the case. With uncontrolled, well-armed militias roving throughout eastern Libya, the DSS’s decision to move toward a lower profile diplomatic security presence to fit a political agenda was clearly unjustified.

Under these circumstances, the DSS’s move to use local security forces defies logic. One figure close to the commander of the local forces guarding the U.S. Consulate is Ismail al-Salabi, a military commander for the Ansar al-Sharia terrorist group, a member of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and a member of the February 17 Brigade. The February 17 Brigade was sub-contracted to provide security for our Benghazi Consulate. This was like giving Willie Sutton the combination to the bank’s vault: It is incomprehensible. There is a clear chain of command in the DOS that needs to be held accountable.

The Obama administration has crafted political scenarios for what they wish were successful events on the ground but do not reflect reality. We have seen this in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq. In Iraq we have witnessed the precipitous withdrawal of our forces to fit a political agenda. In effect, with the billions of dollars expended, and over 4,000 of our finest military personnel paying the ultimate price and tens of thousands more injured, the administration has snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory by their half-hearted attempt to retain forces in Iraq to ensure our objectives were met. What we have created is a questionable state under the direction of Iranian clone puppet Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.

In Afghanistan, our counter insurgency (COIN) strategy, implemented with restricted rules of engagement (ROE), has cost hundreds of our military lives as well countless thousands injured in an unsuccessful attempt to win the hearts and minds of a tribal culture. Regretfully, Green on Blue casualties are only the most visible indicator of this failed policy.

President Obama’s outreach to Muslim nations, particularly Iran, also has not worked and has been viewed as a sign of weakness. Further, he has failed to confront the ideology of radical Islam as central to its challenge.

Contrary to propaganda, the Arab Spring is not about the rise of democracy, it is about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, aided and abetted by the Obama administration.

In the U.S., in an attempt to assuage the alleged sensitivities of the Muslim groups led by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the administration has begun a purge within all government agencies. Almost all training materials, lectures and instructors who link Islamic doctrine, Shariah Law and scriptures in a factual way to Islamic terrorism and who teach the truth about the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda are being removed from the curricula, including in the intelligence communities.

Manifesting this purge, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff publicly criticized highly decorated combat veteran Lt. Col. Matthew Dooly for his accurate presentation of Islam and Islamic Radicalism in a course he was teaching at the Armed Forces Staff College, calling his teaching “objectionable and…against our values.” For our leaders to pacify MB leaders and MB front groups is unconscionable.

Goldwater-Nichols never intended the politicization of the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff (CJCS). This requires an urgent change of course. Accountability applies to this office as well.

Retired Adm. James A. Lyons was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.