Much has been made by the conservative media of the Obama administration's changing explanation of what really happened at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last month, but the real scandal is what happened before the attack ("The real reason behind Benghazigate," Commentary, Tuesday).
Since the U.S. support for Libyan revolution began last year, Libya has been a dangerous place, full of radical Islamists and leftover heavy weapons like machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. To make its involvement in Libya seem successful, the Obama administration has pursued a policy of "normalization" of relations with Libya. This has meant scaling down the U.S. security forces in and around the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Libya, and turning much of the security for the ambassador and his staff there over to the Libyans.
In September, we saw the results of this naive, incompetent and politically motivated policy decision. The U.S. security forces that had been in Libya, a 16-man team of ex-Navy SEALs and Green Berets assigned to protect the ambassador and his staff, was pulled out in August, just a month before the attacks. This was done over the protests of the leader of the team, the State Department regional security director and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens himself, who asked to keep the security team for at least one more month. On the day he died, Stevens had reiterated to Washington the danger and volatility of the Libya situation.
Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty paid the ultimate price for President Obama's flawed worldview and inept policies.
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