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GAFFNEY: The warriors’ call to account

Veterans want special panel to prove Benghazi fiasco

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It has been nearly eight months since jihadists attacked U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, and many more were badly injured. That is pretty much all we know for sure about an incident that has let's face it been subjected to the most comprehensive and successful cover-up in modern political history.

Now, 700 heroic special operations veterans have written an open letter to Congress calling for the creation of a new investigative committee to establish the truth. They want to know, in particular, why warriors like them weren't allowed to aid our countrymen in their hour of need.

Their letter reads in part: "This was the most severe attack on American diplomatic facilities and personnel since the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. Thus far, it appears that there has been no serious effort to determine critical details of this attack. This is inexcusable and demands immediate attention by the Congress."

During their years of service, these 700 special operations veterans have put their lives on the line for our country. They trained and prepared for and, in many cases, executed missions to come to the aid of Americans who were in danger or in enemy hands. They know firsthand the risks that are entailed, and they willingly took those risks.

In short, these special operators lived by one of our military's most sacred principles: No comrade is left behind, ever.

These storied veterans are determined to find out, among other things, why two of those comrades and two other Americans were allowed to die in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, at the hands of jihadists without any effort made to help them. In their words: "Congress must show some leadership and provide answers to the public as to what actually occurred in Benghazi. Americans have a right to demand a full accounting on this issue."

This is not an effort to settle political scores. Neither the Democrats who run the Senate nor Republicans who run the House have conducted the needed "full accounting." What is required is more than just a postmortem on a national security debacle, however.

The signers of the open letter are determined to ensure that no one else needlessly loses his life by establishing and learning from all the lessons of the Benghazigate scandal. They know it will take the sort of transparency and accountability up the entire chain of command wholly absent since the first shots were fired by jihadists that fateful night.

The Special Operations Force (SOF) 700 believe the only way at this point to achieve such transparency and accountability is by the establishment of a new, independent and bipartisan select House committee charged with the full investigative powers of the Congress. The pending legislative vehicle for setting up such a panel is House Resolution 36, sponsored by Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, and some 70 of his colleagues.

As one of the SOF community's most revered leaders in both war and peace retired Army Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, put it recently: "I have seen men take great risks to save a fellow warrior. I have even seen men die trying to do so. The lack of accountability regarding the Benghazi event disturbs me greatly and bears the earmarks of a cover-up.

"America is entitled to a full accounting of this egregious attack on our people with some explanation as to why there was no effort to save the Americans in [Benghazi] or at least to recover their bodies before they fell into Libyan hands. Our Congress has yet to fulfill its responsibility to provide a complete analysis of the attack or to provide answers as to what exactly happened. A bipartisan special committee is needed to determine the truth about Benghazi."

Citizens who wish to join in the SOF 700's call for a real investigation of the policies and decisions that led up to the murderous jihadist assault on two U.S. facilities in Benghazi, what occurred during that attack and the cover-up that ensued in its aftermath can do so by visiting EndtheCoverup.com. They can also find out more about the work of Special Operations Speaks and how they can help at SpecialOperationsSpeaks.com.

It is a sad indictment of the state of our polity that warriors like the SOF 700 must step forward to demand that Congress perform the oversight function that is its solemn constitutional duty. However, we have relied on them before to save our collective bacon, and it speaks volumes about the character, clarity of vision and love of country of these men that they have not hesitated to muster out once again on our behalf.

God bless the SOF 700 and may Congress heed their appeal for enactment of H.R. 36.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. formerly acted as an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan. He is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the syndicated program Secure Freedom Radio.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author

Frank J. Gaffney Jr.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy (SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for The Washington Times and host of Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9 p.m. on 1260 AM.

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