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Recently a Navy SEAL team, transported by an AC-130, parachuted at night into a Somali village to rescue two hostages held by pirates. The raid killed nine insurgents, and the freed hostages were flown to Djibouti. Camp Lemonnier’s trained force is capable of undertaking almost any type of counterterrorism operation.

In the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the Djibouti base could have sent resources to disperse the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamists. The compound was under siege for almost nine hours. The distance of 1,900 miles is within the range of the “combat ready” F-15s, AC-130s and special forces.

The Pentagon and the State Department did not act timely to minimize the attacks, which possibly could have saved U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and the other three Americans.

The CJTF-HOA has succeeded in operations in Africa and beyond, since the base’s inception in 2003. Its resources could have made a difference in Benghazi. Failing to intervene militarily has only emboldened Islamist extremists to strike again.

John Price is a former U.S. ambassador to Comoros, Mauritius and the Seychelles islands. He currently serves as a resident scholar at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. He is the author of “When the White House Calls,” and regularly writes commentaries on Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.