- - Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Is it really true that the U.S. military was not capable of getting any help whatsoever to the Americans under terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya? That’s hard to believe, isn’t it? I don’t.

Suppose it is true, though. Who’s responsible?

Nine months later, we still have no clue — just that same incredible excuse the Obama administration gave us after the attack: Help would not have arrived “in time.”

They told us that the “fog of war” prevented them from knowing much of anything — yet they were so certain how long the battle would last that they knew sending help was not even worth attempting. Huh?

It is, of course, possible that U.S. military preparedness was indeed so utterly lacking as to rule out even trying — a truly frightening thought. Is it likely? Not very.

U.S. military leaders are deeply committed to the concept that we must be able to swiftly “project power” to any spot where Americans or American interests might come under attack. Our military has contingency plans for coping with virtually anything that might happen. It would be completely contrary to long-standing practice not to have plans in place for responding to attacks on U.S. facilities and personnel in North Africa.

The Obama administration implies — but never actually charges — woeful negligence by the military in both preparation and response. If he really thinks it’s our military’s fault that we pretty much just watched from afar while Americans suffered and died, why was the commander in chief’s reaction blase shoulder-shrugging?

Two years earlier when a magazine attributed mocking remarks about Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to a general, President Obama promptly summoned the officer to the White House and booted him out of the military. Isn’t negligence leading to deaths and injuries of Americans serving our country every bit as terrible as hurting Mr. Biden’s feelings?

Has the Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded that no one in the military deserves blame? It appears so. Were military contingency plans or proposed responses foiled by their civilian superiors?

Why was the Counterterrorism Security Group, our top counterterrorism resource with the ability to coordinate assets across agencies for swift deployment, not convened?

Why was the Foreign Emergency Support Team, conceived for precisely the sort of crisis Benghazi posed, not dispatched?

Why was the Special Forces team that the defense attache in our embassy in Tripoli, Libya, had arranged to be deployed to Benghazi aboard an aircraft provided by Libya’s government ordered to “stand down”?

Did we call upon our NATO ally Italy to help us? At Sigonella, Sicily, site of a U.S. naval air station at which we should have pre-positioned significant assets, there is also an Italian air force base. It’s closer to Benghazi than Tripoli — only an hour’s jet flight away.

Did we ask Egypt next door to dispatch a few of the 240 U.S. F-16 fighter jets we’ve transferred there to buzz Benghazi to frighten away the terrorists?

Did no one have the presence of mind to ask our great friend and strong ally Israel to help us? Can you think of any fighters, other than our fellow Americans, who would be more willing to help America counterattack terrorists — or better at it?

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