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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Woods, Doherty saved lives by ignoring orders

The drip, drip, drip of Benghazi makes it easy to forget key elements of the story, learned months ago. Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed defending the occupants of the Benghazi mission in Libya. They were killed because they disregarded orders to "stand down." They were killed because they assumed help was on the way. They used a laser to illuminate a mortar position that was attacking the compound and exposed themselves to targeted fire. The help never came.

It is the ultimate irony and a potentially sad commentary on our commander in chief that the only people who rushed toward the gunfire did so in contravention of their orders. With their lives, they provided the time and space for consulate employees to be brought back to the annex — again, under fire and seriously injured in some cases. To Woods and Doherty, the stand-down order was somewhere between unacceptable and illegal. They did what their military training told them to do and disregarded what they considered to be an illegal order. One has to wonder how many more would have died absent Woods and Doherty doing what they did. One has to wonder what would have happened if they had not led the effort to save those under attack. By extension, one has to wonder how many deaths were an acceptable cost of maintaining the fiction of the administration's foreign-policy imperatives.

We have evidence of two stand-down orders directed from different parts of the administration. The one to Woods and Doherty would have had to come from, supposedly, the CIA, and another came down through the military command structure.

How is it that two different command authorities issued the same type of order at different times? One would have to logically assume in the absence of further testimony that a policy decision had been made that guided both orders.

DENNIS LANDRY

Chantilly, Va.

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