by Andy Weddington
Wednesday, 31 October 2012
"A man of courage is also full of faith." Marcus Tullius Cicero
"In many a strife we've fought for life and never lost our nerve."
That opening - lines three and four of the third stanza - is an excerpt from famous prose. Some readers will recognize it instantly. Others will not have a clue. It serves as tease for both cohorts. I'll get back to it.
Well a massive storm, hurricane Sandy, hit the east coast the other day and swept west. It's still on the move. The damage devastating. Lives lost. Landmarks, and lives, destroyed. Geography rearranged. Restoring utilities to support life the first order of business. For some, perhaps millions, it's going to take a while. Full recovery, if ever, a good long while.
The bottom line is Mother Nature, yet again, had her say - always the truth - and for many life will never be the same. We march on.
But life goes on and now we're back to the other storm on the east coast. It's name - Benghazi. It's not going away, it's strengthening. And with six days before America decides her next president the sitting president, enveloped in this monster, is trying to weather negligence of duty, incompetence, deceit, and more that resulted in the deaths of four Americans he abandoned on a tiny battlefield of American soil in Libya more than seven weeks ago - 11 September to be exact.
The nerve of some women...
Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, knowingly lied to the American public when blaming the attack and murders on a spontaneous riot sparked by some obscure YouTube video. She absolutely knew it was not the truth and said it anyway - over and over again in prepared statements.
Susan Rice, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, knowingly lied to the American public, repeating Madame Clinton's lies, when appearing on a handful of Sunday political talk programs.
And there were other women, their names inconsequential, with ties to Mr. Obama's re-election campaign repeating the lies. And they're still repeating them.
The nerve of some men...
President Obama has repeatedly not told the truth about the attack and murder of our fellow Americans in Benghazi. He, too, in multiple prepared remarks, spoke of the video and other nonsense. And he had real-time situational awareness, including Predator video feed, of the attack. Rather unpresidential and uncommander-in-chief like to lie. But so he has.
Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, has said some remarkably inane things regarding the attack and what he did or failed to do. He, too, has not been truthful.
General Martin Dempsey, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, has not been truthful.
Jay Carney, the president's press secretary, perpetuated the lie. Or at least tried to.
And like women, there were men, their names, too, inconsequential, with ties to Mr. Obama's re-election campaign repeating the lies. And they're still repeating them.
The list of women and men party to the Benghazi lie is long, by no means distinguished. These people are detestable. None are fit for continued public service. Impeachment proceedings in the middle of an election peculiar but not out of order. Some should retire. Some should resign. And some should face criminal charges. Sort out who's who with a Venn diagram.
Last night watching a little television before retiring I happened upon an interview with Bing West. I've never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. West but know of him. He's a Marine - combat in Vietnam. He's written extensively about his experiences. He served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs under President Reagan. He's still fully engaged with the Marine Corps and knows what's going on in politics. He knows how Washington, D.C. works. He knows how the chain of command, starting with the President, works. Therefore, know this is a man not inclined to make reckless comments and allegations on, or off, the record.
Mr. West did not speak in shades of gray during the interview. Beyond the keystone cop chaos coming from all the President's men and women, President Obama can settle the Benghazi fiasco by answering a simple question. Paraphrasing Mr. West's comments, "Did you, Mr. President, give the order to immediately engage with military manpower and firepower to help our people under attack?"
To date, Mr. Obama has not answered the question.
But he has answered by not answering. The logical thinker infers he did not.
Now to get to the bottom of the President's (non) decision and analyze his motives - for he swore oath to protect the United States of America, our homeland, and Americans wherever they happen to be around the globe. He failed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods. He failed us. And worse still has yet to tell the truth. A higher breach of duty by a president does not come to mind.
The most basic question a citizen must, with complete confidence, answer about their president - "Can I trust him (or, one day, her)?"
Any regular reader of this forum knows I do not like President Obama. Like and trustworthy are mutually exclusive. My dislike for him is not personal - it's professional. I do not like him because from his first appearance on the national stage he did not strike me as trustworthy. He has proven my instincts correct. His void of integrity disqualifies him from holding any public office. His void of integrity disqualifies him from my embracing him - as president, acquaintance, friend.
It's a serious matter. Far more serious than hurricane Sandy. And everyone who has yet to cast their vote is obligated, duty bound, to contemplate their vote as to what's in the best interest of country.
Mr. West pointed out, among other assets available, there was a U. S. Marine Force Reconnaissance unit in Sigonella, Italy, that could have been in Benghazi within a couple of hours (remember, the attack and gunfight continued for six or seven hours). He said unit strength was 130 Marines - that's a company. That is a lot of tough, rough, highly trained and lethally armed men itching for a fight. They are men with nerve. You bet they were ready to go. They, like the SEALs (who died in the Benghazi attack), and all our combat forces are of whom George Orwell spoke when saying, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
Unless beings without any trace of conscience, I cannot believe any of the men and women engulfed in the Benghazi lie are sleeping.
Mr. Secretary of Defense, General Dempsey, what say you? Forget the 'fog of war' alibi. There's 'fog of war' in training exercises, as every Monday morning quarterback (another Secretary Panetta remark) and lance corporal and second lieutenant well knows. Marines (and soldiers, sailors, airmen, and coast guardsmen - who performed herocially during Sandy) die in training. Wearing our nation's uniform is hazardous - combatting an enemy among the dangers.
As to that 'fog of war,' another retired Marine colonel, infantry officer, wrote me...
"As I've already stated publicly, the most kind thing that can be said about our NCA's (lack of) decision-making during this debacle is that they allowed the fog of war to paralyze them. The fact is that the fog is always there -- there is never clarity on a battlefield where the enemy also has a vote. Well-trained military formations, and there were some of the best the world has ever seen available, push into the fog and develop the situation. Blaming the fog for inaction is but one of a thousand weak excuses for cowardice. Further, if Panetta's Army generals did indeed counsel inaction as he claims, then one must wonder to what extent the Army culture has become corrupted by slavish commitment to Operational Risk Management and Force Protection." Note: NCA - National Command Authority
As to that opening line, it's from the Marines Hymn.
From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.
Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job --
The United States Marines.
Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.
Some readers have posted thoughts in open forum to previous comments I've written on Benghazi. Others have opted to send me emails. Anger and disgust the common theme. The following comment received just this morning while completing final edit...
As a grad and former fighter pilot, my additional concern is that we've not seen a single general in the chain (including Petraeus and Ham and Dempsey) fall on his sword and give us the truth. With complacent (hopefully not complicit) military leadership, we're doomed."
Exactly! There is so much more to address but enough for now.
When in uniform, whether engaging with private or general, I spoke the truth. Sometimes it was not so pretty but I always slept.
Nothing has changed since retiring.
Mr. President, you've said you immediately ordered action - that would include sending in the Marines. In essence you claim you did not lose your nerve while others in strife, fellow Americans - outnumbered and outgunned, were fighting for their lives in Benghazi. Prove it.
America, especially many a U. S. Marine, is impatiently waiting...
Related Benghazi Commentary
25 October 2012
Lies Fall to the Paper Trail Truth
28 October 2012
Benghazi - Battlefield Crime Scene
29 October 2012
SEALs and Death at Benghazi
1. General Petraeus is a retired Army general now Director, CIA.
2. General Ham was Africom commander at the time of the Benghazi attack.