by Andy Weddington
Sunday, 12 May 2013
"A liar is always lavish of oaths." Pierre Corneille
The evening of Monday, 18 March - about eight weeks ago - fourteen U. S. Marines and a U. S. Navy corpsman assigned to 1st Battalion 9th Marines (1/9) were involved in a live fire training mishap at the Hawthorne Army Depot, Nevada.
As reported from the investigation, a 60mm mortar round exploded in a tube. Seven Marines were killed. The other eight injured.
Last week Marine Times reported that based on preliminary findings the commanding general of the 2nd Marine Division relieved 1/9's battalion commander (lieutenant colonel); a company commander (captain); and the battalion's infantry weapons officer (chief warrant officer 3).
Though I have not seen the investigation nor have any insight into the findings whatsoever, it's likely there will be charges under the UCMJ against some or all of the officers. And perhaps against junior officers and some NCOs and SNCOs, too (if not already).
With command and leadership goes responsibility and accountability.
As parallel, so what about the deaths (murders) and injuries of Americans in Benghazi, Libya?
Americans on duty serving country in a hostile foreign land on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 (to the day the anniversary of 9/11), were attacked by terrorists armed with sundry weapons including mortars. In communication with their chain of command, our countrymen pleaded for help while fighting (outmanned and outgunned) for hours and hours. Four, including our ambassador, were killed. Murder is what it was. Help never arrived. In fact, help - ready, willing, and able - was told to not engage.
Mere days after the attack, America's "leadership" - President Barack Obama; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; UN Ambassador Susan Rice; et al. - proffered a carefully calculated, scripted lie to America. And they perpetuated that lie.
On 23 January 2013 Secretary of State Clinton testified, under oath, before Congress. Her strategy was confrontation and shunning responsibility. She got away with it (for the time being).
Last week, three operators, professionals, who know exactly what happened that awful night (and thereafter) testified, under oath, before Congress. Their testimony made it clear that Secretary of State Clinton lied; that Susan Rice lied; that President Obama lied; and that all three, and others, peddled a concocted false narrative outlined in talking points (reviewed and approved by the White House) meant to deceive.
It's been eight months since the attack. And those holding responsibility and accountability have yet to be held so. Why?
All involved in the dereliction and subsequent cover-up matter. Due process to address responsibility and accountability must happen.
But it is the president who matters most. The president is always under oath. The president is expected to be exemplary in all matters said and done. President Obama was neither exemplary handling the Benghazi attack nor was he exemplary, knowing he was not, telling the Benghazi story.
Contrary to popular belief, Barack Obama is not special. He is not exempt from adherence to oath. And he is not exempt from rule of law. Nor is anyone else.
So, a Marine general, within about seven weeks of tragedy, can investigate and subsequently relieve three officers for 'lack of confidence' while this Benghazi fiasco is still nowhere near being settled largely because of obstruction of justice (not even thinly disguised as political maneuvering). And a flawed investigation, arguably by design, added to the obstruction.
The bottom line: Americans are dead (others injured) and there's every reason to believe such was preventable.
The president did not tell the truth - to America and to the faces of the families of those murdered. That is a fact. And his deliberate deceit was for the purpose of putting self, his reelection, before country. There may have been a collateral reason or two, lame distracting ones, but not one competing.
'Lack of confidence' is one thing. The President of the United States lying is another thing entirely. It's a high crime - the highest crime. And furthermore, the president's lack of engagement on the evening of the attack, at a minimum, constitutes a misdemeanor - of the highest order.
America is bigger, is better, than Barack Obama. Simple as that. It's not about politics. It's about character. It's about fitness for office. It's about protecting America and Americans wherever they may be. It's about responsibility and accountability.
As a citizen and a U. S. Marine (albeit retired) nothing more disappointing, more disturbing, than an untrustworthy commander-in-chief comes to mind. For from the top all else tumbles. Such explains chaos and uncertainty in America.
President Obama's willful failure of integrity thereby disgracing self and most importantly the office of the presidency is intolerable.
An honorable man would resign (and honorable men and women would demand he resign). And then apologize to his countrymen. As that scenario is unlikely, for the long-term health of country, why is not impeachment proceedings underway?
And then let us move on. There's work to be done. A lot of work. Recovery will take a while.
There is no question in my mind those three Marine officers relieved of duty are honorable men. Were they responsible and accountable for what happened? Yes. It's a safe bet they did not lie during the course of the investigation.
1. During the summer of 1981, as a second lieutenant in command of a weapons platoon (machine guns, mortars, rockets), I was on the gun line during 60mm mortar live fire training. In the middle of a daylight fire mission a round floundered out of the tube - a misfire, a short round. All Marines on the gun line, including me, took immediate protective action (we'd trained for it). The HE (high explosive) round detonated some 25 meters to our front - placing us just within the effective casualty radius. We heard shrapnel whizzing overhead. Live fire training is dangerous. Not everything is preventable. Miraculously, no one was injured. But had there been injury or death, even though my Marines (and me) trained per SOP, that incident could have ended careers.
2. Related Commentary: http://acoloneloftruth.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-truth-makes-difference.html