When 140 Characters Isn't Enough
Scandal: More than six hours after terrorists attacked our consulate, former Navy SEALs manned a blood-soaked machine gun to defend U.S. territory. Meanwhile Apache helicopters sat on the ground in Italy.
At 4 a.m. local time on Sept. 11 — six hours and 20 minutes after the initial attack began — former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed at the CIA annex not far from the consulate by a mortar shell. The machine gun they were firing was encrusted with blood, an indication they continued to fight after being wounded.
During that eternity, Woods and Doherty might have wondered between gunfire and explosions where the military, with bases strewn across Europe, was. U.S. forces were indeed being moved like chess pieces as the attack unfolded, but none came to their aid because no one gave the order.
President Obama, perhaps preoccupied with his upcoming Las Vegas fundraiser, met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at 5 p.m. ET, a little more than an hour after the onset of the attack.
He could have given the order but did not, even after an email, in which the al-Qaida-tied group Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility, arrived at 6:07 p.m. ET to a distribution list that included the White House Situation Room.
A Special Operations force went from central Europe to Naval Air Station Sigonella in southern Italy, just 480 miles from Benghazi. F-16s and Apache helicopters remained parked and unused at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy. Two Navy destroyers already in the Mediterranean Sea were moved off the coast of Libya on the day of the attack but were never used.
The question is: Why not?
Some suggest that sending nearby AC-130 gunships or Apaches would have been futile because in the chaos they couldn't have identified the attackers and might have hit innocents. A few well-timed machine gun bursts at nowhere in particular would have been sufficient to disperse the jihadists. We know there was no protest mob in the way and certainly we could have plucked those two heroic SEALs off the annex roof.
Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/102512-630874-no-marines-w...