Benghazi Political Fail

OK, first, watch this please. Or at least a minute or two of it. It’s footage, without any audio, that shows what things look like from military drones:

Now, once you are comfortable that you understand what things look like through those cameras, let’s talk about the recent political claims that the Obama administration abandoned Navy SEALs to die in Benghazi.

There’s a ton of reports on this, with much hyperventilating, but a pretty good summation of the huffing and puffing over it can be found in this angry article by Kevin Danielsen. The headline, “CIA was told, twice, to stand down” is ambiguous and thus misleading, but since Danielsen probably didn’t write that headline we can’t fault him for that.

What we can fault him and others with is getting overheated about things they pretty obviously don’t understand.

Dean’s World commenters have asked me why I haven’t written on this “Obama abandoned Navy SEALs to die in Benghazi” story. Having spent hours reading and talking about the whole thing the last couple of days, I’ve come to the conclusion that my initial instincts were correct: most of this story is driven by an urge to attack the President a few weeks before the election, although there’s also some understandable anger from people who just don’t understand how things like the CIA and the military work.

Let’s sort out a few salient facts from my perspective:

There is a near constant drumbeat from those who hate President Obama that what happened here is that some Navy SEALs were abandoned. No, sorry, that is not what happened. Not one single Navy SEAL was present during those events so far as I can determine from any story I’ve read, not even stuff from Fox News.

Two CIA spies, spooks on a spook mission, had set up temporary headquarters in an unused annex of an embassy building. They were civilians, not Soldiers. They were CIA spooks, not members of a combat unit.

Now as it happens, both of those civilian spies who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency were retired Navy SEALs. The operative word there being “retired,” as in, “former.” They were no more members of the military than I am. This is more than a tiny detail. It’s hugely important: they were not Soldiers. They were Spies. Let’s get that straight, because it matters.

These Spies, who were on a Spy mission, had been given temporary, ad hoc use of some spare offices in an annex to the US embassy in Benghazi, where they sat around gathering their spy intel and planning their spy mission. Suddenly, the embassy building they happened to be in was under attack.

Now, bravely enough, being former military and all, these Spies chose, on their own accord, to get involved in a firefight. I don’t fault them for it, much; as former SEALs, all their instincts would be to jump in and protect people. This makes them heroes, but it also makes them lousy spies, because that’s not what spies are hired to do. They were not doing their jobs. In fact they almost certainly violated their terms of employment and in most circumstances had they voluntarily jumped into a firefight without authorization, they’d be drummed out of the CIA and maybe (probably not but possibly) brought up on criminal charges for going outside anything Spies are authorized to do.

I would guess that in more than 99% of all cases, a spy who jumps into a military combat situation without authorization is being horrendously irresponsible. CIA policy on such matters is probably a very bright line in the sand: “you don’t get involved in that shit, that is not your job, no we don’t care how you feel about it, you’re a fucking spy you’re not a fucking soldier, period.” Indeed, a CIA spy jumping into a US military firefight would in most circumstances be at high risk of fucking up the military operation. In this case, that’s not true, but in almost all other real world scenarios, it would be incredibly irresponsible for a Spy to get into military battle zone and start shooting.

Let me be clear I do not fault these two spies (who I will repeat were SPIES NOT SOLDIERS GODDAMMIT) for doing what they did. But what they did would have been entirely outside the scope of CIA operations. CIA policy, when they called in to ask for help, would almost certainly have been to say “You’re not Soldiers. Don’t get involved, get the fuck out of there, right now.”

They chose to disobey their CIA superiors’ orders. Acting as a Monday Morning Quarterback, it may seem obvious to YOU that CIA superiors should have “just known” to go against every CIA operating procedure and tell them to get involved in a firefight. But you need to stop and think: there’s a reason CIA operates independently of the military. Their job is espionage, period. They may occasionally get involved in joint operations with the military, but when they do, that’s a carefully planned and coordinated operation, and even then, CIA operatives are almost certainly repeatedly told “your job isn’t to fight, your job is to spy, they fight not you.”

CIA operatives working in places like Libya are also almost certainly told, repeatedly, “you’re going into dangerous territory and while if you get in trouble we will do our best to get you out of there–but odds are very good you’re going to find yourself on your own, and you just may not come back. Are you clear on that? Because it’s part of this job.”

In fact, I’m only guessing, but I’m pretty certain that CIA field agents probably get killed more often, on average, than Soldiers do. Spy work like this is really fucking dangerous, and Spies are often in a situation where they have no backup.

So. Here we have two Spies who out of the blue call CIA headquarters and say “We’re under fire! Order a military strike, please!” and CIA superiors saying, “Uhm, that’s not what we do, Spook. Get the fuck out of there.”

CIA does not have the authority to call up military high command and order air strikes. They just don’t. Any such request on a non-planned operation (and this was anything but planned) would likely take many hours, possibly even days, to get set up.

Although we don’t have recordings, when the dust settles on this thing I’d be willing to bet, with high confidence, if recordings to surface of those CIA operatives asking for help, the responses they got probably sounded a lot like this: “Look we’re calling the military, BUT YOU ARE NOT MILITARY, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE, THIS IS NOT YOUR JOB, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE, LEAVE, GET OUT, YOU ARE A SPY NOT A SOLDIER, STAND DOWN AND GET OUT.”

Because in more than 99% of cases, that would be the correct order to give to a Spy in that situation.

And I’m going to keep repeating this: that’s what they were. Spies. Not Soldiers. Not SEALs. Spies. The fact that they were ex-SEALs being no more relevant than if they’d been former donut shop clerks. They weren’t military, or part of the military chain of command, and the military does not go around ordering drone strikes and Delta Force deployments because a Spy calls them up and asks them to.

So. Two Spies go completely outside their authority and completely outside their mission parameters, and die heroes doing it, under unusual circumstances where they cannot be faulted and indeed should be lauded. But this would never justify telling CIA “from now on, you get to call up General Smith and tell him to dispatch Delta Force, and General Smith will just do that by your leave.” It doesn’t work that way, and it frankly shouldn’t work that way.

Should security have been better handled in Benghazi? Arguably so. But we won’t get a clear look at what should be changed by screaming that drones could “clearly see” what was going on (please see the footage again at the top of this article for an idea of how “clearly” you can see anything through those things) and that it’s “clear” that CIA supervisors should be able to call up the military and at the snap of their fingers dispatch military forces. Shit doesn’t work that way.

Unless and until someone shows me something more than I’ve seen so far, I’m standing my ground that most of this is political hyperventilating. Unless I’m shown something which indicates that somehow people at the White House (not CIA headquarters, not military command units a few hundred miles away, THE WHITE HOUSE) was sitting around watching clear drone footage, listened to screams for help, and sat on their asses doing nothing, I’m going to call most of the huffing and puffing on this a poorly thought out, overemotional, and in at least a few cases is just partisan blathering.

Show me where I’m wrong. Without emotional huffing and puffing or mindreading games please. Just give me whatever FACTS I have missed. If I’ve missed any that are relevant.

  • fche

    “Without emotional huffing and puffing” is immediately accomplished by using fewer than your own record nine “fuck”s and two “shit”s. Hey, where’s the santorum.

    But anyway, it seems that you are hung up on the exact legal status of the two ex-SEAL spy types, and assert (on what basis?) that the military cannot come to their aid in times of crisis, or that such predator video is useless (on what basis?). OK, let’s imagine that’s true, and grant that.

    Now, what about the other two americans who were killed, after they called for help?

  • Dishman

    Dean wrote:
    Unless and until someone shows me something more than I’ve seen so far, I’m standing my ground that most of this is political hyperventilating. Unless I’m shown something which indicates that somehow people at the White House (not CIA headquarters, not military command units a few hundred miles away, THE WHITE HOUSE) was sitting around watching clear drone footage, listened to screams for help, and sat on their asses doing nothing,…

    Unfortunately, what you said appears to be the case. If the WH Situation Room was not watching or listening, it was because they chose not to.

    My understanding is that Woods and Doherty were killed by mortar fire at 4AM local time, defending the ‘Annex’. At least in the case of Woods, that was his duty station as a Security Officer. Doherty may have been stationed in Tripoli and only arrived at the Annex as part of a CIA contingent.

    My understanding is also that at some point, one of the Annex Security Officers (possibly Woods) had illuminated the mortar with a Laser Designator and requested that something (either a drone or a Spectre) fire on the mortar.

    My understanding is that personnel had remained at the Annex because there were insufficient vehicles to effect an evacuation. This was because Annex personnel had consolidated Consulate survivors at the Annex, resulting in 37 people being present instead of 10. In other words, “get out” was not an option.

  • ArnoldHarris

    The president of the United States is ultimately responsible for everything that happens with both the armed forces, the CIA’s former SEALS assigned as intelligence agents, and certainly, ambassadors of the United States of America assigned to a duty station where this country ought to think twice about having embassies, such as Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt or — as growing evidence shows — perhaps any other Muslim countries.

    The execrable James Earl Carter, the pathetic and all but useless wimp of near-recent memory, lost the White House to a famed old-time actor but apparently recent political newcomer, to no small degree that Carter could not handle the job of chief of state. The same thing happened to not a few presidents in our history, but in the last century only to William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, James Earl Carter, and George Herbert Walker Bush. I cannot escape the feeling that Barack Obama Jr shall be the first presidential reject of this century.

    And I also think that if he were to surprise us all and win the election via an electoral college majority but a popular vote minority, and if the Republicans win control of the US Senate as well as the keep control of the US House of Representatives, then Obama will be impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate. With a majority of the American people grimly encouraging them to do just that. I would remind you that impeachment and removal from office is the sole means of effectuating a recall election of a president of the United States.
    Many of us will be thinking of just that, should need arise.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  • Scott

    I think a lot of the huffing and puffing about this is that while it is an issue that should be investigated and on which Obama should answer serious questions the President refuses to answer straight questions when asked and the majority of the media refuses to ask them. Heck, they refuse to even believe it happened.

    http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Wow!-Local-News-Reporter-Asks-Obama-About-Libya-Crony-Capitalism-and-Civility

    Check this out. If anyone ever tells me after this and what I’ve seen these last four years that the majority of the media isn’t essentially the propaganda arm of the DNC I’d come to the conclusion that they were either ignorant or stupid.

  • ArnoldHarris

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/retired-lt-col-my-sources-say-obama-was-in-the-room-watching-benghazi-attack-happen/

    All of you reading these comments should copy, paste and link to the report cited above, which is that Obama personally was standing in the room watching in real time the armed attack on the US embassy in Bengazi, while the US personnel there made three calls for armed support that were turned down, an avoidance of clear duty which the intelligence agencies say neither they nor the military had any hand in deciding.

    I am now certain that Obama’s White House made the purposeful decision to keep the US military help, available only minutes away in force from the nearby US fleet carriers in the Mediterranean Sea, which cost the lives of the two United States diplomatic personnel and two retired SEALS working as CIA agents.

    If these assumptions are correct, and evidence is growing daily that they are in fact correct, then as far as I am concerned, the memory of this hopefully temporary president of the United States should be couched in infamy.

    All things considered, I think the people of the USA made the worst of all possible mistakes making this charlatan president of the United States.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Hmm, yes, I swore out of impatience after having read endless pieces which deceptively portray this as members of the US military being betrayed. That is not the case. Just starting with that makes you or anyone doing it look dishonest.

    I will await the documentation I asked for. A retired Colonel (of which there are likely thousands running around) who works for Fox News saying he’s got two unnamed sources does not impress me much. I asked for facts.

    Perhaps there are verifiable facts I have missed. If so though, it would be helpful if someone would say “yes, here is the factual information you asked for.”

    I am entirely uninterested in the fact that the President declines to comment on a national security incident currently under investigation, as he did here most recently I noticed:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2012/10/27/obama-benghazi-denver-tv-station-libya/1662141/

    I find the fact that Romney himself is silent on this matter rather telling. I happen to know that Presidential candidates are regularly given substantial classified top secret national security information. This has been standing practice for decades. Romney almost certainly knows far more than any of the wild speculation I’ve seen so far, and is choosing himself to mostly stay mum.

    Despite whatever anyone else may think, I believe Mitt Romney to be a fundamentally honorable man who cares about his country. I think that if he believed there was a coverup here, he’d be saying something. That is also speculation on my part, but it is far more reasonable in my eyes than the wild speculation I’m seeing elsewhere. Romney’s choosing not to politicize this, and he’s choosing to refrain for a reason. I’m betting that’s a pretty good reason. If I’m wrong, we’ll find out after the election I’m rather certain.

    Bottom line: I don’t trust partisans on this issue. Am I an Obama partisan? Yes, sort of. You may therefore if you wish dismiss my view. I will only say that if I could ferret out the actual smoking gun of a damning fact in the middle of all this irrelevent garbabe (like the fact that there were former SEALs there, or that there were drones showing grainy footage from the site, or that CIA supervisors gave standard advice they would always give), you might just flip me over to endorsing these attacks on Obama and switching my vote. As it is, all the hyperventilating is doing is irritating me. Make of it what you will.

  • Dishman

    From the testimony of Charlene Lamb

    There were 5 Diplomatic Security agents on the Compound on September 11th. There were also 3 members of the Libyan 17th February Brigade. In addition, a well-trained U.S. quick reaction security team was stationed nearby at the Embassy annex.

    This may have included Woods. If so, responding to events at the Consulate would have been within his job description.

    In the early morning, an additional security team arrived from Tripoli and proceeded to the annex. Shortly after they arrived, the annex started taking mortar fire, with as many as three direct hits on the compound. It was during this mortar attack that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed and a Diplomatic Security agent and a quick reaction security team member were critically wounded.

    A bit more information on Woods:

    Woods – known as ‘Rone’ to his family and friends – served as a security personnel for U.S. embassies in Central Africa and the Middle East since 2010. He served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and was registered nurse and paramedic. Woods leaves behind his wife, Dorothy, and three sons, Tyrone Jr., Hunter, and Kai.

    He was Security, not a spook.

  • Dishman

    Another piece, from Hillary Clinton’s statement:
    “The attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday claimed the lives of four Americans. Yesterday, I spoke about two: Ambassador Chris Stevens and Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Today, we also recognize the two security personnel who died helping protect their colleagues. Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty were both decorated military veterans who served our country with honor and distinction. Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest gratitude are with their families and friends. Our embassies could not carry on our critical work around the world without the service and sacrifice of brave people like Tyrone and Glen.

  • fche

    “I will await the documentation I asked for. […] I am entirely uninterested in the fact that the President declines to comment on a national security incident currently under investigation,”

    Are you sure you can have it both ways? You’re looking for self-incriminating evidence from the inner circle, but are not surprised that the president’s not talking?

  • http://madisonforum.net/ Sandi

    …let’s talk about the recent political claims that the Obama administration abandoned Navy SEALs to die in Benghazi.

    First, the FOX report this all this is based on refers to them as “former Navy Seals” not “Navy Seals.” You make an issue from something that doesn’t exist.

    Now, once you are comfortable that you understand what things look like through those cameras…

    No, I am not comfortable with your pathetic video at all. Why did you use what looks like the worst, grainiest and far away drone footage you could find? How about something more representative like this.

    That the former Seal in question used GLD ( Ground Laser Designator ) to paint the attacking target means the drone was armed. They do not sit there lasing targets, because with night goggles the enemy can also zero in the the person using the GLD. So they do not “paint” a target until the weapons system/designator is synched with the drone, C130, Spector Gunship or whatever was in theater.

    A trained military professional knows that, and would not ever paint a target unless something was on hand to engage it. They just would not be that stupid. So, we know from Leon Panetta that the C130s and Spectors were not around, so that leaves only the drone. From that it makes sense to say that at least one of the two drones was armed!

  • maggie – labrat

    Oh my. Let’s go back to the beginning. I knew I was being LIED to from day one, when the administration and it’s media minions started spewing the bullshit about the youtube video. Yes, me – a lowly labtech in bumfuck Maine – knew it was bullshit, so why didn’t they? Now we need a lengthy investigations to find out who made the decision to lie to us? If they decided to tell such a baldface lie and then doubled down on it and then contorted themselves into pretzels to defend that lie – what the hell are they hiding??? Why am I now to TRUST them? Obama has been making me lose my lunch with his new campaign theme.

    So if you start off the whole affair with a whopper – you have a long way to go to get me to believe anything you try to tell me now. Unless and until they do a mea culpa and admit they lied and why they lied – fuck them.

    My gut? I think their “operation” was blown and they wanted them dead. There’s a scandal here and unless you want to go through another Watergate or Iran-Contra you better hope Obama loses.

  • Scott

    I find the fact that Romney himself is silent on this matter rather telling. I happen to know that Presidential candidates are regularly given substantial classified top secret national security information. This has been standing practice for decades. Romney almost certainly knows far more than any of the wild speculation I’ve seen so far, and is choosing himself to mostly stay mum.

    Here’s my thoughts on why Romney is staying quite for what it’s worth. The Obama campaign spent months and hundreds of Millions of dollars trying to paint Romney as the second Bush W, an evil Republican who fires poor people, kills their wives, beats their gay sons and tortures their dog. Romney came into the convention and the debates with an obvious mission: to appear as a kind and competent Presidential figure to counter all this “Bullshit”. He succeeded amazingly which is why he is ahead in the polls.

    But I digress. Now that his “bounce” from the debates has been maintained and his chances look good it doesn’t do to pound a President on a scandal, even if it is damning like Fast and Furious, this close to an election. If he did the President and his compliant media would just crucify Romney (Remember what happened on the day of the Benghazi attack when Romney said something? The media made the story about Romney!).

    Better to use a metaphorical Aikido move and let Obama and his incompetence in this event defeat himself.

    As they say “If your opponent is busy destroying himself get out of the way.”

  • roylofquist

    The CIA has employed para-military operatives for quite a while now. They led the initial attack in Afghanistan, aiding the Northern Alliance by riding horses to places where they could use laser designators to guide B-52 strikes. Their predecessor, the OSS, sent lots of operatives into occupied territory during WWII who actively engaged the enemy.

    The CIA has said, unequivocally, that they did not order anyone to stand down.

    It was dark – nighttime. This is what drones and Apaches and AC-130s see at night.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICsujYpRI8A&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1jD7v2ucBc&feature=related

  • jaymaster

    Dean,

    I think you have it pretty much right, as far as you go.

    But what about the Ambassador?

    They rank above just about any military personnel. And we haven’t had one assassinated since 1979.

  • Dishman

    Roy,

    I believe those videos are down-sampled.

  • roylofquist

    Dishman,

    I’ll admit that I had to look up downsampling. What is the significance?

  • Dishman

    Roy,

    It means the original video was higher quality.

  • roylofquist

    Thanks, Dishman.

    Back in the 60s I had a friend who was working on image enhancement of satellite photos. He showed me a couple on images – amazing stuff. Then he told me that I was looking at the unclassified versions that were purposely degraded.

    I know from my own experience in the field that military equipment can be far more capable than is generally known. Secrets, you know.

  • http://www.aclassicalliberal.net Classically Liberal Dave

    Dean,

    My question then is how did a US Ambassador and a Foreign Service Office find themselves in a situation where two ex-Navy Seals acting against orders from the CIA were their only protection?

    I think that over a month after the events in question, at least a preliminary answer is due.

  • Scott

    Good point Dave.

    Obama is ultimately responsible for the lack of security as he is the Boss of those who made that decision.

    Of course, “The Buck Stops Here” is the exact opposite philosophy of the Obama Regime. “The Buck stops with Bush”, “The Buck Stops at the Secretary of State’s Desk” and “The Buck stops with the Republicans” is his expressed philosophy.

    My other question, one that Dean can’t answer in his attempt to act as Officer BarBrady in this situation (“Nothing to see here, people. Move along”) is how two CIA agents who WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO INTERCEDE got their hands on a U.S. Military Laser Designator. This isn’t a U.S. Army Rifle in that anyone could pick up and use it if it were laying around untended (and I can assure you neither the designator nor a rifle would be left around); you need training and direct authorization to even turn this thing on. How did they have it and have it working? Hmm, Dean?

    Seems like the CIA officers were also authorized security for the Embassy (as one of their bios actually states explicitly). Which makes them the only protection Obama left them with in a dangerous country.

    Now he needs to answer questions or resign. Period.

  • maggie – labrat

    Read this again. Woods and Doherty may have been “spies” but they and the others that were there and survived were Americans. Stevens and Smith were FSO’s. Listen to this guy if you think they couldn’t have done anything to try to help them.

    http://www.kfiam640.com/player/?station=KFI-AM&program_name=podcast&program_id=DarkSecretPlace.xml&mid=22575160

    Seriously – the line about how you don’t put your special forces in harm’s way without perfect intel is my nominee for turd of the week .

  • http://madisonforum.net/ Sandi

    It appears that not only were Woods and Doherty told to “stand down,” but so was the drone told to stand down. Had the drone been allowed to fire while Woods was lasing the enemy mortar, it wouldn’t have killed Woods and Doherty. It would have been history.

    What possible reason could there have been for not allowing fire to be brought about on a known enemy target?

    My theory: Osama is dead and al qaeda is in retreat. Obama made a major policy shift to support Arab Spring. He could not admit, maybe even to himself that he was wrong.

    We won’t find out much until after the election, but then it will all come out because Obama will be gone. This morning Romney is leading by 2% in Ohio. Obama looses ground almost daily.

  • http://www.aclassicalliberal.net Classically Liberal Dave

    Seriously – the line about how you don’t put your special forces in harm’s way without perfect intel is my nominee for turd of the week .

    Why are the Special Forces so special? Their ability to improvise. Woods and Doherty made a deliberate decision to risk their lives without perfect intelligence. Why wouldn’t active duty Special Forces do the same?

  • http://madisonforum.net/ Sandi

    Why wouldn’t active duty Special Forces do the same?

    They do of course. That is exactly what they did when they went after bin Laden. With the Presidents blessing (or so it is said).

  • ArnoldHarris

    Sandi,

    For whatever it is worth, your observations about this presidential campaign strongly close to mine.

    Over the past weekend, my wife and I took a driving trip from rural Mount Horeb, Wisconsin up to the small town of Red Wing, Minnesota by way of La Crosse, Wisconin, then back home again largely paralleling the east bank of the Mississippi River — a spectacularly beautiful route in this season or any other except midwinter.

    Outside of liberal places such as Madison and parts of La Crosse, one sees mainly political signs for Romney/Ryan, for Governor Tommy and former US Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Tommy Thompson, and for local Republican candidates for the Wisconsin state legislature. Thompson is known to be ahead of Representative Tammy Baldwin, and I am reasonably certain Governor Romney and Representative Ryan will win the electoral votes of Wisconsin as well as those of Ohio and most of the other swing states.

    I follow the Rasmussen Poll, because they are the only daily tracking poll system that concentrates on voters who are likely to vote, and by not playing games with the sample selections by weighting in accordance with voting patterns in 2008.

    I’m not a gambling man. But if I were, I would put my bets on Romney and Ryan to beat Obama and Biden. And there is an opportunity for Republicans to elect enough men and women to take control of the US Senate. I think that without question, the Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives.

    Having said that, I think even if Romney, Ryan and their allies take full control of the US government, long-term trends for the economy of the USA will not greatly improve unless and until this country starts down the long track toward the re-industrialization of America.

    Inevitably, this must include the re-introduction of tariffs designed to keep out manufactured good that compete on unfair terms with those manufactured here in United States by American workers being paid American-level salaries and wages so that working-class Americans can once again be part of the middle class, with the families owning and not temporarily renting homes, and kids getting educations that will in fact prove useful and not merely tangential to their lives and their working careers. And the American labor unions will once again be able to recruit memberships among production workers and not merely government-paid employees working on dollars skimmed off a seemingly ever-shrinking tax base.

    Would this mean protectionism and mercantilism? I don’t really give a damn what the great thinkers of liberalism choose to call it.

    Fundamental changes such as that could help restore the America I so well remember from the years of Harry S Truman, Dwight David Eisenhower, John F Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford — probably the apex of our American commonwealth.

    I dream my dreams, and one of them is the re-establishment of greatness, and riddance of the national social diseases we have either picked up or indeed have invented over the past decades.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  • maggie – labrat
  • http://madisonforum.net/ Sandi

    Arnold, you indeed took a beautiful route, but so is your home town of Mount Horeb beautiful. I haven’t been up there for some time now, but used to visit back when I was into wood carving. Mount Horeb has some beautiful carvings of trolls an other stuff. I would highly recommend anyone in the area to visit Mount Horeb WI. As you probably know I live south of you in Janesville, WI.

    We are indeed close in political beliefs with few differences: none on this subject. It rankles how the left grabs weak phrases like “in harms way” and “fog of war” to excuse inaction. War is all about having troops in harms way, and few battles are without a fog of certain outcome. The only fog over this sorry affair is why when Woods and Doherty painted the enemy ( that later took them out with mortar fire ) the drone was not allowed to fire. If it had they may be alive today. And btw didn’t we already have many Americans “in harms way?”

    As for returning the contry to it’s former industry, that isn’t likely, but much progress can and should be made in that direction. Some can be brought back with high tech innovation which this country excells in. Protection form China especially will help on the retail end by eliminating cheap clothing and other consumer products. I don’t mind paying a bit more for US made products.

    I’ve never seen any stats anywhere but have to wonder if Madison metro isn’t the progressive hub of the nation. It certainly looks that way from the only remaining Madison forum ( The Daily Page ). The old Madison.com forum was also pretty far left, but the Madison newspapers no longer support the forum and have removed most of the formatting. However in an attempt to keep a decent Madison area forum alive I have started madisonforum.com ( clickable on my name here ) but a news startup is hard to get off the ground, so it may never take off.

    [/offtopic]

  • http://madisonforum.net/ Sandi
  • ArnoldHarris

    Hello, Sandy.

    In fact, I did not know you lived in or near Janesville. Otherwise my wife and I by now would have invited you to join us at one of the nearby Panera Bread Company franchises for one of their fine lunches, or at a local Starbucks for their superb coffee. We drive by Janesville often enough on I-90 to or from visits with friends and family still scattered around Chicagoland, and we sometimes back that way from Burlington WI, where our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter live.

    We had lunch a couple of years ago with Aziz Poonawalla, who is on the medical-technical staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The conversation with him was great, but Texas Tubbs, where we ate, leaves a lot to be desired as far as food goes. I’m not at all a liberal like him, but I park political ideology at the door when I’m in the company of someone whose company is pleasant, even if I agree with him or her.

    We also have had lunch at a Madison area Panera’s with one of Dean’s old-time commenters, a Christian minister who presides over two small churches in southeast Minnesota and across the state line in northeast Iowa. I’m no kind of Christian at all, but he was and probably still is one of the more interesting people I have conversed with.

    Actually, if you are into things Norwegian, the village of Stoughton directly south of Madison has much more going for it than Mount Horeb, which despite the public obeisance to Vikings, trolls and all the rest, is about as Norwegian as Palermo, Stuttgart or Beloit.

    (As you all can see, I can get off-topic like the best of you. Have a satisfactorily scary Halloween on Wednesday.)

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  • Scott

    I think you’re focusing too much on the CIA/Ex-Navy Seal part of this argument and don’t see that what they did (whether you, a layman, think it was in their mission profile or not) was to take up the slack of the Obama Administration’s complete incompetence.

    Because, the American Ambassador and his staff were left to die. Period.

  • queenofallevil

    Scott’s last comment sums it all up best. Who cares if they were ex or current Seals? They did what the Obama Administration was too incompetent or impotent to do – save Americans when faced with an imminent threat.

    Obama is not and has never been qualified to be Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces let alone POTUS. There were over 30 people there, left to die if not for the CIA ops/exNavy Seals who defied orders and did what they trained their entire career to do.

    Obama FAILED. He put first his concern the slight possibility of injuring the innocent Muslim or two; over the very real probability that 30 Americans were going to die. He acted like a coward more worried about his political future than our PEOPLE. He FAILED in his duty to protect our citizenry and much as I dislike him…John McCain agrees with me. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/10/28/mccain-says-obamas-libya-handling-either-a-massive-coverup-or-gross-incompetence/

  • http://madisonforum.net/ Sandi

    There is a reason the US embassy asked for security ( which they were denied ) before the 9/11 attack. What does it tell you that the British closed their embassy, and diplomats left Benghazi after the attack in June because it was too dangerous. They left according to The Guardian because radical Islamist groups had become increasingly active there.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Sandi:

    I just went back and double-checked, and this shit got on my RADAR because YOU PERSONALLY wrote THIS:

    There was a time when Dean’s World was gunho in support for the military.

    Unbelievable to me is that it seems choice of noun to decribe a self centered ineffectual President is important. Yet only silence while this administration denies Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty requests for help 3 ( THREE ) times! Nor do I recall anything in the past posted on the Benghazi attack.

    Thank you for suggesting I’ve somehow stopped supporting the military (which I’m really having a hard time not telling you off for in much stronger terms, it’s *really* offensive), but it was you who repeatedly stated that Navy SEALs were denied help when my looking into this story shows that to be fucking bullshit, and now you’re quoting rabid right-wing crapholes like Front Page Magazine at me. To be blunt, I’m close to livid.

    I’ve now invested probably 8 hours into looking into this story and all I’m mostly seeing is that a judgment call was made that you didn’t agree with, and you and others are Monday Morning Quarterbacking the Commander In Chief because you don’t like him. Which is exactly what I hated the frothing rabid Bush-hating Left for.

    The footage you provided is no better than what I provided, it shows that seeing things “clearly” is not what those drones generally can do in complex situations. I’ve seen lots of live footage of drone operators in action, and it’s actually scary how little they can see clearly and how much they often to make really tough judgement calls and take seriously gut-based action, and I also happen to know that before they can order anything not only do they have to make a careful, often agonizingly difficult assessment, but they almost always have to consult with higher command before they hit the “strike” button.

    Also, every single report I’ve read has been that those were *unarmed* drones. The claim that they were armed needs to be backed up.

    I notice this morning that in the wake of all this, Colin Powell has endorsed President Obama and pledges to serve in his second administration, because he endorses Obama’s foreign policy. Is Colin Powell now a bad guy who doesn’t support our military and who wants us to be weak and who thinks it’s just great to leave people to die and doesn’t care of ambassadors get killed?

    http://thehill.com/video/campaign/263981-colin-powell-again-endorses-obama-

    I agree with most of what Powell says about the way the radicals have taken over the Republican Party, by the way, it’s a big part of why I can’t punch “R” this year.

    I haven’t answered everybody else in this thread yet, but that’s because I had a shit day yesterday and I have other things to do today but I’ll be trying to get back here shortly.

    Take comfort in this though: every day as I look at it it looks like you’re going to get your wish and see a President Romney. That said, I don’t think this story’s going to be the reason that happens, because so far I’m not seeing enough here to make it the damning indictment you seem to want it to be.

    Will try to get back to other comments later.

  • http://www.aclassicalliberal.net Classically Liberal Dave

    ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that a CIA press contact reports that no one was denied help by the CIA.

  • http://madisonforum.net/ Sandi

    Thank you for suggesting I’ve somehow stopped supporting the military (which I’m really having a hard time not telling you off for in much stronger terms, it’s *really* offensive), but it was you who repeatedly stated that Navy SEALs were denied help when my looking into this story shows that to be fucking bullshit, and now you’re quoting rabid right-wing crapholes like Front Page Magazine at me. To be blunt, I’m close to livid.

    I did not say that you “stopped” supporting the military and I know you have not, nor does gunho, or not as gunho suggest that you stopped.

    On the other point, what are you saying, that they did not ask for help in Benghazi, or that it wasn’t denied? That the CIA did not deny help only means that the denial didn’t come from them. And if I am not mistaken, that is just how the CIA worded it.

    The footage you provided is no better than what I provided, it shows that seeing things “clearly” is not what those drones generally can do in complex situations. I’ve seen lots of live footage of drone operators in action, and it’s actually scary how little they can see clearly and how much they often to make really tough judgement calls and take seriously gut-based action, and I also happen to know that before they can order anything not only do they have to make a careful, often agonizingly difficult assessment, but they almost always have to consult with higher command before they hit the “strike” button.

    We will have to differ on which video is clearer, but outside the official need-to-know channels those video feeds are always downgraded to show less detail for public consumption. Yes a higher command OK isneeded before a lased target can be fired upon, if not previously given for that theater. Apparently the assessment was too “agonizingly difficult” to take out a known enemy target: quite likely the target that killed the agent on the roof. One of which disobeyed orders to save an extra 30 lives.

    Also, every single report I’ve read has been that those were *unarmed* drones. The claim that they were armed needs to be backed up.

    I have seen no reports that said they were armed, or that they were not armed. My assessment was based on the fact that a trained military person will never lase a target until the weapons system/designator is synched. That can be with any weapon system in theater with that capability. As we already know the C130s and Spector Gunships were not there, although within an hour or so away. What else in theater had laser weapon system other than one or the other of the two drones? If there was none the CIA agent on the roof certainly would not have lased it. He knows very that lasing the target gives the enemy an exact fix on his location.

    I notice this morning that in the wake of all this, Colin Powell has endorsed President Obama and pledges to serve in his second administration, because he endorses Obama’s foreign policy. Is Colin Powell now a bad guy who doesn’t support our military and who wants us to be weak and who thinks it’s just great to leave people to die and doesn’t care of ambassadors get killed?

    I don’t give a rats ass who Colin Powell endorses makes a choice to serve. Powell isn’t pertinent to this discussion.

    I agree with most of what Powell says about the way the radicals have taken over the Republican Party, by the way, it’s a big part of why I can’t punch “R” this year.

    Well as Colin Powell told Charlie the CBS questioner who asked if he planed on leaving the Republican party: “I didn’t say that at all, but nice try, Charlie.” Well unless when he mentioned words “neo-conservative views,” you view neoconservative views as “radical,” because that is as close as he came. In my opinion Colin Powell is an honest person though our views differ. Also I don’t know why he hangs onto the R title, he probably should opt for an I.

  • maggie – labrat

    I don’t understand your position at all. Obama’s foreign policy (especially in regards to the ME) is 180 degrees from that of GWB and yet you support both men??? That’s bi-polar.

    GWB – “You are with us or against us in the War on Terror”.

    Obama – I’m sorry we hurt your feelings, please don’t hate us – it wasn’t me!”

    You make no sense.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass Aziz Poonawalla

    The “apology tour” nonsense is thoroughly debunked :

    initial debunking:
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2011/02/obamas_apology_tour.html

    post-benghazi:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/12/after-cairo-and-benghazi-attacks-conservatives-resurrect-obama-apology-tour-lie.html

    and it started with Obama’s Cairo speech which I suspect most people throwing around the “apology tour” slander have never actually read, so here is the actual transcript for the record:

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass/2009/06/cairo-speech-transcript-and-wo.html

  • http://madisonforum.net/ Sandi

    initial debunking:

    Well using pretzel logic to dice words and saying he didn’t use the word “apologize,” and in some cases “at all similar” is disingenuous. What matters is what the President conveyed with his words. They were often ( not always as claimed ) apologetic.

    In The Daily Beast article Obama wasn’t apologizing, he was covering his ass by lying to the American people and the United Nations assembly.

    How? Well on Sept 12th he claims he called the Benghazi attack an act of terror. Debatable, but as he made it his claim in the debate let him have it. So if, on the second day, he calls it terrorism please explain the follow AFTER Sep 12th.

    Sep 14th: Press Secretary Jay Carney repeats it was because of a video demonstration.
    Sep 16th: Rice sent out on 6 Sunday shows to shovel the same mis-information. On FOX she said that it was not a terrorist attack.
    Sep 18th and again Sept 19th: Jay Carney again repeats the same line.
    Sept 20th: ( I think it was 20th ) Obama uses the video ploy again at the UN. Mentions it 6 times.

    So what happened to the “act of terror” after the Rose Garden speech on the 12th?

  • Scott

    To say that the President didn’t apologize because, as the so-called WaPo “Factchecker” said, he didn’t use the word “apologize” or any similar language is absurd that only a fool or a partisan would buy as an explanation.

    It’s like saying someone didn’t threaten to kill you because the person didn’t actually use the phrase “threaten to kill” or any similar phrase but did promise to “blow your head off”.

  • http://www.aclassicalliberal.net Classically Liberal Dave

    The CIA did dispatch a quick-reaction force that night from Tripoli, with about eight people, but it had trouble at first reaching the compound. One of its members, Glen Doherty, died along with Woods when a mortar hit the roof of the annex about 4 a.m.

    The above is a direct quote from an opinion piece from a David Ignatius opinion piece on the Washington Post’s web site.

    It would appear Doherty was a CIA employee and following orders of his superiors when he died.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass Aziz Poonawalla

    Sandi, I guess I don’t understand why being an act of terror and also being caused by the video are mutually exclusive

  • Dishman

    I’m not certain it was a terrorist attack.

    It appears to me that it may have been “business by other means”.

    It seems pretty clear now that the whole video thing was a red herring. I’m not sure why the White House decided to start pushing it, particularly since they initially knew better.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    I did not, as promised, get back to this thread. I have been busy with other things.

    Point of information: I spoke to a retired officer today with decades in the service and extensive contacts in the upper echelons. He told me to believe Colin Powell and not believe John McCain. Does that settle anything for me? No. But it tells me I no longer will believe anything I read on this until the election is over. I’ve lost interest, and am done.

    I will wait until November 7 for more. It is now a tossup whether I write in Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, or shudder heavily and vote for Obama. Romney is not an option, and neither are the Libertarian or Green candidates. So it’s down to Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, or Obama. I’m leaning toward Bugs.

  • Scott

    Dean,

    Your skepticism seemed to be sharp when “retired officers with decades in the service and extensive contacts in the upper echelons” were saying Obama screwed up. You dismissed him out of hand,

    A retired Colonel (of which there are likely thousands running around) who works for Fox News saying he’s got two unnamed sources does not impress me much. I asked for facts.

    Buuut, when a “retired officers with decades in the service and extensive contacts in the upper echelons” tells you what you want to hear, when he tells you the guy you’ve decided (tentatively) to vote for then his opinion has weight.

    What gives? Why the double-standard?

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass Aziz Poonawalla

    http://af.reuters.com/article/libyaNews/idAFL1E8M1LMT20121102

    CIA officials on the ground in Libya dispatched security forces to the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi within 25 minutes and made other key decisions about how to respond to the waves of attacks on U.S. installations on Sept. 11, a senior American intelligence official said on Thursday.

    Officials in Washington monitored events through message traffic and a hovering U.S. military drone but did not interfere with or reject requests for help from officials in the line of fire, the official said.

    About 25 minutes after the initial report came into the CIA base, a team of about six agency security officers left their base for the public diplomatic mission compound.

    Over the succeeding 25 minutes, the CIA team approached the compound, and tried, apparently unsuccessfully, to get local Libyan allies to bring them a supply of heavier weapons, and eventually moved into the burning diplomatic compound, the intelligence official said.

  • http://madisonforum.net/ Sandi

    Aziz,

    Yes the CIA sent 6 men from Tripoli to help, no one has or is denying that. It has been known and reported by FOX from day one.

    However that is very light help in the face of the large enemy forces that were engaged. It is reported that Woods and Doherty alone killed about 60 combatants. While the Tripoli help is greatly appreciated, it was little more than token help. And if I recall correctly they were sent mainly to help evacuate.

  • Scott

    Sandi, I guess I don’t understand why being an act of terror and also being caused by the video are mutually exclusive

    Even if we accept that the video was on the minds of the people who raided the compound, an assertion of which there is no proof, the video didn’t “cause” them to do anything. If some of them attacked and butchered people because of the video the fault or “cause” falls entirely on them. To suggest anything else robs Muslims of rational agency and dehumanizes them.

    Think of a comparison. If I started throwing rocks at an animal, say a bear, and that bear in its anger attacked and killed a bunch of campers I would be at fault for “causing” it. However, Muslims aren’t mindless animals and to suggest the video “caused” them to do anything is insulting.

    Unless you do want us to consider Muslims mindless animals who do not have rational agency and who can be turned to anger as easily as a bear.

    Of course, in my bear example we shoot the bear without a second thought or trial.

  • maggie – labrat

    Even if you accept that the video had anything to do with any of the assaults on our embassies – are you really happy with the Administration’s response? Waxing poetic on how awful it was and denouncing it in stronger terms than the attacks made against us?

  • Scott

    Aziz,

    You’re reuters post is a little odd.

    CIA officials on the ground in Libya dispatched security forces to the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi within 25 minutes and made other key decisions about how to respond to the waves of attacks on U.S. installations on Sept. 11, a senior American intelligence official said on Thursday.

    No one is disputing this as Sandi said above.

    Officials in Washington monitored events through message traffic and a hovering U.S. military drone but did not interfere with or reject requests for help from officials in the line of fire, the official said.

    This is pure spin and the reporter should be ashamed for being a propagandist for Obama. Saying “did not interfere with or reject requests” is another way of saying “they sat and watched and did nothing while our boys cried for help and died

    And let’s be clear here, if Obama hadn’t denied their requests for stepped-up security before the event there would have been no need for CIA agents to rush to the compound to try to save everyone. Why were their requests denied? Why weren’t their requests for aid during the event even responded to?

    A LOT of questions need to be answer NOW about this out-and-out failure of the President to do his Constitutionally mandated duty. We cannot wait until “after the election” because if we do our representatives and senators might be forced by law to impeach and remove from office. Obama needs to fess up and answer questions TODAY so voters know if he is culpable or not.

    Sadly it won’t happen, Obama isn’t a moral nor responsible man. And sadly our media won’t hold his feet to the fire on this one. Which is why I’m still hoping for a Romney victory on Nov. 6 (and it’s still a 50-50 likelihood). It isn’t perfect justice but it’ll suffice.