Weeks after President Obama and/or other high-level administration officials turned down requests for help as our consulate in Benghazi lay under siege, the commander in chief delivers a very different message in the wake of Hurricane Sandy: “We leave no one behind.”
Now you might say, well this is about a hurricane and the circumstances are obviously very different. Indeed they are, but Obama’s “leave nobody behind” has been echoed before. Take this 2008 speech about being there for our military when they need us as they have always been there:
The pledge was repeated again during his speech at this year’s Democratic National Convention:
America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes…
Yes, in many ways Hurricane Sandy has saved Barack Obama.
Notice Obama isn’t being asked whether aid was denied in Benghazi. Instead, he’s invited to demonstrate to voters how much aid he’s going to bring to the Northeast, as he becomes the great Federal Daddy to storm-tossed battleground states.
If Obama isn’t the luckiest politician in history, would you please name another?
But as I highlighted in this morning’s must-reads, there remain many unanswered questions about the deadly terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi and the Obama administration’s reactions. Among these questions: Why were four Americans “left behind” to die?
What more could have been done? A Joint Special Operations Command team was moved that night to Sigonella air base in Sicily, for quick deployment to Benghazi or any of the other U.S. facilities in danger that night across North Africa. Armed drones could also have been sent. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta summarized last Thursday the administration’s decision to opt for caution: “You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.”
Looking back, it may indeed have been wise not to bomb targets in Libya that night. Given the uproar in the Arab world, this might have been the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a burning fire. But the anguish of Woods’s father is understandable: His son’s life might have been saved by a more aggressive response. The Obama administration needs to level with the country about why it made its decisions.