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Disappearing Ink From Benghazi

The scene at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. (Image source: AP/Mohammad Hannon) (contrib)

FILE - On this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, a man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The graffiti reads, "no God but God," " God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." After more than two months, Libya s investigation into the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi appears in limbo. Key security commanders and witnesses say they were never questioned. No suspects have been named, and gunmen who were seen participating in the assault walk freely in the eastern Libyan city. Hanging over the probe is a fear of reprisals from powerful extremist militiamen. (Credit: AP)

Is everyone by now totally confused how to pinpoint just who in America made the decision to leave four brave Americans, including our Ambassador, in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, to die at the hands of "Allāhu Akbar!” screaming terrorists?  That our guys were able to hold off their killers for eight long hours is a testament to the bravery of the Ambassador and his team. (By the way, let’s never pass up the chance to put a name to our brave men: US Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, US Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, US Embassy Security Personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods.  Doherty and Woods were former US Navy SEALS.)

Watching some of our nation’s “leaders” contort themselves in all kinds of shapes, while trying to find ways to explain why we did nothing, does that to me. Willfully leaving men behind is so very repugnant to this old Marine.Every time someone in the recent senate hearings uttered the excuse of we (the US) not having adequately positioned/operational/capable planes, trains or automobiles, drones, cruise missiles, soldiers, airmen or Marines—nothing at all--to help our Ambassador and his tiny band of brethren--it just makes you feel sick in your stomach?

As of Feb 21, 2013, still no one has been named that made the “do nothing, let them fend for themselves” decision to not rescue them or even to try to drive off the terrorists. “Cowardly leadership” are two words that comes to mind here. No one as yet seems to know who made the actual decision to stand down and let them die. Lots of finger pointing, but no one has yet admitted to saying (without redefining what the word “is” is) the words “I said it.”

What did the Commander-in-Chief know and when did he know it?  More importantly, what did he do about it? Kick the decision can down the road for someone else to do his job for him?  Blame others?  Maybe. After all that’s been his style on things he doesn’t want to do no matter how critically important they are to the future of the nation.

Forget Susan Rice. She knew what she was telling the world about a silly internet film trailer to be bogus nonsense, yet she publicly lied anyway, day after day after day.

Mitt Romney called this one right on September 12. But the press already was starting to circle the wagons around the “Re-elect Obama” Oval Office. Our nation’s liberal media (about 95% of the press) called Romney everything but Benedict Arnold for even suggesting the Benghazi debacle was based upon something other than a stupid home movie trailer. He never believed Obama. I didn’t either.

Forget Hillary Clinton. Only blind loyalists were fooled by that admittedly Academy Award nomination-worthy recent performance in front of the Senate Intel Committee. I’ve long thought that Mrs. Clinton made the command decision (in the absence of the president showing some real leadership) to do nothing to help the Ambassador on September 11, but could the president in reality actually have made the decision to let his Ambassador sink or swim on his own?  Possible.

The Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Benghazi should demand to see (subpoena, if needed) the duty officer logs from the National Military Command Center for the hours leading up to, during and after the period of the attacks in Benghazi. If this has already been done, I’ve not heard or read anything about it.  The CIA may refuse to provide all requested documents, for example, but I don’t see how the NMCC can stonewall the same way.

The NMCC is manned 24/7. It has a Duty Officer-in-Charge that must hold the military grade of O-7 (BG or RADM/lower-half); each of these duty officers holds the duty title of Deputy Director for National Military Command Center.

Look carefully at the duty-officer logs for the operations centers from European Command and Central Command. Bring out the magnifying glass for the logs from Africa Command—the real potential mother lode.

These three duty logs (assuming “Colonel Jessup” from “A Few Good Men” wasn’t involved) should provide a detailed picture of what the NMCC and the respective Combatant Command operation centers were doing in response to the attacks in Benghazi including what forces were being mustered; what warning orders were issued; what forces were available to respond to the attacks and along what timelines; what instructions/directives were given from the National Command Authority (President, Secretary of Defense, or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) to include any execution or stand-down directives; what were the Combatant Commands telling the NMCC and the NCA about what could or could not be done to reinforce Benghazi.

Look at them carefully. Read them closely. These logs should provide a real-time record of what the respective parties were telling each other and what actions were being taken (and therefore not taken) during the Benghazi attack and its immediate aftermath. Most critically, the logs should have definitive entries as to who ordered what and when. The logs aren’t written as if in a fog; they are clear and succinct.

I’ll be very surprised if “who me?” fingers covered in stickiness aren’t easy to identify, as long as NMCC logs don’t use disappearing ink.

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