At the Pentagon Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters that the U.S. government knew too little about what was going on in Benghazi and therefore couldn't deploy forces to defend our consulate and personnel:
"You don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on, without having some real-time information about what's taking place," Panetta said.
Lacking that information, Panetta said he, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Carter Ham, head of the U.S. military's Africa Command, felt they couldn't "put forces at risk in that situation."
"This happened within a few hours and it was really over before, you know, we had the opportunity to really know what was happening," Panetta said.
But today we learn that the State Department and the Department of Defense were receiving real-time updates from the ground, multiple requests for support -- right down to the exact coordinates air support could've targeted. The info on the ground couldn't get much clearer than that. Yet requests for help went unheralded and as two brave Navy SEALs ran into the fire, the Obama administration turned their back on them.
The Obama campaign and the Obama White House repeatedly insist that President Obama's "gutsy call" green-lighting the raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound demonstrated a steel backbone as commander in chief. This is actually one of the key talking points of his campaign:
Yet we have since discovered that the OBL raid was less a "gutsy call" and more of a no-brainer. Now, with details of the Benghazi attack continuing to emerge more than a month after the fact, it seems the only "gutsy" declarations coming from the Obama White House are platitudes and falsehoods trying to shield the president from responsibility.
There's nothing "gutsy" about blaming a YouTube video for the senseless violence of barbarians.
There's nothing "gutsy" about hiding behind your U.N. ambassador as she delivers your lies.
There's nothing "gutsy" about wrongly blaming the intelligence community.
There's nothing "gutsy" about attending campaign fundraisers just hours after a terrorist attack on American citizens.
And there's certainly nothing "gutsy" about dodging and distracting from the truth.
Barack Obama had a real chance to make a "gutsy" call that only an American president could make, but instead of meeting the challenge, he ran from it.