By FRC Executive Vice President Lt. General Jerry Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.)
The House Select Committee on Benghazi issued their long-awaited final report this morning after two years of investigation. Simply stated, it both angers and saddens me as an American and as a 36-year veteran of the U.S. Army. The report is very clear that no effort was made to rescue or assist the beleaguered American diplomats and contractors on the ground in Benghazi on September 12, 2012 during a sophisticated attack on both the U.S. Embassy “Mission” and the CIA Annex.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified that he ordered three military units to deploy to Benghazi to assist in the rescue of the U.S. personnel who were under attack, yet nothing deployed. Panetta claims that he ordered the Fleet Antiterrorism Support Team (FAST) from Rota, Spain as well as an “In-extremist” Special Forces team in Europe to deploy and provide assistance. Furthermore Panetta allegedly ordered the Delta Force to deploy from their base at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
Nothing moved. Not even combat aircraft or armed drones.
So the big question is why. Why was there no effort to come to the aid of these heroic U.S. Government personnel who fought a 13-hour battle against Islamic terrorists? The report gives only a partial answer to the question revealing that the bureaucrats in Washington decided that any operation would have to be approved by the Libyan government. That is an incredible revelation — when Americans were dying, politics was the first consideration. This is a total failure in leadership at the highest levels of our government. The only priority should have been to save the lives of our fellow citizens.
The forces that Panetta says he ordered to the scene, those which never even moved from their bases, were created to deal with situations like Benghazi. They were capable, ready, and eager, but never used due to concerns about Libyan sensitivities. I know that any of these units could have made a difference because I served in two of them. We let four Americans die because of the incompetence of the leadership of this country and that is a disgrace and travesty.
First published at FRC.org
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