“I should have had a V-8!” – What Mr. Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense, should have limited is opening remarks to during this mornings Benghazi Hearings.
Listening to Leon Panetta one might think the deployment of Diplomats throughout the world occurred for the very first time under his watch, and none of the dangers associated with such an endeavor had ever been experienced before. In other words, we just could never have foreseen the potential threats to Ambassador Stevens and the Benghazi Embassy staff.
Mr. Panetta has also stated that it cannot be the Department of Defense’s responsibility to defend our Diplomats abroad.
Mr. Panetta has stated that even if it was DoD’s responsibility… “there was no actionable intelligence available” in order for defense forces to come to the aid of our diplomats. Along with that, he told the hearing committee that there was not the available “armed” aircraft to respond… “it would have taken too long to arm the aircraft needed… and we didn’t have the resources to fuel those craft for the trip”.
Mr. Panetta is asking us to suspend reason and burn our maps, in order for all of this to make sense.
To see reason here requires those who nod approvingly at such a statement to forget that we had a man on the ground actively “lazing” the enemy mortar site sending rounds into the compound in addition to a Drone watching the events transpiring below plus later interviews with those at Aviano Air Base stating that they could have been there had they been called. Finally it requires one to believe that while we have armed Drones crawling all over the Middle East, with ranges allowing them to travel all over the region, that none were available to be temporarily diverted to the area under attack. (According to Mr. Panetta, the only Drone available was an unarmed one… which apparently was strangely unable to supply the intelligence needed to discern whether aid for those under attack was needed. I would offer that if a Drone’s “intelligence” is enough for those driving it to decide whether or not a U.S. Citizen can be executed without due process that the “intelligence” being gleaned from the Benghazi site should have been enough to figure those on the ground needed help. And… what kind of surveillance equipment did this drone have? Camera’s to see the firefight… and the active lazing of targets? Listening devices to pick up the frantic radio chatter? Radio equipment capable of communicating this information to those who could make the decisions to send help? Or was this Drone void of these capabilities? Yes or No?
Mr. Panetta made the assertion that forces could not be deployed because of other “possible threats” to our other consulates in the region, while mere moments earlier stating that there were no imminent threats to our personnel. But wait a minute… I thought there were no discernible threats in the region on our Embassies.
My question is; Which is it Mr. Panetta? There seem to be three stories here.
Either there were threats detected on our Embassies “across the region” as you said out loud this morning, or there were not… as you also stated out loud this morning.
Either you did have the ability to send forces to aid those under attack and chose not to, or you did not.
Either it is your responsibility to defend our diplomats, or it is not… (nor ever has it been.)
You said there were… and there were not… in the same opening remarks.
If, Sir, it is not the Dept. of Defense’s responsibility, then whose is it? State? CIA? New York’s Finest? Who!
You stated that perimeter security was the responsibility “of the Host country”… so you, and the Department of Defense in Cooperation with the Department of State are incapable of evaluating the ability of the Host country to provide such security? Seriously? Do you need to take a minute and read back what just escaped your mouth? To say such a statement is “unbelievable” is charitable.
Even if none of this was “your problem”, why didn’t you help? “The U.S. Armed Forces are not a 911 service standing by to come to the rescue of our citizens all over the world.” Really? I would think the U.S. citizenry, and many of our soldiers, would be surprised to hear such a statement. If that is not within their “job description”, then what exactly IS their job description Mr. Secretary?
I am stunned that this country has survived to be 250 years old and rising to the position of world hyper-power while, according to Mr. Panetta, never having learned all of these “unforeseen lessons” this tragedy has suddenly taught us. May be in another 250 years we’ll get a handle on this whole Diplomacy thing. This entire Administration acts as if none of this Major League Governing Stuff has ever been done before and we are learning as we go.
I’m not sure I have enough liquor to get through this hearing…