Robert Gates on Benghazi 'My decisions would have been just as theirs'

Republicans are trying to roast President Obama for what he did not do Photo: Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates/AP

LOS ANGELES, May 13, 2013 — Robert M. Gates appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday to give his thoughts on the speculation surrounding what happened in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.

You may recognize that name, Robert Gates. He was the defense secretary under George W. Bush, starting in 2006, and served as Director of Central Intelligence under George H. W. Bush.

Much has been said in the press as far as what the Obama administration, the military, the Department of State and others should have done and what they did not do on the aforementioned night. Many people without any military experience or training and much less experience in actually leading a military have been giving their thoughts as to what the government should have done.

These pundits see their opinions as fail safe options that President Obama simply chose not to enact. In their opinion, President Obama dropped the ball and just let Americans die without ever doing anything.

The former defense secretary weighed in on some of the options that these armchair quarterbacks are looking to crucify Obama for not doing.

Scramble the fighter jets and fly them over to scare the attackers. Gates said, “Well, given the number of surface to air missiles that have disappeared from Gaddafi’s arsenals, I would not have approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft – over Benghazi under those circumstances.”

Just send in the Navy Seals, they’re always ready and capable at a moment’s notice. To this point, Gates said, “to send some small number of Special Forces or other troops in without knowing what the environment is, without knowing what the threat is, without having any intelligence in terms of what is actually going on on the ground, I think, would have been very dangerous. And personally, I would not have approved that because we just don’t. It’s sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces. The one thing that our forces are noted for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm’s way. And there just wasn’t time to do that.”

Would former Defense Secretary Gates have advised President Obama to act any differently on that night? “I listened to the testimony of both Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey,” said Gates. “And frankly had I been in the job at the time I think my decisions would have been just as theirs were. We don’t have a ready force standing by in the Middle East.”

It seems as though people with zero knowledge of the capability of our military are ready to crush a President for not doing as they think he should have. People with no knowledge of the risks involved with sending jets or troops into that region of Libya are upset that the President did not use the same tactics they successfully used while playing military video games.

President Obama/AP


Would the same be true if a Republican were in office? Would liberals use this as a way to attack the President for political purposes? Of course they would. It is the one thing that both parties do very well.

This is the problem with America. This is why nothing gets done in America.

People on the Right are chomping at the bit to throw Democrats under the bus. People on the Left are just waiting for the next Republican to say something embarrassing so they can try to ruin that person’s career.

Perhaps, it is time for both Republican and Democrats to grow up and start thinking for themselves.

The need to be associated with a political party to help guide their principles is childish at best. Why do Americans go to the polls to vote for people who will just toe the line of their respective parties? Why do we elect people incapable of formulating their own thoughts?

It is high time we end all political parties. Force the weasels in Washington to come up with their own thoughts. It is not too much to ask the very people in charge of our government to think about what they stand for and formulate thoughts and positions based on what they think is right, not what will make them popular within their respective political party.

America needs more than two ideologies from which to choose. America needs people in office who will do what is right, regardless of what their political affiliation tells them to think. Too many decisions are made with reelections in mind and not enough are made with actual Americans in mind.

As for Benghazi, instead of bashing each other with political clubs, maybe politicians on both sides should take the time to investigate what happened and how to keep the situation from repeating itself. Rather than using this tragedy to score political points, politicians should act less like Republicans and Democrats and start acting more like Americans.

Kevin J. Wells writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music.  Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball


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Kevin J Wells

Kevin J. Wells was born and raised in the Los Angeles area in a town called Montrose.  He currently plays guitar for and is a founding member of the Los Angeles punk rock band Emmer Effer.  He has worked in a number of different career fields including Behavioral Therapy, Commodities, Insurance, and most recently a food cart in Portland, OR. Kevin has been both a sports and entertainment columnist and editor for The Washington Times Communities since January 2013.

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