SALT LAKE CITY, May 16, 2013—As information about the Benghazi affair continues to issue forth, it is raising more questions than answers.
One of the most important questions regards the forestallment of any significant military response.
Testimony offered to Congress by Gregory Hicks confirmed that military aid was denied to the embattled mission personnel who fought off the terror attack with only small arms.
The vast American power available in and around the region was the dog in the night, as Sherlock Holmes might have said.
It didn’t bark.
That violated almost every creed by which American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines live.
Of course the incident is scandalous. It highlights an incompetence in foreign affairs by President Obama and former Secretary Hillary Clinton, dereliction of duty by those civilians with authority over military assets, and a general lack of curiosity by Democrats trained to sit, roll, and play dead for their party’s leader.
Whatever violations of government trust, transparency, and accountability the episode has caused, they pale in comparison to the utter contempt displayed for the military ethos that the diplomatic security personnel worked and lived by.
When a distinguished Soldier steps up to criticize military leadership, the criticism is usually warranted, such is the sense of selfless service, duty, and loyalty developed among American warriors.
Yet Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin—the commanding general of Delta Force in the Battle of Mogadishu—wrote an important op-ed piece last year that casts some important considerations on the Benghazi affair.
Boykin, who knows a thing or two about refusing to leave fallen Soldiers, explained that it was irresponsible for then-Defense Sec. Leon Panetta to do anything other than order every available resource to aid the Americans in Benghazi.
Hicks’ testimony made it harrowingly clear that they were under siege without any idea how long it would last. By the early morning hours in Libya, a U.S. ambassador and two security personnel, former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, had been killed in two distinct attack phases at two separate sites.
“The excuse that U.S. military forces in the area could not have arrived in time to save Stevens and his team is unacceptable,” explained Boykin.
It doesn’t really matter what time the distress calls went out. It doesn’t matter how far response teams were. It doesn’t matter how long the attack persisted in Benghazi.
American Soldiers live by a creed: “I will never leave a fallen comrade.” Members of all the services verbally recite and quietly embody the mantras, “leave no man behind” and “failure is not an option.” Their civilian overlords ignored that exhortation.
American warriors like Lt. Gen. Boykin, Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty know that combat can’t be contained into neat timelines. You respond swiftly and take the initiative. You aid your comrades in need.
The real scandal of Benghazi is that our civilian leadership has decided to put politics and convenience above the creeds that make our military the best in the world.
In doing so, they have discarded another aspect of the Seal code: “Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your teammates.”
Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the “Rich Like Me” political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic Training; Tunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative.
He also blogs at http://my-public-affairs.blogspot.com/
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