Small Wars Journal

Lingering Questions About Benghazi

Lingering Questions About Benghazi - a Washington Post op-ed by David Ignatius.

The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi has become a political football in the presidential campaign, with all the grandstanding and misinformation that entails. But Fox News has raised some questions about the attack that deserve a clearer answer from the Obama administration...



Fri, 11/02/2012 - 5:32pm

In reply to by duck

Duck... Spot on! I tried checking, however I do not hold a clearance high enough to find out the status of the assets you mentioned... I even tried backdooring thru NCO channels...

I had even heard of a shadowy fellow named Jack Bower... Could get nothing on him at all.

In fact for this type of operation I would have to go with Lee Marvin even over the Duke.

I am not sure what it takes as it is clearly going to take more than an ART 15... But could we not hurry and bust MAJ Hasan to PVT? Disobeying a direct order to shave aught to cover it... Hell Soldiers get one for the same thing... And it dosn't make national news either.

As for Manning he dosn't need Levenworth... He needs a reguler federal prison general pop... Unfortunately more than a few vets in those places... But they did their service proudly and messed up latter on... I am sure they could arrange for him to get what he deserves.

As Captain Jack Sparrow put it: "The lowest layer of Hell is reserved for muintaineers and betrayers" Or something like that.


Fri, 11/02/2012 - 2:56pm

In reply to by Hammer999

Hammer, you forgot a few possibilites:

The Commando is medically retired. Something about steam burns.

Macgyver has gained way too much weight to be able to move with the quickness required to take on heavily armed terrorists with a swiss army knife.

Steven Segal is in much the same boat.

Navy Seals would have gone in, but the extra airlift required for the authors contracted to write post mission tell-all books was not available.

Maj Hasan and PFC Manning were offered the oppurtunity to take part in a modern Dirty Dozen but both declined, citing the fact that Lee Marvin is dead.


Fri, 11/02/2012 - 12:02pm

In reply to by blu

Well blu what is your COA???... Before I bitch, I have an answer for the problem. Admitedly I developed mine in 30 seconds, based on less than perfect information. You have had days. Please educate me. Nope, the ABCT wasn't in town, so my COA as stated, wouldn't have worked, how ever by slightly modifiying it to the CIF/JSOC guys it could have. If you have a better one than by all means school the rest of us incompetent Big Army idiots... I mean the lives of Americans were only at stake.

What do you suppose the purpose of that ABCT over there is?

Hmmm let see what would they have to do? Recieve the mission, Take off, plan and breif OPORD in flight, in flight rig, conduct an drop into a foreign land (I never suggested they drop directly on the compound), assemble and move to the objective. Secure the objective. Extract personnel. At this point they could have stayed to defend the place, or conducted movement (I would have taken the time to burn it to the ground as I left) to the nearest airfeild for withdrawl.

Estimated enemy forces: 125-150 personnel
Enemy armorment: The usual third world stuff
Unit type: Mob
Estimated tactical ability: low

If an 8 man QRF in a twenty vehicle convoy (which they had to wait for) could make it, I am confident an Airborne company to battalion force (or even a platoon) could have as well even, if they had to fight there way in. Would this make me an optimist?

Nope no way in hell a Big Army ABCT could have done that. Do Paratroopers even know what an embassy is? Why, do they even practice such things? Surely not...

Do you think any unit has ever had all the info before going in? If anything SOF guys usually have better intel as well as all nice to have supporting toys. BTW, Mogadishu, until the 10th MTN and the UN (yeah, the UN. We had to ask the Paskistanis to help us) was asked to support, was an all special people program. And they had all the info... Which of course couldn't be shared with Big Army because we apperently are morons. Look how well that turned out.

With no AC-130 within range, and I guess no Predators either, (no fixed wing at all was available at Aviano?) What would you do? Putting men on the ground is about the only thing I could see that would work...

I am guessing here, but I figure your plan would have called for some specialized assets, and of course would have have easily worked... So I did some checking on what was available... It isn't looking too good...
1. "Master Cheif" from the Halo video game isn't real...
2. No models of the Terminaters are currently available for deployment...
3. The ION cannon is broken...
4. Captain Kirk was unable to respond due to being on a five year mission... Additionally due to the loss of to many Ensign #3's (MIA/KIA) by his "away teams" (whatever they are) he would not have been able to teleport a large enough force to be of any practical use, even had they been within range...
5. Imperial Storm troopers are far, far away. Nor are they subject to NCA orders.
6. Chuck Norris could have easily handled this without bring in his own smallarms, but was holding himself in reserve for something more worthy of his talents. Issues with JAG hinder employment as well as he works best without an restrictive ROE.
7. Batman will not operate outside the limits of Gotham City...
8. Jedi Knights have enough problems of their own...
9. They already made "Expendables II" so the cast which could have been made into a ad hoc taskforce had already been dismantled...
10. Rambo prefers fighting in Jungle and Mountainous Desert, he is just not an urban guy, unless it is man on man stick fighting... Addtionally the time required to forge a new knife and prep his bow, not to mention the lack of sufficent numbers of exploding arrowhead points (he still has an unlimited supply of arrows though) and the likelyhood of being able to steal or over power the crew of a servicable soviet tank or helo (or one made to look like one), would have hindered extraction. Also his boat was destroyed by the Burmese Military, so that precluded the possiblity of exfil by water...


Fri, 11/02/2012 - 12:05pm

In reply to by major.rod

Major.Rod, I didn't know the 173rd was out of play... I knew about the CIF at Sig... Didn't know JSOC had anything in the area. Certainly could have gotten the job done as well.


Thu, 11/01/2012 - 4:57am

In reply to by blu

blu - You know he did say a COMPANY to BN?

You do know they could have landed at the airfield which the huge eight man QRF did and then had to wait for transport in a 20 vehicle convoy (kinda of Mogadishu like huh?).

NEO is also a conventional task. "Big Army" has a lot of flaws. One of them isn't arrogance.

hammer - as I understand it the 173rd is unavailable. The CIF at Sigonella or the JSOC guys there would also have been good choices.


Wed, 10/31/2012 - 4:05pm

In reply to by Hammer999

Yup...having an ABCT jumping into Benghazi would have been a great idea. While there probably was more that could have been done I really don't think that the best COA would revolve around sending big army to a fight like that totally unprepared. It rings of Mogadishu, only worse.


Fri, 11/02/2012 - 5:37pm

In reply to by blu

It may not have been the best COA, but at least mine is a workable COA... Yes the possiblity of it being messy exists... But we will never know will we?

Hope is not a COA... Not going in due to casualties is not a good COA... If you are an Airborne Infantryman you excepted long ago, that fact the the C-130 rolling down the strip, might be taking you on a one way trip. Those 173rd guys are not SFOD... But they are combat vets, have a large precentage of Ranger qualified leaders even at the lowest levels and a top notch unit... They could have gotten it done.


Wed, 10/31/2012 - 4:00pm

In reply to by Hammer999

Yup...having an ABCT jumping into Benghazi would have been a great idea. While there probably was more that could have been done I really don't think that the best COA would revolve around sending big army to a fight like that totally unprepared. It rings of Mogadishu, only worse.


Wed, 10/31/2012 - 10:41am

Another avoidable tragidy, brought to you by the inventor of COIN, 10 million dollar water parks and ineptness... But hey he is a really nice guy.

I am never a fan of going into anything without knowing the whole situation, that being said when your buddies are in trouble, you don't sit on your hands wishing away the problem. A company to BN size force could have been jumped in in hours from Europe... But instead the government leadership, wrings its hands, says "no,no,no" and and crosses it fingers that no one will go that far... Hope is not a course of action.

This is not a critism, I am sure they were where they were supposed to be, doing what they were ordered to do, but where were the Marine Embassy Guards during this?

My understanding is that there was a saferoom, that the ambassidor was in and was removed by the attackers... And this was pointed out to the attackers by the local guard element... How did they know the location?