Small Wars Journal

Why Benghazi Is Even Bigger Than You Think for Obama and Romney

Why Benghazi Is Even Bigger Than You Think for Obama and Romney by Spencer Ackerman at Wired’s Danger Room.

The assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya promises to play a big role in Monday’s debate between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney. But don’t cringe: For all the silly gotcha moments about who cried “terror” and when, the Benghazi attack provides a chance for both candidates to address major concerns about their approaches to a chaotic world.

The first round of congressional hearings on the Benghazi assault have come and gone. But they didn’t focus on the crucial question of the strategic implications of the assault. Does it mean the U.S. needs to involve itself deeper in the Arab Spring; pick favorites within the uprisings; or stand back as the the upheaval proceeds? Both candidates have said a lot about the incident and practically nothing about arguably the most important questions it raised...



Fri, 12/07/2012 - 2:06pm

Carl, excellent points! Thats the great thing about drones... Now instead of just using them to look for REALLY important things like uniform violations we can utilize them as multi-use platforms to show moral and physical cowardice!!

So this is what we have. The nature of the attack upon the consulate was known by command going all the way to the top almost from the very start. Repeated calls for help from the people under attack were refused. Repeated requests by some of the people on the ground to go help others were refused until some of those making the request just acted and went to the sound of the guns and rescued people. There were drones (armed?) overhead watching the whole thing. The feed from the drones was probably available to a lot of people, who did nothing. There were forces available in Sicily that could have been dispatched and may have been able to help, but they weren't.

This is a massive display of moral cowardice going all the way to the top and maybe especially at the top. And I don't mean just the civilian top. I mean too, with perhaps more vehemence, the military top. There were people who needed help and no multi-star that I know of disobeyed orders or threatened to to get them help. There were no resignations tendered immediately after the attack because some multi-star just couldn't live with it. All those general officers, to my knowledge, sat quietly by and watched.

Gen. Dempsey, you keep up the good work and continue to lobby that Gen. Ward be retired at 4 stars instead of 3.


Thu, 10/25/2012 - 7:13pm

I just listened to the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs state that they both recommended not putting troops on the ground in Libya to rescue Americans under attack. I was disappointed in that response. There was no mention of the air support that was available one hour away. I believe Americans in Libya may have been sacrificed by those hiding behind faulty doctrine, position, and rank, who were more fearful of killing Libyans than saving Americans.