CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson is committing journalism regarding Benghazi, on behalf of a citizenry that is entitled to know what the hell is going on:
Some lawmakers are asking why U.S. military help from outside Libya didn’t arrive as terrorists battered more than 30 Americans over the course of more than seven hours. The assault was launched by an armed mob of dozens that torched buildings and used rocket propelled grenades, mortars and AK-47 rifles.
CBS News has been told that, hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.
The State Department, White House and Pentagon declined to say what military options were available. A White House official told CBS News that, at the start of the attack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options. . . Retired CIA officer Gary Berntsen believes help could have come much sooner. He commanded CIA counter-terrorism missions targeting Osama bin Laden and led the team that responded after bombings of the U.S. Embassy in East Africa.
“You find a way to make this happen,” Berntsen says. “There isn’t a plan for every single engagement. Sometimes you have to be able to make adjustments. They made zero adjustments in this. They stood and they watched and our people died.”
Let that last line sink in for a minute. Ann Althouse did and then she asked:
The attack went on for hours. Why didn’t/couldn’t our military go in? Was it for the same reason that no military was there to protect them in the first place, that the Obama administration did not want the appearance of a military presence? Were they watching, thinking the attack should quickly succeed, allowing them to say it all happened so fast… and then it wasn’t fast?
We’re still not getting straight answers out of our government. The State Department, early in the game said they wouldn’t answer any questions, and while Hillary made an attempt to fall on her sword before the second presidential debate, that lead-ballooned. As the mother of one of the dead, Sean Smith, looks for answers she’s told that the situation is still being “studied”.
…I look at TV and I see bloody hand prints on walls, thinking, my God, is that my son’s? I don’t know if he was shot. I don’t know — I don’t know. They haven’t told me anything. They are still studying it. And the things that they are telling me are just outright lies.
Those of us who live in New York and had occasion to call the office of then-Senator Hillary Clinton on almost any issue will recognize the “we’re studying it” line as a classic Hillarian stall. When Hillary does not want to talk about something, or take a stand, or release information — essentially when Hillary is protecting herself — she has her people say the she is “studying” the issue.
She keeps “studying” until the situation moves off the front page. And she has been laying as low as possible, quiet and “studying” since Benghazi happened.
So, slowly we are learning that this planned, non-spontaneous attack on our consulate and the deaths of our Ambassador and three others, was a prolonged, sustained event of which we were fully aware, and about which…we did nothing.
This is a travesty of leadership; I almost want to say it is evidence of a depraved indifference to human life, but I am still trying — in some little corner of my heart — to be fair.
But the question keeps coming, and it’s a fair one, too: WHY?
– Why are these people dead?
– Why did we not even attempt to rescue them?
– Why were Ambassador Stevens’ requests for security unmet?
– Why was it essential to have Marines guarding the consulate in Barbados on 9/11, but not Benghazi?.
– Why did it take three weeks for America to secure the area, after the attack?
– Why did the administration blame a video no-one had ever heard of for a “spontaneous” uprising, and stick to that story so resolutely that President Obama was still mentioning it as late as September 25, in an address to the UN? And is the filmmaker they blamed and took into custody still in jail?
– Why is General David Petraeus, who now heads up the CIA, saying nothing at all? Why does he want more drones, when the information available from them seems irrelevant to our response options?
Why, why, why? Please don’t tell me it’s all about politics. Please don’t tell me that these people are dead and our country is showing the weakest of horses to Al Qaeda and the rest of the world, because of a political season. Because that’s just not acceptable.
Presidenting and administering don’t get put on hold for 9-months-to-a-year because of an election. Not in the real world.
But then, nothing about Obama’s presidency has been the stuff of “real worlds.” Not his messianic, cult-of-personality candidacy, not his early, unearned Nobel Peace Prize, not his media-cocooning, not his administration’s assertion that free people can be compelled to deny their consciences for the sake of a nation and still call themselves free.
Dorothy Rabinowitz calls out that unreality; she compares the stonewalling and lies about Benghazi to a cheating husband who asks, “who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”
It’s a sound comparison. But if we find out that Ambassador Stevens and three others died, our compound was left unsecured and a preposterous story about a video was floated way beyond its shelf-life all because of an electoral season, then I no longer think of a cheating husband who lies. I think of Catch-22′s Lieutenant Scheisskopf, who had no time to do his job and properly train soldiers under his command, because there was a parade to plan and a banner to win. Lieutenant Scheisskopf who was so intent on capturing and keeping his prize that he briefly — but seriously — contemplated modifying the bodies of his soldiers and restricting their natural freedoms in order to win:
. . .he considered every means of improvement, even nailing the twelve men in each rank to a long two-by-four beam of seasoned oak to keep them in line. The plan was not feasible, for making a ninety-degree turn would have been impossible without nickel-alloy swivels inserted into the small of every man’s back, and Lieutenant Scheisskopf was not sanguine at all about obtaining that many nickel-alloy swivels from Quartermaster…
Please tell me that when our drones saw our consulate under sustained attack for seven hours, when we watched while our people were being murdered, that their rescue wasn’t inhibited because some Scheisskopf was too distracted by a contest to make a gutsy call. Please tell me that when Stevens and his team were looking for help, they were not being pushed aside by some Scheisskopf saying, “I can’t pay attention right now; don’t you know there is a parade going on?”
UPDATE: Was the president lied to?. If so, why? Was someone trying to control his response? If so, shouldn’t some resignations be on his desk? This story gets curiouser and curiouser.
Tim Dalrymple with Five things he wishes Romney would say in debate.
Where was the Help?
The Three Benghazi Timelines We Need Answers About
Should Obama Resign?
“It really isn’t an issue…”
And then, of course…