Liz Cheney, speaking on the Sean Hannity show, nailed the essence of the Libya scandal when she said that those warriors who died there deserved a commander-in-chief with standards as high as their own.
And therein lies the truth of this whole mess. Integrity and courage displayed on the ground by those who do the actual fighting is not mirrored at the command level. American warriors, motivated not by politics, but by a sense of what is the right and honorable thing to do for their country, are betrayed by politicians in the White House and the Pentagon.
Betrayed… that is the key word to be considered by the American public in its assessment of just what went on in Benghazi, Libya, and why four Americans had to die there while calling for nearby military support, which never arrived. Orders from somewhere up the chain of command, were issued to potential rescuers to stand down. Stand Down: those are bitter words to warriors who know their own kind are in jeopardy.
I remember listening to the final radio transmissions of a long-range patrol inserted by my battalion in Vietnam in 1966 as they were discovered and quickly annihilated by the much larger North Vietnamese unit they were observing. The sense of helpless rage that consumed everyone in that command tent is indescribable. Our guys were too far away and the firefight was over too quickly for us to launch a reactionary force, so we simply had to sit and listen helplessly as they were overrun. It is one of those experiences better left in the memory cellar, a haunting recollection of listening to men die through a crackling military field radio.
That was a terrible, horrific feeling, then, but one that should be infinitely more horrifying for those in the American government and our military command structure who sat on their hands watching video transmissions from overhead drones while four brave Americans fought for their lives. You can bet that every command element that had access to the video feed was watching it happen in real time and there must have been many of those watching or listening who shared my long-ago helpless fury, but for different reasons entirely: not that they were too far away or that they didn’t have time to react, but due to an inexplicable order that came from some unidentified level in the command structure to, “Stand down.”
We have lost young men of immense courage here who are deserving of their nation’s highest recognition and awards for their valor. No less, their families need to know, are entitled to know, why their deaths were necessary. They lost their lives needlessly in that mission and the question begging is, “Why?” Hopefully, with a Romney administration, we just might get an answer to that question, but if Obama remains in office you can rest assured every effort will be directed to seeing that this military malfeasance at best, and political treachery at worst, will be swept under that old raggedy rug of political corruption.
Here’s a very spot-on quote from military writer Tom Ricks regarding the divide between troops on the ground and their commanders:
BIZARRELY, THE TACTICAL excellence of enlisted soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan may have enabled and amplified the strategic incompetence of the generals in those wars, allowing long-running problems in the military’s leadership culture to reach their full expression. The Army’s combat effectiveness let its generals dither for much longer than they could have if the Army had been suffering clear tactical setbacks. “One of the reasons we were able to hold on despite a failing strategy, and then turn the situation around, was that our soldiers continued to be led by highly competent, professional junior officers and noncommissioned officers whom they respected,” Sean MacFarland, who as a brigade commander in Ramadi in 2006 was responsible for a major counterinsurgency success, said at a 2010 Army symposium on leadership. “And they gave us senior officers the breathing space that we needed, but probably didn’t deserve, to properly understand the fight we were in.”
It is, as history will always attest, the grunt, the guy slugging it out in the mud and the blood, who keeps these so-called leaders, these perfumed princes and posturing politicians, from being exposed as the heartless manipulators they really are. While Liz Cheney was spot-on when she noted that these young warriors in Benghazi deserved a commander-in-chief with standards as high as their own. I would rephrase that to, “Cojónes as big as their own.” Unfortunately, their commander-in-chief and his pentagon poodles all appear to have been neutered.
Crossposted at American Thinker