Ret. CIA Director Gates just tried to dismiss all the Benghazi critics with his take on the limitations of US military capabilities:
Gates: Some Benghazi critics have "cartoonish" view of military capability
Oh R-E-A-L-L-Y-?-?-? How very I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T-I-N-G for you to say that. Well I don't have a "cartoonish" view of the military - having spent a quarter of a century wearing the war suit in Special Forces and maintaining a close professional association with Special Operations units to this day . . .
. . . let's go through this by the numbers:
"We don't have a ready force standing by in the Middle East, and so getting somebody there in a timely way would have been very difficult, if not impossible."
Not exactly true - we had the Commander's In Extemis Force (CIF) eight hundred miles away on a training mission in Croatia; less than six hours out by C-130. Perhaps not close enough to respond to the initial assault on the Consulate but they certainly could have made a difference during the follow-on fight at the CIA Annex compound. Closer to the fight, at least four Special Forces operators in Tripoli who were ordered - by somebody - to stand down.
I know about the CIF because that is my old outfit - everywhere we went we were required to bring our go-to-war pallets with full basic load of ammunition. In the event of a terrorist attack on one of the diplomatic missions in our theater, our job was to march to the sound of the guns. To turn off the standing orders requires a direct order from the National Command Authority - i.e the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of Defense or the Assistant Secretary of Defense. One of those four gave the order to stand down, in other words.
Suggestions that we could have flown a fighter jet over the attackers to "scare them with the noise or something," Gates said, ignored the "number of surface to air missiles that have disappeared from [former Libyan leader] Qaddafi's arsenals."
I'm going to throw out the 15-yard Bullshit Flag here; we know that over 6 hours elapsed from the beginning of the attack to when the CIA operators were killed by mortar fire - from a heavy mortar emplacement they had laser target designators on, and had requested air support hours earlier in neutralizing. They had also given higher HQ 8-digit coordinates on the mortars, as close as it gets in combat targeting. Former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods (who died during the second phase of the attack, on the CIA Annex) were "lazing" enemy mortar position. They weren't doing that for the good of their health - they were doing it because they had reason to believe there were air assets overhead; and they were on the phone speaking to somebody, directing them to laze those targets.
Furthermore, Libya does not have Syria's Anti-Aircraft-Artillery (AAA) defense-in-depth. Sure, there are shoulder-fired man-portable anti-aircraft defense systems (MANPADS) available - but these are inneffective against a couple of fast-movers flying less than 200' off the deck with their afterburners on. By the time the zoomies scream on by causing a couple of sonic booms over the bad guys, Hajii would be saying, "Holy Hookah Pipes, what was THAT???" I have personally seen this tactic defuse an attack on a political target in the Philippines.
"To send some small number of special forces or other troops in without knowing what the environment is, without knowing what the threat is, without having any intelligence in terms of what is actually going on on the ground, would have been very dangerous. It's sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces," he said. "The one thing that our forces are noted for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm's way, and there just wasn't time to do that."
Again, bullshit. We had actionable intelligence live from the battlefield. Our guys on the ground - to include former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods - were tooling around town between the Consulate and the Annex, and were reporting what they saw. On top of that, we had at least one drone, and various reports mention the presence of an AC-130 gunship - which would explain what Doherty and Woods were doing with the lasers.
The Ultimate Rebuttal:
Gates can say what he wants - one aspect of this entire disgraceful affair that nobody is addressing is the relief-for-cause of General Ham, commander of US Africa Command at Kelly Kaserne in Stuttgart, Germany, the evening of the attack, 11-12 September 2012:
Upon notification the attack in Benghazi was taking place, AFRICOM Commander General Ham immediately notified the CIF unit and communicated to the Pentagon that his forces were ready to deploy.
General Ham then received the order to stand down. His alleged response was screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second-in-command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.
On October 18 2012, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced: ”President Barack Obama will nominate Army Gen. David Rodriguez to succeed Gen. Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command and Marine Lt. Gen. John Paxton to succeed Gen. Joseph Dunford as assistant commandant of the Marine Corps.”
It is very intriguing that Ham is immediately reassigned less than eighteen months into a three year tour. Maybe Ham attempted to send a reaction force against orders, or maybe he simply gave his chain-of-command a piece of his mind about hanging Americans to dry. At the very least the CIF and whatever other forces were available could have made those who killed our people pay while they were still on the scene.
What I'm seeing here is somebody trotted out former CIA Director Robert Gates, to assist with the mitigation and spin doctoring of BenghaziGate. Team Obama either has something they're holding over his head, or - get this - they're promising him a nice juicy plum. Say, an ambassadorship in London or Rome or Paris, or maybe even a spot on the ticket with the HildeBeest in 2016. Think about it; nothing could give Hillary more legitimacy in the area of foreign affairs and national security than to have a Republican former Secretary of Defense, former Director of Central Intelligence as her running partner?
The kind of people who rise to the top of organizations such as the Department of Defense and the CIA are raging egomaniacs - if not during their rise to the top, then certainly after breathing the rarified air at the top. Dangle a carrot like that in front of them, and a guy like Gates will sell his mother. Selling out his country is small potatoes, in comparison.
Wnat I'm waiting for is to hear what Petraeus has to say about all this - he testified on Benghazi and spouted the party line, and for his troubles the Obamatrons threw him under the bus. It will be very interesting to hear what he has to say if they bring him out, the second time around.
- STORMBRINGER SENDS