Centrail View: Benghazi: A question of honor
Ryan Summerlin June 3, 2013
Doubtless, there are partisans who hope a full Benghazi investigation would unseat the current commander-in-chief and/or damn the former secretary of state, forever. While the partisans are likely to be disappointed, there are millions of veterans who feel that whatever happened in Benghazi left a stain on their military honor. They wonder why readily available troops from nearby Tripoli and Sicily were not dispatched immediately to help Americans in battles that lasted over seven hours. Did the troops refuse to go? Or, were they willing to risk their lives but were ordered to “stand down?”
Ironically, at this point, only the grieving families of the fallen, the upset veterans, and American public do not know what really happened on that fateful night. So far, the curtain of secrecy has only been lifted a few inches by a handful of career Foreign Service Officers who risked their careers to testify before a House oversight committee.
Of course, the jihadist perpetrators know what they did. A further irony is that you can bet that Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, the Turks, and, probably, the Israelis also know exactly what took place.
Add to that list the dozens of American survivors of the jihadist attacks who for some mysterious reason have yet to surface and give their eye-witness accounts. Also in the know are the American watch officers in the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House Situation Room, who watched most of the carnage in real-time as the attack video was relayed from a Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV), circling over Benghazi.
If our enemies and allies know what happened, why are the families of the fallen and our military veterans left wondering? Every failed operation produces valuable lessons-learned. Benghazi must hold an abundance of lessons-learned that can be harvested for the benefit of future contingency planners.
No veterans group is more adamant about a detailed finding of the facts about Benghazi than “Special Operations Speaks (SOS),” a non-partisan association of special operations veterans who are trying to rally support for House Resolution 36.
In fact, over 700 former special operations officers and senior non-commissioned officers — to include 23 generals and admirals — wrote to Congress in support of House Resolution 36, which would establish a select committee to investigate and report to the House on: 1. Any intelligence known to the United States relating to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. 2. Any requests for additional security, or actions taken by federal agencies to improve security at the consulate before the attack. 3. A definitive timeline of it. 4. How the relevant agencies and the executive branch responded to it and whether appropriate congressional notifications were made. 5. Any improper conduct by officials relating to the attack. 6. Recommendations on what steps Congress and the President should take to prevent future attacks. 7. Any other relevant issues relating to the attack or the response to it.
Currently, House Resolution 36 has 154 co-sponsors but is stuck in the House Rules Committee. If 64 more co-sponsors can be found, then a Discharge Petition would force House Resolution 36 out onto the House floor for a vote. Do you know where your House member stands on House Resolution 36? If not, see: www.thomas.gov.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, a former military contingency planner, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.