Nothing here for those mainly interested in proving that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was guilty of …something. These were the guys on the ground, for what happened in Washington they have no more to go on than any other American. No more than Audry Murphy (WWII) was privy to the decisions to launch the European Invasion in which he took part.
The two big controversies that the book does settle; the manner and responsibility for Ambassador Stevens death, the (possibly) fatal delay in sending in a rescue force to the diplomatic building while the attack was going on. For the questions on the lack of any support from the air, ground or sea we must all look elsewhere. These guys can only and are only telling about what they saw, heard and did. With complete honesty and candor.
One thing I got out of this book was that anything, repeat anything, said or reported that depends on the Libyans themselves is almost certainly a lie. Depending upon the Libyans to defend a American diplomatic compound, especially when the US Ambassador was visiting, was worse than a serious mistake. It was criminally negligent. Some Libyans were friendly, some provided crucial help but in the end it was Libyan unreliability and with direct Libyan involvement that our people were attacked and four of our people died. Again, if (as is likely) foreign nationals, Al Queda or members of the national Libyan Police were involved in the attack, these men can only provide hints based on what they saw on those days before and during that attack.
On the question of Ambassador Stevens, this is not a ‘Castle’ murder mystery. While I have read some speculation on plausible scenarios in which Stevens might have fallen alive into the hands of our enemies, while possible there is no proof. The account and timeline in this book by those that were there convinces me that Stevens died onsite of smoke inhalation like Sean Smith and that the responsibility for his death lies on the heads of whoever made the decision to deny the additional security forces that were strongly requested. And their account makes clear that any possibility of a successful rescue of those under attack was probably thrown away by the refusal of the CIA station chief ‘Bob’ to allow the quick reaction force of Americans to go. As in; Go, GO, GO! Read the book, follow the timeline, tell me what you think.
This is probably not the final word on the Benghazi tragedy. There are many gaps in our understanding on the American side. Perhaps when the administration that was control is over (Please God, Soon!) then some of the people that know more about the truth on the American military response will speak up. (Or better, the lack of one.) Then there is the Libyan side. I expect to hear more from that direction, I’m just inclined to doubt (strongly) anything written or said without hard proof.
So what will you get from this book? You should get a glance into a secret world inhabited by some of the best men that America can produce. They protect our diplomats, intelligence assets and others. Almost to a man they are highly trained and retired from our best units; Seals, Marines, Special Forces, Delta and like. Professional and effective. Unfortunately, too often not in charge and miss-used by those that are. (Bob, the CIA station chief, can we at least strip his pension from him? Yeah, that’s my judgement…it’s not in the book.)
Maybe we should be expanding the Marine Corps to provide Marine detachments for every American presence overseas and if the host country won’t allow them then let them get along without America. Can I hear a Hoorah?
Good book, about 300 pages. Read it. Continue reading