The unnecessary deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, hang now over the American conscience with the unanswered question, “Why?”.
Immediately following the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, a friend who is related to one of the SEALs called me with information that was contradictory to what was coming from the White House and the media. Because my friend is an honest person, with permission, I wrote an article entitled, Courageous, for the October 3, 2012 edition of Roots in Ripon. My purpose in writing this particular article was to eulogize the brave former SEALs. It was first reported that they saved the lives of as many as 20 American personnel, but in the process they killed a bunch of the bad guys. The report I first received from my friend was that Glen and Ty managed to wipe out 60 of the attacking force.
Recently I was contacted by a gentleman who told me he had previously served with one of the SEALs. He had read my article and wanted to update my earlier information. Glen and Ty, through their actions and bravery, killed as many as 100 of the attackers, not the 60 I had first been told. And they affected the safe rescue of some 40 or more American personnel before they themselves were killed, not the 20 first reported.
Because the information I wrote about was not in the main stream media, I received numerous e-mails and phone calls asking me where I had obtained my information. Of course, I could not reveal my sources without compromising my friend and the job he holds. I heard from quite a few special operations folks who appreciated my writing about this story since the media was not willing to do so. One of the more interesting e-mails I received was from someone in the State Department who was irate that I would dare to write about something that I had no knowledge of, and took me to task over my article. My reaction was to trust the information I received from my friend. I told folks to watch the news and wait to see if the things I wrote about were not proven correct eventually. I just didn’t know it would take this long, nor did I see this becoming a major scandal.
What is so troubling to me is knowing that within our government we have contingency plans in place virtually everywhere in the world, yet they were not implemented for these men in Benghazi. Why? I don’t know. With all that is taking place with Congressional inquiries, and the main stream media seemingly coming awake, this story is not going away. Nor should it.
There are those who are saying the Benghazi debacle is much to do about nothing. Or as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “What difference does it make?”
I would like to answer Mrs. Clinton’s question. The difference it makes is that the four Americans died needlessly. Help was ready willing and able to come to the rescue. But that help was told to stand down. That decision has sent a chill through the soul of every single member of the military. Anyone who has signed on the dotted line to serve knows there are situations where you may not have help coming. Well, so be it. But this was not one of those instances.
Will our young people coming of age want to serve in our military if they have doubts as to whether their government has their back? I suspect they will. But our nation will rebound from this.
This is a painful chapter in our history, but the travesty of Benghazi does not define us as Americans. We yet remain the home of the free because of the brave.
At the end of the day terrorists are nothing more than thugs and are no match for our freedom-loving American military men and women.
God Bless America!