Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Obama's Watergate

on June 17th 1972, five men, James W. McCord Jr, Bernard Baker, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, and Eugnio Martinez broke into the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex.  The story of how they got caught is actually a humorous tale in ineptitude, but the scandal that followed their arrest still scar this nation today.  What transpired were a series of cover ups, and conspiracies that went all the way to President Nixon.  The congress started holding hearings, and impeachment was highly likely.  Before the impeachment process could begin, the President resigned from office.  

What happened in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012 is not so clear cut.  It appears as if an al Qaeda affiliated militia attacked the US Consulate, in the initial attack on the consulate a fire was started and the survivors became lost and separated.  Sean Smith died of smoke inhalation, and Ambassador Stevens was mortally wounded (he was later taken to a local hospital where he died).  A CIA team lead by Tyrone Woods a former SEAL violated orders to go and rescue the consulate, and evacuate them to the CIA annex which was easier to defend.  Glen Doherty, stationed in Tripoli lead his team, also against orders as they commandeered an small plane and flew to Benghazi to support the CIA annex, which was being attacked.  A full 7 hours after the first attack began, the dust settled and both Woods and Doherty were dead.

The glaring part of this narrative is that the only quick reaction forces (QRF) actually in Libya were ordered repeatedly to stand down, and only by violating orders did any of the consulate staff survive.  Whats even more disturbing is that just across the Mediterranean were several Tier I (Spec Ops teams) that could have been on station in less than seven hours. Even if there would have been issues with popping out a SOCOM team, why is the president who is apparently very comfortable with drone strikes, not calling in hellfire missiles on the crowd attacking the CIA annex?  Why is the Drone President who has no qualms in ordering hundreds of clandestine air strikes, queasy about rescuing personnel from another of his clandestine programs?

Worse still the question of who exactly had "eyes on" raises other questions.  The president was in the situation room for the Bin Laden raid but not that attack on the consulate?  Secretary of State Clinton has made it clear that she was in the State Department's situation room, but if that's the case how come none of the security contractors that the State Department was using to protect the embassy were deployed as a QRF?  The DoD certainly had assets available, and intel, as did the CIA.  So why weren't those assets deployed?  In a military that can get a birds eye view of almost anything on the planet, why did they apparently miss completely that the consulate was being overrun?

Even if we answer the famous line "who knew what, when?" we're still left with a very disturbing trend.  Woods' team at the CIA annex was told three times to stand down.  They eventually ignored orders and went anyway.  Doherty, was likewise ordered to stand down numerous times.  He also ignored these orders.      Whats even more disturbing is that General Carter Ham, commander of AFRICOM may have been attempting to deploy assets from his command center, when as rumor has it, he was relieved on the spot, and his vice commander ordered a stand down.  Unfortunately what exactly happened at AFRICOM headquarters at Stuttgart Germany is not clear and no one is talking, but if even a fraction of the rumors were true it would be almost unprecedented.  To leave troops in contact without doing everything possible to aid and support them is unthinkable.  

Now there are reports of aggressive efforts to silence whistle blowers in the State Department.  There are SPECOPS operators that are taking the rather extreme and flat out unheard of step of talking directly to the media about it.  Perhaps the most painful thing to reason away is that an administration that had no problem violating the sovereign airspace of Pakistan to kill Bin Laden has done almost nothing to "bring to justice" [plain language: kill] the people responsible.  It seems right from the start the entire policy regarding Benghazi was to hunker down and hope the whole thing would blow over.  Whether by neglect, omission, or intent, the administration left those men and women to die, and that is the only conclusion I have been able to come up with.

What is painfully clear, the more that is known about what happened the night of September 11th 2012 in Benghazi, the less the American news media wants to cover it.  Much like there were no questions asked about the destroyers USS Maddox, and USS Turner Joy getting into a two hour gun battle with radar phantom, no seems to bother questioning the official account here.  It seems that part of the problem is political, this president is after all on the "right" side of issues, but another very real part is that the news media as a whole had spent 8 years during the Bush administration chasing phantoms much like the Maddox, that now that there is a very real story they're doubting the news worthiness.  Perhaps it's even a conscious or subconscious decision not to do anything to tarnish the legacy of America's first black president.  With the number of news worthy stories that seem not  to get covered it is very hard to suspect anything other than blatant and rampant corruption on the part of the news media. 

I believe that the time will come where many hard questions will have to be answered by the president.  I believe that Mr. Obama has been playing fast and loose political games with a military he's always had a somewhat adversarial approach to.  I believe that he is using the powers of the presidency in such a manner that make all of the excesses of the Nixon administration look positively tame.  We are operating ever more vast and complex clandestine operations all over the world that no one seems to have oversight on.  If he did leave those people to die, then it begs the question how many others have been left to die.  Worst of all the lack of willingness to cover the story and follow it to its conclusion both by press and the American people signals a troubling apathy that might well breed the worst type of corruption the presidency can inspire.  Let us hope that this Watergate is exposed for what it is, before more people are left to die in far flung undeclared wars. 

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