CBS News: Why didn’t we send the military to rescue Benghazi personnel?

posted at 9:21 am on October 22, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

By now we’ve gotten the basic details of the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi — no thanks to the White House, which tried to pass it off as a “spontaneous demonstration” that “spun out of control” for more than a week after the attack. Not too many people may have understood that the attack lasted for seven hours, however — and that American military assets were in easy reach.  The last two Americans who died had managed to survive six hours into the attack.

CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson asked the obvious question yesterday: If we could fly an unarmed drone over the consulate while it was under attack, why didn’t we send the military in to rescue our people?

Some lawmakers are asking why U.S. military help from outside Libya didn’t arrive as terrorists battered more than 30 Americans over the course of more than seven hours. The assault was launched by an armed mob of dozens that torched buildings and used rocket propelled grenades, mortars and AK-47 rifles.

CBS News has been told that, hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.

The State Department, White House and Pentagon declined to say what military options were available. A White House official told CBS News that, at the start of the attack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.”

But it was too late to help the Americans in Benghazi. The ambassador and three others were dead.

This question comes at a most opportune time. CBS News’ Bob Schieffer will moderate tonight’s presidential debate on foreign policy between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and the Benghazi terrorist attack will almost certainly arise as a topic. What are the odds that the CBS News host brings up this biting CBS News report on what we might have done to stop the attack in Benghazi?


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dogsoldier on October 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM

I hope we didn’t rule out the good because it wasn’t perfect.

Cindy Munford on October 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM

So, I’m a cut and run commie merely because I’m attempting to prevent Hot Air commenters from jumping to conclusions about US military capabilities that I’m familiar with?

blink on October 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Arent’ you the one throwing out weird scenarios like two engined planes and maybe they were called but called back…so your faux indignation is laughable. And as far as most see, what you are familiar with is some fantasy you dream up…

Pal, I quoted a CIA commander, who are you quoting? Blink, that’s who some poster named blink…which is what our CINC did, under fire he blinked…

right2bright on October 22, 2012 at 12:38 PM

CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson asked the obvious question yesterday: If we could fly an unarmed drone over the consulate while it was under attack, why didn’t we send the military in to rescue our people?

We could have. At the very least air strikes around the compound perimeter would have helped. Why didn’t Obama give THAT order?

dogsoldier on October 22, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Exactly. It wasn’t just a choice of, “Can we send in the military in time, or not?” Air strikes were an option. I find it hard to believe that a bomber flying low overhead wouldn’t have sent attackers scattering. And if the attackers tried to fire on the plane, that would have been instant justification for any needed air strikes.

It sounds like we didn’t want to risk anything.

tom on October 22, 2012 at 12:41 PM

In the FOXnews special Bret Baer hosted Lt. Col. Andy Wood made it quite clear his Special Forces SST (Site Security Team) could have, would have, and should have been there. But it was withdrawn from Libya in August against his and Ambassador Stevens’ wishes. That SST had been in Libya up until then.

farsighted on October 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM

This is the key comment. Focus on the security debacle and why the ambassador was there in the first place. Whether we could have mounted a military response is a secondary question; Stevens and the others were in mortal danger just by being in the unsecured facility surrounded by hostile elements.

And don’t get bogged down with blink and his pseudo-professionalism. It’s mostly rubbish.

spiritof61 on October 22, 2012 at 12:42 PM

You keep making the mistake of assuming that bases are prepared for all contingency operations at all times.

Again, my prior post got eaten, so I’ll rephrase:

I am assuming that if a contingency plan exists, part of that plan would be designating which unit(s) are expected to be ready to respond. And that therefore those units, knowing that they are potentially liable for such a tasking at any time, would keep a suitable reaction force on rotation.

Example — our general worldwide contingency plans assume a 24-hour availability, anywhere in the world, for at least one airborne battalion. Therefore, a specific unit (the 82nd) is tasked with being ready to actually provide this battalion whenever asked for, which is why one battalion of the 82nd is always on alert status in rotation, already combat-loaded and ready to roll onto the planes — despite this being expensive and inconvenient.

On a similar level, I think we can reasonably assume that if a contingency plan exists saying ‘X Marines will be on site Y within Z hours’, then at least one military base within relevant travel distance of site Y will have its Marine detachment keep at least X Marines on ready status in rotation.

So, which was it? Was there no contingency plan for Libya, or was it that such a plan existed on paper but the assets required for such plan were not actually available when they should have been? Please note that either one of those is something fucking up wholesale along the chain somewhere, the only question is which fuckup and where.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM

They should have given the order
to send a team(s) immediately.

Then we would be arguing on whether they sent the correct team.

Amjean on October 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM

How do you know that such orders weren’t given and then canceled after it was determined that the Americans were dead and, therefore, no longer worth risking additional American lives?

blink on October 22, 2012 at 12:21 PM

You moron. Two of them fought for six hours before dying.

And how would it be “determined that everyone was dead and
no longer worth risking additonal American lives”? By going in
the compound and finding out for ourselves. Not by sending in
the Libyans and CNN reporters.

Amjean on October 22, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Blink: I tried to respond to your question but the comment got eaten. Twice.

So, let’s try again.

You keep making the mistake of assuming that bases are prepared for all contingency operations at all times. This is simply not true.

So, you’re saying that its normal US policy to draw up contingency plans that assume that X troops will be available to Y location within Z time, when the troops aren’t actually ready to be available?

Seriously? What is this, “Downfall”? Is there a bunker somewhere with US generals moving counters on a map representing divisions that don’t actually exist?

I would think that the entire point of a ‘contingency plan’ is to be actually prepared for a contingency. IOW, if your contingency plans assume a platoon of Marines, you actually keep a platoon of Marines rotated through ready status on a regular basis. And so forth.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Certainly you agree that very risky, thrown-together missions that are worth the risk because they might save lives aren’t necessarily worth the risk if we receive confirmation that such individuals have already been captured or killed.

But since that wasn’t the case here, why bring this point up?

Remember that the drone overhead was showing the event in “almost real time”. At six hours in, they’d still know that people were alive and fighting six hours in, because they were watching it.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I’m challenging that the “Z time” is less than 6 hours.

IOW, you’re going to repeat yourself until we finally get tired and go away. Because that’s what you started out saying.

Remember, the relevant distance is about 45 minutes’ flight-time at cruising speed for a fast-mover. 1.5 to 2 hours for a dedicated ground-attack bird. 2.5 to 3 hours for a helo.

So, in order for this statement to be true, I have to believe that three NATO air bases — in the Med! — could not get one F-15E or F-18E loaded, fueled, and in the air in five hours, that they could not between them provide one A-10 or AC-130 within four hours, and that they could not provide one platoon of Marines and helos to move them within three hours.

Its just barely possible on that last one, but the first two are absurd. Especially not five hours for one stinking fast-mover. Five hours is enough time for an Air Force Base in Kansas to get one combat-ready and off the runway, starting at Threat Condition Alpha at 3am on Christmas Eve.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM

CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson asked the obvious question yesterday: If we could fly an unarmed drone over the consulate while it was under attack, why didn’t we send the military in to rescue our people?

Between this and her Fast N Furious reporting, libs might get the idea that Sharyl isn’t in the tank for O.

Bitter Clinger on October 22, 2012 at 1:05 PM

blink on October 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM

For the record, I don’t mind this question being asked.

How magnanimous of you.

My goal has been to push Hot Air commenters aways from definitely deciding that assets were deliberately withheld for nefarious reasons.

Really? Then explain this:

In the FOXnews special Bret Baer hosted Lt. Col. Andy Wood made it quite clear his Special Forces SST (Site Security Team) could have, would have, and should have been there. But it was withdrawn from Libya in August against his and Ambassador Stevens’ wishes. That SST had been in Libya up until then.

farsighted on October 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM

… specifically, explain why the SST was withdrawn, and why it was withdrawn against and Ambassador Stevens’ wishes.

From your previous posts, your knowledge of US diplomatic, strategic and tactical capabilities seems impressive; you should have no trouble answering.

Then, the questions concerning a Predator at the scene of the attack remain, and you avoid them.

Why would a Predator be sent to the Ambassador’s location in Benghazi prior to an attack? Did someone know something? In any case, why would this Predator be unarmed? This is not a training mission.

If the Predator arrived after the attack started, why did it not fire at least one Hellfire missile?

If this Predator was unarmed, why? This is not a training mission.

The probability of no weapons available is low; such an argument is not believable. But perhaps all the Hellfires available were down for maintenance …

If it was armed, why did it not fire? Did someone forbid it? This sort of thing happened during the Clinton years … and Jarret tried at least once …

Unfortunately, there is a precedent for “nefarious” …

Arbalest on October 22, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Another thought that occurs to me is that if we had a Predator over Benghazi, that right there takes care of some of the need for a Forward Air Controller. Because couldn’t the drone operator spot for him? At least well enough to target the mortar crews if not individual enemy riflemen?

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:07 PM

We didn’t send them in because some MORON ideologues in the administration and pentagon made sure the regional MEU/SOC was deployed at the far end of its patrol area AND deployed ashore in Djibouti at the south end of the Red Sea for training, as far as it could possibly be from likely trouble spots in the turmoil of Syria / egypt / Libya on the freaking 9/11 anniversary.

rayra on October 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Good point. IIRC, the unarmed version of the Predator cruises at only 100 mph or thereabouts, so it couldn’t have gotten overhead as soon as it did unless it was already in Libya.

Now the Reaper cruises at around 300 mph (as fast as an A-10), but that thing is armed to the friggin’ teeth.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Exactly. You do what you can do. On September 11, we didn’t. And we probably won’t get a straight answer until after the elections. But I think the problem is more in State than in the military. They have their “Taliban” in Washington; DOD has their “blinks.”

spiritof61 on October 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Really? Where were the A-10s, and what was their status and the status of the crews?

blink on October 22, 2012 at 12:39 PM

You asked a question, I answered, and like a good stupid soldier, you will just keep asking questions as I give you answers…

Wouldn’t it be logical to assume that the military was in the process of moving the best assets into position, but ran out of time? And doesn’t this support my claim?

blink on October 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM

I will answer another one of your stupid questions:

No, because what does “running out of time” mean? When your territory is overrun, we didn’t know how much time…when it started did we have 1 hour, 2 hours, or did we have 6 hours while our men were fighting for their lives…and after the 6 hours, how much time did we have to secure our secure information? 12 hours, 24 hours, we never went in to secure our territory, get it? The embassy was our territory, it was in essence U.S. soil, get it now? We didn’t have a limited amount of time…no crystal balls were available, they were being worked on…

Journalists were on the ground…and I guess they must have “snuck” in, most are trained special ops aren’t they?

They picked up a diary, imagine, the president was in Vegas, while journalists were picking through the rubbage because for reason’s only blink knows, we couldn’t have any military on the ground…just journalists…you fail at your pathetic excuses as to why this president is a complete disaster to our foreign policy…but, hey, he raised a lot of money in Vegas…while our men were dying in the streets, and our territory overrun and stolen from us.

right2bright on October 22, 2012 at 1:11 PM

So the issue is no longer that there wasn’t a marine contingent there – but that Panetta didn’t get a force there within a few hours.
Ahhh…the ever evolving political opposed argument.
Of course few of you take any issue with the ineptitude of Daryl Wissaleaks and his team.

I understand why there’s so much passion here over this – but I know that passion has nothing to do with any real concern about the events and deaths in Benghazi.

verbaluce on October 22, 2012 at 10:19 AM

A good reminder of why they’re called “trolls.”

No, of course there’s nothing that anyone could get upset about except a rabid partisan. After all, who gets all bothered because our government fails to provide more than a veneer of security in one of the more dangerous places in the world on the anniversary of 9/11? Why would anyone be bothered by the way men died at the hands of terrorists because the Obama administration refused to take seriously the numerous requests for additional security?

Benghazi is more than a disgrace: it’s a bundle of disgraces from top to bottom.

1) Refusing to provide security to people in government service in a dangerous area
2) Refusing to send in air support or military or even a Hellfire-armed predator drone for hours while our consulate is under attack
3) Trying to pass it off as just a spontaneous protest against an offensive movie when they knew better within 24 hours
4) Droning on and on about the “reprehensible video” when we had people dead in a terrorist attack. It’s like apologizing for the video took precedence everything else. The best that could be managed was a feeble, “Of course, that’s no excuse for the violence”
5) Failing to stoutly defend the freedom of speech that allows criticism of Mohammed or anyone else, because it’s more important to make clear that the government had nothing to do with the video
6) The blatant lying by the administration and ginned-up outrage that someone would accuse anyone in his administration of being “misleading.”
7) The laughably transparent attempt to claim that Obama had always called it a terrorist attack, complete with rather obvious collusion with the moderator in the last debate to have a transcript of Obama’s speech in the Rose Garden the next day handy, so he could claim his generic “acts of terror” reference in that speech actually referred to the Benghazi attack that he was trying to pass off in that very speech as an unplanned spontaneous protest.

That’s a lot of disgrace. If Obama gets re-elected, it should be grounds for impeachment. If Obama loses, we may just be happy to get rid of his feckless claims of “concern” over the lives of ambassadors that he clearly couldn’t be bothered to actually protect.

tom on October 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Guess what folks we will never know if it could have been done or not, it was not tried. I only pray that the next president comes into office, finds out who was responsible for the raid and takes the appropriate steps to bring him to justice………………..and, fires those in the State Department who did not heed the ambassador’s requests for better security. The Obama administration really _ucked this one up……………..and, then he went on another “Apology Tour”, blaming a video …………. even in a speech at the United Nations.

I don’t remember, did he also apologize for the civil war in Syria, too. I am sure we are responsible for that too.

SC.Charlie on October 22, 2012 at 1:14 PM

I’m telling you that there’s more involved with these issues than simply fueling an aircraft and sending them on their way. At least pretend that you need to provide some level of briefing for the crew.

Why can this briefing not be done en route?

For that matter, what briefing is needed more than ‘Insurgents are mortaring a US consulate, be prepared to deliver precision AGMs against mortar positions as spotted for you by Predator drone already overhead?’

Yes, it’s quite possible that the military didn’t have the ability to get these assets loaded with ordnance and over head within 6 hours without any nefarious decision making occurring.

No, sorry, this I simply will not believe. Not able to get troops and helicopters within six hours, maybe, just maybe.

But not the alleged total lack of available fighter planes, just flat-out no way. Like I said, five hours to get birds in the air is something that can be done in peacetime, on a holiday weekend, in the continental United States. A NATO air base in the Mediterranean? Pull the other one, its got bells on.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:17 PM

tom on October 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Thread winner here.

spiritof61 on October 22, 2012 at 1:20 PM

So now we can get a P-3 to Benghazi, too?

It’s amazing how relatively slow observation craft of all varieties could get to Benghazi quickly enough to loiter overhead at their leisure, yet combat assets (some of them much faster, like the aformentioned -15Es and -18Es) could not possibly have been deployed in time.

The kindest, most optimistic thing you can say here is that our military readiness capabilities were cut back to well beyond the point of total insanity, let alone anything remotely resembling prudence…

… which itself is a giant black mark against the administration.

No matter how you slice this, folks, all roads lead to Rome here — President Obama and his senior administration policymaking staff screwed this one up abominably.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:22 PM

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Again, if you check past recent Benghazi threads, you will notice that I was repeatedly claiming that I believed that extra security was withheld because the administration needed to give the appearance that Libya was a safe, happy place.

BWAAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA …

And I was actually one of the very few making this claim.

Doubtless … and probably for good reason … HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
.

You’d be taken MUCH MORE SERIOUSLY if you went with the calim that BO needed a Campaign boost, figured that rescuing an Ambassador held hostage was just the ticket, and that getting the MoBros to make it happen, in return for the Blind Sheik and $2billion, was a fool-proof, cunning plan.

But you also evade my other questions …

Arbalest on October 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I also readily admit that some in the administration may have been resistant to the idea of using military force in this situation, but that doesn’t change the fact that the military might not have been able to respond in time.

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM

It also doesn’t change the fact they didn’t even TRY.

Aviator on October 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Amjean on October 22, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Yes, the military (AFRICOM/EUCOM) would have known about the attack quickly. What they would not have known was the kind of detail tactical entry forces would need to deploy and operate effectively. For that, they would have needed direct comms with an armed security team protecting the guys under fire.

blink on October 22, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Meant to type F-16, not F-15. That’s what 31st AOG has on a permanent basis in Aviano. There’s always an alert package. The sequencing would probably be something like dispatching the alert pair directly to Sigonella to fuel up, get a tanker on station for the second pair to launch ASAP.

J.E. Dyer on October 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Good point. IIRC, the unarmed version of the Predator cruises at only 100 mph or thereabouts, so it couldn’t have gotten overhead as soon as it did unless it was already in Libya.

Now the Reaper cruises at around 300 mph (as fast as an A-10), but that thing is armed to the friggin’ teeth.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

We have no idea how close the fleet was…they also can launch, Predator’s…we have a huge amount of military presence in that area…

right2bright on October 22, 2012 at 1:28 PM

You see, we lacked a 17 page operations order with appendices, frequencies, call signs…the assets were on liberty in Palermo…no time for a solid PowerPoint presentation…the walls had been breeched…airspace coordination…

–Col. Blink’s testimony

spiritof61 on October 22, 2012 at 1:28 PM

It means that the UAV (and maybe the other aircraft on-station – possibly a P-3) determined that the building had been breached and bodies had been removed.

This information may have seriously disrupted any rescue mission that was being planned. If nothing else, it would need to be determined were the Americans were being taken, etc.

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I get it, you made a bad argument and now you are trying to dig yourself out of it…but it isn’t working.

They had no idea of the timeline, and no idea what secure data was left behind…and, and, and, it is our territory not to be relinquished/surrendered…they had days to complete their task, and they still haven’t…now go ahead and stumble around, but we allowed and still allowed someone to invade us without us putting up a fight…besides the few men we let die fighting for their lives.

What you “think”, what you “feel” is of no consequence, since the facts are…we made no attempt to secure our sovereign territory, or reclaim it.

right2bright on October 22, 2012 at 1:33 PM

On what frequency? What’s the range of VHF radio?

IIRC the radio horizon for VHF/UHF comms is over 170 miles when at cruising altitude, /and/ we have relay stations all over the Med; were you hoping that your audience would not figure this out?

Any Air Force posters on this forum, how far away can the fighter be from the AWACs and still hear him?

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:33 PM

All due respect to Atkisson, but she was far from the first to ask this question.

Col Hunt was all over this from the beginning, for one.

Frankly, I am sick and tired of the whole idea that it isn’t news until one of the major network tools pronounces it to be news.

I am equally sick and tired of those same tools taking credit for work others did before them, typically bloggers.

Atkisson is one of the worst offenders.

novaculus on October 22, 2012 at 1:35 PM

How about briefing regarding the layout of the compound, etc? How about frequencies that the other reconnaissance aircraft would be operating on? How much situational awareness do you want to force your crew to begin ascertaining only when the arrive with limited fuel to support Americans that they are likely not in communication with? How about half a dozen other standard briefing items?

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM

In an emergency you adapt, improvise and overcome. They can handle working this out enroute. As I wrote earlier. We had/have assets adequate to the task but they were not used. NO EFFORT WAS MADE. If any effort had been made, Zero would have made a big deal out of it.

Now, he is most likely embarrassed because he refused to take action for some stupid political reason AND HE WENT TO BED.

dogsoldier on October 22, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Does anyone want to guess how long it took Operation Silver Wake to extract any Americans from Albania from the time the NEO was requested by the embassy?

Does anyone want to guess how relevant I think an example cherry-picked from the high point of the Clinton drawdown, as compared to the post-9/11 military, is to a discussion of military readiness capabilities?

Also, I note that you set the start time as ‘when the NEO was requested by the embassy’ as opposed to ‘when the decision was made in DC to grant said request’. So, how long was that part, and how much of the total response time did it eat up?

You’re the one with all the answers, you tell us.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Ha ha! Name ONE of these supposed VHF “relay station” that we have in the Med.

Again, VHF is not the only radio frequency in the F-15; in fact, the VHF radios were only retrofitted on circa 2006.

I guess they used smoke signals before then, hrm?

PS: Yet again he wants the other people in the discussion to provide all the technical details he supposedly at has fingertips, but just won’t share with us.

Brother, if you actually knew all the [stuff] you claimed to know, you would be able to lecture us chapter and verse, instead of always having to ask your misleading little questions.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM

We can spend hours discussing this sometime if you wish.

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:32 PM

We’re spending hours on it now. It’s a world that dissolves in a flash when somebody with a bunch of stars on his shoulders says “Get air cover over there right now. I don’t care if you have to fly the mission yourself in your pajamas, I want birds in the air immediately. Call me every five minutes with an update. Out.”

spiritof61 on October 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM

We have no idea how close the fleet was…they also can launch, Predator’s…we have a huge amount of military presence in that area…

right2bright on October 22, 2012 at 1:28 PM

We do know there were no big decks in the Med at the time. No aircraft carrier or amphibious LHD/LPD.

J.E. Dyer on October 22, 2012 at 1:42 PM

PS: Yet again he wants the other people in the discussion to provide all the technical details he supposedly at has fingertips, but just won’t share with us.

Sure why don’t you…you claim it was doable..start laying out a plan to DO IT…

We’re spending hours on it now. It’s a world that dissolves in a flash when somebody with a bunch of stars on his shoulders says “Get air cover over there right now. I don’t care if you have to fly the mission yourself in your pajamas, I want birds in the air immediately. Call me every five minutes with an update. Out.”

spiritof61 on October 22, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Sure we can get the planes TO Libya…who do they talk to once there? What if the Libyans tell us “Get Out of our air space?” Who will the airplanes attack?

Your putative General can huff n’ puff like many commenters here, but you and “he” seem remarkably light on the DETAILS of what to do once there and how that makes it better for Stevens and the others.

JFKY on October 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Sure why don’t you…you claim it was doable..start laying out a plan to DO IT

Sorry, that’s an unfalsifiable test.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:46 PM

We do know there were no big decks in the Med at the time. No aircraft carrier or amphibious LHD/LPD.

J.E. Dyer on October 22, 2012 at 1:42 PM

According to a piece I read Friday, Enterprise is in the Med.

http://www.c6f.navy.mil/

dogsoldier on October 22, 2012 at 1:46 PM

1) The military is stonewalling Rep. Issa’s timely request for information on this issue. The info was due Friday evening, and I don’t know if it’s been received yet. Of course, the debate is tonight, so do the math.

2) Atkinson is fast becomming CBS’s Jake Tapper. May she and more like her prosper.

paul1149 on October 22, 2012 at 1:46 PM

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:27 PM

If I linked to one of the claims I made would you back off a bit?

Aw, come on blink, don’t be so sensitive. Let me link some of your claims … the most recent ones ..

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:28 PM

P-3′s typically stand 1-hour ready alerts out of Signonella.

Really??! P-3′s typically stand 1-hour ready alerts … is no other type of AC this capable? … and P-3s are … how old?

… but wait:

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM

How about briefing regarding the layout of the compound, etc? How about frequencies that the other reconnaissance aircraft would be operating on? How much situational awareness do you want to force your crew to begin ascertaining only when the arrive with limited fuel to support Americans that they are likely not in communication with? How about half a dozen other standard briefing items?

… and before that:

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:20 PM

On what frequency? What’s the range of VHF radio? Do F-15E’s or A-10′s have satcom?

… and before that:

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM

1. I’m telling you that there’s more involved with these issues than simply fueling an aircraft and sending them on their way. At least pretend that you need to provide some level of briefing for the crew.

2. Yes, it’s quite possible that the military didn’t have the ability to get these assets loaded with ordnance and over head within 6 hours without any nefarious decision making occurring. I’m sorry if you don’t like this answer.

.
.
… clearly, there’s so much to military operations … determining what can and can’t be achieved is … hard … or mysterious … or something.

How do P-3s manage 1-hour ready alerts, with so much unavoidable complexity to manage?

You admit they do.

So, how then, by you, is it seemingly impossible that all other AC are able to equal the P-3′s readiness?

To skip 50 comments ahead, you seem to really want to avoid facing the unfolding truth that BO and company could have done something, something that night have prevented this result. Why?

Arbalest on October 22, 2012 at 1:48 PM

According to a piece I read Friday, Enterprise is in the Med.

http://www.c6f.navy.mil/

dogsoldier on October 22, 2012 at 1:46 PM

She is now. She wasn’t on 9/11/12. She was in 5th Fleet.

J.E. Dyer on October 22, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Sure we can get the planes TO Libya…who do they talk to once there?

The P-3 and whoever its talking to? The Predator drone and whoever its talking to? The CIA listening post? The Libyan air force?

Now you’re pretending like nobody in Libya has a radio.

What if the Libyans tell us “Get Out of our air space?”

Seeing as how the president of Libya wanted the guys attacking the embassy dead more than we did, I can’t imagine that happening.

But to answer your unlikely hypothetical in the spirit it was asked, that would mean the Libyans were choosing to use their air force in support of the people committing an act of war against a US embassy.

Goodness, if we only had a State Department that could explain to the Libyans why they should not do such a thing, assuming it wasn’t already blindly obvious to anybody in Tripoli with an IQ larger than their shoe size.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:49 PM

How do you know this wan’t the best option at the time?

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Because this administration always chooses the less than optimal option.

Aviator on October 22, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Kick Obama in his useless assets.

profitsbeard on October 22, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Ha! UHF doesn’t have much additional range. For all intents and purposes, the are the same.

And yet the P-3 you said was over Benghazi was still somehow able to communicate back in real-time.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:53 PM

You claimed that VHF relay stations were all over the Med

You’re the one who keeps inserting “VHF”, not me.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Sorry, that’s an unfalsifiable test.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:46 PM

No it isn’t task a Marine Platoon or a 173 Airborne Company…Heck task a SEAL Platoon, please give me your first cut on The Situation, and then your Scheme of Maneuver, and then I’m all ears about Coordination….

The planes talk to the guys in Langley? OK, what are they going to say? We see fire from these coordinates? What are these F-16′s supposed to do, EXACTLY?

Flatten random portions of Benghazi?

JFKY on October 22, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Umm…, There is one glaring flaw in Blink’s argument that we did not have sufficient assets in the area to mount a rescue.

Our Embassy in Cairo was besieged for umpteen hours before the Libyan attack. In fact, the Libyan attack was originally credited with being a “spontaneous” response to the Cairo demonstrations.

Given that Libya and Egypt are adjoined, it is inconceivable that the assets mobilized for the Cairo Embassy protest could not have been used in Benghazi. In fact, the predator drone that flew over the consulate in Benghazi was probably retasked from Cairo.

In short, the Cairo protest which began in the morning of September 11, 2012 and resulted in our Embassy walls being breached had to have put our forces in the Mediterranean and North Africa on red alert. Hence by the time the Benghazi attacks began, circa 9:30, we should have been prepared, especially given Benghazi’s recent history of Al’Qaeda sponsored attacks, against the Red Cross, the British Consulate, as well as our own Consulate.

Ergo, there is no excuse that will explain away the lack of security for our personnel before the attack, or for the lack of military response afterward. None! Zero! Nada!

ariel on October 22, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Why was Stevens in Benghazi on 9/11?

Media…helllloooooow…combust, spontaneously, you Obama sh*t consumers. It ain’t Beluga caviar, fools.

Schadenfreude on October 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM

No it isn’t task a Marine Platoon or a 173 Airborne Company…Heck task a SEAL Platoon, please give me your first cut on The Situation, and then your Scheme of Maneuver, and then I’m all ears about Coordination….

It’s unfalsifiable because the vast majority of people in this thread — including me — lack access to the detailed readiness data and unit positions/order of battle to answer your question to the level of detail you demand…

… and anybody actually with access to the data necessary still could not actually publish that data in a public forum without breaking security classification.

tldr; You have asked a question that you already know most people can’t hope to answer, and the rest couldn’t answer without breaking the law, and then claimed victory because no one would answer your question. Which is the cheesiest of the cheesy debate tactics.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM

What assets, if any, were mobilized for the Cairo Embassy protest?

And now blink wants people to publish detailed movement orders in a public forum!

What do you think this is, Wikileaks!

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 1:58 PM

How do you know this (what’s the alert status of F-15′s in Aviano?), and would these have been E’s? Air intercept doesn’t do much good in this situation.

blink on October 22, 2012 at 12:20 PM

They don”t have F-15, E or otherwise in Aviano, you should know that much. There are only F-16 there.

jimver on October 22, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Blink and I are simply asking you red-meat eating Hot Air sorts to explain, with some specificity EXACTLY what the US Military was going to “do” about Benghazi, at the time…

I hear lotsa of send planes…to randomly bomb Benghazi? I hear send ground assets? But little about which ones, and where would you land them? How were they to link up with Stevens?

Again, the mistake was in leaving Benghazi unprotected, especially in the wake of the previous violence…

Arbalest you’re in need of a tinfoil hat…I’m sure that’s what Obama was thinking, “Oh I’ll save the staff from an attack, to boost my votes.” That’s crazy.

JFKY on October 22, 2012 at 1:59 PM

What assets, if any, were mobilized for the Cairo Embassy protest?

To be fair, there were Marine Guards present and the Egyptian Government was a whole lot more functional than the Libyan one, so I really wouldn’t think you’d do that much.

JFKY on October 22, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Whatever, LOS radio.

Here’s a basic “Distance to the Horizon” calculator. Plug in the cruising altitude of an F-18 or an F-15 and get back to me.

http://www.ringbell.co.uk/info/hdist.htm

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 2:03 PM

I hear lotsa of send planes…to randomly bomb Benghazi?

Strawman. The fast-mover would be sent to attack the mortar crews shelling the embassy.

You know, the ones that the Predator drone was already watching.

Goodness, if only a Predator drone operator could spot an air strike on as obvious a target as enemy mortar crews in the act of firing… oh wait.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Oh, and as far as ‘backing off’ on the AWACs, its more that you’re spewing so much nonsense questions at random now that I sometimes lose track.

Your babble about ‘coordination’ doesn’t eschew the fact that in this scenario, the only thing the AWACs needs to do is get off the ground and relay a radio signal. Y’know, I think the crew could do that in their sleep.

This isn’t the Normandy invasion we’re talking about here. It’s one fighter plane (or one element of fighter planes) rolling out to attack enemy mortar crews that a Predator drone has already found, and is busy watching in real-time, and that aren’t even remotely attempting to conceal themselves from observation.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Even if US F-16′s in Aviano stand alerts, it’s most likely for air intercept.

F-16s are irrelevant to this situation anyway; IIRC they don’t have the range to carry a full combat load to Benghazi from Aviano and back without inflight refueling, and I’ll grant you that setting that kind of thing up takes time.

The fast-movers in question, however, could carry a full combat load on the hardpoints from Sig to Benghazi round-trip, /with/ several hours of loitering over target, all on internal fuel and maybe 1-2 drop tanks.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Hey! I’m President Obama and I have an idea!

Despite the inability of our military forces to maintain a credible on alert force in the volatile Mediterranean/Middle East region that can launch within a 7 hour window on freakin’ 9/11, I’ll enforce a political agreement to eliminate an additional $500 billion from our defense budget on top of the earlier $500 billion cut I authorized.

I’ll spend the $1 trillion on more food stamp user recruitment drives and crony capitalism for “green companies”.

Re-elect Barack Obama and foreign policy boy genius Joe Biden!! Keep moving “foward”!

in_awe on October 22, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Things never change, all you need is a few good men.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 22, 2012 at 2:11 PM

B. Obama is not one of them.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Strawman. The fast-mover would be sent to attack the mortar crews shelling the embassy.

What ordnance would you recommend for employment in a nominally friendly city for those mortar crews?

And if the mortars are gone, does that prevent the guys with AK’s from taking the Consulate?

JFKY on October 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Well, feel free to tell us what’s required to coordinate getting an AWACs to support the operation.

Well, since we are assuming in this alternate timeline that National Command Authority actually issued orders to get this done soonest, retask whatever the hell you have to (as opposed to just going to bed and then going to Vegas), we shall assume questions of coordination devolve down to ‘OK, is there an AWACs at this base, and how long will it take to get fuel in it and get it airborne?’ Because when NCA orders shit to fly, it flies.

Again, I somehow doubt the answer is ‘five hours’… nor do I think that it takes hours and hours for its crew to remember how to set up a relay from a fighter in the air to wherever they want the satcom feed to go.

Chuckg on October 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM

blink on October 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Of course they are capable. It doesn’t mean that they do it.

Using your previous reasoning: How do you know other AC (Air Craft) don’t do it?

Very old. Why do you ask?

The reason should be obvious: older systems typically require more maintenance, and usually have a lower readiness rate. Yet the P-3s maintain a 1-hour readiness rate. Do no other AC achieve at least this rate … not even F-15s, the plane at one time expected to intercept Soviet AC?

They are equally able to do it,…

… ahhh, the answer at last

… but the AC-130 isn’t a Search-and-Rescue type of asset like the P-3.

AC: Air Craft
AC-130: an AC-130
A/C: Air Conditioner
.

… and now, back to my (much earlier) questions:

A Predator was at the scene of the attack, and in fact during the attack … why did it not launch at least 1 Hellfire?

Did someone forbid such an action? Who? Why?

Whay was the Predator there? Was it there before the attack started? Did someone have advanced knowledge? Why did it not launch at least 1 Hellfire?

Arbalest on October 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM

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