But the president said it was a mob that attacked, and intelligence officials say they didn’t conclude it was a terrorist attack until days later. Well, the U.S. military routinely scares mobs in Iraq and Afghanistan by a flyover of a fighter jet in afterburner. Generals Dempsey and Ham could have taken that action, even if the jet was ordered not to drop any bombs for fear of killing civilians. Surely a flyover at 600 miles per hour would not put the pilot in harm’s way from a mob.

The second military action could have been the dispatch of U.S. troops to Benghazi. The U.S. embassy in Tripoli — acting on someone’s authority in Washington — sent a plane 400 miles with six Americans to enter the fight around 2 a.m., four hours after the fight started. From Sigonella, about 480 miles away, a relief force of some assortment — surely more than six men — could have been flown in, given that Sigonella had a dozen or more aircraft of all types ready to go within, say, one to two hours.