BY JERRY BOYKIN, LTG, US ARMY (RET.) | JUNE 19, 2013
We will not give up on Benghazi
While much of Congress’ time is now focused on the abuses by the IRS, the seized phone records of the Associated Press, and the targeting of FOX News by the Obama Administration, some may think that Benghazi has been put on the back burner, possibly to fade into oblivion. In April, 700 retired and former Special Operations Forces (SOF) professionals signed an open letter to members of the US House of Representatives calling for support for House Resolution 36, which calls for a bi-partisan commission with subpoena power to get to the bottom of the events in Benghazi. HR 36 now has 154 co-sponsors, all of whom agree with the need for a select committee, so why is there no movement to convene this type of inquiry?
There seems to be no good answer at this point, except for some flimsy excuses like costs. In fact, the recommendation in HR 36 is to use existing staff, so what is the cost--paper and printing? As for the signers of the “SOF 700” letter, we are tired of excuses and delays. Those who signed this letter, which was circulated by a group called Special Operations Speaks (SOS), will not rest and will not cease until there is accountability on the attack on the US facilities in Benghazi. Maybe some do not understand the reasons for our passion on this issue, so let me provide some clarity.
As members of Special Operations units in the Armed Services, we committed our careers and often risked our lives to respond when fellow Americans were threatened or when their safety was at risk. We knew that there would be many situations during which we would have inadequate intelligence, limited resources, and little preparation time. For example, during the Vietnam war, US Air Force pilots launched regularly in CH-53 helicopters into enemy held terrain to recover downed pilots. They were never sure what they would encounter in their efforts.
In 1970, a courageous raid was launched into North Viet Nam to rescue Americans who were being held as POWs near Hanoi. The first signature in the SOF 700 letter is that of the commander of that operation --Lt General Leroy Manor, USAF (Ret). President Richard Nixon knew that there was an expectation by every American that the nation would make every effort to bring its warriors home. US intelligence was so inadequate that when they arrived at the prison, the POWs were not even there. But that did not discourage them from trying. It was the right thing to do, and no one focused on what was lacking, rather, they focused only on the moral imperative to try.
In spite of his discomfort with using the military, President Jimmy Carter ordered a rescue effort for fifty-two Americans being held in the U.S. Embassy in Teheran in April of 1980. The mission was fraught with challenges and was very risky, but there was never any hesitation among the men on the mission. Again, it was just the right thing to do.
President George H.W. Bush directed that the first mission during Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989 was to be the rescue of an American citizen named Kurt Muse. Although the mission was to restore democracy, capture Manuel Noriega, and protect Americans living there, the U.S. President placed the highest value on the rescue of a man whose liberty had been taken from him and whose life was in danger. Like the other Presidents, Mr. Bush was operating from a long-standing American ethos.
Simply stated, we never leave anyone behind, and we always run to the sound of the guns when a fellow American is threatened. That value was breached in Benghazi, and there has yet to be full accounting as to why. We will not rest until the details of this event have been determined. Our interest is not in bringing down the administration nor in ruining Hillary’s political future. It is all about providing information to families and sending a strong message to every man or woman placed in harm’s way in the future that the American military will come when called. It is time to stop the excuses and do the right thing.
P.S. Everything we have seen from this administration since the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack, points to a colossal leadership failure in the Obama Administration and their attempts to cover up the truth about what happened. It is up to us to hold them accountable and to demand real leadership.
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If you prefer to donate by check: Special Operations Speaks PAC, 209 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Suite 2109, Washington, DC 20003.