Dan Smith: Americans need to know truth about Libya attack
If I said Benghazi, what would that word mean to you? It is a town in Libya where our U.S. diplomatic compound was attacked on Sept. 11, 2012.
There’s that date again. It must mean something. Now you remember the event from the news, but it has lately been ignored by other scandals that are plaguing the current administration.
The first attack occurred during the night on the compound meant to protect the consulate. The second assault began in the morning targeting a CIA annex. Ten people were injured and four Americans were killed, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Another was a U.S. Foreign Service information officer named Sean Smith.
The other two, both former Navy SEALs, were Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods. They died defending U.S. soil in Libya. An embassy is considered the soil of that country it sits on.
What is making it difficult for me to write this is the fact that I’m writing it on Memorial Day when we are remembering the fallen warriors of our country. Maybe I should have written it two weeks ago when I would not be so emotionally involved. I thank God that my son has survived for 19 years, and is still serving in the military without any serious injuries.
What has me upset is the reaction of our government about what took place that night when the compound was attacked. They were left to fend for themselves without any help. We were told many different reasons why they could not be saved. I, for one, do not believe any of them.
We were told that help was too far away to get there in time. I can prove this one wrong. Even if help were only a couple of hours away, they were all told to stand down that night and not respond. Why?
That’s one of many questions that need to be answered. I’ll never ever forget the answer that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave to the committee when she testified: “What difference does it make?” she said.
There was a second wave of attackers that hit the CIA annex about a mile away from the diplomatic mission. No one there was supposed to know about it, but the attackers did. Five mortars were fired at the building within 90 seconds, killing Woods and Doherty.
They knew because it had been planned weeks in advance and were not part of flash mob upset about a video that had made the Islamic world mad. That was the story that President Obama and his office had spread. This proved to be wrong and he admitted it.
There seems to be a hidden truth to all of this mess that is not being made public. Was Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi to try and buy back weapons like Stinger missiles that had fallen into the hands of al-Qaeda when Ghadafi was disposed? Was this why the CIA played a bigger role than it admitted? Was the militant uprising that night instigated by someone on our side to make sure that Stevens didn’t complete his mission?
Did Ambassador Stevens know something that he could testify to and embarrass the administration? Many questions need to be asked and dissected. After all, this is what the CIA does. It starts uprisings and supplies arms to whatever side they have chosen to support.
Hopefully the right people will keep on until the answers are given. I still believe that help could have made it there on time. I say this because of a special operations member who testified that a C110 was training in Europe. It was a 40-man extremist force group that was capable of rapid response and deployment for incidents like Benghazi.
They were 31⁄2 hours away in Croatia. They could have been there before the second attack. The State Department could also have sent 15 special forces and skilled State Department security staff in Tripoli, which was just one hour away. There have been many whistleblowers testify as to what happened.
It just isn’t right to throw away lives that did not have to be sacrificed in this way. I’m glad the situation is being investigated. We keep too many secrets that we shouldn’t.
The American public should know, and has the right to know, what we are doing most of the time. Hiding behind national security has been over-played in my opinion.
— Dan M. Smith is a Cincinnati native and Gatlinburg resident. He is the author of two novels. His son is serving in the Air Force. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.