Clarification on what happened in Libya

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Submitted by SD Realtor on October 29, 2012 - 5:52pm

So I have been trying to sort out all of the recent information coming out these days.

Perhaps someone can correct me if I am wrong...

So now there actually was live footage of the terrorist attack going to the situation room correct?

Also that there were three requests for support and that there were assets in Italy that are approximately an hour away? That these requests for support were denied?

If this is true who denied the requests for support?

I was also told that the two seals that did respond did so against orders.

I also listened to an interview of the medic that was killed that night and it was really unsettling.

Submitted by SK in CV on October 29, 2012 - 6:57pm.

There was a report of real-time video being viewed in the white house. Unconfirmed, it's a claim made by a retired lt. col., based on what he says he was told. There has been no corroboration, nor has the source, if he does in fact exist, been identified.

Pentagon has denied it. As has the CIA.

The requests for support being denied seems more possible. But before jumping to any conclusions, consider why this might be. The requests for support would not go to the White House. They would go to up the chain of command in the CIA and Africa centcom. That is where they were likely denied.

I think what I've read is that the two that did respond were former seals, working for the CIA, responding from an agency safe-house in the vicinity of the consulate.

Support being an hour or hours away (a couple hours is what I've read) does not by itself create a feasible plan to deploy. They weren't in country. If there was a plan that would have a high likelihood of success, without further casualties, it would have gone up the chain of command, and it would have been approved. The Pentagon reported that based on intel at the time, the guy in charge of Africa centcom agreed that no such plan existed. So it wasn't that they didn't want to provide support, they couldn't figure out how to do it and succeed. They had almost no time for planning, no time for training, no time for a walk through. Special ops takes time. There was none.

Submitted by SD Realtor on October 29, 2012 - 8:28pm.

So that is what is peculiar to me. What is clear is that support was requested, at least 3 times.

Two former seals did go assist those who were under attack. They did so against orders to stand down and in doing so ended up saving lives.

What is not clear is who gave the direct orders to not do anything at all. The closest explanation matches what you said and was given by Panetta who said,

"The basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place, and as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation."

General Ham is head of US Africa command. Dempsey is Joint Chiefs of Staff. Yet Panetta did not say that specific requests for help were denied. Patraeus also has taken a stance of no requests were denied from him or anyone in his organization.

I understand special ops missions take planning and such. By the same token, I cannot comprehend the strategy of not doing a damn thing. Not a fly by? Not anything?

Ty Woods was one of the guys that went to rescue the operatives. What also does not make sense is that one of the most often quoted creeds of the military is no man is left behind. To have all of the technology and not to do anything, anything at all, simply seems very odd to me. There are 3 bases within 2 hours, Sigonella Italy, (an hour away) as well as Aviano and Suda Bay, both within 2 hours.

So again, what you said about the military chain of command makes sense yet nobody is saying the buck stops here, I am the one that said no.

Here we are 45 days after the event.

What I do believe to be true is that the White House, Panetta and others did have a feed of what was going on and were very abreast of the situation however they did not have any intelligence of it beforehand. Rightfully they were confused yet I cannot believe that they did not present options to the president.

I believe that they presented those options with a proper risk assessment. I believe one of the options was also to prod they Libyans to take action and hope that they would rescue the Americans. This was probably the most palatable decision to the president which is obviously the one he selected. We don't know if the rescue would have worked, we don't know if more lives would have been lost, we don't know how the Libyan govt would have reacted.

However I guess this is what troubles me the most, that when faced with these what ifs the decision made was to stand down. Now instead of facing the music we are getting a stall tactic until after the election which I guess is understandable. However by nature Obama is not a risk taker. I think that there is a tangible point to be made and that is, an unsuccessful rescue attempt in Benghazi would have been quite damaging given the upcoming election.

Submitted by Hobie on October 29, 2012 - 8:38pm.

The most damning evidence in the Seal that laser painted the mortar position thus giving away his position and subsequently killed.

Was he bluffing the enemy to think they were being targeted to cease fire and retreat? Or was he in communication with an air asset coordinating a counterstrike?

Real time video from the air and the laser spot sure suggests the latter. Allen details??

Submitted by blake on October 29, 2012 - 8:40pm.

It's amazing how little press coverage on this.

Submitted by SD Realtor on October 29, 2012 - 8:57pm.

Actually the lack of media coverage is very consistent.

Ask yourself, and be very honest here, if this happens on Bush's watch is the media behavior the same?

Hobie there has been no report of any air assets sent from any of the bases. Nobody in the military has declared that any air assets were enabled. Nobody in the CIA has, nobody from the state department or from the administration has. It makes things even more frustrating that they had the attackers painted and still nothing was done.

What also is sadly ironic is that the two ex seals defied orders to stand down to save lives. How many more people would have died if they would have followed orders from higher ups?

Submitted by SK in CV on October 29, 2012 - 8:57pm.

SD Realtor wrote:
So that is what is peculiar to me. What is clear is that support was requested, at least 3 times.

Two former seals did go assist those who were under attack. They did so against orders to stand down and in doing so ended up saving lives.

What is not clear is who gave the direct orders to not do anything at all. The closest explanation matches what you said and was given by Panetta who said,

"The basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place, and as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation."

General Ham is head of US Africa command. Dempsey is Joint Chiefs of Staff. Yet Panetta did not say that specific requests for help were denied. Patraeus also has taken a stance of no requests were denied from him or anyone in his organization.

I understand special ops missions take planning and such. By the same token, I cannot comprehend the strategy of not doing a damn thing. Not a fly by? Not anything?

Ty Woods was one of the guys that went to rescue the operatives. What also does not make sense is that one of the most often quoted creeds of the military is no man is left behind. To have all of the technology and not to do anything, anything at all, simply seems very odd to me. There are 3 bases within 2 hours, Sigonella Italy, (an hour away) as well as Aviano and Suda Bay, both within 2 hours.

So again, what you said about the military chain of command makes sense yet nobody is saying the buck stops here, I am the one that said no.

Here we are 45 days after the event.

What I do believe to be true is that the White House, Panetta and others did have a feed of what was going on and were very abreast of the situation however they did not have any intelligence of it beforehand. Rightfully they were confused yet I cannot believe that they did not present options to the president.

I believe that they presented those options with a proper risk assessment. I believe one of the options was also to prod they Libyans to take action and hope that they would rescue the Americans. This was probably the most palatable decision to the president which is obviously the one he selected. We don't know if the rescue would have worked, we don't know if more lives would have been lost, we don't know how the Libyan govt would have reacted.

However I guess this is what troubles me the most, that when faced with these what ifs the decision made was to stand down. Now instead of facing the music we are getting a stall tactic until after the election which I guess is understandable. However by nature Obama is not a risk taker. I think that there is a tangible point to be made and that is, an unsuccessful rescue attempt in Benghazi would have been quite damaging given the upcoming election.

I would suggest you ignore the political.

What is the logical conclusion if you do that?

The military wants to do this shit. It's what they live for. This kind of situation is like handing a scalpel to a surgeon and telling him not to cut. The only reason they wouldn't is that they had no path to success. How many troops? What kind? What skills? How do we get them in country? Once they're in country, how do they get to the site?

I don't have training in this kind of shit. But i can't imagine planning it is simple. And if there was any way for them to succeed, I have no doubt they would have done it.

I don't think it has anything to do with politics. Politics just makes no sense.

Submitted by SD Realtor on October 29, 2012 - 9:10pm.

I guess we differ in that respect.

In no way do I believe that our military does not plan for situations like this. That the military does not have precise plans for what type of troops, what skills needed, and how they get to and from the targets.

In fact it is 100% inconceivable to me that the military does not have preparations for this sort of stuff. I have two different clients who are ex seals, and they have told me that yes there is in fact a very high level of training for rescue situations like this.

Please don't confuse my convictions of preparedness with ignorance of the risk. So you said, if there was any way for them to succeed then you have no doubt they would have done it. I believe this is entirely false. I believe that there were options presented and success was a possible outcome given a high level of risk. There is never a situation where success is 100% gauranteed. I think there are always degrees of risk and that the decision made was that there was to much to lose both in human lives, military ops and political capital, to try to save these lives.

Submitted by SK in CV on October 29, 2012 - 9:13pm.

SD Realtor wrote:
Actually the lack of media coverage is very consistent.

Ask yourself, and be very honest here, if this happens on Bush's watch is the media behavior the same?

Bush was a different time. He had the NY Times behind him for the first half of his presidency. If this had been Bush, we would have waited a few months and attacked someone who had nothing to do with it. And most of the press would have supported him.

Submitted by La Jolla Renter on October 29, 2012 - 9:16pm.

The administration sure paraded, what should of been classified, information on the Bin Ladin mission.

Will it be much of a surprise that the Libya mess becomes "very classified".

Can't believe we couldn't take out the mortar threat by one of a half a dozen methods. What a great statement that would have made to terrorists.

Submitted by SD Realtor on October 29, 2012 - 9:25pm.

After the 9/11 attacks Bush had unmitigated support. However BEFORE the 9/11 attacks in no way whatsoever did Bush have the press behind him. The honeymoon period ended about 2 years after the attacks.

The question is what would have the press done, not what would Bush had done. If this happens in 2006, 7 or 8 then in no way does the press treat Bush like they are treating Obama now. With the exception of Fox, the press has supported Obama without question or investigation. This presists.

Submitted by enron_by_the_sea on October 29, 2012 - 9:35pm.

SD Realtor wrote:

Ask yourself, and be very honest here, if this happens on Bush's watch is the media behavior the same?

Let's see what happened when Bush was in the white house.

1) 9/11 happened, media did not ask any questions about how Bush could have missed this for many years. Fox news & GOP does not ask that question even today.

2) Bin Laden was holed up in Tora Bora and Bush decided not to pursue him. No one questioned that wisdom for years to come. Fox News and GOP do not bring that up even today.

3) Iraq WMD intel was cooked up by Cheney,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and gang. Any media that dared to question them were labelled anti-american (usually by Fox News).

So when the same people come on Fox News and now rant against Obama on Libya, is not natural for me to be skeptical? Seems to me like, it is not very credible to accuse someone when one themselves have been involved in similar shady businesses in the past ...

If Obama's foreign policy has failed, Mitt's solution is GWB's foreign policy - which was even a bigger disaster!

Submitted by SD Realtor on October 29, 2012 - 9:40pm.

Fair points made and points well taken enron.

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Point 2 however makes no sense and in retrospect is more then likely not true at all. Bin Laden was not only not in Tora Bora, but we probably had no clue where he was.

Also how do you conclude Mitts foreign policy to match GWBs?

Submitted by Hobie on October 29, 2012 - 9:49pm.
Submitted by enron_by_the_sea on October 29, 2012 - 10:08pm.

SD Realtor wrote:

Point 2 however makes no sense and in retrospect is more then likely not true at all. Bin Laden was not only not in Tora Bora, but we probably had no clue where he was.

Google "Bin Laden Tora Bora" throws plenty of links..

http://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canad...

I believe there was a 60-minutes story on that too..

SD Realtor wrote:

Also how do you conclude Mitts foreign policy to match GWBs?

Well, I have not heard anything otherwise. But just look at who he hangs out with or who speak in support of him with on foreign policy issues. I see the same Bush people - Condy Rice, Cheney, John Bolton etc.

Submitted by SK in CV on October 29, 2012 - 10:03pm.

SD Realtor wrote:

Also how do you conclude Mitts foreign policy to match GWBs?

17 of Romney's 24 foreign policy advisors served in the Bush Administration.

And Russia too. Also.

Submitted by ucodegen on October 29, 2012 - 10:17pm.

Hobie wrote:
The most damning evidence in the Seal that laser painted the mortar position thus giving away his position and subsequently killed.

Was he bluffing the enemy to think they were being targeted to cease fire and retreat? Or was he in communication with an air asset coordinating a counterstrike?

Real time video from the air and the laser spot sure suggests the latter. Allen details??

Quote-reference for this please(NOTED: It was added later). There is also a problem. Laser designators are infra-red. Therefore, it is hard for them to give away the designators location. They are invisible to the human eye, as well as normal video cameras. They are also sending a digital data stream/id and cert info when they 'paint the target'. This way if two designators are active, the weapon will know which is which. It also makes is harder to 'fake', and means you can't use a simple laser pointer for a laser designator.

Looking at Update #4 on Hobies link There is a problem. You do not need to lase in the normal mode to get range/bearing from the sensors for indirect fire. The lase period is much less than one second - works like a laser rangefinder.

Submitted by ucodegen on October 29, 2012 - 10:10pm.

enron_by_the_sea wrote:
2) Bin Laden was holed up in Tora Bora and Bush decided not to pursue him. No one questioned that wisdom for years to come. Fox News and GOP do not bring that up even today.-
Inaccurate. He allowed some of the Afghanis to be included in surrounding Tora Bora. These Afghanis got 'bought off'. If you also remember, they were pounding Tora Bora from the air. If you know anything about Switzerland, you will know why you just don't waltz into Tora Bora to get Bin Laden. The tunnels are constructed to create a large killing zone around Tora Bora.

Submitted by SD Realtor on October 29, 2012 - 10:12pm.

You can make any indictments on Romney as you see fit. The bottom line is that he is not nor ever has been president.

Hobie I have read plenty of stuff on the web similar to what your link pointed to. I am trying to seperate fact from fiction.

All I believe is the following:

1 - In no way do I believe that the military does not prepare for rescues such as this.

2 - I believe that even with preparation, there is substantial risk involved.

3 - I believe that the administration was able to watch what was happening.

4 - I believe that several options were presented to the administration for a rescue with military assets and that these options were high risk.

5 - I also believe that another option presented was to ask the Libyans to attempt to make the rescue and that this option was selected and that this decision was made by the administration.

Submitted by flu on October 29, 2012 - 10:17pm.

I don't care about the outcome of the election.

Do you folks realize the following irony?
It doesn't really matter how smart you are....

The fate of the 2012 election...The fate of the United States for the next 4 years ultimately lies in the hands of a bunch of backassward people that live in the backassward parts of the U.S., probably with an IQ of 115 or lower....

Submitted by ucodegen on October 29, 2012 - 10:19pm.

flu wrote:
The fate of the 2012 election...The fate of the United States for the next 4 years ultimately lies in the hands of a bunch of backassward people that live in the backassward parts of the U.S., probably with an IQ of 115 or lower....
That means that the smarter portion of the US needs to learn how to breed at the expense of the US...

Submitted by flu on October 29, 2012 - 10:21pm.

ucodegen wrote:
flu wrote:
The fate of the 2012 election...The fate of the United States for the next 4 years ultimately lies in the hands of a bunch of backassward people that live in the backassward parts of the U.S., probably with an IQ of 115 or lower....
That means that the smarter portion of the US needs to learn how to breed at the expense of the US...

I think the smarter portion of the US needs to learn how to be more like Romney the businessman that pays less taxes, not Romney the politician (The man, who's celebrity endorsement includes a drunken stupor named Meatloaf)....

Submitted by enron_by_the_sea on October 29, 2012 - 10:27pm.

ucodegen wrote:
Inaccurate. He allowed some of the Afghanis to be included in surrounding Tora Bora. These Afghanis got 'bought off'. If you also remember, they were pounding Tora Bora from the air. If you know anything about Switzerland, you will know why you just don't waltz into Tora Bora to get Bin Laden. The tunnels are constructed to create a large killing zone around Tora Bora.

Bottom line is Bin Laden was in Tora Bora and our military leadership and possibly even Bush administration had enough reason to believe that Bin Laden was there. I think we at least agree on that.

1 - In no way do I believe that the military/special forces do not prepare for such a situation as taking Bin Laden out in Tora Bora with ground assault. certainly 2 months after 9/11 there was no higher priority in front of our military than take out Bin Laden. At least that's what I think!

2 - I believe that even with preparation, there was substantial risk involved in such an operation on ground.

3 - I believe that several options were presented to the Bush administration for going after Bin Laden with military assets and that these options were high risk.

4 - I also believe that another option presented was to let Afghans/northern alliance to largely attempt to take out Bin Laden on the ground and that this option was selected by them...

Submitted by livinincali on October 30, 2012 - 7:40am.

This incident becomes stranger and stranger and it looks like a cover up that's starting to fall apart. General Ham which was a 4 star general in command of African operations was relieved of duty for ignoring an order to stand down.

http://times247.com/articles/is-a-genera...

Essentially somebody above the commander of the region ordered a stand down and most likely it would have to white house or joint chiefs. It's just fishy that you have a youtube protest story cooked up so quickly to explain the situation.

Based purely of speculation I'm guessing we had some kind of "Fast and the Furious" operation going on over there and in order to prevent people from finding out about it we decided we'll sacrifice a couple of American lives and use a cover up story. The reality is unless somebody big up in the administration decides to talk they'll probably successful cover it up but if somebody does talk then you have the possibility of something bigger than Watergate, assuming Obama gets re-elected. Of course Obama will probably try to shove Hilary under the bus if that happens.

Submitted by no_such_reality on October 30, 2012 - 8:41am.

Benghazi smenghazi

Don't you know the real story is what Romney said about Jeep jobs moving to China?

Submitted by KSMountain on October 30, 2012 - 9:35am.

ucodegen wrote:
enron_by_the_sea wrote:
2) Bin Laden was holed up in Tora Bora and Bush decided not to pursue him. No one questioned that wisdom for years to come. Fox News and GOP do not bring that up even today.-
Inaccurate. He allowed some of the Afghanis to be included in surrounding Tora Bora. These Afghanis got 'bought off'. If you also remember, they were pounding Tora Bora from the air. If you know anything about Switzerland, you will know why you just don't waltz into Tora Bora to get Bin Laden. The tunnels are constructed to create a large killing zone around Tora Bora.

ucodegen is correct or mostly correct. There are several books written on this subject by U.S. folks who were there at the time, in different branches of service. It is possible to educate oneself on this matter...

Submitted by enron_by_the_sea on October 30, 2012 - 9:56am.

KSMountain wrote:

ucodegen is correct or mostly correct. There are several books written on this subject by U.S. folks who were there at the time, in different branches of service. It is possible to educate oneself on this matter...

I am a dumb guy so why don't you educate me... The only accounts of US folks that I can find go like this.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-44...

They all seem to suggest that Delta force presented several plans to take out Bin Laden, but Bush administration/Gen Tommy Franks did not approve any of them and decided to let Afghans do it...

Do you disagree with such a characterization? If yes, then educate me!

Submitted by SD Realtor on October 30, 2012 - 10:23am.

Enron, I did not know any of the stuff that went on with Tora Bora and am enlightened.

Still, it doesn't explain or excuse what has happened in Benghazi. It pretty much appears it was simply covered up better.

Submitted by SK in CV on October 30, 2012 - 10:31am.

enron_by_the_sea wrote:
KSMountain wrote:

ucodegen is correct or mostly correct. There are several books written on this subject by U.S. folks who were there at the time, in different branches of service. It is possible to educate oneself on this matter...

I am a dumb guy so why don't you educate me... The only accounts of US folks that I can find go like this.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-44...

They all seem to suggest that Delta force presented several plans to take out Bin Laden, but Bush administration/Gen Tommy Franks did not approve any of them and decided to let Afghans do it...

Do you disagree with such a characterization? If yes, then educate me!

Some people might be surprised at this, but I do disagree with the characterization. Mostly with the framing.

I have no doubt that Bush wanted to get Bin Laden. Same with Franks. I suspect he was presented with a number of options, including letting the Afghans do it. I don't know exactly what all those options were, but I suspect they included most of them listed by many sources. Between he and his advisors, it was (apparently) decided that "letting the Afghans do it" was the best choice. Not because he didn't have the balls to do it. But because based on the facts he was given, it was the best choice.

Those are the kinds of choices commanders have to make. Sometimes they're the right decision, sometimes the wrong one. Bottom line, he DID approve of one of the choices he was given. None of us will probably ever know the details of how and why he came to that decision, but of the thousands of decisions he made as president, I can't fault him for this one. He did make a decision, one that appeared to him at the time to be the best available.

Submitted by KSMountain on October 30, 2012 - 2:01pm.

enron_by_the_sea wrote:
KSMountain wrote:

ucodegen is correct or mostly correct. There are several books written on this subject by U.S. folks who were there at the time, in different branches of service. It is possible to educate oneself on this matter...

I am a dumb guy so why don't you educate me... The only accounts of US folks that I can find go like this.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-44...

They all seem to suggest that Delta force presented several plans to take out Bin Laden, but Bush administration/Gen Tommy Franks did not approve any of them and decided to let Afghans do it...

Do you disagree with such a characterization? If yes, then educate me!

I'd be happy to. It's good to know what your tax dollars are paying for and there are a lot of *extremely* talented folks in the special forces. We can certainly find a lot more than a single video link from cbsnews to inform us (did you ever hear about the car that was doctored with a compressed air canister on 60 minutes to try to illustrate runaway acceleration? (but I digress))...

Here are two interesting books by U.S. folks that were definitely there:
http://www.amazon.com/Jawbreaker-Al-Qaed...

http://www.amazon.com/Kill-Bin-Laden-Com...

I recommend these. I think you'd enjoy them. In the first the guy is a CIA dude, one of the first there, on like September 20, 2001 or something, and he literally shows up at the ruins of Bagram with a trunk full of money and other folks and gets everything going. Bagram of course is now a full-fledged air base.

It's been awhile since I read them but I flipped through the second one and the pages are replete with references to Delta Force, Rangers, Green Berets, CIA, and British commandos that were assaulting Tora Bora from the air and from the ground, in the snow and ice, both in the open and stealthily.

To say that Bush in a fit of shortsightedness or cowardice (or overfocus on Iraq) in Washington D.C. prevented folks from going in is inaccurate and does a disservice to the folks who were risking their lives, climbing up to altitude (have you ever tried to be active above 12000'?) with weapons and other heavy gear in horrible conditions, with untrustworthy guides and allies.

In Fury's book, he claims we "took" Tora Bora in a way the soviets did not in 10 years. So without re-reading it, he claims we were definitely there and quote "won" the battle, but we did not get our man. Likely through treachery as ucodegen said.

Happy reading!

Submitted by KSMountain on October 30, 2012 - 2:21pm.

Here's an interesting interview:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/...

Read the whole thing or just search for Tora Bora. Searching for CENTCOM also brings up an interesting anecdote.

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