COMMAND FAILURE

It seems obvious now, but I was dumbfounded on September 12th when the Obama administration decided to use the anti-Islamic movie trailer as an explanation for the assassination of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi. Why would they cling to such absurdity? Why would they pretend that mob violence was the cause of the death of four Americans?

For our intelligence community, Steven's murder was almost anti-climatic - they knew something was coming, they just didn't know what. There had been at least 230 terrorist incidents in Libya in the year leading up to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, including two attempts on the British Ambassador and a bombing of our consulate building. Instead of fortifying the building and building up security for our diplomats, the Obama administration made a conscious decision to decrease security and turn it over to a Libyan security company. The reason for taking a chance, in the face of overwhelming evidence that terror attacks were nearly certain, was to reduce the American profile in a country that was still unstable and not totally friendly to our presence. The decision was totally based on political reasons - the president's reelection campaign. The president's narrative was that he had killed Osama bin Laden and that al Qaeda was on the run. He and every speaker at the Democrat convention did a victory lap of celebration. To admit that al Qaeda had not only been responsible for the attack, but had carefully planned it, made that narrative a lie. So, to cover that lie, Obama and his team lied to America with a story that virtually no one believed from the start. His advisors probably thought that his adoring media supporters could keep a lid on it until after the election. And they did. At least until the story ballooned to the point that they risked looking stupid to continue carrying his water.

So Ambassador Stevens, one bodyguard and two Navy Seals, who happened to be at the nearby safe-house, died because of an attempt to protect the re-election bid of their Commander-in-Chief. Secretary of State Clinton is also culpable. Regardless of the administration's desire to keep a low profile, she should have stood firm for her people and supplied the assets being requested as necessary to protect them. If overruled, she should have resigned and gone to the American public to demand that protection. This was a major failure of command, from the State Department, through Secretary Clinton and right up to the president.

And this isn't the first failure of command. In Afghanistan, in order to meet his self-imposed deadline to withdraw all NATO and American forces, the proper vetting of recruits for the police and army was curtailed due to slow progress in filling and training the forces. Infiltration by Taliban and al Qaeda has been responsible for many deaths of our troops, they being murdered by the very personnel they were training.

And in Iraq, where George Bush had used the "Surge" to bring the insurgency under control, all Mr. Obama had to do was negotiate to leave a residual force stationed strategically to provide quick-reaction help, intelligence and a deterrent to Iranian influence. He failed to stand firm in the demand. Now, al Qaeda has resurged in Iraq and has been found to be opening training camps. It is said to have doubled in size, from about 1000 to 2500, recently, many of the recruits coming from Iraqi prisons, having either escaped or been released. It's doubtful that Mr. Obama will have the political will, or the command presence, to return with drone strikes on those camps.

In addition, this administration has deliberately leaked sensitive information concerning Special Operations that has possibly put other Americans at risk, in order to enhance Mr. Obama's rather thin resume.

The President is properly called "The Commander-in-Chief" because he has the final responsibility for America's security. When a failure of command occurs, it is his responsibility to fire those who failed. When the failure rises to the level of the president, that job falls to us.

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