Call it “Spook’s Razor:” Opportunities for timely blogging decrease in proportion to the demands of one’s “real job,” and that decline usually coincides with significant, even earth-shattering events. Put another way, we’ve been way too busy to post, even as the truth on Benghazi finally emerges–or should we say, can no longer be ignored–and the IRS scandal explodes with full force.
We’ll have more thoughts on both tomorrow but in the mean time, Bing West has a great column at National Review on-line. Mr. West, a Marine combat veteran of Iraq observes that the nation’s senior military leaders (active and retired) didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory with their handling of Benghzi, or trying to explain away the “decision-making process.” A few excerpts:
Sunday was quite a day for Benghazi and the U.S. military. At the platoon level, you are expected to admit errors in firefights in order to correct mistakes and do better the next time. We all make mistakes. But as we saw on yesterday’s talk shows, once you reach the top level, whether retired or not, you deny any possibility of error and label any question about military performance idiotic. This is not the behavior of a healthy organization, and if it persists, we are in for a nasty shock in a future crisis or conflict.
On CBS, former secretary of defense Bob Gates launched an impassioned defense of the Obama administration, sneering at critics for holding a “cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces
.” He staunchly defended the administration’s high-level decision-making surrounding Benghazi, citing four reasons.
First, he said, sending fighter jets “ignored the number of surface-to-air missiles that have disappeared from Qaddafi’s arsenals. I would not have approved of a sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi.”
How many aircraft has the U.S. lost in hundreds of thousands of combat flights since 2001? Zero. The former SecDef is so afraid of an unknown risk that he would not send an aircraft capable of destroying a mortar site while Americans died? This is the pinnacle of risk avoidance.
Hammer, meet nail. Read the whole thing; it’s a sad reminder that those on the E-ring and in unified command billets are sometimes more motivated by politics than their military judgment. Which brings us to the $64,000 question: exactly who was calling the shots on the night of September 11, 2012?