Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
I’ve changed my mind. Benghazi was not a terrorist attack.
Terrorism is a tactic. The purpose of terrorism is to create terror in a population. The intended result is the population capitulates to the aggressor rather than continue to suffer terrifying attacks.
More below the jump.
In modern times, we think of terrorists as IRA pub bombers, Palestinians lobbing shells at Israeli schools, Japanese subway poisoners and Muslim suicide bombers. But terrorism isn’t limited to guerrilla or asymmetrical warfare. Genghis Khan’s military tactics were over-the-top vicious because he intended to terrify his enemies into surrendering without a fight. The tactics worked, as did those of the secret police in WW II Germany and later the Soviet Union, because people were more afraid of the consequences of continued resistance than the consequences of capitulation.
Osama Bin Laden’s 9/11 simultaneous and coordinated attack on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and White House was a terrorist attack and initially it succeeded, brilliantly. The President was flown to a secure location because nobody knew what was happening or what to do about it. Airplanes were grounded, the military recalled from leave, the stock market suspended, the economy paralyzed. For a day or two, at least, the nation was terrified. And the immediate response from many Democrats was all the terrorists hoped for: “We should give them what they want so they leave us alone. Abandon Israel. Pull troops out of the Middle East. Make them stop hating us.” Genghis Kahn would have grinned ear to ear.
Long-term, 9/11 didn’t accomplish the complete result desired and I suspect that’s because Bin Laden misjudged Bush, thinking he’d respond as Clinton would have done – bomb an aspirin factory in the middle of the night and quietly distance himself from Israel. It’s a forgivable mistake – Bush was new on the job and the media’s image was uniformly one of the dim-witted frat boy who cheated his way into office. Bush’s core resolve was never shown before 9/11 so I suspect it came as a surprise. “Woken the sleeping dragon” indeed.
The Benghazi attack was entirely different. It did not provoke wide-spread terror in the United States because it wasn’t intended to. The nation wasn’t moved to insist we capitulate to Muslim demands. Nobody panicked: as our ambassador was dragged through the streets and administration officials scape-goated YouTube, the President flew to Las Vegas for golf and a fundraiser.
The Benghazi attack was not designed to inspire terror in the public, it was a small-unit military action against a poorly fortified enemy installation. The attack was intended to send a pointed message to American Command and Control: “We know where your people are in-country and we can get to them.” That’s psych ops – a demoralizing action aimed at making diplomatic personnel less effective. With the administration even now dithering over whether to treat this as a military matter or a law enforcement matter, you can bet the diplomatic corps is wondering how vigorously they want to work for American interests versus taking a position in academia stateside. President Obama routinely snubs Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. He has ordered no military strikes on Al Qaeda targets. Al Qaeda judged his reaction would be even milder than Clinton’s and they were right.
But there’s more to it than that. The consulate is the locus of any CIA operation for that area so any CIA information is now in the hands of the enemy, courtesy of Hillary Clinton’s rent-a-cop security. A CNN reporter was able to walk right into the consulate days later to physically pick up and take with him the personal diary of the Ambassador, filled with the personal impressions and fears that the embassy and he and his staff were in danger and no help was forthcoming. What intel did the attackers’ accomplices get before CNN arrived? How badly have our assets been compromised?
The more I think about it, the more obvious it becomes that the attack on the consulate in Benghazi was an excellent small-force military operation and not a rag-tag bunch of film critics upset about a YouTube video. If it’s obvious to me – an unschooled armchair general – it should have been instantly obvious to our military. If it was obvious to them, they surely would have relayed it upward. That our Commander in Chief chose to spend weeks lying about it and even now is considering sending the FBI to investigate this as a law enforcement matter, is bewildering. The facts are damning:
The attackers made probing attacks on the consulate earlier this Spring to test our defenses and response times. Libyan officials say these attackers were infiltrated into the country months in advance of the attack. This indicates the attackers engaged in careful long-term planning.
They knew the ambassador was at the Benghazi consulate, not the Tripoli embassy where he normally would have been. This indicates good intelligence about a moving target.
They knew the level of protection at the consulate and brought enough firepower to force diplomats to evacuate. This indicates tactical competence.
They knew the location of the safe house with sufficient precision to accurately drop mortar rounds on it, and brought enough guns to overwhelm the reinforced defenders. As far as we know, the attackers didn’t lose a man and all have vanished back into the woodwork again. This indicates all of the above factors.
It was a well-planned, well-sourced, well-timed, well-coordinated and well-executed operation, the kind of thing we’d expect of Navy SEALs.
Give credit where due. Somebody over there did a damned good job on this one. The fact they did it on 9/11 – the anniversary of another brilliant attack on America when we should have been prepared but were caught napping again – only adds to the impressiveness of the accomplishment. And adds to our national embarrassment.
A victorious General Patton supposedly exclaimed “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” Americans had better find a copy of the attackers’ book damned soon. They have ours down pat.
He’s right. Sorry to say.
And whether you’re a bloodthirsty neo-con, a craven America-laster, or a isolationist Paul supporter, it doesn’t change the fact that we’ve got a movement floating about the world that is engaged in a military compaign against us, and was long before Iraq, Afghanistan or 9/11.