Ken Connor

The mystery surrounding the 9/11 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi continues to deepen. One of the more recent revelations in the ever unfolding story about the attack involves the suspicious departure of General Carter Ham, commander of AFRICOM. Allegations have been made that as the general was mobilizing a rapid response force to come to the aid of the besieged consulate, he was told to stand down. (That siege, as we all know, resulted in the death of America's Libyan ambassador and three others, including two Navy Seals.) According to reports, General Ham told those telling him to stand down to take a hike. His job was to protect American lives and he had no intention of standing by while a terrorist attack was underway in his area of command. For this "insubordination," he was purportedly relieved of his command.

These revelations, if true, are disturbing to say the least and raise yet more questions about exactly what the Obama administration knew about the threat to our consulate in Benghazi, when they knew it, and why they failed to act in time to prevent this tragedy from occurring. The idea that American personnel serving abroad would be abandoned in a moment of mortal need for political reasons is nothing short of reprehensible.

To be sure, a military intervention in Benghazi would have undercut the narrative put forth by the Administration that Al-Qaeda was as dead as Osama Bin Laden and that thanks to the courage and decisiveness of Barack Hussein Obama, Americans have little or nothing to fear from this now defunct terrorist organization. This narrative has been central to Mr. Obama's reelection campaign. Doubtless that's why the Administration pedaled the myth that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to a video mocking the prophet Mohammed, a myth that has now been clearly been debunked.

But protecting the President's political career isn't the job of our men and women in uniform. They have pledged their lives to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. They live by a creed that says no soldier will ever leave a fallen comrade behind. They expect that their commanders above them – the Commander in Chief most of all – will have their backs when it counts, but in this instance a general may have been asked to act in a way that directly contradicted the creed by which he and his soldiers have pledged to live and die. And now the question that begs for an answer is: Was General Ham asked to betray the Soldier's creed in the service of one man's political ambitions?


Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.