President Obama has showered us with virtually minute-by-minute descriptions of his activities on the night Osama bin Laden was killed. We've been vouchsafed photos of the national security team watching events in real time. The president used the word "I," "me" or "my" 13 times in a 1,300-word speech. But to ask how the president conducted himself on the night of Sept. 11 crosses a line?
According to testimony from Leon Panetta, following a previously scheduled 5 p.m. meeting at which Benghazi was mentioned, the president did not speak again to his Secretary of Defense or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the attacks on the consulate and then later the annex unfolded. The following morning, the president jetted off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas.
Pfeiffer asserts that it's false and offensive to say that the president took no action, but the Secretary of Defense acknowledged as much. In October 2012, Leon Panetta explained that while "we quickly deployed" ships, FAST teams and forces to the region as soon as the attack was reported and were "prepared to respond to any contingency," they did not act because there was a principle at stake: "You don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on." (This explanation was later contradicted.)
Is that really a U.S. military principle? It's one thing to say that, in the absence of hostilities, initiating military action should be undertaken only after a full evaluation of all options. But when Americans are under attack, shouldn't the cavalry come over the hill if they possibly can?
Certainly that's how Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty saw things. Completely outnumbered and out-gunned, they nonetheless ran to the consulate and annex to man whatever guns they could lay hands on and attempt to defend their fellow Americans. They gave their lives doing so. The Obama administration gave nothing -- not even the truth.
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