This year, tragically, there are two 9/11’s to be remembered; on each of those days eleven years apart, American courage and sacrifice was on full display.
There is, however, a horrific difference between the two days. In the case of the first 9/11, Americans rushed to the tragedy by the hundreds in the attempt to move heaven and earth; to risk death on behalf of their fellow Americans. In the case of the second only a small number of men, disregarding orders, rushed to the defense of their fellows. There was no attempt to move heaven and earth and, so far, nothing beyond paperwork in New York stands as evidence of the attempt to punish those responsible in Benghazi.
In the first case a lack of imagination, intelligence and sharing of information was a primary cause of the tragedy. In the case of the second, there was intelligence, there were warnings; we knew that Americans in Benghazi could be in jeopardy, we knew what day it was. The security professionals associated with Benghazi begged for additional security, the Ambassador begged for additional security; all fell on deaf bureaucratic ears.
Have we fallen so far? The question of 9/11 is “who are we?” We answered that question in 2001; unfortunately we answered it in the converse in Benghazi. Must we admit to having lost the courage of conviction? Are we and those who serve us to be held hostage by a government unwilling to say; “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead?”
The latest credible information regarding Benghazi demonstrates that a primary cause for the lack of response in Benghazi appears to have been diplomatic sensitivities regarding getting ‘permission’ to enter Libya with a rescue force. We relied on a totally dysfunctional government to provide ‘permission’ to enter with a relief force. The recent ‘liberation’ of Libya did not, apparently, translate into the currency necessary to do what needed to be done. The most powerful nation on earth was rendered impotent by a dysfunctional third world country while under attack by a group of Jihadists we knew were there and knew were a danger.
9/11 must be a day we answer questions and there are too many questions that remain unanswered!
“What difference does it make” screeched Secretary Clinton, angry at being held to account. What difference does it make that we lied to you about the video? What difference does it make that the political stone wall is high and wide? What difference does it make that Congress is denied access to survivors. What difference does it make that no one has been brought to justice. What difference does it make that Greg Hicks is punished for daring to speak the truth. What difference does it make that Ambassador Stephens and Sean Smith died horrifically trapped in a burning building. What difference does it make that unidentified DS agents as well as Ty Woods and Glen Doherty put their lives on the line? What difference does it make that a still unknown DS agent after getting out of the burning building, re-entered the burning building five times to try and find Stephens and Smith; badly burned himself? What difference does it make?
The difference is that these actions define us, for better or worse.
My anger from 2001 never fully receded and was reinforced just a year ago. Anger directed at terrorism in 2001, reinforced by anger aimed at our leadership in 2012.