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A Sacred Trust Violated

Soldiers returning from the Second World War brought trophies, most notably enemy weapons, from the front. One of my grandfathers served in the European Theatre, and the other in the Pacific Theatre. Consequently, I’ve inherited both a German and Japanese rifle, taken from enemy combatants who no longer had use for them.

Rather than bringing items home, our servicemen returning from Vietnam were forced to leave behind the greatest treasure of all — their brothers in arms. Hence, the POW/MIA flags that stand as reminders throughout the land, stoic declarations of our vow to never again leave comrades to the enemy’s tender mercies. From license plates, to decals, to bracelets such as the one I wear which reads, “Bring ‘Em Home Or Send Us Back,” it is a sacred trust we hold with each other, a solemn promise forged in battle and written in the blood of patriots. Leave No One Behind.  

On September 11th, in a coordinated attack on our Ambassador and staff, multiple requests for assistance were forwarded up the chain of command. We now know that the President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defense met in the Oval Office, within an hour of the initial assault.  We know that a Special Operations force, a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team of Marines, two Navy destroyers, F-16s, and even AC-130 Spectre Gunships were within striking distance. And we now know that when personnel at a nearby CIA Annex, who literally heard the attack on the Consulate, requested assistance and prepared to help their fellow Americans, they were inexplicably told to stand down. We know that former SEAL Tyrone Woods was having none of it, and led a team from the CIA Annex to the Consulate to do the right thing. Again they requested assistance. Again they were told to stand down.  

As the rescue team evacuated those they could back to CIA Annex, they again began taking enemy fire. Again they asked for military support. Between drone coverage and video surveillance, the battle unfolded in real time in the White House Situation Room. Our people manned a machine gun position on top of the annex, and even put a laser on the enemy mortar position, thereby painting a target for an AC-130 to destroy. They died there, while, yet again, life-saving military support was refused. The CIA denies originating the order to stand down, which correctly pushes the responsibility over to the military chain of command — specifically to the President and the Secretary of Defense.  

For his part, Secretary Panetta said, “You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on,” adding that he, “…could not put forces at risk in that situation.” Here, the Secretary is addressing a situation other than the one that existed at the time, because our people were already in harm’s way. Waiting for a full risk assessment is something you do before an initial deployment. But when your people are already there, taking hostile fire and dying (pardon my language) it’s time to get off your dead ass and do something. Panetta’s statement is nothing less than a copout, a pathetic confession of weak-kneed incompetence at best, and dereliction of duty at worst. He is unfit to serve.

But as miserly and contemptible as Panetta’s excuse making was, the relative silence of the military, and our flag officers in particular, is nothing short of appalling. There is some scuttlebutt to the effect that the commander of AFRICOM, General Carter Ham, was preparing to defy orders and launch a rescue when he was relieved of command on the spot. If that is the case, where is his public refusal to abandon our people? Where are the flag officers who refused to play along with this outrageous violation of the oath we make to never abandon our own?  

That a commander-in-chief would abandon the troops is nothing short of treasonous in my opinion. But we’ve come to expect no less from a man who sends form letters to the families of our war dead, complete with an auto-pen signature. For him, the dead are but bumps in the road toward some lunatic fantasy world where the U.S. unilaterally disarms and leads from behind.  Secretary Panetta’s pathetic statement makes plain that he sold out. Theirs is the integrity of the cannibal who invites a missionary to dinner, and neither of them is qualified to even shine the boots of those who gave their lives to save others.  

But I expect better from the senior ranks of our uniformed services. Theirs is a spectacular lack of leadership, in which care for career trumped care for the lives under their command. Where are those that are willing to risk their careers for the lives of those on the ground? They were a rare enough breed when I served, but they seem to be all but extinct now. Until such time as we get a commander-in-chief and a chain of command with some measure of integrity, I can no longer in good conscience counsel anyone to even consider enlisting in our Armed Forces. And that, folks, is literally heartbreaking.  

  1. Benjamin Carter

    As the facts unfold, we are greeted with an even more unimaginable scenario. They let this happen. Sickening. 

    Slightly off topic: I noticed that in your new photo, you’re leaning slightly to the right. Nice touch to a great pic.

  2. Dave Carter
    C
    Benjamin Carter: … Slightly off topic: I noticed that in your new photo, you’re leaning slightly to the right. Nice touch to a great pic. · 0 minutes ago

    It’s the same direction WFB leaned, ya know.  

  3. Arahant

    I note that information is leaking out, albeit slowly and incompletely.  I doubt this sits well with a lot of people, even the political officers in the military.  It’s a bomb with a lit fuse.  The only thing we don’t know is how long the fuse is set to burn.

  4. Percival
    Dave Carter

    For his part, Secretary Panetta said, “You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on”…

    Perfect intelligence doesn’t exist.  There is always something you don’t know.  Sec. Panetta should have asked someone who has run the CIA to clarify that for him.

  5. Dave Roy

    I just tweeted this post. It should be shared far and wide. Dave, I have always respected your service and loved your writing here. It’s always from the heart.

    This one is your best yet. 1000 copies of it should show up on Obama’s desk until he answers the <expletive> questions.

    And they should also be sent to every media source as well.

  6. Frozen Chosen

    Where are all of those administration leakers when you need them?

  7. Dave Carter
    C
    Frozen Chosen: Where are all of those administration leakers when you need them? · 1 minute ago

    They are holding their breath until after the election.  

  8. Nick Stuart

    Today #2 son completed the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault School.

    I am relieved he made it through successfully (everything about the course, from the confidence course to rappelling 100 ft out of a helicopter is inherently dangerous). Proud that he’s now part of the tip of the spear. And extremely anxious that he might be deployed into harm’s way under the the current political and military leadership.

  9. Dave Carter
    C
    Nick Stuart: Today #2 son completed the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault School.

    I am relieved he made it through successfully (everything about the course, from the confidence course to rappelling 100 ft out of a helicopter is inherently dangerous). Proud that he’s now part of the tip of the spear. And extremely anxious that he might be deployed into harm’s way under the the current political and military leadership.· 0 minutes ago

    God bless him, and thank you all for serving.  The families serve just as surely as those who put their name on the dotted line.  

  10. lostingotham

    The British had a similar situation involving Admiral Byng.  A reprise of that outcome might be appropriate here.

  11. The King Prawn

    Dave, I heard Bing West on Bennett’s show this morning, and he said the AfriCom change of command was already scheduled. If he was relieved on the spot that is something, but the solid data at this point is that it was an orderly, scheduled CoC.

    On a side note: I was contemplating a post informing all those young ‘uns out there who can’t afford college that they can have a degree from almost any school they want and all it will cost them is one enlistment. I may have to recalculate the cost after reading this.

  12. Chris Johnson

    My recollection is that Ham (AFRICOM) already had career issues, before Benghazi.  His was a newly created command with no real assets yet in place and he had already been quietly being moved aside.

    I think the past year or so has evidenced that the problem in the military chain of command went a bit higher.  Sure, there are always “political” generals, but they now seem predominant.

    You know how we have now refocused onto the Pacific theater?  Young enlistees are now swarming that direction.  There, they have minimal duties and no infrastructure.  Our eldest is there and cannot receive mail, in the United States.  He’s had to get a PO Box just to get mail and pay for 3 months in advance.  Privates can’t easily afford a $60 hit, just for mail.  In our local PO, I mentioned this and the lady behind the desk went off!  Apparently we are the third family in our tiny community that can’t even send mail to our youngsters in Hawaii.

    The military is becoming a mess when only contract personnel will respond to calls for help and there isn’t even Mail Call available, at all, for troops.

  13. jarhead
    C

    We know the president can be impeached, but as CinC, can he be court martialed for dereliction of duty?  He ought to be court martialed if it’s possible, and if not, impeached, along with Biden at the same time.

  14. DocJay

    Until such time as we get a commander-in-chief and a chain of command with some measure of integrity, I can no longer in good conscience counsel anyone to even consider enlisting in our Armed Forces. And that, folks, is literally heartbreaking.  

    I will in a short time tour military academies with my 18 year old son.  I have tried to separate out my similar emotions from what for him has been a life long dream.My consolation is that we may have a military coup at some point to rid us of two items.  One is the leftist America hating vitriolic progressive scum like Obama and the second is career politicians on both sides who are legalized plunderers of our treasure through their bribery/favoritism racket.

  15. flownover

    We won’t hear the rain of medals falling to ground as they are thrown over the fence at the White House. I am not sure that we ever have. 

  16. Spin

    I would really love to hear how liberals defend the President on this.  I’ve several times posted on Facebook asking my liberals friends to chime in and I get nothing.  Perhaps our friend from the Island of Dr. Moreau can comment?

  17. DocJay
    Ken Owsley: I would really love to hear how liberals defend the President on this.  I’ve several times posted on Facebook asking my liberals friends to chime in and I get nothing.  Perhaps our friend from the Island of Dr. Moreau can comment? · 0 minutes ago

    It boils down to not upsetting Muslim countries in the hopes they’ll pull themselves in to this century as opposed to the 8th one.  I’m not optimistic about this strategy.

  18. lakelylane

    The entire Libya saga has worried me since the beginning but this latest hellfire has enflamed by flames. How can it be shouted so as to be truly heard?  Scary and sad . Great post Dave but frustrating….

  19. At The Rubicon

    About a year ago, my son – Leader by birth, Warrior by training, Infantry by the grace of God – informed me that he planned to not re-enlist. I was both happy and sad.  Happy that he would no longer be in harms way.  Sad because he is exactly the kind of fine young man we need in our Warrior Class.

    They say that the rot always starts at the top and it is clear to me now that my son understood that the rot had already started. I hate to think of what I would do if my own son befell the same fate as Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

  20. DocJay
    At The Rubicon: About a year ago, my son – Leader by birth, Warrior by training, Infantry by the grace of God – informed me that he planned to not re-enlist. I was both happy and sad.  Happy that he would no longer be in harms way.  Sad because he is exactly the kind of fine young man we need in our Warrior Class.

    They say that the rot always starts at the top and it is clear to me now that my son understood that the rot had already started. I hate to think of what I would do if my own son befell the same fate as Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. · 1 minute ago

    I’d go ballistic if that happened to my boy.   Or resort to ballistics.