Beyond the Cusp

May 16, 2013

The Turning of President Obama

I will admit right up front that President Obama would never likely be my first choice for President or any other elected office. On the other hand, the candidates put up against him by the Republican Party did not offer much of an alternative leaving no real different choice in the past two elections. When President Obama won election and took the oath of office for his first term I hoped that he would at least minimally fulfill some of my hopes and not necessarily make some of the changes I most feared. I have attempted to satisfy myself by believing it could have been far worse. The passage of Obama’s healthcare reforms has instilled in me a trepidation which goes very deep. The biggest trouble I perceived was the fact that the main enforcement agency for the Affordable Health Care Act is the Internal Revenue Service. This little fact makes it appear that the healthcare bill will be more aligned as a revenue enhancement system which by default supplies healthcare while its primary mission is to collect funds. The evidence implies that the government will take whatever measures possible to minimize the costs of healthcare even if the cost saving measures result in denial of care as the general rule for any costly measures such as surgeries, experimental procedures, highly priced new drugs, extended physical therapies, and other costly procedures. But at least we did not see such items in legislation such as a carbon tax and some of the socialist causes which are counter to a free market economy that candidate Obama claimed he would enact.


I do not pretend to understand why it almost always seems to be that Presidents become entangled in conspiracies or other legally questionable events soon after beginning their second term. Such has definitely struck President Obama with the first scandal began during the final leg of the campaign and election cycle in which President Obama still managed to be reelected. The scandal concerned the events around the murder by a terrorist attack of our Libyan Ambassador Scott Stevens and three support personnel in Benghazi. As if this was not causing sufficient problems for the Obama Administration officials, now there are another pair of predicaments that have struck the Administration with the IRS conducting politically motivated audits and special treatment of applicants for tax-free classifications and the Justice Department snooping into Associated Press phone records and tapping their reporter’s phones in order to uncover the identities of any whistleblowers. Each of these tribulations would be sufficient to trouble a President sufficiently to add a dozen years to his appearance and President Obama has definitely begun to show the signs of stress of a man under siege. He even joked about such affects during 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner when he said, “I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.”


While Benghazi is about more than just President Obama, he is still the leader and must be held to answer for the actions or lack of actions for those within his Administration. From what has transpired resulting from the catastrophic events of that fateful day of September 11, 2012, President Obama has appeared to have dodged much of the blame until these other two items hit the news cycle. The entire Benghazi troubles had appeared to begin to wind down and might have passed into the darkness of history after very short hearings held last week but for some reason it appears to be resurrecting itself back into the mix. The apparent tie in has been the lack of personal involvement by the President in these disparate scandals which gives the appearance that either President Obama is not truly in control of his subordinates or is simply uninterested in performing the requirements of his position and has relegated the running of the country to others while he simply reads his teleprompter and otherwise enjoys the privileges of the office. Such suspicions make for a serious problem for the President as if he now takes complete and total ownership of these issues he will face possibly serious charges and if he allows his actions to be interpreted as his being disengaged and uninvolved he risks being seen to be complacent and diminished. The other possible difficulty which could come out of the disaster in Benghazi is what might follow if Benghazi ends up being tied to Syria and the movement of weapons and manpower from Libya into Syria as some of the rebels in Syria are aligned with the same organizations as rebels forces which fought in Libya, namely al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Such assistance to some of the rebel forces in Syria would also serve the desired results sought by Turkey and Prime Minister Erdogan, a close Obama friend and ally.


The common element connecting the Internal Revenue Service scandal with the Associated Press phone tapping and records outrage is the evidence of an Administration out of control taking vindictive retribution against all opponents and utilizing every possible office and force that government can bring to bear. This is exactly the manner of overreach and abuse of political and governmental power which most angers a plurality if not an outright majority of American voters. In addition there are all the untruths, obfuscations, invasions of privacy, exchanging sensitive information, illegal use of confidential information, and any denials or cover-ups that will be the eventual downfall if anything develops and has lasting effects. The obvious targeting and investigating of conservative political groups, small government organizations, anti-tax political action groups and Pro-Israel Jewish groups on the grounds of potential support for terrorism because terror groups exist all around Israel are blatant politically motivated witch-hunts which go way beyond the cusp and into the valley of underhanded deceits and dirty tricks. President Nixon was charged with similar activities leading to his impeachment hearings, especially those currently being committed by the Internal Revenue Service at the presumed behest of the Obama Administration. If nothing else, all of these potential investigations which some may even birth other areas to investigate will have one extremely positive result, Congress will have something to fill their days and thus might just be sufficient to keep them from inventing more problems for which they will then proceed to solve by causing even more problems.


The particular items which are most likely to have the strongest legs and persist both in the congress and the media will be the phone scandal of the Justice Department snooping through the Associated Press phone records to discover the names of whistle-blowers and the excess of requirements and information gathering demanded by the Internal Revenue Service of any groups deemed problematic by the Obama Administration. I would be remiss if I did not admit that the entire debacle of Benghazi being relegated to trail off like echoes bouncing off the canyon walls until they fade beneath the winds is not an insult to the senses and patriotism of every red-blooded American as well as to the dignity and efforts put forth by our Ambassador and those who gave all in an attempt to protect him and defend the honor of the United States. There are a number of questions which I very much desire to have answered. I would like to know whether any of the Commanders of the various assets available even considered breaking orders and coming to the aid of our people under siege in Benghazi. I would have hoped that we had one Commander somewhere in theater who would act as did the Naval Commander of the Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge, Cmdr. Frank Castellano, who took action on Sunday April 12, 2009, when he determined the situation was dire and waiting for the requested clearance from the White House might come too late to save the hostages from Somali Pirates and took actions necessary and successfully rescued everyone. Beyond this I so dearly demand that the person who was responsible for the stand-down order to be identified and brought up on charges for dereliction of duty. Whoever gave such a heinous and odious order deserves the most extreme punishment which can be brought under whatever code of law is applicable be it the UCMJ or civil laws. The originator of the order which left at least two of our bravest stand against unbelievable odds where they, through miraculous personal efforts, withstood an onslaught of a combination of small arms, rocket propelled grenades, and mortar fire brought down on their defensive position by over one-hundred-fifty terrorist forces carrying out an organized assault. To allow such a cowardly act to go unpunished would serve for all time as an insult to our fighting forces who given even the most remote possibility of success would grab any opportunity to save their countrymen no matter the extremes of the odds or direness of the situation. That is the kind of operation which many of our most elite forces train long, hard and mercilessly so as to be prepared in any situation when the order comes down. Unfortunately, they feel cheated in such an instance as Benghazi where their unequalled abilities are not even given the chance to prove that to our military personnel there is no such thing as impossible, only that which will take a little while longer.


Beyond the Cusp


May 11, 2013

What We Will Never Ever Know About Benghazi

The simple answer to the question of what we will never find out about what happened that additional fateful September 11 is the complete truth. Sure we will be told about all the things that might have been done beforehand to provide ample and proper security for Ambassador Stevens and the brave Americans who battled against all the odds to try and save lives. We will hear about a number of options which were available for dispatch that might have completely altered the fatal outcomes of the attack in Benghazi. We will hear of the brave and valiant efforts made by Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty who rescued a number of personnel and fought giving a heroic effort at the Consulate and then again at the Annex Building. We will hear that they had painted the mortar position with laser identifiers and which eventually zeroed in on their position ending their fight. Everything which has already been made public which would serve to give those who were allowed to be sacrificed some of the deep respect they are due will be rehashed in the press taking up every available inch of space. What we will likely never know is who actually gave the stand-down orders to the various units who were in the process of dispatching help to the embattled Americans. The press will once again not cover in any depth the shortcomings of those responsible from within the Obama Administration. Somewhere in the eventual outcome of the politicized hearings an unlikely and unfortunate individual will become the chosen middle level functionary who is going to be sacrificed to save those who were actually to blame. Benghazi will eventually have its very own Colonel Oliver North and if they are fortunate, they will be able to wear their sacrifice bravely and even gain respect from some quarters for their efforts.


But there is one item that not only will we never know, it will likely never be asked by anybody covering this story from any angle. Part of the reason is that it is a question that cannot be answered. What will be overlooked is what effect would the entire Benghazi debacle have had on the Presidential Election had the press given the story the full investigative coverage it deserved. Such a question is one the press would very much like to bury and instead attempt to credit themselves over their brave take-no-prisoners coverage they will give the investigations. There will be editorials delving into the intricate elements that together birthed this disaster. They will explain complicated webs of woven information which was not shared in a timely enough manner to have made a difference in the immediacy of the attack. There might even be detailed explanations as to the reasoning and execution of the offensive video ruse which eventually fell apart as the cheap evasive ploy that it was. Hopefully we will receive details over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony where she was quoted angrily exclaiming, “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?” To be absolutely honest, this is one of the items I am particularly desiring a full explanation as this was not only the nastiest and most disrespectful outrages in the entire Benghazi debacle, but actually the worst outburst ever to pass from Hillary Clinton’s lips, which is an accomplishment. I am sure that there will be a very large number of people and questions, both public and privately held, for which there will be no answer forthcoming. Many of these will remain unasked as the mainstream media is mostly interested in getting the Obama Administration through the investigation without any impeachment charges or serious damage to the Democrat Party or their potential Presidential hopefuls for 2016, even Hillary Clinton.


As this is my editorial, perhaps I should share what I hope will come from these hearings. I want to know who in the White House and the entire Obama Administration heard about the stand-down orders before 4:00 AM Benghazi time as had teams from either Tripoli, Italy, France, or either of the two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Sea been dispatched, they could have arrived in time to save at least some of our people caught in a desperate fight for their lives. I would like to have an accounting of the action of President Obama during the entire time the entire confrontation was playing out with particular emphasis on what information was given him, by whom, and his exact orders, reactions, and his attitude to the situation. If the rumors that he left people in charge without specific instructions and went to bed sleeping peacefully as our people died, that would be extremely upsetting. I am curious as to what the commanders who were in theater thought and would be curious if they have any reasons for not taking actions to send aid and support to our forces who were heavily engaged. Was their inaction due to lack of information, if so what did they do to attempt to gain additional information, and did they simply choose to obey a stand-down order and gave no thought to ignoring such orders and going out on their shield after supporting our people in a dire situation which cried out for a hero to come to the rescue in the nick of time. American history has numerous cases where officers or even enlisted personnel went against orders because it was the decent and correct actions to take. I want to know where are such heroes today and if we have none of that caliber in command positions, maybe we need some new commanders. As a veteran I am fully cognizant of the importance of obeying orders and even more familiar with the beating heart of a fighting force which demands that no man be left sacrifice if there is the slimmest chance to come to their aid and come to the aid of those in distress as we are never supposed to leave a man behind. That is the real sin in Benghazi, we left our people behind at the mercy of a cruel enemy and that is something as Americans we should not and cannot allow to go unpunished.


Beyond the Cusp


January 24, 2013

What should We Learn from the Benghazi Investigations?

I don’t know about you but I have absolutely no sympathy for Ms. Clinton and she can simply hold her crocodile tears as such antics only serve to make me more angry. I do not want to know who is willing to fall on their sword by taking responsibility. I do not want to hear about the difficulties the situation presented or why executing a rescue was near impossible. The information I am looking for out of these hearings with the grandstanding by some and honest questions from others can be found with one simple question and one honest truth, “Who initiated the order to stand down?” That is all I need to know and once I know where the stand down order originated and who decided that these Americans were expendable and not worth even an attempt of rescuing, then I want to be there for their execution. Anything less would be an injustice and would leave a very wrong message for the world.

If it is allowed that we never are told who turned a cold heart and left those Americans to die in a dark corner of the world calling for help and wondering why they had been abandoned, then we will have sent a message to the world that there is little consequence for murdering Americans even those who hold the highest office in any foreign country which is what an ambassador holds. Not making the heartless scoundrel who watched these Americans die without lifting a finger get off without paying a price and having their name stand to only be whispered scornfully in conjunction with the likes of Benedict Arnold will encourage all other traitors of similar ilk free to perform their unpatriotic smears without fear of paying a price. It is paramount that we find the honest truth about who knew what and who refused to send rescue forces and as much support as could have been mustered and what reason they possibly could give for such dastardly traitorous act of abandonment. And once we have been given the truth and the miscreant has been identified, then we must tear every morsel of  reason for their refusal to provide any assistance, especially as we have since been informed that there were two special swift response units manned up and ready to be on station within two hours, an AC-130 Spectre Gunship ready and warm on a taxiway ninety minutes from Benghazi, and we had two unarmed drones on station watching a six hour plus firefight which included two separate locations and a transit between them and somehow someone deemed it impossible to send any assistance. Criminal is a word lacking in the treasonous and dastardly components necessary to describe the lowlife responsible for allowing four Americans including two highly trained military assets hung out facing superior armed forces yet managing to hold them off and offer heroic defense of the lives they were protecting until their lives had been extinguished.

The information that has been released about the actual siege makes the choice to refuse aid to be beyond questionable and into the realm of was this a set up that had gone wrong. I am loath to chase after rumor mill explanations and conspiracy theories, but the whole situation around the events from the Americans who, for all intents and purposes, appeared to have been sacrificed in order to assure their silence. When it is shown on the FLIR images from observation drones show laser painting of the mortar position which was the principle threat to the position at the safe house, one has to question why knowing that even the smallest of efforts was not permitted. Having a laser painted target only requires one round of smart munitions be it an artillery round, missile or cruise missile fired from a wide variety of platforms such as ships off shore, drones, fighter or other aircraft, or land fired variety missiles or artillery. The questions as to why no support reinforcements were deployed once one is provided with the entire range of actions taken on the ground in Benghazi from the Consulate and at the Safe House and that there was a transit between the two locations which covered approximately two miles along with the fact that there was intelligence from observation assets on location available to those tasked for support lasting for an extended period that there had to be a point where it became obvious even to the most uninformed individual that there was the time, opportunity, and availability of a number of various means of support which would have made a crucial difference and would have possibly saved lives.

Unfortunately, all these hearings will produce is the opportunity for Congressmen and Senators to make grand speeches and ask poignant and piercing questions only to receive deceptive sidestepping of the truth. There will be the admissions of culpability and reasons for inaction explained as the confusion and chaos during the heat of the situation and lack of certain and actionable intelligence which will sound as if much has been disclosed yet nothing new will be said or released. The reasons for Ambassador Stevens being in Benghazi on September 11th without heavy military escort of all days will remain clouded and uncertain. The suspicions of the Ambassador being in some clandestine operation for the stealthy movement of military assets provided by NATO for rebel use against Gadhafi in order to provide these weapons systems and arms to the Syrian rebels will remain unverified. That will leave the suspicion that the al-Qaeda and other terrorist forces which were a vital part of the Libyan resistance had different ideas and destinations in mind for these weapons and other military assets, namely to go to Hamas in Gaza. There will even be those who will claim that this was a conspiracy gone horribly wrong and that the reason for the stand down order was to allow for the kidnapping of Ambassador Stevens in order to allow for his release to be gained by releasing the Blind Sheik, Omar Abdel-Rahman who was the mastermind behind the first World Trade Center bombing, in a prearranged prisoner exchange. There are always the outstanding, unbelievable and extreme conspiracies behind anything that is either tragic or left with even a smidgen of unexplained actions or lack thereof. All we are going to receive from these investigations in the House of Representatives and the Senate is sound bites for future campaigns, grandstanding representatives, evasions, excuses, prevarications and apparently a sobbing Secretary of State. Well, at least Secretary of State Clinton sobbing on the stand will prepare us for any hearing when the Secretary of State in the hot seat is John Kerry.

Beyond the Cusp

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