Letter: Ludicrous Allegations on Benghazi

To the Editor:

I am writing about the death of the American ambassador in Benghazi and the absurdity of Rep. Darrell Issa’s accusations against the embassy and the State Department. I do not know anything beyond what we’ve all seen on TV, but I have worked in embassies, and can make some common sense observations.

Before an ambassador makes a trip, he consults his security officer. In this case, he would have been advised that he was risking his life, and that the Libyan government could not guarantee his safety. Like ambassadors all over the world, he went anyway. He was a brave, confident man, and he wanted to familiarize himself with the places for which he was responsible. Fast forward to the U.S. facility in Benghazi on the night the ambassador died. I want you to imagine three timelines, all of which began when the security officer looked out the window, concluded that the crowd outside was no longer just hostile but dangerous, and called the embassy to say they were in trouble.

Timeline one: How long did the ambassador have to live? Timeline two: How long would it take to get help to Benghazi from the embassy in Tripoli, 400 miles away? Timeline three: How long would it take to get help to Benghazi from the American airbase in Aviano, more than 600 miles away in northern Italy? I think the ambassador lived less than two hours, maybe less than 45 minutes. The embassy probably has between 10 and 20 Marine guards. How long would it have taken to organize, equip and design a plan for some of them? What plane would fly them to Benghazi? How would they get from the airport to the building that was under attack? When they got there, how would they fight off a mob armed with machine guns and RPGs? Where would the ambassador be when all these miracles had been accomplished?

You know the answers. Dispatching planes from Aviano is an even more far-fetched scenario. Once the ambassador was in that building and the mob was outside, the was no way Americans could save him.

Steve Rounds