BENGHAZI AND THE EROSION OF THE AMERICAN FIGHTING ETHOS.
The Benghazi scandal is about so much more than an attack on a consulate. Americans are dead. The government’s lies, like so often happens, have been built on top of one another.
The State Department did not provide the necessary security. They did not come to the rescue like they should have. In the smoldering aftermath, they began to lie to cover it up. Then they lied some more. Meanwhile, Americans are still dead and those who want to know the truth are treated like rabble-rousers.
The saddest part in all of this is the betrayal of a simple American ethos held by those who have served their country overseas. The American fighting ethos is the glue that binds soldiers together. Soldiers who may not, necessarily, believe in the validity of a mission or war will fight for the men and women in his platoon. What makes Benghazi so tragic is the conspicuous changing of that ethos that is so important to those who serve for a greater good.
Our U.S. military men and women are used to knowing that they will be backed up by the full weight of the American people in the U.S. military if they have to be put in harm’s way. “Never leave a man behind”- this concept has evolved over the centuries. We will not leave any man or women behind; and that is what enables them to enter harm’s way. That is the comforting thought they hold onto when things go bad. They know someone is coming; they know relief is on the way. Why? Because Americans don’t leave their comrades behind.
It was this concept that drove my father, who flew Cobra helicopters in Vietnam. Flying into enemy territory to decimate the enemy and helping to save the men on the ground- that’s what my father believed in. It was this proud, noble idea that led to heroes in Somalia, in Little Round Top, Normandy, Battle of the Bulge and so many other battles notable for the heroes who fought for each other.
The American ethos of “never leave a man behind” has served America well and it stands as a shining example of the tremendous nature of the American character. Brave men and women have worked to do their duty and waded into danger time and time again and they have been able to fight against these impossible odds armed with the promise of reinforcements and the knowledge that someone had their backs.
So where were the reinforcements in Benghazi? Why were these men hung out to dry, likely spending their last moments hoping for relief that would never come? Why has the government betrayed their memories by not only failing to act, but failing to tell the truth about what happened and why?
It appears that our ethos, held for centuries, is ending. Why?
To start, many that make important military decisions are not military members. More and more high-ranking government officials are political appointees and know little of the realities of fighting. They don’t know the true meaning of this ethos that demands you trust your life to another and vow to do your best to look after them. The spirit of this fighting ethos is alive with the troops on the ground; but a political appointee is often not a person inclined to have or understand this important concept.
The effect of these appointees, people who know little about the military lifestyle and mindset, is evident. Whereas once military rules were made by military officials, now the political elite impose rules and regulations. Special interest groups get to tinker with the military at the expense of unit cohesion and combat readiness. Paper-pushers emphasize cultural sensitivity and restraint in combat over the importance of this ethos that demands that soldiers fight side-by-side and pledge to look out for one another. So long as we have this undermining mindset, the military culture will erode.
It was a betrayal of this essential fighting ethos that left the Americans high-and-dry in Benghazi. The problem was that the question asked when deciding whether or not to rescue the doomed consulate personnel was not, “How do we save these people?” The question was, “Don’t we need to protect the president?”
After all, the Obama Administration had invested a tremendous amount of political capital into the narrative that Al Qaeda had been decimated and that the liberation of Libya was noble and politically valid. As violence erupted and challenged that narrative, political appointees made decisions based on political considerations and not the ethos that has guided Americans to our greatest moments of achievements.
Political considerations dictated that Ambassador Stevens trust Libyan security. Political considerations made the personnel expendable. President Obama was up for re-election and he had become known for his disastrous foreign policies. It was the fear of an unflattering narrative that spooked an Administration into leaving men to die.
This nation has been disgraced by President Obama and his Administration’s lack of character and honor.
Rusty Humphries is a nationally syndicated radio host heard across the USA on over 300 radio stations and is listed as the 6th largest radio audience by Talkers Magazine. He is also a regular contributor to TPNN.com View all posts by Rusty Humphries