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Benghazi: Not related to veterans or Watergate

November 25, 2012 12:10 am


In 1973, Richard Nixon says he will get to the bottom of the Watergate scandal.

"Carpe diem" means "seize the day." In "Will Benghazi be Watergate 2013?" [Viewpoints, Nov. 11], Mary Walsh inappropriately seizes Veterans Day as emotional cover for a position not supported by fact or reason. The misrepresentations begin with the title. In the Watergate scandal the president was involved in planned, illegal activity. Nixon's actions were not errors in assigning resources or failure to respond quickly to an emergency. Even if the author's assertions of poor decisions are true, Benghazi was not a Watergate equivalent with conscious illegal acts planned over months.

Walsh's description of the events does not seem to match the timeline released by the Pentagon. She writes about inaction and people left behind. The president was briefed less than two hours after the initial attack. American units from around the region were mobilized. A security detail from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli arrived in Benghazi less than four hours after the initial attack. Libyan militia with heavy weapons reinforced the U.S. group. Within 24 hours consulate staff had been flown out of Benghazi to Tripoli and then exited Libya, a Marine anti-terrorism unit had arrived in Tripoli, and two special operations teams had arrived at staging bases in Italy. Attacks did not continue or expand.

Tragically, four Americans died. Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith were killed in the initial assault. In spite of the presence of the Libyan militia, security contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed defending consulate staff in the second assault.

It is ironic that Walsh makes so many references to those who serve the country in uniform. On Veterans Day we remember those who serve and served in uniform and those who gave their all for their country. In Benghazi, none of those who gave their lives for our country were currently in the armed services. It is a reminder that even as we remember our heroes in uniform, many other heroic Americans serve, have served, and have given their lives for our country.

Will Tad Johnston


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