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Robert Gates Disappoints #Benghazi!! Conspiracy Theorists

May 13, 2013

OMG! #Benghazi!!1!Former Secretary of Defense, and Bush appointee, Robert Gates is totally off the guest list for Darrell Issa’s next Benghazi! party. In an interview with CBS News’ Sunday show Face The Nation, Gates not only refused to second-guess Obama administration actions, but mocked right-wing ideas about what could have been done, calling it “a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces.”

A few choice quotes:

“Frankly, had I been in the job at the time, I think my decisions would have been just as theirs were.”

“I would not have approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi under those circumstances,” he said.

It’s sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces. The one thing that our forces are noted for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm’s way, and there just wasn’t time to do that.”

“I worked with Secretary Clinton pretty closely for two and a half years, and I wouldn’t want to try and be somebody…trying to convince her to say something she did not think was true.”

Just to be clear, Gates is responding to allegations that the Obama administration, rather than sending in armed forces to save US personnel in Benghazi, chose to tell forces to “stand down” and simply let four Americans die.

Why would they do such a thing? Well, you see, because if they sent a rescue mission that would have make it look like a bigger deal than just letting Americans  die, and then they would be accused of not being prepared for an attack on 9/11, so see, it was a crass political calculation. Or something. If that explanation didn’t make any sense to you, don’t fret — it doesn’t make sense to anyone except those who really, really want to believe.

In fact, the whole idea of a “stand down” order has been debunked and then reformulated numerous times over the last few months. Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones has a good rundown:

…consider the infamous “stand down” theory. This is the suggestion that there were military forces available to send to Benghazi, but they were told by President Obama to stand down. The motivation for this is always murky, but presumably based on political considerations of some kind.

But the real giveaway about this whole thing is that it keeps changing whenever it’s debunked. Originally, the story retailed by Charles Woods, the father of Benghazi victim Tyrone Woods, revolved around the notion that Obama had a live video feed of Benghazi and refused to let a fast-response team deploy even though he knew they could get there in time. That’s wasn’t true, so another story developed that General Carter Ham was ready to send in a team, received an order to stand down, and was going to disobey orders and send them in anyway. But then his second in command apprehended him and told him that he was now relieved of duty. That wasn’t true either. So then we got a story about a team in Tripoli that Obama refused to deploy. Then a story about a C-110 team in Croatia that could have gone in but wasn’t allowed to. And finally, last week, a different story about a different team in Tripoli that could have gone in the next morning but didn’t.

If you’re keeping count, that’s at least five different versions. Stand by for still more.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 13, 2013 3:12 pm

    It seems like there were genuinely mistakes made in securing the consulate in Benghazi, for which people have already resigned, and in communicating accurate information shortly after the attack. But those trying to turn this into a huge scandal have really overplayed their hand. Their theory of the case just doesn’t make sense: http://notaboutquality.com/2013/05/09/123/.

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