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American heroes, American cowards

Terry Garlock's picture

“All of them.”

That was the answer to a question we posed to each other over coffee at Mimi’s last week.

The question was, “How many of the Americans you know who have ever worn a military uniform would have volunteered to go into harm’s way to help our diplomats under attack in Benghazi?”

All of them.

All of the old fart veterans like me, and we think all who wear the uniform now, would rush to help, whatever the obstacles, whatever the consequences. Protecting American non-combatants from foreign aggression is our military’s highest duty.

So, what happened? Our armed forces did nothing while American diplomatic soil was overrun and four Americans were killed.

A few days ago Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta dismissed criticism that our armed forces did nothing while the White House, Pentagon and State Department observed the battle in real time, even while military assets were grounded in Italy and elsewhere within the theatre, assets that could have been scrambled in time to help.

Panetta said, “There’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here. But the basic principle here ... is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.”

Accordingly, Panetta and two high ranking commanders decided not to send in special ops teams, not to send close air support gunships, not to send ... anything.


American civilians, representatives of our government, were under lethal attack for seven hours, but our Secretary of Defense says we must first seek guarantees of the safety of our armed forces before we act? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

You don’t need combat experience to know instinctively that combat intel is rarely good, usually murky and often faulty. Combat is chaos, very risky, often with boldness trumping caution, especially where civilian lives are threatened. Special ops units stand by for the really ugly missions – perhaps like Benghazi.

But this time our government had the advantage of overhead eyes on the attack, real-time, with voice reports and pleas from the ground for help that never came. Not enough intel to act? What a breathtakingly pathetic excuse! Panetta is blowing smoke at you, America!

Ask a vet you know from any war if they would stand idly by knowing for hours our diplomats were under attack. They would not.

Greg Dunn of Fayetteville was an Infantry lieutenant in Vietnam in 1968 when the enemy arranged a cease-fire for their Tet New Year holiday, then attacked on that holiday all over the country. His commander told him of a small American unit pinned down in the bush, that Lt. Dunn needed to round up some volunteers to go get them.

Greg says he needed 40 grunts at most, but when he asked for volunteers for a dangerous mission, every one of them — about 100 grunts — immediately stepped up, volunteering to risk their lives for other grunts they did not know. They were ultimately able to bring the stranded troops back with just one wounded and one lost Jeep.

I have bored you with my own story of two guys risking their neck to rescue me when I was shot down in Vietnam in 1969. There are a million stories out there of American troops taking extraordinary risks in a struggle to bring each other home alive.

Imagine what our currently deployed troops must think of their commanders who did not order – and did not allow – rescue operations to commence while the Benghazi attack went on for seven hours.

Imagine the chagrin of Navy SEALs, Rangers, Green Berets, Delta Force or other highly trained Special Ops troops. In fact, we can compare the heroism of one of those guys to the cowardice of the high-level command.

When the attack was initiated, former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was a mile away in a CIA annex. He was not involved with the Embassy, the Consulate or the diplomatic mission in any way. Woods was a security contractor for a CIA project to track down large numbers of missing MANPADs, missiles even an uneducated man preoccupied with thoughts of Allah and herds of virgins can fire from his shoulder to bring down an airliner.

When Mr. Woods heard the gunfire and deduced what was under way, he radioed his higher-ups for clearance to go help and was told to “stand down,” which means no.

There was a second request and denial, but Woods and at least two others disobeyed orders and went to help at the burning Consulate anyway. They placed the lives of our diplomatic staff at a higher priority than their own safety, and their own job.

Our President, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense could learn a few things from Mr. Woods.

Woods was able to maneuver 20-30 people out of the burning consulate and back to relative safety to the CIA annex a mile away. Imagine Mr. Woods’ frustration up on the roof, getting a laser fix on the enemy mortar site that was firing at them, asking for air support by radio and ... denied. In fact, that’s where Woods and others died, by a mortar round.

Another of those killed with Woods was also a former Navy SEAL, Glen Doherty, who arrived late in the fight with a few others, a poorly-armed contingent sent from Tripoli, about the same distance away as the air support assets never scrambled from a U.S. base in Sicily.

A highly regarded combat correspondent named Bing West, who was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs during the Reagan Administration, constructed a timeline of the event and concluded there was plenty of time to scramble forces from Sigonella, Sicily. He says fighter jets could have been on site in an hour. West calls our leadership response “... a joint civilian and military failure of initiative and nerve,” a kind understatement if you ask me.

I would imagine every bomber and gunship crew, every special ops team within reach, is heartsick their considerable talent and firepower was held in abeyance, not unleashed, while our diplomatic mission was violated with impunity and our people killed. I don’t blame them; they can’t act without orders and that is as it should be.

But I will tell you my personal thoughts of our top leadership. I am speculating here but I would guess the decision to hold our forces instead of unleashing them was politically motivated to take no chances of combat casualties so close to the election.

I would guess that decision came from Obama, and the spin machine surrounding him, including Panetta, has been trying to cover it ever since.

If the truth ever comes out, we’ll see whether I am wrong, but I’m willing to bet anyone a cup of coffee.

Truth might emerge if one of the shiny-starred generals or admirals has a hard time looking in the mirror to shave and decides his remaining career is not as important as revealing that our Oval Office is occupied by a worm.

Meanwhile, this national shame smells worse than Watergate. Too bad we didn’t have Tyrone Woods in the Oval Office to decide what is right, not what would cover the president’s hiney and make him look good.

[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City occasionally contributes a column to The Citizen. His email is]


PTC Observer's picture

requires a conscience at work. I don't see outraged people on the streets of America demanding answers. I see a few good men demanding answers.

I see a President ignoring these demands, I see the media ignoring the issue, I see the American public more interested in "Dancing with the Stars", than what happened in Libya.

The public inaction and silence is telling of a culture in decline and without honor.

It is a Nation of shameless character. We have to ask ourselves, do we deserve men like Tyrone Woods?

The verdict is due next week.

NUK_1's picture

The media would rather go out in flooded areas up their knees in water to "report" on the obvious instead of pursuing something that would disrupt Godbama's chances of re-election.

Great article Mr. Garlock.

I would venture to say anyone that has worn a uniform feels like I do now, what happened in Benghazi makes my blood boil!

It is time for the members of Congress and the Press to stand up for the murdered Patriots and get to the bottom of this!

The LIES will not stand, the TRUTH must be heard! -GP

tgarlock's picture

. . . as the rumor mill is bubbling. The most credible one for now is General Carter Ham was mobilizing a QRF (quick reaction force), refused a stand-down order and was immediately relieved of command. An Admiral who similarly insisted on providing the QRF air cover from a carrier was relieved for "poor judgment." Something is really fishy about this whole operation, and I don't think we're going to be proud of it when the truth comes out.

Terry Garlock

Terry Garlock, PTC

Robert W. Morgan's picture

A deployed QRF with air cover could explain why Tyrone Woods was painting the mortar position with his laser. He must have known (or been told) there was something in the air that could have immediately destroyed his target. That laser is not the type of thing you practice with when the enemy is looking your way.

Sounds like the General and the Admiral were instinctively doing the proper thing - which any other active duty serviceperson of any rank would also do - and the rug was pulled out from under them way late in the process. That can only be the White House and I doubt some low-ranking staffer was to blame. This was clearly a political decision, so whoever made the decision had political advisors with serious clout in the White House. I'm afraid this points right back at Presbo being led around by the nose by Valerie Jarrett, the queen of delay on the binLaden mission.

Betcha there is a strong effort to delay until after the election when they think it won't matter, but anyone who has seen Mr. Woods on TV speaking of the death of his son would be very foolish to think he's going to drop it. He's no Cindy Sheehan. He's going to have some survivors (I heard there were about 20 that were saved) and maybe an Admiral or General backing him up.

Live free or die!

tgarlock's picture

. . . is whether there is any truth to the whispering that the Benghazi mission was deeply involved in "gun running" to Syrian rebels - aka Al Queda affiliates - by gathering weapons remaining from the Ghadaffi regime and that (1) the weapons are ending up in unsavory hands and (2) the Benghazi attack and the non-response had something to do with the gunrunning. All that is unconfirmed and may not be true, but I'm watching. If true, would make Fast and Furious seem like child's play.

Terry Garlock

Terry Garlock, PTC

NUK_1's picture

Was Ambassador Christopher Stevens more than "just an ambassador?" If he was in fact CIA as some speculated right away and indeed involved in gathering up and accounting for weapons to either keep them out of Al-Quaida hands or actually furnish them to Syrian rebels, I doubt we'll ever know.

Im not a fan of the current administration, but if it came to light that they were smuggling guns to syrian rebels I really dont think it would be much of a scandal. Weve done that sort of thing before, to great success. The CIA was buying soviet weapons from the chinese, the egyptians, and even captured syrian stuff from the the israelis to smuggle to the afghans in the 80's. When we couldnt find enough .303 british for the enfield rifles we gave them on the black market, we had assembly lines started up in egypt and pakistan. Charlie Wilson (love that guy) even had IMI the israeli defense contractor, design a missile system from scratch to give to the afghans. Anything he could get for them, as long as they were killing russians. Now thats hardfcore. at the same time we were supplying saddam hussein with anything he wanted, as long as he was killing iranians. We have a long and proud tradition of letting others fight proxy wars for us, just as the chinease and russians did in korea and vietnam and the iranians are doing to us now in iraq and afghanistan (what is it with asia?). Anyway, my point s I just dont think it would be a big deal, certainly not as big a deal as fast and furious should have been if not for our biased media, or the lie about the muhammed movie trailer.

you are correct, and i agree with your opinions with one added caveat
this time I'd wager there will be no where to be found a
Col. Oliver North....

[quote]Was Ambassador Christopher Stevens more than "just an ambassador?[/quote]

If he and others were involved in a CIA operation - there are those here with the knowledge that all information cannot be disclosed at this time without endangering the lives of others in the region (and their families). Cover up may be correctly charged - but there may be more American/Libyan lives in danger at this time before all can be disclosed. Grateful that those Americans who were working at the Consulate and survived were safely returned home!

S. Lindsey's picture

... The act whatever it not the issue. The cover up is always way worse.

Just ask Nixon.

However in this case both deeds at least appears to be... well shall we say not up to American standards, at least not the standards we used to have.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

No, no chance the Ambassador was CIA--State Dept all the way. Every Ambassador will have a CIA person on his staff and depending on the country, if there is a CIA Station there, a Chief of Station. There was obviously a CIA operation in Benghazi at the US Mission (NOT Consulate). Because details have not been released, we don't know how many CIA connected employees were there--except for the two former Seal Contractors. Perhaps somewhere down the road, one or some of the survivors will break silence (barring Non-Disclosure Agreements) and we will find out some facts.

S. Lindsey's picture

...then we wouldn't be "wondering" what's next. The so-called Media of today is in the business of selecting Kings to rule not bringing the truth to the People.

The Alphabet Media and their Cable cohorts are now openly campaigning for the Progressive Party and truth has died because of it.

Libyagate is going to be a black mark on American History only if "WE" the People force those few that still try to be unbiased to report the truth...

However the damage done to the Military and our Intelligence departments is incalculable. They have been literally thrown under the bus and their blood spilled for what reason?

Our Military and Intelligence Offices don't go done easily... sacrificial lambs they are not. I suspect no matter how deep the cover-up goes they will force it out in the open..

The only shame of it will be ... it will happen after the election. Should Obama get re-elected this will neuter him at worst impeach him at best.

You combine this with his protection of Holder on the Fast and Furious scandal, the Economy, the failure of Foreign Policy, this election would be a slam-dunk if the media was unbiased.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

You say impeached at best,, God I hope not, not to the point of removal,
We think Obama is bad, President Biden with VP H Clinton??? believe it or not it CAN be worse than Obama (and my personal opinion of WHY Obama keeps Biden around, what a Kevlar Shield Biden is for Obama)
As to impeachment, when the 2011 republican controlled house was sworn in the FIRST thing they should have done is Impeach Obama and Hillary Clinton for violation of Article 1 Section 6 Clause 2 of the US Constitution, Too bad Republican Politicians are gutless cowards when it comes to standing up for the Constitution
>>>No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.<<<

S. Lindsey's picture

...has been the agenda of this Administration. It is like one of the things I keep telling people like Gort and careful of approving the oversteps of Government just because your ideology is the same.. for when Government changes you may not like the oversteps they take then.

Those like Jeff, DM, Gort and Lion approve the oversteps and circumvention of the Constitution just because they agree with the ideology...

You and I both know if we were to go way back to 4 years ago and the Government looked politically different then they would be the first to cry foul and demand investigations.. Yet their silence now is what tells us the most.

I don't fear Biden as President.. no one takes him seriously. Obama is something else. He appears reasonable all the while sliding Aces into the deck.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

How right you are, I clearly remember the Flag wavers whooping and cheering when The Constitutional Killing Patriot Act was passed.

And folks wonder WHY the Constitution has been invalidated.

We all have seen how easily Steel and Concrete can be taken down by just a relatively small amount of Aluminum and Liquid. I guess we shouldn't be surprised when a Parchment and Idea crumbles so easily...

JeffC's picture

I'm not even sure what you are referring to quite frankly. The paranoid delusions and conspiracy theories enveloping the Republican Party are so prolific that it's hard to pin down random comments about "circumventing the Constitution" to a particular issue that may be in vogue with y'all right now.

The last assault on the Constitution that I saw was the Patriot Act, which was much applauded here.

Mr. Garlock: I always enjoy reading your opinion pieces in the paper. Thank you for your service to both our country and FC. We need more people like you running our country instead of the politicos.

Mr. Woods and the others killed in the line of duty need to be bestowed the highest military honors. We need more of these men.

tgarlock's picture

. . . but I have to add in all modesty that many others in FC served way more than I did. As you know if you read my columns I do like to spout off my opinion, but I also know it is much harder to govern, not sure I'd be any good at it. I'm sometimes good with ideas, not so hot in execution of mundane daily stuff. Short attention span, you know, like my kids.

You are spot on about military honors for those who lost their life in Benghazi, but the sad irony is it would be awarded by our leadership, which currently may be the ones who got them killed, and certainly are not fit to shine a hero's shoes. (BTW, that word hero is so overused I don't much like it, but in this case it does fit).

Terry Garlock

Terry Garlock, PTC

Actually I think Bud Abbott and Lou Costello had much more class. -GP

yup just about what I would expect from Westmoreland, a meaningless dribble of a sound bite comment. "Abbot and Costello, who's on first", Could be his buddy Maxine Waters hasn't told him what to say yet,
I wonder what a Retired Army Infantry Colonel, would have to say about Benghazi? Oh wait I can guess, he'd be calling for impeachment proceedings and doing so in front of every open mic he could find, until enough pressure was brought to bear Congress would HAVE to act, I imagine he would have been doing this since day one, which one might say could have seriously hurt Obama's second term run..

But hey, Abbot and Costello comments, WOW what action! what daring, what an insightful leadership response,

Sad fact is Team Obama obfuscation will get them past Nov 6th. -GP

That's as funny today as it was 50 years ago,,
Thanks for the link

From the linked article: One of the former SEALs was actively painting the target. That means that Specter WAS ON STATION! Probably an AC130U. A ground laser designator is not a briefing pointer laser. You do not “paint” a target until the weapons system/designator is synched; which means that the AC130 was on station.

Only two places could have called off the attack at that point; the WH situation command (based on POTUS direction) or AFRICOM commander based on information directly from the target area.

If the AC130 never left Sigonella (as Penetta says) that means that the Predator that was filming the whole thing was armed.

If that SEAL was actively “painting” a target; something was on station to engage! And the decision to stand down goes directly to POTUS!

S. Lindsey's picture

I have heard pundits ask why? Why did the Whitehouse ignore warnings months before the attack. The why is simple.. They (Whitehouse)orchestrated the Libya fiasco what they call the liberation from Gaddafi they wanted a win.

They told us Al-Qaeda was dead and Libya was free from Terrorist.. We now know different.

The why again is very simple. This Administration didn't want to admit to a failure so they allowed events to happen then tried to blame it on a video.

<a href=" Consulate Security ‘Weak,’ Official Says</a>

Additional Info:

<a href=", emails point to communication breakdown in Obama administration during Libya attack,</a>

...and don't give me "Faux News" BS either they are the ONLY ones covering this and they are the ONLY ones with people on the ground.

They along with a few Senators are trying to get Tunisia to allow the FBI to interview a potential witness to the event that they are holding. The Whitehouse has not even made a request.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

Fox and CBS is about all that dare say a thing.
But even these two are Watering it down so much it's hardly worth listening too
(The Talk Shows don't count, they are NOT "News" they're opinion, a thing government educated Democrats and Party First Republicans can't Fathom)

GP here's the deal. you know this and dislike it as much as I,
NOTHING NADA ZERO ZILCH will EVER be done to find THE guilty, punish the Traitors, or just simply slap them on the hand... Benghazi is Obama's WACO
and you and I know what happened there. and IF Obama gets 4 more years don't even expect Waco type repercussions. If Obama gets 4 more years
I am by Jan 20 going to implement my personal Escape Plan Jaco,CR

As America will no longer be worth trying to live in..... Free

We may be neighbors, I will be located in the little known Jaco suburb known as Galt's Gulch. Or maybe here: -GP


One thing tho,
I do have a place in Jaco Costa Rica, bought shortly after Waco
when the witting on the wall was Clear As Hell
CR is in the world today about as close to Galt's Gultch as you're likely to find

Covering it up faster than a herd of cats on Ex-lax, Obama apologist Lapdog Geraldo Rivera comes unhinged while defending his pal Obama -GP

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