The House Armed Services Committee is set to release a report today that finds there was no “stand down” order given during the Benghazi, Libya, attacks to nearby security forces, according to The Blaze.
A committee aide revealed the report’s finding and admitted “some people are going to be upset” because the criticism that a “stand down” order was given has been used to attack the Obama Administration’s failure to prevent the deaths of four Americans during the attack on the U.S. mission.
But if people are upset at the Republican-led committee’s findings, it might be because of the way the committee and the Administration are mincing the facts.
It’s difficult to say for certain, since the Administration hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with records and witnesses in an effort to tailor the picture the public has of the events in Benghazi.
The report’s finding on the “stand down” order seems primarily to hinge on a strict definition of what constitutes standing down. According to the committee, standing down means that a military unit ceases all activity, which is not what happened the night of September 11, 2012.
What did happen is that security forces in Tripoli were ordered to stay where they were rather than respond to the fighting in Benghazi.
“I was not ordered to stand down. I was ordered to remain in place. ‘Stand down’ implies that we cease all operations, cease all activities. We continued to support the team that was in Tripoli. We continued to maintain visibility of the events as they unfolded. … If we would have went into Benghazi, it could have been catastrophic,” Army Lt. Col. S.E. Gibson, head of the Tripoli security team, testified during hearings.
So it was not technically a “stand down” order, but rather a “march in place” order that had the same effect as far as the Benghazi dead were concerned. Whatever term is used, the military did not send units in to help those under attack.
The Administration’s flunkies will try to spin this into a tale of how crazy Tea Party types get confused about the truth as told by the Washington establishment. Expect to hear repeated shouts of “there was no order.”
But just remember there was an order, albeit one with a different procedural name than “stand down.”
The verbal acrobatics are reminiscent of President Clinton’s famous line, “It depends what the definition of ‘is’ is.” The lies are so finely cut as to be completely transparent until the media report them a few dozen times.
The Obama Administration and its supporters are maintaining that the “sit on your thumbs” order was the right call to make in retrospect.
Gibson said, “The Special Forces medic was instrumental in providing the support to the wounded that returned. We would not have been in Tripoli in order to provide that support if we would have got on the plane. The decision by my higher headquarters to not get on that plane was the correct decision, in hindsight.”
Of course, in hindsight, you could also say that some of those folks might not have been wounded in the first place if the security team had left Tripoli and headed to Benghazi. Also, their medic might have been able to give the wounded quicker treatment if the team was in Benghazi. And maybe, just maybe, those four American deaths could have been prevented.
“There is plenty to criticize the administration for,” said the unidentified aide who spoke to The Blaze, “… the criticism that there is a ‘stand down’ order, we just couldn’t find support for. Not in the sense that others had interpreted it. He was certainly told, ‘do not go to Benghazi,’ but as we say, there was a reason why.”
Of course there was a reason why, even if that reason was simply incompetent leadership.
Whether it was a “stand down” or a “look the other way” order, the effect is the same. Americans died in Benghazi, and the Administration has lied about the circumstances and has done its best to block the truth from the public. And to date, Congress has not gotten to the bottom of it.