False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 5 months ago

This Washington Times blog post adds yet another wrinkle to the assault by enemy military forces on our consulate in Benghazi.  Take careful note of what is apparently official, and also what is not.

Is an American General losing his job for trying to save the Americans besieged in Benghazi? This is the latest potential wrinkle in the growing scandal surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack that left four men dead and President Obama scrambling for a coherent explanation.

On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared unexpectedly at an otherwise unrelated briefing on “Efforts to Enhance the Financial Health of the Force.” News organizations and CSPAN were told beforehand there was no news value to the event and gave it scant coverage. In his brief remarks Mr. Panetta said, “Today I am very pleased to announce that President Obama will nominate General David Rodriguez to succeed General Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command.” This came as a surprise to many, since General Ham had only been in the position for a year and a half. The General is a very well regarded officer who made AFRICOM into a true Combatant Command after the ineffective leadership of his predecessor, General William E. “Kip” Ward. Later, word circulated informally that General Ham was scheduled to rotate out in March 2013 anyway, but according to Joint doctrine, “the tour length for combatant commanders and Defense agency directors is three years.” Some assumed that he was leaving for unspecified personal reasons.

However on October 26, “Ambassador” posted the following RUMINT on TigerDroppings (h/t Jim Hoft):

I heard a story today from someone inside the military that I trust entirely. The story was in reference to General Ham that Panetta referenced in the quote below.


“(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place,” Panetta told Pentagon reporters. “And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”

The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.

The story continues that now General Rodiguez would take General Ham’s place as the head of Africom.

This version of events contradicts Mr. Panetta’s October 25 statement that General Ham advised against intervention. But so far there is nothing solid to back it up. Maybe Ham attempted to send a reaction force against orders, or maybe he simply said the wrong thing to the wrong people. Perhaps he gave whomever he was talking to up the chain a piece of his mind about leaving Americans to die when there was a chance of saving them. At the very least U.S. forces might have made those who killed our people pay while they were still on the scene. The Obama White House is famously vindictive against perceived disloyalty – the administration would not let Ham get away with scolding them for failing to show the leadership necessary to save American lives. The Army’s ethos is to leave no man behind, but that is not shared by a president accustomed to leading from that location.

First of all, recall that General Rodriguez is the one whom I called out almost five years ago for spewing the silly propaganda that the Taliban were too weakened to launch a spring offensive, and also the one who wanted to micromanage a Marine Air Ground Task Force in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.  Less than six hours before Marines commenced a major helicopter-borne assault in the town of Marjah, Rodriguez’s headquarters issued an order requiring that his operations center clear any airstrike that was on a housing compound in the area but not sought in self-defense.  This is rules of engagement of the flavor Rodriguez.

If General Rodriguez is in fact taking over the Africa command, I’m not impressed with Panetta’s decision.  Then again, I think Panetta is a weasel and his excuse-making cowardly, so I’m not surprised by the decision.

The notion that we don’t send our forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on is patently absurd and false.  Simply said, it’s a lie.  We deploy Army Rangers to take control of air fields and landing zones in potentially hostile environments, for which we do not know all of the desired information; we deploy Marine infantry into situations of potentially unknown threats all of the time all over the globe; each and every time a patrol left the outpost at the Korengal in Afghanistan, they were deploying into potentially deadly situations without specific and detailed knowledge of the situation.

The counterinsurgency and state-building doctrine that has taken possession of the very souls of our military elite states unequivocally that our forces should be willing to sustain risk – of a potentially unknown quantity and quality – in order to protect the population.  But when it comes to protecting our own forces such as those deployed in Benghazi, the excuse is made that we didn’t have enough intelligence.

Finally, as the final nail in the coffin of this ridiculous prevarication, we deploy Marine Scout Snipers and Force Recon all of the time into situations of completely unknown risk, danger and hazard in order to gather intelligence and lay the groundwork for the Marine infantry.  If we really needed more information on Benghazi, we could have deployed reconnaissance forces.

Thus has one general been given his walking papers, a system apparatchik been promoted, and yet another lie been woven into the horrible web of lies concerning Benghazi.  This is false doctrine being willingly preached by the Secretary of Defense as an attempt to cover the administration.  Make no mistake about it.  Is there any level to which they will not stoop?

UPDATE #1: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the attention!

UPDATE #2: At NRO’s Corner, David French observes:

His “basic principle” is simply false. We deploy forces all the time in our theaters of war without good real-time information. All. The. Time. If we didn’t, far more men would die. The fog of war never fully clears, and our solution has been to typically go in with sufficient force to deal with virtually any reasonable contingency. But the truly revealing part of the response is here: “General Ham, General Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.” To military ears those are not the words of a man who made a decision; those are the words of a man who made a recommendation. A decision-maker follows his strong feeling with an order: to stand down or decline the request for help. A recommender passes his feeling up the chain of command — in this case, to the president of the United States.

The State Department answered the call with what force it had. The military did not. Either we did not have assets to answer (and that would be a different kind of scandal) or someone made the decision to — in effect — hang up on the 3:00 a.m. caller. Who made that call and why? The military already knows.  So should the American people.

UPDATE #3: CJCS denies:

The top U.S. military officer is denying reports that Army Gen. Carter Ham’s planned departure as head of U.S. Africa Command is linked to the Sept. 11 attack in Libya.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey issued a written statement Monday calling speculation about the reasons for Ham’s move “absolutely false.”

Well, Mr. Dempsey, I don’t believe you.  It’s sad that it has come to that, no?  As for something being absolutely false, Panetta’s claim (see above) remains so.


White House Informed Of Militant Claim Two Hours After Benghazi Attack

What’s The Problem With Obama’s Response To Benghazi?

Leave a Reply

28 Comments on "False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

There is no level to which they will not stoop. It’s sad to say. This whole affair has been filled with falsehoods from the beginning.

Chicago Boyz » Blog Archive » The Benghazi mess and its consequences

[…] #- From Captain’s Journal, another blog, comes […]


“There is no level to which they will not stoop. It’s sad to say. This whole affair has been filled with falsehoods from the beginning.”
A comment that is equally true when applied to the Fast and Furious boondoggle. Now this travesty. Nov 6 cannot come quickly enough. It is time for the entire pathetic Obama Administraion to be rejected.

nathan hale

Thanks for this in-depth look at the situation. The very idea of US military or intelligence people abandoning their own is simply unthinkable – until now. Not only conservatives and libertarians, but *anyone* who believes the USA needs to support our nation’s warriors needs to VOTE for Romney on November 6th!


I almost choked over Paneta’s claim considering the seriously hot landing zones they dropped us into in Vietnam.

Benghazi: the Obama Disaster Scenario Worsens

[…] appears that Gen. Ham, former head of the Africom Command, was sacked — for his decision to disobey White House orders, and attempt a defense/rescue of our […]

Steve S.

Ask Sec. Penetta what information he was missing? What extra information would he have needed in order to allow a rescue mission? I would love to hear to answer to that.


“deploy[ing] forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place” is called a “movement to contact”. It’s not the preferred method, but we do it every day in Afghanistan.

It’s a standard offensive operation straight out of FM 7-8.

Orbit Rain

Loyalty to Country, Team and Teammate

2nd in command doesn’t seem to have considered that part of the code. I would toss him out.

Lee Dodson
Rodriguez better have a real good JAG lined up. It sounds as if he arrested Ham so that the former commander wouldn’t have time to retire and talk before the election. It is well accepted that Rodriguez’ Rules of Engagement hearken all the way back to Viet Nam, and we all know how well that worked. When we Americans fight, we win. When we are led by RAAs, we lose prime combatants. Every mustered out Ranger, SpecOps, PsyOps military person I’ve spoken with says they left for one reason: new Rules of Engagement. Every one. Unfortunately, guys like Rodriguez and the new Admiral are cut from the same bolt of cloth as Powell who spoke up to stop the Highway to Hell out of Kuwait. They think we can make friends with the enemy. Hah! First, you must destroy the enemy’s will to fight. Make it too expensive in life and property. Only then will the enemy figure it’s in his interest to co-operate. Evil can be very smart, can use our sensitivities against us. These guys will kiss our cheeks during the day and shoot our asses off at night or in disguise. What the hell are we thinking… Read more »
Instapundit » Blog Archive » CAPTAIN'S JOURNAL: False Military … | The XMilitary Blog

[…] JOURNAL: False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault. “The notion that we don’t send our forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on […]

Kevin M

Wasn’t this “wait for certainty” idea McClellan’s strategy?


Lets see …

there was enough information to dispatch 22 men from Tripoli but not enough information to dispatch a Seal Team from Italy … right …

Jim Bowman

So we now have “political” officers in the fashion of the NKVD?

From other web sources, it appears that the CIA did take at least some initiative to save the Americans in Benghazi. Agents/contractors stationed in Tripoli apparently organized an ad hoc rescue party with mercenary Libyan militia. It was this force that eventually drove off the Islamists besieging the Annex in Tripoli. Unfortunately they arrived too late to save Doherty and Woods, but if these brave men had not acted there would doubtlessly have been a far higher body count of dead Americans in Benghazi. The picture is getting a little clearer now and we can piece together what seems to have happened along these lines: 1. The attack on the consulate began at roughly 9:40 pm Benghazi time. 2. Shortly thereafter the consulate security and staff sent a call for help and AFRICOM, the White House, Pentagon, CIA and others in the loop were alerted. 3. General Ham at AFRICOM dispatched one or more unarmed drones to provide real time intel overhead of the consulate. 4. The consulate staff and security team (Sean Smith) were in real time, constant audio contact with either AFRICOM, the Pentagon, the State Dept. or a mix of all of them, providing real time updates… Read more »

I’ll point out that we have a Airborne Brigade in Italy for just this sort of thing. There’s no doubt we could have had at least a company of paratroopers on the ground soon enough to matter.

There Is A Huge Coverup Going On Right Now – Let’s Rip It Wide Open | Daily Pundit

[…] Now – Let’s Rip It Wide Open Posted on October 29, 2012 7:26 am by Bill Quick The Captain’s Journal » False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault Thus has one general been given his walking papers, a system apparatchik been promoted, and yet […]

Simon: If Reelected, Obama Should Be Impeached over Benghazi (6) | Jack's Newswatch

[…] 12:17 pm EDT, October 29th, 2012 — False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault […]

Scapegoating Free Speech To Hide Massive Government Failures?

[…] whether the administration denied pleas for help from operatives on the ground at the consulate.”False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault. (Captain’s Journal): “The notion” peddled by the Obama Administration that the U.S. […]

Simon: If Reelected, Obama Should Be Impeached over Benghazi (7) | Jack's Newswatch

[…] 12:17 pm EDT, October 29th, 2012 — False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault […]


I have always respected Mr Panetta until now. He is now protecting the
Obama admistration in decieving the American people. It’s absolutely discusting the way Obama and his people are covering up the obvious.
It’s now 6 weeks since this terrible event happened and we have to wait till after the election to find out what happened. What a disgrace! Also,
I want to know what information Panetta needed to make an honorable decision, since they were watching the event in real time, and the Seals
Woods and Daughtery were begging for help.


Of course we launch forces into the unknown but this was not a combat operation as much as a potential civilian hostage rescue. With the Embassy staff and mob and hard core element of mob all mixed in, sending in troops might have ended up with the opposite of the desired results. Is 173rd even in Italy at this time and does it maintain a company for launch at short notice? 82nd Div used to do that in cold war. I am not defending administration’s pitiful media handling. Administration deserves all condemnation for its response. But lets not lose sight of the real problem: Ambassador Stevens should not have gone to Benghazi to begin with. He did because he was a brave man, but the risk went against him.

Tom Poole

“not a combat operation”? Any act of war against the US is a combat operation. An attack on a Embassy, Counsalate, or person of the Ambassador is an attack on the US. So lets knock off the BS its not a combat situation.
As for going in without sufficient knowledge. Admittedly my memories go back to Viet Nam, and Korea before that, but I dont think we ever knew what in hell we were up against until we were up to our butts. Sure we knew in general that some forces might be in the area (or not), but never with certainty as to their strength or disposition. Thats why most of our ‘raids’ were called ‘sneak and peek’.
Pannetta used to be a person I had respect for, now he is shown as simply a party hack. He should resign now, not wait for the hearings, which will certainly come.


173rd Airborne is currently in Afghanistan.


It appears that obamas corruption has now extended to parts of our armed forces. But it also appears that rank and file, and even some higher ranks, like Gen Ham, have not yet been corrupted, and payed the price for their integrity by being dismissed. If we have 4 more yrs with Obama, our armed forces, like the rest of the nation, might not be able to recover.

The Captain's Journal » So What Were The Assets Available For Benghazi?

[…] Standard has been busy covering the Benghazi scandal.  I had earlier remarked that: The notion that we don’t send our forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on is […]

A Speeding Bullet: Faster Than 911

[…] […]


You are currently reading "False Military Doctrine And The Benghazi Assault", entry #9333 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Department of Defense,Libya and was published October 28th, 2012 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

26th MEU (10)
Abu Muqawama (12)
ACOG (2)
ACOGs (1)
Afghan National Army (36)
Afghan National Police (17)
Afghanistan (677)
Afghanistan SOFA (4)
Agriculture in COIN (3)
AGW (1)
Air Force (31)
Air Power (9)
al Qaeda (83)
Ali al-Sistani (1)
America (7)
Ammunition (26)
Animals in War (4)
Ansar al Sunna (15)
Anthropology (3)
Antonin Scalia (1)
AR-15s (88)
Arghandab River Valley (1)
Arlington Cemetery (2)
Army (49)
Assassinations (2)
Assault Weapon Ban (26)
Australian Army (5)
Azerbaijan (4)
Backpacking (2)
Badr Organization (8)
Baitullah Mehsud (21)
Basra (17)
BATFE (53)
Battle of Bari Alai (2)
Battle of Wanat (17)
Battle Space Weight (3)
Bin Laden (7)
Blogroll (2)
Blogs (7)
Body Armor (17)
Books (2)
Border War (7)
Brady Campaign (1)
Britain (27)
British Army (35)
Camping (4)
Canada (2)
Castle Doctrine (1)
Caucasus (6)
Center For a New American Security (8)
Charity (3)
China (10)
Christmas (8)
CIA (23)
Civilian National Security Force (3)
Col. Gian Gentile (9)
Combat Outposts (3)
Combat Video (2)
Concerned Citizens (6)
Constabulary Actions (3)
Coolness Factor (2)
COP Keating (4)
Corruption in COIN (4)
Council on Foreign Relations (1)
Counterinsurgency (215)
DADT (2)
David Rohde (1)
Defense Contractors (2)
Department of Defense (130)
Department of Homeland Security (16)
Disaster Preparedness (3)
Distributed Operations (5)
Dogs (6)
Donald Trump (1)
Drone Campaign (3)
EFV (3)
Egypt (12)
El Salvador (1)
Embassy Security (1)
Enemy Spotters (1)
Expeditionary Warfare (17)
F-22 (2)
F-35 (1)
Fallujah (17)
Far East (3)
Fathers and Sons (1)
Favorite (1)
Fazlullah (3)
FBI (7)
Featured (177)
Federal Firearms Laws (18)
Financing the Taliban (2)
Firearms (589)
Football (1)
Force Projection (35)
Force Protection (4)
Force Transformation (1)
Foreign Policy (27)
Fukushima Reactor Accident (6)
Ganjgal (1)
Garmsir (1)
general (14)
General Amos (1)
General James Mattis (1)
General McChrystal (41)
General McKiernan (6)
General Rodriguez (3)
General Suleimani (7)
Georgia (19)
Google (1)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1)
Gun Control (471)
Guns (1,086)
Guns In National Parks (3)
Haditha Roundup (10)
Haiti (2)
Haqqani Network (9)
Hate Mail (7)
Hekmatyar (1)
Heroism (4)
Hezbollah (12)
High Capacity Magazines (11)
High Value Targets (9)
Homecoming (1)
Homeland Security (1)
Horses (1)
Humor (13)
ICOS (1)
IEDs (7)
Immigration (54)
India (10)
Infantry (3)
Information Warfare (2)
Infrastructure (2)
Intelligence (22)
Intelligence Bulletin (6)
Iran (169)
Iraq (378)
Iraq SOFA (23)
Islamic Facism (44)
Islamists (69)
Israel (18)
Jaish al Mahdi (21)
Jalalabad (1)
Japan (2)
Jihadists (80)
John Nagl (5)
Joint Intelligence Centers (1)
JRTN (1)
Kabul (1)
Kajaki Dam (1)
Kamdesh (9)
Kandahar (12)
Karachi (7)
Kashmir (2)
Khost Province (1)
Khyber (11)
Knife Blogging (2)
Korea (4)
Korengal Valley (3)
Kunar Province (20)
Kurdistan (3)
Language in COIN (5)
Language in Statecraft (1)
Language Interpreters (2)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (2)
Law Enforcement (3)
Lawfare (6)
Leadership (5)
Lebanon (6)
Leon Panetta (2)
Let Them Fight (2)
Libya (14)
Lines of Effort (3)
Littoral Combat (8)
Logistics (49)
Long Guns (1)
Lt. Col. Allen West (2)
Marine Corps (244)
Marines in Bakwa (1)
Marines in Helmand (67)
Marjah (4)
Media (31)
Memorial Day (2)
Mexican Cartels (24)
Mexico (30)
Michael Yon (5)
Micromanaging the Military (7)
Middle East (1)
Military Blogging (26)
Military Contractors (4)
Military Equipment (24)
Militia (4)
Mitt Romney (3)
Monetary Policy (1)
Moqtada al Sadr (2)
Mosul (4)
Mountains (15)
MRAPs (1)
Mullah Baradar (1)
Mullah Fazlullah (1)
Mullah Omar (3)
Musa Qala (4)
Music (16)
Muslim Brotherhood (6)
Nation Building (2)
National Internet IDs (1)
National Rifle Association (17)
NATO (15)
Navy (21)
Navy Corpsman (1)
NCOs (3)
News (1)
NGOs (2)
Nicholas Schmidle (2)
Now Zad (19)
NSA (2)
NSA James L. Jones (6)
Nuclear (53)
Nuristan (8)
Obama Administration (218)
Offshore Balancing (1)
Operation Alljah (7)
Operation Khanjar (14)
Ossetia (7)
Pakistan (165)
Paktya Province (1)
Palestine (5)
Patriotism (6)
Patrolling (1)
Pech River Valley (11)
Personal (33)
Petraeus (14)
Pictures (1)
Piracy (13)
Pistol (2)
Pizzagate (21)
Police (241)
Police in COIN (3)
Policy (15)
Politics (317)
Poppy (2)
PPEs (1)
Prisons in Counterinsurgency (12)
Project Gunrunner (20)
PRTs (1)
Qatar (1)
Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
Quds Force (13)
Quetta Shura (1)
RAND (3)
Recommended Reading (14)
Refueling Tanker (1)
Religion (114)
Religion and Insurgency (19)
Reuters (1)
Rick Perry (4)
Rifles (1)
Roads (4)
Rolling Stone (1)
Ron Paul (1)
ROTC (1)
Rules of Engagement (74)
Rumsfeld (1)
Russia (29)
Sabbatical (1)
Sangin (1)
Saqlawiyah (1)
Satellite Patrols (2)
Saudi Arabia (4)
Scenes from Iraq (1)
Second Amendment (174)
Second Amendment Quick Hits (2)
Secretary Gates (9)
Sharia Law (3)
Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden (1)
SIIC (2)
Sirajuddin Haqqani (1)
Small Wars (72)
Snipers (9)
Sniveling Lackeys (2)
Soft Power (4)
Somalia (8)
Sons of Afghanistan (1)
Sons of Iraq (2)
Special Forces (24)
Squad Rushes (1)
State Department (18)
Statistics (1)
Sunni Insurgency (10)
Support to Infantry Ratio (1)
Supreme Court (2)
Survival (13)
SWAT Raids (53)
Syria (38)
Tactical Drills (1)
Tactical Gear (1)
Taliban (167)
Taliban Massing of Forces (4)
Tarmiyah (1)
TBI (1)
Technology (16)
Tehrik-i-Taliban (78)
Terrain in Combat (1)
Terrorism (92)
Thanksgiving (6)
The Anbar Narrative (23)
The Art of War (5)
The Fallen (1)
The Long War (20)
The Surge (3)
The Wounded (13)
Thomas Barnett (1)
Transnational Insurgencies (5)
Tribes (5)
TSA (14)
TSA Ineptitude (11)
TTPs (1)
U.S. Border Patrol (5)
U.S. Border Security (14)
U.S. Sovereignty (17)
UAVs (2)
UBL (4)
Ukraine (3)
Uncategorized (42)
Universal Background Check (3)
Unrestricted Warfare (4)
USS Iwo Jima (2)
USS San Antonio (1)
Uzbekistan (1)
V-22 Osprey (4)
Veterans (2)
Vietnam (1)
War & Warfare (212)
War & Warfare (40)
War Movies (3)
War Reporting (18)
Wardak Province (1)
Warriors (6)
Waziristan (1)
Weapons and Tactics (57)
West Point (1)
Winter Operations (1)
Women in Combat (18)
WTF? (1)
Yemen (1)

March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006

about · archives · contact · register

Copyright © 2006-2017 Captain's Journal. All rights reserved.