Monday, May 13, 2013

Risk Avoidance

Call it "Spook's Razor:" Opportunities for timely blogging decrease in proportion to the demands of one's "real job," and that decline usually coincides with significant, even earth-shattering events.  Put another way, we've been way too busy to post, even as the truth on Benghazi finally emerges--or should we say, can no longer be ignored--and the IRS scandal explodes with full force.

We'll have more thoughts on both tomorrow but in the mean time, Bing West has a great column at National Review on-line.  Mr. West, a Marine combat veteran of Iraq observes that the nation's senior military leaders (active and retired) didn't exactly cover themselves in glory with their handling of Benghzi, or trying to explain away the "decision-making process."  A few excerpts:

Sunday was quite a day for Benghazi and the U.S. military. At the platoon level, you are expected to admit errors in firefights in order to correct mistakes and do better the next time. We all make mistakes. But as we saw on yesterday’s talk shows, once you reach the top level, whether retired or not, you deny any possibility of error and label any question about military performance idiotic. This is not the behavior of a healthy organization, and if it persists, we are in for a nasty shock in a future crisis or conflict.

On CBS, former secretary of defense Bob Gates launched an impassioned defense of the Obama administration, sneering at critics for holding a “cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces.” He staunchly defended the administration’s high-level decision-making surrounding Benghazi, citing four reasons.

First, he said, sending fighter jets "ignored the number of surface-to-air missiles that have disappeared from Qaddafi's arsenals.  I would not have approved of a sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi."  

How many aircraft has the U.S. lost in hundreds of thousands of combat flights since 2001? Zero. The former SecDef is so afraid of an unknown risk that he would not send an aircraft capable of destroying a mortar site while Americans died? This is the pinnacle of risk avoidance.   

Hammer, meet nail. Read the whole thing; it's a sad reminder that those on the E-ring and in unified command billets are sometimes more motivated by politics than their military judgment.  Which brings us to the $64,000 question: exactly who was calling the shots on the night of September 11, 2012?     



Katielee4211 said...

And, of course, unless Gates has changed his story, he only knows what he's read in the media. I'm fairly certain that would mean the Mainstream Media like MSNBC. I felt pretty confident in disregarding comments from Obama's tool.

Vigilis said...

"...exactly who was calling the shots on the night of September 11, 2012?"

It was a lawyer by training. Lawyers are typically biased more for foot- dragging delays and intimidated by incomplete knowledge than those biased for action on the spot.

Apparently Hillary did not want to call the shots. Leon Panetta (another lawyer) admitted to having both insufficient time and intelligence (he probably was not referring to himself regarding the latter). Lawyer Obama knew it was terrorism, but apparently still has enough time to indict the responsible party.

We have too many lawyers in government who believe it a virtue to avoid convictions of any kind. The world is governered neither by courtroom decorum nor does it reward overdone collegiality.

Dymphna said...

I agree with Vigilis re lawyers and politics, but not with the sentiments in his last sentence.

The world is governed neither by courtroom decorum nor does it reward overdone collegiality.

Our current administration, top heavy with Ivy League affirmative action attorneys, is neither collegial nor does it practice courtroom decorum. Theirs is a philosophy of law as filtered thru the Alinsky philosophy of thug activism.

Southern Poverty Law Center, anyone? The ACLU's lawfare against individual liberties? Our DoJ stacked with political appointees hell-bent on a feast of Payback & bitter herbs?

For a real lawyerly view I recommend J. Christian Adams' book on why he left his career position in the Department of Justice. Grim but informative.

Dymphna said...

BTW, I do hope Gates will publish eventually. When our son graduated from William & Mary, Gates, the then-new SecDef, gave the Commencement Address. He was an alumnus of "The College" and reminisced about his undergrad days. With tears in his voice, he urged the graduates to find a way in life "to be of service". He clarified his point by saying he didn't mean government work but rather a foundational decision to be part of the on-going American experiment.

It was quite moving. Thus I wonder what he will have to say (eventually) about the experience of toiling in "the building" (John Boyd's name for the Pentagon). I hope he gets far enough away to gain the perspective one needs to be honest about the intense in-fighting amongst the immense egos of the top brass. I would love to see someone, anyone, take apart the cruelly ineffective but oh-so-politically-correct COIN insanity. And to eviscerate its supremely ambitious authors while he's at it.

Sheesh. I wish your job would give you some intermittent leave here and there so you could devote more time & energy to interpreting what is going on, going down, in the Dauphin's court. Equally so, it would be of inestimable value to get your take on the change of attitude in the MSM since the good ship BHO - otherwise known as the Ship of Fools, began to founder.

WaPo is taking to task the over reach of DoJ and the IRS and giving us lectures on reining in government?? Whoo boy...