Former Defense Secretary Gates: Benghazi Critics Have “Cartoonish” View of Military
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Bush appointee, said today on Face the Nation that some of the critics of the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi attack have a “cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces.”
“Frankly, had I been in the job at the time, I think my decisions would have been just as theirs were,” said Gates, now the chancellor of the College of William and Mary.
“We don’t have a ready force standing by in the Middle East, and so getting somebody there in a timely way would have been very difficult, if not impossible.” he explained.
Suggestions that we could have flown a fighter jet over the attackers to “scare them with the noise or something,” Gates said, ignored the “number of surface to air missiles that have disappeared from [former Libyan leader] Qaddafi’s arsenals.”
“I would not have approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi under those circumstances,” he said.
Another suggestion posed by some critics of the administration, to, as Gates said, “send some small number of special forces or other troops in without knowing what the environment is, without knowing what the threat is, without having any intelligence in terms of what is actually going on on the ground, would have been very dangerous.”
“It’s sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces,” he said. “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.”
Well said. A cartoonish impression of military capabilities goes along with a cartoonish world view.