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Streetwise Professor

October 31, 2012

Unarmed by Choice

Filed under: Military,Politics — The Professor @ 2:21 pm

The lame-and anonymous-defense of the failure to come to the defense of those under assault in Benghazi continues.  Yesterday another anonymous official (or the same-how could we know) offered this condescending justification of the failure to dispatch an armed drone to Benghazi at the height of the attack:

“While some may think that armed drones could have made a difference in Benghazi, that’s altogether unclear,” a senior defense official tells Fox News. “You need good intelligence to drive the use of armed drones. It’s not like you can just send hellfire missiles into a relatively crowded area when you don’t know precisely where the enemy is.”

One big problem with this ex post rationalization.  The drone dispatched was unarmed.  Dispatching it armed with Hellfires would have preserved the option to use them if that Predator, or other sensors, or other sources of information, or the ex-SEALs on the spot had provided precise information on where the enemy was.  Indeed, there are reports that one of the people defending the consulate annex was in fact designating targets with a laser.

But by putting up the Predator with no weapon on board, that information could not have been acted on.  Whoever dispatched that drone made it impossible to use it to attack the enemy.  We were unarmed-and hence unable to act if the information to use the arms came into our possession-by choice.

In other words, whoever ordered that Predator to be dispatched unarmed wasn’t going to take yes for an answer.

And a question.  This administration uses drones to launch attacks quite promiscuously, and brags about it.   There have been civilian casualties that have resulted from these attacks.  They have, at times, made attacks on “relatively crowded areas” in Yemen and Pakistan.  What’s different about those cases?

Returning to the “we didn’t receive any requests for aid,” there are leaked reports that those on the ground in Benghazi were “begging for help.”  That makes sense: it makes no sense that those under attack wouldn’t be screaming for help, though that’s merely a common sense inference.  I of course have no idea whether it’s  true  that there are recordings of their pleas.  There is a leak war going on, with anonymous sources exchanging fire.

Obama says he is all about ending wars.  Well, this is a war that Obama could end in an instant, by telling us what he knew and what he did, and ordering others to do the same.

But instead, The Most Transparent Administration in History (TM) in history is doing Nixon proud.

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