“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

“This was in the middle of the business day in Washington, so everybody at the White House, CIA, Pentagon, everybody was watching this go down,” Shaffer said. “According to my sources, yes, [Obama] was one of those in the White House Situation Room in real-time watching this.”

Report: Obama Watched Libya Attack Live

Lt. Col. (ret.) Tony Shaffer on Fox News: sources say president watched assault from White House.

By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/28/2012, 5:41 PM


Retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer said Saturday on Fox News that sources told him President Barack Obama was in the White House Situation Room watching the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya as it unfolded.
Two unarmed U.S. drones were dispatched to the consulate, recording and transmitting the final hours of the attack, which killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
“This was in the middle of the business day in Washington, so everybody at the White House, CIA, Pentagon, everybody was watching this go down,” Shaffer said. “According to my sources, yes, [Obama] was one of those in the White House Situation Room in real-time watching this.”
Shaffer served as a senior operations officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan in 2003 and wrote a book critical of the policies there, which the U.S. government prevented from being distributed because it allegedly contained information that compromised security.
Shaffer said the question now is what precisely Obama did or didn’t do in the moments he saw the attack unfolding. The CIA reportedly made three urgent requests for military backup that were each denied.
“He, only he, could issue a directive to Secretary of Defense Panetta to do something. That’s the only place it could be done,” Shaffer said.
Col. David Hunt, a Fox News military analyst, said the military could have had jets in the air within 20 minutes and forces on the ground within two hours.
“The issue is always political with the White House, but the secretary of defense gives the order, has to be approved by the White House, they wouldn’t pull the trigger, and it’s disgraceful,” Hunt said. “We’ve got guys dead.”


  1. The two Seals disregarded orders to stand down, went and rescued some people, and died.

  2. They died for a good cause, Bob. "Osama is dead and GM is alive." If America had to fight al-Qaeda on ANOTHER 9-11 that would have clouded the President's zinger on the campaign trail.

    1. If I hadn't already voted I might write them in for President and Vice-President.

  3. Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command -- who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

    Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."

    Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

    At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.

    CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood, though, denied the claims that requests for support were turned down.

    Read more:

  4. I have no idea about the truth of this assertion but nothing surprises me anymore -


    Ann Barnhardt, whose articles on occasion have been published here AT, had a very unhappy birthday surprise yesterday. On the heels of her publishing a brilliant Benghazi analysis on her web site, she learned that the IRS confiscated the funds from her bank account. ON THE SAME DAY HER ANALYSIS WAS PUBLISHED ONLINE. What this indicates to me is - not only is the mainstream media backing off, but the Feds are going after independent online sources as well. And the more pernicious their efforts to silence the story, the more egregious must be the actual truth about this debacle.

    1. Doing a little research, I find she has not been paying her taxes to protest what she considers to be an illegal regime.

      Whether they nailed her because of her Benghazi article is up to you to decide.

  5. Sources on the Ground? Who would that be?

    Sources at the . . . . ? Who would that be?

    The guy that was a community organizer only a few years ago did Not make any decisons on "sending in the troops," etc. Leon Panetta gave the final approval to the recommendations of the Two Generals involved (one which has since been demoted?)

    Think "timeline." Think "Mogadishu." Think "odds of losing dozens to save a couple who might already be dead when the Cavalry arrives."

    Think "fog of war." Think "politics" (now, not then.)

    Some Generals are BOLD (to the point of being "brash.") Some Generals are Slow to Act.

    But, don't for a second think that this was anything other than a Complicated Decision. "Fast" Reaction Teams are never as "Fast" as advertised. Super-Duper Air to Ground Systems are NEVER as accurate as the video youtube commercials. Visibility from Drones is Never as good as you think it is.

    There are some very important things going on in the world; this isn't one of them.

    1. Says you, in defense of the indefensible.

      No one is buying it.

      The guy that was a community organizer only a few years ago did Not make any decisons on "sending in the troops," etc.

      O God please.

      If this is so, which it probably isn't, one might ask, what's he doing as Commander-in-Chief then?

      He might as well be chatting with Barbara Wa-Wa on The View.

      Anyway, we do know, cause Obama done told us so, is that he is diligently, right now, trying to find out what happened, even though he was there the whole time.

      We won't know until after the election, of course.

    2. And, as for that "FAST Reaction Force:" Riding in to the rescue in helicopters in an Urban Environment against a Force of Unknown Size?

      That is how you get EVERYBODY killed.

      The Reuters Reporter that was conducting interviews immediately thereafter still says that the "attacking" force was accompanied by a large group of "Demonstrators, and Looters." Now, the kid operating the Drone has to figure out how many of the multitude are "Armed Combatants," and how many are just there to pick up some free furniture, and Praise Allah. When did they get inside the building? How long does it take to kick in a door? What can your F16 do once the attackers are inside?


    3. Just like if the same thing happens a year from now it won't be the ex-Private Equity guy that makes the decision. That's why we have Generals.

    4. .

      Now, the kid operating the Drone has to figure out how many of the multitude are "Armed Combatants," and how many are just there to pick up some free furniture, and Praise Allah.


      Under the new rules of engagement anyone in the vacinity of a suspected and targeted terrorist during a drone strike is considered a terrorist or a supporter of terrorists, women, chidren, looters, dogs or cats.

      Try to keep up on the Obama Drone Strategy. The WaPo has been putting out extensive reports on it lately.


    5. And, yes, I can defend the decision very easily. I would have probably made the same decision. HELICOPTERS ARE DEATH-TRAPS IN A HOT URBAN LZ.

      Do you dumb fucks honestly think "we never leave anyone behind?" Really? Honest to God, do you believe that?

      We leave people behind ALL THE TIME! No General is going to lose a Battalion trying to save a squad. It never happens. No squad leader is going to lose his whole squad because ol' rufus is trapped in a crossfire in a bad spot. It ain't gonna happen. Get your brains out of the dimestore novels, and recruiting commercials, and think a bit.

    6. There are some very important things going on in the world; this isn't one of them.


      There is no thinking going on in your head, that is for sure.

      You are just at all costs trying to defend your Champion.

      Just like if the same thing happens a year from now it won't be the ex-Private Equity guy that makes the decision. That's why we have Generals.

      This total horse shit and everybody knows it. The Generals provide options, and then execute to the best of their ability the choice the Commander-in-Chief selects.

      A General that made a command decision on his own would be immediately fired.

    7. You do not have a fucking clue, Bob, what you are talking about.

    8. Settle down, Ruf, we all know that sometimes people are left behind.

      We are talking about this particular case. 125 jihadis is what I have read.

      Two or three guys held them off for some hours. A little backup from the air might have made all the difference.

      And we didn't even try to kill them from above when the fiasco was over.

      We just let them go.

    9. .

      And, yes, I can defend the decision very easily.

      Who gives a shit. You still don't get it.

      If the decision was made that is one issue. However, everyone in the administration is telling us the decision was never made or if it was made it was made by the other guy and the other guy continues to deny it. It a clusterfuck and the only thing you can assume from what we have seen is that there is a cover-up or else these guys don't know the ass from a hole in the ground.


    10. No, you're misrepresenting. Panetta said that he, and the two generals made the decision.

      Meanwhile, of course, in a very nuanced way, reflecting it back to the Generals, where the shitball takes its natural course to the lesser (in direct command) general.

    11. .

      You are right.

      I hadn't seen the second half of that direct quote from Panetta noted below. I take back the remark about no one taking responsibility for the decision. However, since it came six weeks after the fact and with all the other 'he said, she said' that took place, the rest of the comment stands.


  6. And don't give us the I was a Marine bullshit.

    I have read stuff from I bet 10 other Marines in the last 24 hours and they all vehemently disagree with you.

    Rufus, I'll give you a piece of advice. This is an impossible argument for you to make. Better to quietly let it drop, and hope Sandy blows it away.

    1. You are simply reading political rants. Marines, and ex-Marines are just as full of shit as anyone else. But, you simply Do Not rush two or three helicopters into a Hot Urban Environment until you are sure you know what you are doing.

    2. You are simply reading political rants. Marines, and ex-Marines are just as full of shit as anyone else.

      From reading you over the years, I know you are right about this.

      The fact is the majority of Maine opinion is against you.

    3. I imagine that the guy that made the call is the guy that got demoted. The conversation probably went something like this:

      Ranking Gen: Panetta wants us to do something

      Soon to be Fired Gen: We really can't. There's a bunch of'em; we don't know exactly how many, and they're already inside the building.

      RG: There's at least One alive, right. I hear he's up on the roof calling for air support.

      STBFG: The only thing we have in the neighborhood is going to take out a city block, and the mortarman will likely be gone by then, anyway.

      RG: We could send in the FAST force from Italy.

      STBFG: And, do what? Except maybe lose another 50 Marines, and they would get there way too late, anyway.

      RG: You recommend we just watch'em die?

      STBFG: I guess so.

      RG: I'll pass it along (aside: did you enjoy your career?)

    4. Now, here's the politics of this, The Ranking General knew exactly what the soon-to-be-fired general was going to say. He knew, because if it were Him in the hot-seat he would be saying the same thing. But, on this particular day, God was in His heaven, and the other poor bastard was on his way to hell. Tha's life in the fast lane.

    5. .

      Well there you have it folks.

      Nothing to see here, just keep moving.

      Reminds me of Allen defending the use of torture. "Assume I'm Jack Bauer..."



  7. The Panetta Doctrine
    By Jonah Goldberg
    October 28, 2012 12:19 P.M.

    The Secretary of Defense in his best grown-up voice says:

    “(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.”

    It seems obvious that Panetta is trying protect Obama from responsibility for the Administration’s Benghazi response. I don’t think that works. The decision to outsource the call is still a presidential decision.

    But there are two problems bigger problems with the Panetta doctrine. First, Panetta says they didn’t have real-time information. Uh, if having a live video feed and real-time reports from assets on the ground for hours doesn’t count as real time information, what does? And, if as rumors suggest, the drones monitoring the situation were armed, the idea that the administration was trying to avoid some kind of “black hawk down” situation seems incomprehensible.

    Which brings us to the second, I think bigger, problem with the Panetta doctrine. If the circumstances in Libya didn’t meet the “enough information” threshold for a rescue attempt or some other form of intervention, then what does? And, note, Panetta & Co. make it sound like the decision to let the Americans on the scene twist in the wind was sort of a no-brainer, not a difficult decision. So what happened in Libya didn’t even come close to the threshold for intervention.

    What does that mean? Well, it seems to me that any embassy or consulate subjected to a surprise attack will likely catch the administration off guard. That’s why they call them “surprise attacks,” after all. According to the Panetta doctrine, the very essence of what makes a surprise attack a surprise attack likely precludes any commitment of U.S. forces to repel it. The message to our diplomats and troops: You’re on your own. The message to terrorists: As long as you keep your attacks minimally confusing, you win.

    That’s outrageous.

    I want to know who sent the drones, from where, when and why. It seems unlikely they just happened to be there johnny on the spot.

    This is probably one of the issues our Commander-in-Chief, who right now seems to know nothing at all, is looking into at this time. And promises to report to us after the election.

    A promise that will be forgotten if he wins.

    If he loses, what the fuck.

  8. Meanwhile, I can't believe you'all even think this is interesting. Obama lost 9 freakin' points in the Midwest in One Day in a poll with a Six-day moving average. Now, THAT is interesting.

    1. Do you know what that requires? Something like rolling snake-eyes back to back to back, I'd imagine.

    2. In the meantime the Cincinnati Enquirer Poll shows Ohio dead-even.

      A theory is floating around that some of those people being polled in Ohio are claiming to have voted already, when in reality, they haven't. Dems just kind of going along with the popular story of the day. I hate to say it, but it sounds, maybe, a little bit plausible. hmmm.

    3. .

      I don't find it all that interesting.

      I figure I lose in some way whichever of these guys wins.

      The only reason I am on Obama on the Benghazi story and the way it was handled is because the story itself interests me. If that story affects the way others view the President, it could be playing a part in the significant drop you have seen in the polls.


    4. And, that Is entirely possible.

      I guess I'm unusual in that, although I find it to be in the "tough luck" category, I don't find it particularly interesting. If anything, it seems like unusually good luck that we haven't had more such incidents.

    5. As for the election, I'm beginning to weary of it. I'm starting to look at it in the context of a football game in which my team isn't playing very well. I'm pretty sure the economy is in for very hard times no matter who wins.

      I would like to see those kids get healthcare, though.

    6. And, I do hate the Republican Party right now. Probably as much as Deuce, and Bob, and Gag hate Obama.

    7. Ruf, I want health care for kids too. For everyone. It's the Feds doing it through a Fed bureaucracy that gets me. I wouldn't bitch so much if I were taxed and the money went back to the states to do with as they want. Then at least people would have some local control over it, and we could see whose ideas seem to be working better.

      I also want more doctors and a medical school in Idaho, finally.

    8. It's like "Civil Rights," Bob. Some of the states just won't do it.

    9. Besides, the best Healthcare System in the U.S. is Medicare (97% of the money goes to "healthcare") not that it can't be improved.

  9. Obama, (I,I,me,me) reminds we of the guy who takes credit for everyone else’s successes and none of his own failures. You would have thought Obama singlehandedly stabbed bin Laden in the neck with a bayonet he took from a marine corpse man after rappelling from Marine One.

    1. Or Wall St titans of finance assuming some responsibility for the financial collapse of 2008?

      Just to note, there's a lot of bad behavior going around.

      Transforming all of it into an ideological divide is not good thinking, even in an election year, or maybe I should say, especially.

      And I note also from the political combat, that hatred does indeed seem to be the default human condition, whether it's expressed as some form of racism or simply a "demonization" of all thinking progressive or conservative, whatever that is. The Republican Party needs to formulate an political agenda that appeals to a broader constituency. So far they have stubbornly resisted, to the detriment not only of the Party, but the country. The Republicans insist that the problem is "low information content" voters. I suggest it is something closer to home.

    2. The ultra-rich have always managed to play the poor folks off against one another. Marx wasn't wrong about everything.

    3. Sorry, “They all suck" is not an excuse.

    4. .

      It's not an excuse. It's a statement of fact.


  10. Larry Johnson @ No Quarter says that it's very likely that the Benghazi consulate was not a consulate at all but rather a CIA mission to recruit, arm, equip and train jihadis for Syria via Turkey. He says that this could very well have been an Iranian 'false flag' operation to put the operation out of business.

  11. put the operation CIA operation out of business.

  12. Mr Woods was CIA.
    Not Navy nor State Department.

    The compound WAS NOT a US Consulate,

    What did General P know ...
    ... and when did he know it.

    Who in Mr Woods chain of command order him to

    Was no one in the Pentagon or at State

    They were not part of HIS chain.

    General P surely was

    1. Which would explain why Romney has shut up about it. He was given access to State Secrets a few weeks ago, and now is governed by the various, and assorted "Secrets/National Security" Laws.

    2. He is concentrating on the issue people are most concerned about, the economy. Some students were asked, what do you think of Benghazi? Ben Ghazi?, O, is he the star of....

      People don't care much about it.

      I agree with you that nothing much better may happen with the economy with Romney. While he might be the better manager, I have never thought the President has that much to do with it. The stimulus hasn't worked, at least not well. Didn't work with Roosevelt either. What to do? A major war would certainly lessen unemployment, as it did with Roosevelt. These days all the unemployed would be dead, and everyone else too, after a major war. So, that is not an optimal solution.

  13. Glenn Beck reported this was a CIA operation trying to recover surface to air missiles.

    1. Well, I don't know.

      It could be Quirk is out there lone wolfing again, judging from the results.

  14. Either the economy of China has slowed, drastically, or they're getting low on oil over there. Or, both.


    Their Crude Imports seem to be down about 1.5 Million bbl/day since May.

  15. Shell Weighs Natural Gas-to-Diesel Processing Facility for Louisiana

    I hope this works. We have lots of natural gas.

    from Wall Street Journal

    1. Not as much as you might think.

    2. Damn big oil companies. Always up to something.

      Bill Wattenberg used to say we burn enough natural gas on the North Slope to power all our trucks.

  16. The Barnett Shale was "The Big One." The one that was going to "Power us into the Next Century."

    What's more, an estimate of existing Barnett reserves just released by the US-Geological Survey, sharply contrasts with rosy industry estimates.

    The government estimates indicate about two decades of reserves are left, about one billion cubic feet per well. That's far less than the three billion cubic feet per well that energy industry officials claim.

    Not Ezzackly


  17. But are we more sophisticated, or simply more bloodthirsty? Perhaps both. In a post-9/11 era marked by terrorist attacks, a global financial meltdown, fears of climate change, and many other disquieting uncertainties, it’s hard to picture civilization being saved by the dashing, dapper Bond of the early films.

    “In the 1950s, we had Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers … They were almost corporate types—brave and clean,” Miller notes. “I don’t think we want that any more. I think we want somebody who speaks to anger, frustration, vengeance.”

    Fleming may not have consciously realized it, but the word bond connotes security—a concept that today feels foreign. A hurt, angry, confused culture has, inevitably, produced hurt, angry, confused hero figures, including the 007 of 2012.

    Imaging the Leadership

    The challenge that snuck up behind Obama and bit him in the ass.

    I'm almost more excited about the Skyfall release date (11/09) than I am the election. Adele's theme song is a killer.

  18. I rarely use the word "hate" and I certainly don't hate Obama. I just think he is incompetent and clueless. I have used hate as a noun to discribe the Democatic party, which I think is accurate as in the party of hate and division. It also seems be a
    popular word for liberals to use against someone who disagrees with them.

    My wife is a huge Adele fan.

  19. Using an iPhone to blog is hellish.