As it happens, I just finished this account of the 2012 attack on the American “diplomatic compound” in Benghazi, Libya, that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others dead. It’s a riveting read, written with the help of the surviving members of the security team, and makes good on its promise to stick close to the what that team saw on the ground:
[This book] is not about what officials in the United States government knew, said, or did after the attack, or about the ongoing controversy over talking points, electoral politics, and alleged conspiracies and cover-ups. It is not about what happened in hearing rooms of the Capitol, anterooms of the White House, meeting rooms of the State Department, or green rooms of TV talk shows. It is about what happened on the ground, in the streets, and n the rooftops of Benghazi, when bullets flew, buildings burned, and mortars rained.
Still and all, the mere existence of this account, or really even the fact that the compound was left relatively defenseless in the first place, is for this reader pretty damning of just about anybody ranking higher than the staff under contract. Including Secretary Clinton (who, it should be said, has taken “full responsibility”). It’s patently clear that the attack was well organized by a milita with access to some fairly heavy artillery—one of the many militias operating freely in the wake of the fall of the Qadaffi government.
Zukoff’s description of Ambassador Stevens is fairly brief, but he was by all accounts a brave man with a many years of experience in the Middle East. He most certainly knew of the dangers and decided to risk them. It’s now clear, as it seemed clear to many at the time, that the attack was in no way a response to the YouTube video that had sparked protests elsewhere in the Middle East, a version of the events pushed fairly heavily at the time.
The Benghazi attack played a part in the 2012 presidential campaign, and now that Hillary Clinton has just announced her candidacy, it will certainly play a part in the 2016 campaign as well.
The whole sorry mess is now in the hands of the brainwashers and spinmeisters who run U.S. politics, so thoroughly so that all that spinning and washing is all but impossible to avoid. In that sense alone, 13 Hours in Benghazi is a great achievement. R.I.P. Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.