Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Movie, “13 Hours.” My Take.

I saw the movie “13 Hours” yesterday.  It deals with the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound at Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.  I came out of the theater virtually shaking with anger from what our people at the compound had to endure over a 13 hour period because of security failures.  The attack on the compound was well organized, well coordinated, well planned, and supported by not only automatic weapons but mortar fire.    The attack cost the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.  Aside from the fact that the movie was a riveting, compelling,  action- packed true story, well worth seeing from that standpoint alone, the political implications from the lack of security have been and still are enormous.

It’s hard to believe that in this day and age our government was so inept.  It’s easy using 20-20 hindsight to fix blame for the security shortcomings there.  But then again the shortcomings were clearly visible and an attack was predictable.  So, hindsight is  not necessary; foresight was enough.  The trouble is, those responsible for security had none.  They were grossly incompetent.  That includes Obama’s White House and Hillary Clinton as the Secretary of State, among others.

Benghazi had been a hotbed of unrest, gripped by civil war and terrorist activities since Gadhafi had been toppled.  The environment was bad enough to force Britain and France both to close their embassies.   European security officials were worried that weapons and vehicles were being stockpiled in Benghazi, post Gadhafi and that al Quaeda was gaining a foothold.  The U.S. well knew the diplomatic situation there was dangerous, so dangerous in fact that it had to be labeled “critical,” according to the movie.  Yet, we did not pull out.  True we had no embassy but only a diplomatic compound.   Nevertheless, what we had there was grossly under- protected, and the failure to fully protect that compound, given the unstable environment, can only be ascribed to gross incompetence, even criminal negligence.

Wikipedia, while not necessarily the repository of the last word on anything, still is to be regarded as possessing some authority.  It does say that the Secretary of State, among other duties and responsibilities, “ensures the protection of the U.S. Government to American cities, personnel, and interests in foreign countries.”  That duty was flatly abrogated in this instance.

What has really aggravated the situation regarding the lack of protection for the Benghazi compound is the fact that both Obama and Hillary compounded their manifest failures by lying about how the attack originated.  Standing by the caskets of the four Americans killed in the raid, after the remains arrived in the U.S.,  Obama claimed, and Hillary knowingly acquiesced, in the bald-faced lie that the raid had been inspired by a video, when they both had information attesting to the fact that it was a terrorist attack.  Hillary emailed her daughter the night of the attack, telling her the raid was terrorist based, a fact which came out during her testimony at the last hearing.  The lie, repeated on Sunday talk shows by Susan Rice and others, was made in the time before Obama’s election, and undoubtedly helped in that regard quite a bit.

My distain for Hillary as a candidate for any public office, much less the presidency, is hardly a closely guarded national secret.  But after seeing this movie, my feelings have intensified dramatically.   She brings nothing to the table in terms of dealing with tough issues.  She has no proven track record of success at anything.   She is eminently inexperienced, unqualified, and incompetent.  She is also a world-class liar, one whose lies are a matter of record.  The Greek philosopher Aristotle put it nicely: “Liars when they speak the truth are  not believed.”  Serious questions also abound as to her character,  honesty, trustworthiness, temperament,  and judgement.   She is a power-hungry woman who is dangerous for this country.  The country made a terrible mistake by electing the present White House occupant; that mistake must not be repeated.

Copyright© 2016.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

 

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A Personal Dilemma – Was The Pearl Harbor Attack Foreseeable?

In one of my recent blogs, I mentioned that predictions of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, came from at least two sources.  But I didn’t mention the sources.  So, here they are.  One was from a Peruvian source known to U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Joseph Grew.  This is discussed on page 118, footnote 7, of my new book, “Prelude to Disaster:  How Imperial Japan’s Diplomatic Treachery Led to America’s Greatest Military Disaster – Pearl Harbor,” available on amazon.com in both Kindle and print.

It is pointed out in that footnote that Ambassador Grew’s testimony before the Joint Congressional Committee which issued the report which forms the essential basis for my book, was that, with the single exception of  information on which his message of January 27, 1941 was based, he had no knowledge or indication from any source prior to the attack which indicated the possibility of such an attack.  The information on which that message was based is explained in footnote 7, as follows:  “My Peruvian colleague told a member of my staff that he had heard from many sources including a Japanese source that the Japanese military forces planned in the event of trouble with the United States to attempt a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor using all of their military facilities.  He added that although the project seemed fantastic the fact he had heard it from many sources prompted him to pass on the information.   Paraphrased copies were promptly sent by the State Department to Military Intelligence Division (Army) and Office of Naval Intelligence (Navy).” (Emphasis added).  Interesting stuff.

The other source came somewhat earlier but was more authoritative.  In 1937, General George Patton was the G-2, i.e., military parlance for Intelligence Officer, for the Hawaiian Islands, in charge of security for the Islands and their vulnerability to attack.  Patton had followed  Japan’s continued aggression 0ver the years, including its invasion and conquest of Manchuria in 1931 and its invasion of China in 1933, and believed that war with Japan was likely.  That year, 1937,  he wrote a paper entitled “Surprise” in which he predicted, with uncanny accuracy, a Japanese attack on Hawaii.  This bit of information comes from an excellent book about General Patton entitled “Patton – A Genius For War,” by Carlo D’Este, page 361.

So, the idea of a Japanese attack against the U.S. itself was likely scoffed at and little, if anything, was done about it.  But, nevertheless, those two straws in the wind, coming from widely disparate sources, did exist.

More disturbing to me was the apparent failure of those directly concerned with the nation’s security to foresee that elimination of the U.S. Pacific Fleet would fit nicely into Japanese plans to push south in the Pacific, towards Malaya, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), the Philippines, and Australia, among other areas, plans which were undoubtedly anticipated by the U.S.  (See e.g.,  book, pp 41- 42).

This is where my dilemma arose.   To say the attack was therefore foreseeable would fit well into the “In Retrospect” or conclusory part of my book.   However,  on reflection, to add that comment to the book seemed a bit presumptive on my part.  It just didn’t seem right for me, coming along some 74 years later, to say that the attack was foreseeable and, therefore, should have been preventable.  So, I left it out.  There were some very skilled and highly intelligent and competent people in The White House, the State Department, and the armed forces, who arguably failed to see the attack coming so I decided not to second guess them.  Maybe, when and if I do a revised edition of the book, I’ll put it in.  In the meantime you’ll have to read the book yourselves and decide whether I made the right decision.  Please let me know what you think via a comment to this post.

Copyright©2016.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

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