It's simple logic. In Libya there is only one possible threat to an AC130 gunship: surface to air missiles. Thus this is the only way Panetta wasn't lying when he said that it was lack of information about the threat environment that kept him from sending defenders into “harm's way” in Benghazi. He must have been afraid that the jihadists were lying in wait with surface to air missiles, and he had good reason to suspect such a ploy.
A primary task of the Libyan mission was to round up the war materiel of the deposed and decomposing Moammar Ghadaffi and funnel it to chosen opponents of Assad in Syria. Which part of the Syrian opposition has Obama been choosing to supply? Al Qaeda:
“Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats,” the Times reports.
The paper quotes one U.S. official as saying, “The opposition groups that are receiving the most of the lethal aid are exactly the ones we don’t want to have it,” adding that “officials, voicing frustration, say there is no central clearinghouse for the shipments, and no effective way of vetting the groups that ultimately receive them.”
According to Adm. James A. Lyons (retired), the Libyan arms that have been funneled to the jihadists include substantial numbers of surface to air missiles:
We now know why Ambassador Christopher Stevens had to be in Benghazi the night of 9/11 to meet a Turkish representative, even though he feared for his safety. According to various reports, one of Stevens’ main missions in Libya was to facilitate the transfer of much of Gadhafi’s military equipment, including the deadly SA-7 – portable SAMs – to Islamists and other al Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting the Assad Regime in Syria. In an excellent article, Aaron Klein states that Stevens routinely used our Benghazi consulate (mission) to coordinate the Turkish, Saudi Arabian and Qatari governments’ support for insurgencies throughout the Middle East. Further, according to Egyptian security sources, Stevens played a “central role in recruiting Islamic jihadists to fight the Assad Regime in Syria.”
So of course Panetta had to worry about the jihadists having man-portable SAMs. He had been supplying t
hem, and a successful SAM attack on our military with these U.S. supplied weapons would be devastating for Obama's election chances. From the start of the Libyan operation critics have been complaining about U.S. aid going to the jihadists. To have that treasonous strategy backfire in such spectacular fashion would be Fast and Furious times a thousand.
So they made a calculated decision. Our people on the ground would be sacrificed to Obama's political ambition and the Obamatons would coordinate on a cover story about there not being any planned attack at all, when it actually appeared to them to be so well planned as to look like a possible trap.
If it wasn't a trap, responding with force was an obvious political winner
The same logic applies for Obama. On the surface the attack presented Obama with a windfall opportunity to chew up and spit out what now look to have been hundreds of jihadists, all of whom would be sitting ducks for an AC130. Here was a chance for Obama to really dance on bin Laden's grave, slaughtering the jihadists on 9/11 itself, thereby cementing Obama's claim to the “gutsy call” and likely insuring his re-election. If Obama didn't fear a trap then responding with force would have been a no-brainer, especially for a political calculator like Obama.
But would the jihadists really be that stupid? Would they hand such an easy and obvious military and political victory to the hated United States of Americam or did they perhaps have a plan befitting the date? Most likely they did have SAMs lying in wait, maybe a lot of them, prepared to take out any helicopters or gunships that came anywhere near. In any case, Obama must have thought so, or he would not have passed up such an obvious opportunity to salvage election victory.
For Panetta's part, SAMs were the only rational fear, so if it really was concern for our forces that stayed Panetta's hand that makes Obama the biggest liar of all time. He went before the nation pretending there was no evidence the attack had been planned at all when he and Panetta had actually acted on the supposition that it was a carefully laid trap, backed by the most sophisticated enemy weapons in theater.
The correct response—the American response—would have been to devise a plan to take out a SAM-equipped enemy. We could have swarmed in with anti-SAM equipped jet fighters and put as many fast-reaction forces on the ground as possible, but that would have revealed the nature of the threat for the world to see. Even if thoroughly successful, such a response would still have blown Obama's Faster and Furiouser cover, exposing both the policy and the consequences of arming al-Qaeda. Thus for anti-president Obama, cowardice and cover-up were the only way forward.