George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense came out on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ to call out Conservatives who have been inferring that the handling of Benghazi was politically motivated. He calls the accusations from the far Right “cartoonish” and debunked the conclusions put forth by noted Conservatives who sit on the House Oversight Committee. Here is some of the transcript (video at bottom):
I think the one place where I might be able to say something useful has to do with some of the talk of the military response. And I listened to the testimony of both Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey, and frankly had I been in the job at the time, I think that my decisions would have been just as theirs were. We don’t have a ready force standing by in the Middle East, despite all the turmoil that’s going on with planes on strip alert, troops ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. And so getting someone there in a timely way would have been very difficult if not impossible.
And frankly I’ve heard, well, why didn’t you just fly a fighter jet over there to scare ’em with the noise or something. Given the number of surface to air missiles that have disappeared from Qaddafi’s arsenals I would not have approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi under those circumstances.
And with respect to sending in Special Forces or a small group of people to try and provide help, based on everything I’ve read people really didn’t know what was going on in Benghazi contemporaneously, and to send some small number of Special Forces or other troops in without knowing what the environment is, without knowing what the threat is, without having any intelligence in terms of what is actually going on on the ground, I think would have been very dangerous and personally I would not have approved that because we just don’t — it’s sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces. The one thing our forces are noted for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm’s way, and there just wasn’t time.
Officials have cited the reasoning behind the Pentagon’s actions in Benghazi were a direct result of precautionary measures presented in the threat of possible ground to air missiles.