Libya then and now: Benghazi ignited Americans’ distrust in their government

Special to, August 1, 2018

By John McNabb

In 2007 just before the November presidential election, I was serving as Chairman of an international energy contractor that had been in existence for over one hundred years and had operated in over sixty countries during that span. Some of my senior team accompanied me on an overseas business trip which started in Groningen, The Netherlands with a joint venture opportunity in Saudi Arabia and then on to Oman to make a speech in Sultan Qaboos’ Muscat hotel The Al Bustan, to his senior staff and an assembled group of senior foreign energy executives. Then to Dubai for meetings and a quick drive to Abu Dhabi to meet with a partner and then lunch with Sheik Nahayan.

‘We all learned and knew that Uncle Sam would be coming for us.’ The U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya following the attack on September 11, 2012.

The Persian Gulf was totally safe and secure at that time and the region had benefited from President George W Bush and his firm stance relative to Iran. We then flew across the Mediterranean to Libya and landed at the Tripoli Airport. We met with Amb. Christopher Stevens’ senior staff as the ambassador was out of the county. I then met with the former Libyan Foreign Minister and later with senior executives of the Libyan National Oil Company, Waha.

At that time Libya was still controlled by Muammar al-Gadhafi. Tripoli was totally safe and after the meetings we took a day and visited the ruins of Leptis Magna, the ancient Roman city and one of the largest Roman ruins around the Mediterranean. I found that moving within Libya was easy and safe. Green Square was beautiful and a short walk from our hotel, the Corinthia Bab Africa. I remember several quiet evenings relaxing in Green Square and surrounded by fine restaurants. One had a Roman arch as part of its adjacent decor.

The Bush Administration had a tacit understanding with Gadhafi, and Libya was thriving. Gadhafi was in the process of building the United States of Africa in Libya and had brought many sub-Saharan Africans to Libya to both work and resettle.

January 2008 brought Barack Obama to the White House and Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. Obama then set out on his infamous “Apology Tour” and his “Leading from Behind”. The world awakened to the perception of a weakened America and took full advantage. Arab Spring occurred, and Egypt fell to the Islamic Brotherhood. And Vladimir Putin took full advantage as well and started a war with Georgia resulting in Russia’s permanent occupation of The Crimea.

In keeping with their administration’s Leading from Behind policy, Obama and Clinton did nothing. And who can forget Mrs. Clinton meeting with Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, in Geneva, publicly presenting him with the famous/infamous “Reset Button”! The manner in which Clinton’s team spelled “Reset” in Cyrillic actually meant “Overload”. Mr. Lavrov had a nice public laugh at the expense of the United States.

The “Apology Tour” had huge consequences in North Africa as well. And what happened in Libya will be a blight on our nation forever.

Civil war broke out in Libya and Gadhafi was killed in Sirte. Riots and armed conflict engulfed the nation until Libya as a sovereign entity ceased to exist. President Obama had regrets as all of this unfolded and said this publicly. He admitted to interviewer Chris Wallace that his worst mistake as president was “failing to plan for the day after, what I think was the right thing to do, in intervening in Libya.” This was an early example of his consistent meddling in other sovereign nation’s elections and their sovereign affairs.

Libya basically disintegrated. The Tripoli Airport was closed. The Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel was attacked with car bombs and suicide bombers by ISIL, an Islamic terrorist group, and was closed. Green Square was renamed Martyr’s Square. Terrorists also attacked Tunisia, as well, and many tourists were among the victims.

And all our president could come up with was that ISIS and ISIL were the “B Team”! He is long gone from the White House, but the “B Team” is still a force to be reckoned with.

To terrorist organizations, September 11 has always been a flash point since the World Trade Center disaster. Amb. Chris Stevens had been primarily operating outside of Libya as he had repeatedly appealed to Hillary Clinton’s State Department for more security. He was a seasoned State Department operative, but he simply did not feel safe In Libya any longer.

On September 11, 2012 after Stevens’ unsuccessful petitions for more security, the Benghazi United States Mission facility was attacked. It was a coordinated attack utilizing truck-mounted artillery, mortars, RPG’s (shoulder fired anti-tank weapons) and assault rifles. Four Americans lost their lives. Amb. Chris Stevens, Embassy Information Officer Sean Smith and two former Navy Seals and current CIA operatives Ty Woods and Glen Doherty were all murdered but only after a thirteen hour fight against heavy artillery and overwhelming odds. But in the end those brave American citizens were all murdered. Later in an email exchange Mrs. Clinton could not recall Amb. Stevens’ name, calling him Chris Smith!

The Obama second term reelection was only a couple of months away and consequently the Obama/Clinton cabal altered the truth about the Benghazi massacre of brave, undersupported American patriots. The Obama Administration’s story line was that a vile anti-Muslim YouTube video caused a spontaneous crowd of protesters to confront the Benghazi United States Mission facility. The angry mob was “hijacked” by a few bad people and violence resulted. Of course Obama, Clinton and their staffers all knew the truth. So Susan Rice hit the talk shows with the fabricated lie. As did President Obama and Secretary Clinton. However, the most deceitful chapter in this saga occurred at Joint Base Andrews in the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC. The return of the four American hero’s bodies to America involved a solemn ceremony at Andrews. President Obama and Secretary Clinton met with the mourning family members and told them with straight faces that the video was the cause. Of course, both knew that what they expressed to the mourning families was a bold faced lie.

I had the opportunity of listening to Ty Woods’ widow, Dr. Dorothy Woods, at the Republican National Convention. Not a speech but a conversation. A Gold Star widow and her take on Clinton’s disrespectful and dismissive manner that day at Andrews Joint Base.

But America caught on and saw through this horrible ruse.

A nagging question for me was why didn’t we come and rescue the four Americans? The attack took approximately thirteen hours.

My personal experience with search and rescue involved my 1969-1971 experience in Southeast Asia. We always knew that if we were in trouble, someone would be coming to rescue us. I arrived at Takhli Royal Thai Air Base in May of 1969 and my dental records were updated and my footprints were taken. A morbid reason for both.

John McNabb’s ‘Joint Personnel Rescue Center-Saigon’ identification photograph, May 1969.

I joined the 355th Tac Fighter Wing. The Wing had distinguished itself during the Vietnam Conflict in North Vietnam and Laos. It was comprised of F-105 Squadrons flying F-105 D and E models EB-66 Squadrons flying E and C models. The primary missions included air to ground interdiction missions focused on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Mu Ghia and Ban Karai Passes on the North Vietnam and Laotian border, Arc Light B-52 sorte support, “Wild Weasel” surface to air missile battery suppression and electronic intelligence data gathering to update the North Vietnamese Air Order of Battle.

Quickly I met with personnel from the Joint Personnel Rescue Center, the “JPRC” located in Saigon and was photographed and security data and passwords exchanged. I was given a chit to be given to my rescuers and was told that someone would be looking for me and coming after me in case I was shot down. Very, very different from Mrs. Clinton’s Benghazi caper.

We all learned and knew that Uncle Sam would be coming for us. I have many examples of assisting with a rescue or listening on Guard Channel to heart throbbing rescues and also heartbreaking ones. My last upgrade student at Shaw Air Force Base located in Sumter, South Carolina was a Lieutenant Colonel named Iceal “Ike” Hambleton. His story is an amazing saga of courage, brains and grit. He now resides in Arlington Cemetery, but his story and successful rescue live on in the book and motion picture named “Bat 21”. And in my mind and heart.

We always knew our Country would be there for us but not so for Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty. They were sacrificed at the altar of politics, personal hubris and narcissism.

The abject and dishonest lying to America about Benghazi and the manner in which Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton mishandled that situation is a turning point in our American history. The lie was so preposterous and despite what the elite Left thinks, American citizens aren’t stupid.

American distrust in government accelerated from that point during the fall of 2012 and has only increased due to the Russian Collusion hoax, the FBI-CIA-IRS politicization, and the Washington, DC “Swamp” filled with career politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists interested more in themselves than our great country.

The next of this two part opinion piece will deal with the hostile and embedded Washington DC bureaucracy, the Department of Justice and the mainstream media. The sometimes moronic “talking heads” and the Celebrities.

John T. McNabb is vice chairman of the American Leadership Council, co-founder of the Trump Leadership Council and former chairman and CEO of Willbros Group.

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