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Benghazi lawfare delays

The delay in picking up the Benghazi ringleader has now been made clear. He was booked doing interviews with so many news outlets that it took the Delta operators a year to get an appointment with him. Which actually makes more sense than the comical story the administration attempted to spin that it took Delta a year of planning and practice to pick up a guy whose location was known and who kept a profile almost as public as Hillary Clinton’s

The mission to capture Ahmed abu Khatallah, one of the ringleaders of the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya was more than a year in the making.....Indeed, the Benghazi ringleader had been in the sights of Delta Force operators at the end of August, according to these sources, but no order was given at the time.

So why wasn't the order given? The raid as described and shown on video was not a whole lot more complicated than serving divorce papers. I am not disparaging the work and professionalism of the folks who scarfed this gentleman up or the danger inherent in any tactical operation in denied territory. I have written an Op-Ed pointing out how hard it is, but also noting that military operators are not really set up to be part of a law enforcement operation.

A raid into enemy territory to capture a terrorist alive is one of the most complex undertakings we attempt short of space flight. You could call it an intricate martial ballet, but I liken it to conducting a Beethoven symphony with all the players and instruments in free fall, hurtling toward Earth like a phalanx of lawn darts. So many facets must occur in perfect harmony that adding additional complicating factors is inviting failure.

Yet that is exactly what the law enforcement model must consider. If the information leading to a raid is not sufficient to justify a warrant, then what right do we have to kidnap a suspected terrorist? 

But th he bottom line is that this was not the Raid on Entebbe and the Delta teams were not the reason for the ridiculously long delay and beneficial timing of the “arrest”. And the entire mission seems to have fallen victim to the lawfare mentality that puts civilian justice procedures above national security.

A senior administration official told The Daily Beast that the delay in apprehending the suspect was due in part to requests from the Justice Department to gather appropriate evidence to prosecute him in criminal court. 

That’s right, this was an arrest not a capture of a terrorist by a military outfit. The Delta guys were there to make sure none of the FBI agents got shot. And the reason we waited 21 months to grab this guy is that the lawyers were still thumb wrestling about the stuff lawyers always thumb wrestle about. Obama and Sheriff Holder want to prove that terrorists are really just a different flavor of criminal, like really bad drunk drivers or something. So they sat and planned out their prosecution and then when the news cycle was bad enough against them, they pulled the trigger served the warrant and slapped the cuffs on him.

The big question then becomes when did they read him his rights, and the related one, why in the hell would he have any? The answer to the first is still a bit murky and one hopes, but doesn’t trust, that they are still squeezing his melon for any nuggets of terror info. The answer to the second is that we are not fighting a war against the terrorists. We are conducting a community policing of some particularly pesky cultural graffiti artists.  The terrorists on the other hand are engaged in a long war of Islamist Jihad against the entire more civilized world.

President Obama can hope that isn’t the case, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are at war with us. And they have been pretty successful if you judge it by the blood and treasure they have taken and we have expended. I would be the first one to the negotiating table if there actually were an accommodation that we could arrive at with them. But submitting to the will of Allah or paying a dhimmi tax doesn’t much appeal to me. The “War on Terror” was always a misnomer; it truly should have been the “War against medieval Islamist obscurantists dedicated to the return of the Caliphate and the conquest of Earth”. Not the most elegant, but spot on for accuracy. I think we could even get them to sign on.

The current regime has made it pretty clear they are all about ending any wars and the enemy warring on us be damned. Thus we will get a civilian trial and the terrorist will get the ghost of Johnnie Cochran as his attorney and a whole slew of rights he has no business exercising. I think we have a good chance at a conviction, especially since he has confessed, even bragged about it, to every media outlet he could find. But that doesn’t make it right or smart or sound to treat him as a trumped up common criminal. It is still a war even if only one side acknowledges it.