Friday, January 15, 2016

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi: A Review

I went to go see it last night and glad I did: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a movie directed by Michael Bay and based on Mitchell Zuckoff's book of the same name. While it was tough to follow the players at times, and does not rise to the level of American Sniper in film making, it does do a decent job of depicting the confusion and brutality during the Benghazi attacks of September 11, 2012. The film is some getting bad reviews but from the same sorts that panned American Sniper. The movie has flaws but they are more stylistic than substantive. Ignore the negative chatter. I strongly recommend seeing the film and reading the book it is based upon. The acting was well done and John Krasinski does a very good job as one of the Special Force Operatives (contractors) (Jack Da Silva).

The movie is not overtly political, but it shows how American lives were placed in jeopardy due to State Department and CIA hubris. Despite repeated pleas for assistance, American military assets in Sicily, Italy and Croatia did not offer assistance to the besieged CIA compound. Why that didn't happened is never explained. But given recent events with sailors in the Persian Gulf, you can draw your own conclusions.

Here are some other reviews: AoSHQVarietyDallas Observer, Reason, NY Post, and Northwest Herald

Instapundit: Trump rents theater in Iowa for 13 HoursLearning from other's mistakesHillary's too busy to see 13 Hours (she was also too busy to send help when they needed it), Hot Air: Breitbart said: Politics are downstream of culture,  Moe Lane, Rescue Team Turned BackPaul Mirengoff: The movie and the politics, Yes there was a stand down order, reports from the premier, and yes the movie is good

American Power: 13 Hours reignites the stand down order

Hillary Clinton is not mentioned in the film. But the film without ever saying so certainly implicates her as the head of the State Department at the time and Barack Obama as commander in chief. Hillary's version of events differs from the families of the fallen.

Lem's Place: Family member of Benghazi fallen react to film '13 Hours'

RedState/Leon Wolf: Trump rents out movie to show Benghazi movie in Iowa

Moe Lane, JLenardDetroit, and Ace loved it.

The Hollywood Reporter channels DaTechGuy on 13 Hours and the Alamo Benghazi
TOM: Rave Review by Breitbart's John Nolte
RedState: Jake Tapper reports Hillary "too busy" to see 13 Hours
Free Beacon: 13 Hours: A Review


  1. Good the story is getting out, but I hope it gets some eyeballs with all the Star Wars hype.

  2. I read the book, not yet seen the movie. IMO, the book portrayed the stand down as something the top State/CIA person on the scene gave, to give the local militia a chance. It was a dumb idea with disastrous results. However, from a political stand point, it would have been very easy, and even justified, for Hillary and Barack to park the bus on this guy. Instead, they parked the bus on the video maker, loaded the families aboard the bus, and now are torching the bus. Figuratively.

    1. The CIA outpost chief gave the initial stand down orders (both in rescuing the Ambassador which resulted in his and Sean Smith's deaths and calling for air support) which lead to some of the disaster, but when the CIA outpost is almost overrun, repeated calls for a gun ship or Predator attack, or even a fly by go ignored. That decision had to come from someone much higher on the chain of command. There was a disconnect between arrogant and naive CIA and State Department personnel promoting the Arab Spring and the security forces who see what a cluster fuck Libya had become.

    2. They did get a Predator overhead. It had been on another mission south (who knows what for) but it was not an armed variant, so it couldn't attack.

      I'm willing to give benefit of doubt that we didn't have any other armed assets (beyond the small team from Tripoli) that could have changed much of the situation after the Ambassador was killed. The closest fighter planes were likely unarmed and couldn't be armed. I know there is stories about other forces that could have (and should have) deployed (because nobody knew ahead of time how long the attack would last, or did they?), but the calls portrayed in the movie wouldn't have changed things.

      But even with that benefit, there is still too many things wrong with the real life events:
      The UK pulled its foreign staff out of Libya a week previously, we should have to.
      Stevens asked for additional security previously, but was denied.
      We knew it was the anniversary of 9/11, and protests in various Middle East countries (for a video or because of Barack's destabilization of Egypt, it doesn't matter why for this), why not have QRF's pre-mobilized in the general area? Could we not task a CVBG to the eastern Med?
      Why was the video blamed without first waiting for more evidence?
      Even if the video was to blame, the heavy weapons should have proved from the beginning this wasn't a spontaneous event, why make that claim ever?
      If we had spun up forces, and the Libyan President support us (which he did), why didn't we secure the compound within 24 hours (9/12) to gather evidence and prevent the loss of intelligence?

      These are all things that a serious Administration would have done without question. Much of it could have been done without any further bloodshed (unless the small number of attackers wanted to try again against a larger and prepared force). It would have been natural to want to bring the perpetrators to justice, and it might have helped stabilize the new pro-Western Libyan Administration.

    3. Correct on the armed predator (the predator overhead was unarmed). There were fighter aircraft in Sicily and Italy that were only 20 minutes away. Granted an F-16 is not a gun ship and does not have that sort of capability. As they personnel there asked, why not even a low pass over?

      And you are absolutely right, American forces should have been pulled out of country (or operations curtailed significantly) well before September 11, 2012.


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