Such is the world we live in–that decisions which really matter are being made by people who don’t really matter.
I know this statement is true, because I am an American, and America matters in what goes on in the world today.
And my opinion matters, at least theoretically, because I am a voter in America. In November I will be called upon to vote upon a very important question: Who will be our next President?
On the other hand, I, being only one voter, don’t really matter, because, as one mere citizen among millions, I don’t know much about what really makes this country run, or what goes on behind the scenes, or what happens at important defensive and/or diplomatic stations in other parts of the world. I certainly don’t legitimately know anything about, for instance, our American embassy in Tripoli, Libya, or a diplomatic outpost that might or might not have existed in Benghazi in September of 2012.
And yet, this year I will be called upon to render my decision about who shall or shall not be President, based on perception of a host of issues.
One of those issues that presently heats up our brewing Presidential politics is the question of what happened in Libya at Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Somewhere back in my memory of school classes in American history, I do remember there was a political party called the “Know Nothing” party. If it were an active political force in our day and time, I would have to consider joining it, because there are some political/economic/military matters about which I know nothing. For instance, I know nothing about what actually happened at Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
But hey, I did see the movie about it.
Just last night, actually.
The movie was a real barn-burner. Or, outpost-burner. In the movie’s story, based upon the novel by Mitchell Zukoff, which is based upon the true story, angry Libyan attackers attempt to destroy or take control of the American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. And they do set fire to the place. In the fire, our Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed, along with Information Officer Sean Smith. Hours later, two American defenders, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were killed during their valiant effort to prevent the attackers from taking control of the compound while many of our personnel were still occupying the building.
As you are probably aware, there is presently, and has been for the last two years, a whirlwind of political blameshifting that surrounds this incident, after the fact. The classic logistical questions are asked repeatedly: Who’s in charge here? and Who was responsible for this fatal event in which four Americans were killed?
In regard to these two questions, I will mention no names here, because as I said before, I do not know what happened there, even though I did see a movie about it last night.
This morning, I was wondering about all of this. What really happened? Was the movie accurate? Was the novel accurate? Who knew? Who is supposed to make these determinations? (The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has already produced a decision about it.)
More specifically, if the movie’s credibility is in question, what scenes would implicate the moviemakers’ culpability in presenting a detail that misleads us viewers?
And then, as if by magic (the “magic” of the electronic matrix in which we live, see question above that initiated this commentary), my main question was answered.
Thanks to Jocelyn Noveck and Joshua Replogle, reporters for the Associated Press, and Paul D. Shinkman, who reported on this movie’s content and its opening weekend at the box office, I now know the specific movie scene in question. See the USNews report in which my question was answered:
If you would like to answer this question for yourself, watch the movie. You can also get a sense of the problem by watching the trailer, linked herein:
Although I now understand a little more clearly where the real trouble of this divisive issue originates, I am in no real position to make a significant judgement about the matter. I will, therefore, simply honor the persons who represented and defended our interests–the well-being of the citizens of the United States of America–on that fateful day in Libya three and a half years ago. I do this by awarding Thirteen “Flowers”, which are really nothing at all except a mention of their names.
After viewing Thirteen Hours, I offer Thirteen Flowers of appreciation to these who have served our nation:
Flower #1: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who gave his life in service to us, the citizens of the United States of America
Flower #2: Sean Smith, Information Officer of the U.S. Department of State, who gave his life in service to us, the citizens of the USA
Flower #3: Glen Doherty, former Navy Seal, who gave his life in service to us, citizens of the USA
Flower #4: Tyrone Woods, former Navy Seal, who gave his life in service to us, citizens of the USA
Flower #5: Kris “Tonto” Paronto, who valiantly defended the American outpost in Benghazi
Flower #6: Jack Silva, who bravely defended the American outpost in Benghazi
Flower #7: Dave “Boon” Benton, who successfully defended the American outpost in Benghazi
Flower #8: John “Tig” Tiegen, who skillfully defended the American outpost in Benghazi
Flower #9: The CIA base Chief in Benghazi, whose leadership in the midst of anarchic circumstances contributed to preservation of the lives of many CIA personnel there.
Flower #10: Mitchell Zukoff, who wrote the novel, Thirteen Hours, which told the story of what these brave men did on behalf of our nation
Flower #11: U.S. Representative Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who first asked these questions in an official capacity.
Flower #12: Michael Bay, who directed the movie, depicting the story of what these brave men did on behalf of our nation.
Flowers #13: to 13 million and more Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, State Department and CIA men and women who valiantly defend the best interests of the United States of America, wherever our flag is raised throughout this dangerous world. Thank you for your service.
Tags: 2012, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Benghazi, CIA, credibility, Glen Doherty, Libya, Michael Bay, Mitchell Zukoff, movie, Sean Smith, September 11, Stand down, Thirteen Hours, Tyrone Woods, U.S. State Department