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Retired USAF Brigadier Gen. Robert Lovell: 'We Should Have Tried' To Save the Lives of the Americans In Benghazi

Retired USAF Brigadier Gen. Robert Lovell, testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, made clear that the military knew right away that what happened in Benghazi was “a terrorist attack” and not the result of a “demonstration gone terribly awry,” and he also testified that they should have done more to save the four Americans who were killed. 

From his testimony:

There are many sayings in the military. One saying that rings most true is…..You Fight the way you Train. And in Benghazi, we did. 

Many with firsthand knowledge have recounted the heroism displayed by the brave Americans in Benghazi that night. They fought the way they trained. That is in the record. 

Outside of Libya there were discussions that churned on about what we should do. These elements also fought the way they were trained. Specifically, the predisposition to interagency influence had the military structure–in the spirit of expeditionary government support–waiting for a request for assistance from the State Department. 
There are accounts of time, space and capability discussions of the question, could we have gotten there in time to make a difference. Well, the discussion is not in the “could or could not” in relation to time, space and capability–the point is we should have tried. As another saying goes: “Always move to the sound of the guns.” 
We didn’t know how long this would last when we became aware of the distress nor did we completely understand what we had in front of us, be it a kidnapping, rescue, recovery, protracted hostile engagement or any or all of the above. 
But what we did know quite early on was that this was a hostile action. This was no demonstration gone terribly awry. 
To the point of what happened, the facts led to the conclusion of a terrorist attack. The AFRICOM J-2 was focused on attribution. That attacks became attributable very soon after the event.

Later, he was asked by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R.UT) if we could have saved U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens; information management officer Sean Smith; and the two security officers who were former Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

After long pause and sounding a little choked up, General Lovell answered, “we might have been able to – but we’ll never know.”

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