The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 30, 2012

Our View: Benghazi and U.S. military

The Joplin Globe

AIRPORT DRIVE, Mo. — Most of the debate over the attack on Benghazi has remained a political debate. But now the military and our National Command Authority are coming into play as well.

Some media reports are rife with speculations that deserve straightforward answers from the Department of Defense.

U.S. Army Gen. Carter Ham, head of the African Command with direct military responsibility for events in Benghazi, was relieved of his duties the night of Sept. 11, 2012, during the attack on our Benghazi consulate. He immediately returned to Washington for administrative assignments pending further investigations. No further clarification has been forthcoming from the Department of Defense as to why that action was taken.

Additionally, President Barack Obama has now appointed Gen. David Rodriguez to assume the duties of U.S. African Command.

The rest is pure speculation, something we refrain from commenting upon, except to note the lack of transparency. Why Gen. Ham was relieved from his assigned duties in the midst of a national crisis is a question that Americans should demand answered — before the election.

Relief for cause of any military commander is certainly news of interest to Americans who need more than what they can get from the Internet. There are questions related to national interests and how we protect such interests.

If a military commander takes action to disobey orders, blatantly disobey any orders from civilian leadership, that too is a grave national security concern and we the people deserve answers.

Election or no election, the public needs answers now, not later.