Public discourse has focused on whether the destruction of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was spontaneous or a planned terrorist attack, as well as on why the mission had not been provided with adequate security. But these questions are important chiefly from the standpoint of domestic politics.
Of greater importance to our nation is that the so-called consulate annex was destroyed by a regular, conventional military assault and finished off by very accurate mortar fire. This annex, a CIA outpost, seems to have been facilitating the transfer of weapons to Syrian rebel factions-something that the Obama administration was doing quietly while publicly debating whether to do it- as well as engaging in other covert activities in the region. More likely than not, this is how it could become the target of a regular military attack. This may also explain why a CIA team swept the ruins of the annex for two weeks before FBI investigators were allowed to enter it.
In short: regardless of who, precisely, ran the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, it was a blow aimed at U.S. policy. Moreover, since the Obama administration has apparently done nothing during the past 20 months to identify those who fired the mortars, it is reasonable to infer that detouring attention from that fight's stakes and protagonists shaped its actions on the night of the attack-regardless of, or at least in addition to, any political considerations there may have been.
While we do not know the reasons why the administration chose to leave the Americans to die, we can be absolutely sure that its claim that the military did not have enough time to come to the rescue is insincere. Why? Because at the time, no one knew or could know how long the Americans calling for help could hold out. Had the mortar crew performed as so many Arab armies have, the fight at the annex might have gone on for days. There was not-as there never can be-any assurance of a rescue attempt's success. Most assuredly, though, what the Obama administration did was order the military not even to try. Nor even to send fighter jets that could have made low-level sonic booms over the scene.