Op/Ed - Benghazi: What really matters.

by Pete Scobell, Fmr Navy Seal Officer

When the initial reports of the Benghazi attacks began to surface along with reports detailing attacks on the Embassies in Cairo and Sanaa on September 11th, I wasn't surprised. Like many other Americans, I assumed that those in the Embassies were prepared for this contingency given their locations and the symbolic date. I was saddened to hear of Ambassador Chris Steven's death as well as the "other Americans," and my sadness was deepened when I learned that two of the Americans killed in the attack along with the Ambassador were former Navy SEALs, one of whom was a friend and former teammate. Little did I know that this would develop into the debacle it has since become. All political drama aside, the piece of this story I choose to hang onto has nothing to do with the finger pointing or political side stepping aimed at preserving the integrity of the current administration long enough to get reelected. Men sacrificed themselves for one another and for their country. What kind of a man, in the face of overwhelming odds, knowingly and freely lays down his life for the man next to him? Glen Doherty and Ty Woods did just that. At that moment it didn't matter that they had been Navy SEALs or that they were now contractors operating under different laws and rules of engagement. History doesn't remember "Golgatha Gate" and the political fallout of crucifying Jesus. An entire religion was born from that simple act of suffering and sacrifice, not the reelection of Pontius Pilate. I'm not implying that Glen and Ty were the sons of God and that President Obama is the fifth Perfect of the Judaea Providence. What I'm saying is that politics and bureaucracy trend towards failure and that individuals have the capacity to instantaneously realize divine greatness despite being captives of a flawed and broken system led by individuals who do not possess comparable character.

Take their past and future out of the convoluted story and focus on the cold hard truths people face when in combat. You either fight or you run. What makes a person stand and fight to the death? Is it an oath to a piece of paper or a paycheck? No. People fight to the death for the respect and love of the individuals next to them. It's their common lives , shared suffering, and love for one another's unlimited futures that keeps them in the fight. The actions of two Americans in battle and the character they displayed in the face of overwhelming odds should be what guilts this administration into letting the truth be told. When I learned that Glen and Ty engaged the enemy until the very last breath of air left their lungs, my sadness turned to pride, and my pride to envy. They were blessed with warrior's deaths and they died fighting alongside one another. Their actions should make all of us ask ourselves hard questions. For those who understand what I'm talking about, no explanation is required, and for those who don't, these are the only words I can find in a feeble attempt to describe it. My heart goes out to Glen and Ty's families. The confusion and grief that follows the loss is unbearable at times. However, I hope eventually the families can put aside the politics and the hate for those who should have and most likely could have acted in the aid of their loved ones. When this all settles, I believe what will remain is the towering example of character these two men displayed. When this is all said and done, this event should not be remembered for the failure and lack of character displayed by the political leadership, but rather by the simple and powerful act of selfless sacrifice by individuals for one another.

The truth will come out, it always does. I know the truth is sitting in someone's gut somewhere and it's eating them up inside. The moral dilemma they are wrestling with will only continue to grow and consume them until they are compelled to act in order to preserve their own character and soul. I just hope it is not too late...

Even without hearing a formal explanation from the Obama Administration or the State Department , it seemed fairly apparent from the onset that given the location and the significance of the date (9/11), these attacks had to have been preplanned and coordinated. I was shocked to hear the "cause" identified by the Obama Administration was a video on YouTube. I actually laughed out loud when I heard that... it's 9/11, we've been at war with Islamic Extremists for over a decade. The attacks came on the heels of the Arab Spring. Muslim Brotherhood influence is rapidly expanding along with anti-American rhetoric from the newly elected President of Egypt....nope, it was the result of a YouTube video. I was insulted. Does the Administration really believe the American people are that ignorant?

This mess was created by the administration in an attempt to minimize failures in leadership by their appointees. In truth, with all that is going on in the world, the American people may have just forgotten about the incident and written it off as an unfortunate result of American insensitivity. However, in an interesting twist of fate, it seems that the monster the administration created in the wake of the Bin Laden raid came back to bite them.

What the administration failed to take into consideration is that right now (good or bad) America is obsessed with Navy SEALs. I'm sure that none of the official intel briefings contained that information, because prior to the Bin Laden raid it held little or no weight. Glen and Ty were working as civilian contractors and contractors have been sufficiently demonized by the press throughout the Iraq war to the point that the administration probably assumed they could brush this off without much of a backlash. Who cares about a couple mercenaries who murder women and children getting killed?

Glen and Ty were members of the SEAL community which has received much more press than it should have gotten in the past few months. They fought and died just as they would have when they were on active duty. They were civilians on a contract, but somehow the SEAL ethos has taken precedence over the mercenary label previously given. The fact of the matter is that they were not on active duty serving as Navy SEALs. They were civilians working on a 1099. What's the difference? Ask a lawyer...it's a big difference. I'm betting the administration was hoping to minimize this event and their plans were foiled by America's love affair with the SEAL Teams. They fought and died by the SEAL ethos in defense of their beloved country. They did what every warrior would have done. They stood between the sheep and the wolves. It was the right thing to do. The situation they found themselves in is one that many former SOF operators turned contractors have found themselves in...high and dry. In this case their past didn't come back to haunt them. Instead, Glenn and Ty's past is coming back to haunt those in the administration who wished for their own leadership failures to pass under the American public's radar.

When you take the spin out of the equation, remove the election, and look at this from an objective standpoint, you see a slow bureaucracy,a lack of contingency planning constrained by a complex legal justification for overt military action in a sovereign nation on a compressed timeline with less than optimal real time intelligence. In short, a recipe for disaster. This complex mixture of politics, inner agency struggle, lawyering and failure to act will eventually be pinpointed somewhere within the middle of The State Department where politics and nuance trumps action , where management is trying to save their own asses in order to get ahead. Secretary Clinton's blanket acceptance of responsibility is evidence of this failure.

Could this have happened under anybody's watch? Of course. What is telling is how the administration handled the incident. There was a blatant failure in leadership somewhere in the chain and instead of admitting it, identifying it, and taking steps toward fixing it, they instantaneously moved to deflect the entire event. Since that didn't work , they are attempting to use any and all events as a platform to move past the event.

It is not the failure and the loss of life that bothers me. That's a cold thing to say, but anyone who has spent time working within our Government bureaucracy understands how poorly it operates and that these events will happen regardless of who is at the helm. What's extremely troublesome is that the character and valor being displayed at the lowest levels consistantly and without exception outshines the "leaders" at the top of the chain. This is not a recipe for success. Transparency is what we need as a nation right now and we need to face some painful truths. Glen and Ty were just two Americans trying to do the right thing and in the pursuit of what they believed to be right they sacrificed their lives without concern for their own fate. Isn't that the kind of character we should demand of our elected leaders? Glen and Ty died for one another in the defense of their country and they didn't even have an election right around the corner. I would hope that someone in middle management at the State Department sees the example these two men set and choses to tell the truth and shed some light on the graveyard of integrity that is their leadership.

William "Bill" Kelly is 95-year-old World War II veteran from Oregon. He lived through the Great Depression.
He served in the South Pacific during World War II. And now he has just fought the coronavirus -- and won.

Bill joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to share his experience and a hopeful message about why the younger generations can overcome this crisis.

"I want to tell the people, it wasn't pleasant, but on the other hand, you know, if you do what you're supposed to do, and you have some loved ones around you, and do a lot of praying, why, you'll come through okay. We [American's] have been through a lot. We've been through Pearl Harbor. We've been through the Great Depression, and who knows what else. We're tough. We'll get through it. Hang in there," Bill said.

"You know, it's just -- it's in our American blood," he added. "We're that type of people. We take care of each other, and we are not going to break down. We're going to make it through, every time. Every time."

"There are people that don't think we are those people anymore. That it was the greatest generation -- your generation -- that did it, but now we're not the same people. Do you agree with that? Glenn asked.

"No," asserted Bill. "And the reason I say that is because I remember when I was a young kid, you know, and people, the older people, said 'all those young kids are soft' ... but when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor -- sneak attack, you know -- it's surprising how those so-called goofy kids turned into mighty fine fighting people. And they're very loyal. I have lots of faith in them ... no, I don't have any problems with this new generation. They'll take care of us. We're Americans."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 950,638 (up from 872,891 Yesterday)
  • Total Deaths Worldwide: 48,289 (up from 43,271 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 202,631 (up from 184,588 Yesterday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% Yesterday, but down from 19% high back in February
  • Note that 12% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy at 12% requiring hospitalization
  • US has 215,344 Confirmed Cases and 5,112 Deaths, up from 188,592 cases and 4,056 deaths yesterday
  • COVID-19 is now the 3rd leading cause of death in the US, behind Heart Disease and Cancer (based on daily fatalities per 1,000 people)
  • The United States of America now leads the world in total confirmed cases, with 115,000 more cases than Italy (although Italy leads the world in Deaths with 13,155 officially dead)
  • US is 25th in Total Confirmed Cases per 1 Million Population, with 651 cases per 1 Million people. Spain has 2,583 Cases per 1 Million people.
  • US is 23rd in Total Confirmed Dead per 1 Million Population, with 15 Dead per 1 Million citizens. Italy has 218 Dead per 1 Million.
  • US has 5,112 Dead vs 8,878 Recovered and 5,075 in Critical Condition
  • The US currently has 201,354 Active Cases of COVID-19, with still less than 1% of the total US population tested.
  • 17% of Americans who have been tested have been diagnosed with COVID-19
COVID-19 Now Killing Victims Who Don't Have COVID-19 https://nypost.com/2020/04/02/coronavirus-nyc-emts-stop-taking-cardiac-arrest-patients-to-hospitals/
  • EMTs in New York have been given a directive not to transport heart-attack victims to hospitals if they cannot be revived at the scene.
  • Prior cardiac arrest victims would have been transported to hospitals for further life-saving procedures, but with hospitals being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, heart attack victims are solely in the hands of local EMTs. If EMTs cannot restore a pulse at the scene, victims are to be left there to die.
  • "Artificial ventilation and/or compressions must not be delayed," the memo states, adding that chest "compressions must begin as soon as it is determined the patient does not have a pulse."
  • But the guidelines change if the patient cannot be revived before arriving at a hospital.
  • "In the event a resuscitation is terminated, and the body is in public view, the body can be left in the custody of the NYPD."
China Lied, People Died Trending on Social Media https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-01/china-concealed-extent-of-virus-outbreak-u-s-intelligence-says
  • US Intelligence Services has concluded what the Internet has known since January: The Chinese Communist Party lied about total infected and total deaths due to Coronavirus.
  • Citing a report provided to the White House last week, officials confirmed that US Intelligence concludes 'gross' underreporting of total cases and total deaths, especially from Hubei Province.
  • Many have speculated that numbers coming out of China, Iran, North Korea, Russia and other totalitarian countries have been dramatically underreported, by as much as a factor of 10 according to official British Intelligence reports.
  • The early misrepresentation of data by the CCP may have lead some Western Politicians and epidemiologists to underestimate the seriousness of COVID-19 and delayed response in Italy, Spain, the UK and the US.
  • Though why anybody would have believed anything the Chinese Communist Party had to say remains an open question...
Italy's Death Toll Far Higher Than Reported https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/italys-coronavirus-death-toll-is-far-higher-than-reported/ar-BB122vvc
  • In the town of Coccaglio, an hour's drive east of here, the local nursing home lost over a third of its residents in March. None of the 24 people who died there were tested for the new coronavirus. Nor were the 38 people who died in another nursing home in the nearby town of Lodi.
  • These aren't isolated incidents. Italy's official death toll from the virus stands at 13,155, the most of any country in the world. But that number tells only part of the story because many people who die from the virus don't make it to the hospital and are never tested, therefore they aren't included in official numbers.
  • "They were all sick, they all had flu-like symptoms and difficulty breathing," stated a nurse from one of the nursing homes. "We had no ambulance to get them to Milan."
  • In the areas worst hit by the pandemic, Italy is undercounting thousands of deaths caused by the virus, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows, indicating that the pandemic's human toll may end up being much greater, and infections far more widespread, than official data indicate.
  • As stretched and sometimes overwhelmed hospitals fight to save their patients, many other people die unseen and uncounted, including elderly people in out-of-the-way locations.
  • In addition, the health-care crisis can lead to a surge of deaths from other causes that would normally be treatable.
  • "There are many more dead from the virus than are officially declared... People died and they were never tested because time and resources are limited," Eugenio Fossati, deputy mayor of Coccaglio, says of deaths caused by the virus.
More Numbers Hard to Trust as Bodies Left On The Streets in Ecuador https://www.scmp.com/news/world/americas/article/3078077/coronavirus-bodies-are-being-left-streets-ecuador
  • Coronavirus: bodies are being left on the streets in Ecuador.
  • 'They fall in front of hospitals or in back street alleys, or in small villages…no one wants to recover them,' says the mayor of Ecuador's largest city.
  • The army is placing unclaimed bodies in refrigerated cargo containers at the port while authorities pursue plans for a new cemetery.
  • The corpses have been overwhelming Guayaquil, a port city of 2.8 million at the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in Ecuador.
  • Over the last few days, several were wrapped in plastic and left on the streets. Others have lain unclaimed in hospitals and clinics that have been overwhelmed by infections. The city morgue is full.
  • The majority of the dead are believed to be victims of the virus, but nobody can say for sure how many. There has been little testing.
  • The country has confirmed 2,700 infections and 93 deaths - 60 of them in Guayaquil and its immediate surroundings. But municipal officials there said they have recovered at least 400 bodies in the last 3 days.
  • Mayor Cynthia Viteri, who announced that she has also tested positive for the virus, said the national government should be responsible for collecting the corpses.
  • "They're leaving them in the villages, they are stacked in front of hospitals," she said in a Twitter video message to residents late last week.
  • Many local villages in Ecuador are simply burying the dead in unmarked graves, which will make official counting of COVID-19 victims impossible in the weeks ahead.
50% of Viral Spread Comes from People With No Symptoms https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/01/health/us-coronavirus-updates-wednesday/index.html
  • Researchers in Iceland have confirmed earlier reports from Hong Kong that a significant amount of viral spread is caused by carriers who have no symptoms.
  • In the US, Doctors at the CDC have confirmed asymptomatic spread, but estimate a number of about 25%.
  • If true, then the case for all persons to wear masks, even those who don't have symptoms, becomes much stronger.
  • To prevent further spread, the top infectious disease expert in the US says health officials are reconsidering guidance on face masks.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would "lean towards" recommending that the general public wear face masks "if we do not have the problem of taking away masks from the health care workers who need them. The public can stay home to avoid infection, but health care workers cannot," he said.
  • "We're not there yet, but I think we're close to coming to some determination," Fauci said.
Ship vs Train... Ship Wins https://abc7.com/usns-mercy-coronavirus-train-crash-derailment/6069395/
  • A Locomotive Engineer in Los Angeles has been charged with 1 Count of "Train Wrecking", a Class A Felony under Federal Law, after purposely derailing his freight train while attempting to sink the US Hospital ship Mercy.
  • Eduardo Moreno, 44, intended to hit the ship, saying he thought it was "suspicious" and did not believe "the ship is what they say it's for.'"
  • Moreno admitted to crashing the train intentionally but said he did not plan it out in advance. It is believed that he acted alone.
  • He allegedly made statements to a CHP officer that included "You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don't know what's going on here. Now they will."
  • Officials say video from inside the train's cab shows Moreno holding a lighted flare during the incident.
Biggest Issue With COVID-19 in Malaysia: Nagging Wives https://www.npr.org/2020/04/01/825051317/dont-nag-your-husband-during-lock-down-malaysias-government-advises-women
  • Malaysia has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with more than 2,900 and counting.
  • This week, Malaysia's government also had a serious public relations issue after an ill-conceived plan went online.
  • Malaysia's Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development issued a series of online posters on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19. It advised the nation's women to help with the country's partial lockdown by not nagging their husbands.
  • The ministry also advised women to refrain from being "sarcastic" if they asked for help with household chores.
  • Additionally, the Ministry urged women working from home to dress up and wear makeup.
  • After some negative response on social media, the public service messages have been removed from the Ministry's Facebook page.

MyPillow inventor and CEO Mike Lindell was lambasted by the left and mainstream media after he announced at a White House press briefing on Monday that his company will start making tens of thousands of masks to fight against the spread of coronavirus. Lindell also thanked God for President Donald Trump and encouraged Americans to turn back to God in this time of crisis.

Read the details here.

Whether it was his support for President Trump or strong religious beliefs, no one has lit up the media quite like Mike Lindell. He joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Monday to talk about the president, the 'horrible, crazy media' and how he's not afraid to keep speaking out about his faith.

"I think people are going to quit being brainwashed by this horrible, crazy media -- they know who they are -- and the public is going to see the amazing job that our president is doing," Lindell said. "I've done interview after interview today. I'm taking all the bad ones on -- I think I'm going on 'The View' tomorrow I love it. I want to go right into the hurricane. Finally, I get to speak out for Jesus like I want to."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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News broke that German Finance Minister Thomas Schaefer reportedly committed suicide on Saturday due to the stress from the economic climate during the coronavirus crisis. Unfortunately, this headline may become more common place. Concerns are far beyond those of just hand washing, finding toilet paper and the latest White House briefings. There may be a secondary crisis growing — mental health and suicide.

Messages fill my inbox daily from parents worried about their teens showing signs of risk of suicidal ideation. Spouses concerned about the toil recent layoffs will have on their partners. Elderly family members are also vulnerable.

Last week, news a father of three dying by suicide made me want to scream to the world – "LISTEN!" We are losing too many of our human family. And I am afraid with COVID-19 on the scene, we are going to lose more than ever.

During the past six years — following the suicide of my 40-year-old sister — my mission has been to bring awareness and help prevent suicide. Everyone is exposed to suicide. You either struggle with depression/anxiety, you love someone that struggles, or like me, you have already lost someone to suicide. That is literally everyone on the planet. Bigger numbers than even the virus.

Little known fact. Springtime is a peak season for suicides. Even compared to the holidays.

Little known fact. Springtime is a peak season for suicides. Even compared to the holidays.

So, pile on the constant stream of news, stats about COVID-19 deaths and a lock down on social distancing, even the most emotionally skilled individual may be drowning in vulnerability and at risk.

What can be done?

Social distancing, not isolation

Even though we are standing 6ft apart in the grocery stores, and no longer going to church together, humans need connection to survive.

Free communication apps like Marco Polo are a great way to not hide behind a text. Whether it is on video chat or old fashion letter writing, making connection a priority is crucial for our survival.

Emotional check-in

The new normal seems to be changing by the hour. It is hard to keep up, recalibrating with all the change. Just like the importance of taking temperature to check for virus symptoms, we need to monitor our emotional temp. Try the one word check-in, at dinner time, simply by asking, "How am I feeling today?" It can be a great barometer.

Naming our feelings keep them tamed.

It's Ok to not be Ok

It is crucial to our survival to frame this crisis with a mental health back drop. Suicide, depression and anxiety concerns should be at the top of the STAY HOME and STAY SAFE list. If you find yourself feeling helpless or having thoughts of self-harm, please reach out for additional support. Therapists are using online formats to serve their clients. Call your doctor or one of the many 1-800 numbers.

No one is an extra, disposable member of our human family.

If you are reading this and struggling. Please remember, we will never be better without you. No one is an extra, disposable member of our human family. We will make it thru this COVID-19 crisis stronger and closer than before. No longer will we take hugging our neighbor for granted.

And maybe, just maybe we will someday find the vaccine that stops suicide virus from spreading.

Ganel-Lyn is a public speaker, media personality & author