CIA report doesn’t answer questions

To the editor:

Your Friday cover story (“CIA responded to attack”) fails to reconcile conflicting news reports regarding the timing of the Benghazi consulate attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. It left readers wondering if Ambassador Stevens was mortally wounded early in the attack, or closer to seven hours into the event.

Either way, it’s inexcusable that the U.S. did not intervene with adequate resources.

I had to read twice to ascertain that “The CIA rushed security operatives … within 25 minutes of the attack …” meant a small, insufficiently armed local CIA team tried to fight their way through a heavily armed terrorist organization. It also meant that U.S. soil and personnel had virtually no defenses from the inside.

Our supposed “heavy hitters” from Tripoli were engaged in buffoonery, trying to piece together transportation that ultimately delivered them on-scene at least 7½ hours after the attack was first reported. Not only was the consulate overrun, but the Benghazi CIA base was attacked.

Four days prior to the election, we are asked to believe that a prompt, unbridled response was launched. The lack of local security and defenses is appalling, as is the failure to launch a real military response. It’s likely that one armed U.S. aircraft could have neutralized the aggressors.

At the very least, a robust ground force should have been deployable without having to rent, beg or borrow aircraft, weapons and surface transportation.

The Obama administration may be able to claim some sort of swift action, but the facts reflect a bungled response and an underlying failure to plan for contingencies. U.S. personnel and assets in volatile regions deserve better.

It has already been proved that the White House was wrong in claiming a unruly public demonstration escalated into the Benghazi consulate carnage. A carefully planned terrorist strike occurred, and the preceding warning signs were ignored.

Now we know administration decisions and actions before, during and after the attack were questionable at best. As the U.S. suffers another blow to our position on the world stage, it’s time to look through the excuses and deliver accountability to the top.

RICHARD P. CHRISTY

LAS VEGAS

General fired

To the editor :

Your Friday headlines are misleading and do not tell the truth behind Benghazi. If the truth were revealed, maybe we would know exactly why Gen. Carter Ham was fired for actually trying to rescue our ambassador.

If the CIA did respond, why is there no report of who responded and exactly how they survived?

Your top story from The Washington Post does not pass the smell test.

LEE S. GLIDDON JR.

NORTH LAS VEGAS

Gridlock

To the editor:

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid last week expressed his unwillingness to work in a bipartisan way with Mitt Romney should Mr. Romney win the presidential election. After all the complaining and barking to Republicans on how America would be better served with a Congress that was willing to work together, our senior senator has already decided he would not be able to do so.

Was this sour grapes because he feels President Obama might actually lose? Or was this a form of blackmail for all the voters to vote for Mr. Obama, or else we’ll be in for a long stalemate?

KENNETH TODOROFF

LAS VEGAS

Government helps

To the editor:

This a great lesson for everyone who keeps telling the federal government to get out of their lives. I was wondering with the damage left by Hurricane Sandy, would they really expect that the state and the local businesspeople alone can do it on their own, helping their residents? Of course not. But the federal government always comes to the rescue regardless of their status.

Do we even worry that those aids will dramatically increase our deficits? Of course not, because this is the American way, we help one another. So if the federal government is helping the needy, be it a senior citizen, a homeless person or a student, let us not complain, because in a time of our own need we should be thankful that the federal government is around ready to help. Yes, it may raise the deficits we have, but United States of America will always prevail.

Let us not call America a socialist government, because she is not. She is just there willing to help when someone needs her. We tend to forget all the benefits that we get from the government: free schooling from kindergarten through high school unless you’re one of those privileged families who sent their kids to private school. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security benefits and many other programs are provided by the government to citizens in order for them to survive and have a better life in this great country.

Oh yes, some might not have contributed to these funds, but when someone is in dire need we should all pitch in. We should all be thankful to our great country, the United States of America, for giving us her helping hand.

NAZ MANSILLA

LAS VEGAS

Climate change

To the editor:

As surely as the barometric pressure rises after a storm like Sandy, so too does the conversation about climate change. The overwhelming majority of qualified scientists are convinced it’s real and that our contribution has been quite generous, most of the rest are “undecided,” and the anecdotal evidence is mounting ominously.

But even if the jury were still out on whether the Earth is getting warmer, or just flatter, wouldn’t it seem wise to err on the side of survival?

LONNY ZAROWITZ

LAS VEGAS

Frankenstorm Sandy

To the editor:

Frankenstorm Sandy is one more dramatic demonstration that climate change and its extreme weather patterns are now part of our future. Although we’re unlikely to reverse climate change, we can still mitigate its effects by reducing our driving, our energy use and our meat consumption.

Yes, meat consumption. A 2006 U.N. report estimated that meat consumption accounts for 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in the respected World Watch magazine suggested that it may be closer to 50 percent.

Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport and slaughter animals and to refrigerate their carcasses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively. We have the power to reduce the devastating effects of climate change every time we eat. Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of soy-based lunch “meats” – hot dogs, veggie burgers, soy and nut-based dairy products (including cheese and ice cream), and an ample selection of traditional vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. Product lists, easy recipes, and transition tips are available at www.livevegan.org.

LUKE VITTERMAN

LAS VEGAS

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