Tuesday, February 2, 2016

13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff

4 Stars
Know what today is? Iowa Caucus Day. I bet there’s nothing Hillary Clinton would like more than a walk down memory lane back to September 11, 2012 . . .

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Just kidding. I don’t talk politics on social media. The great thing about 13 Hours is that IT didn’t talk politics either. Here, allow me to let the book speak for itself . . . .

“It is about what happened on the ground, in the streets, and on the rooftops of Benghazi, when bullets flew, buildings burned and mortars rained. When lives were saved, lost, and forever changed.”

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In case you aren’t familiar with the backstory (if you have no idea what this book is about do everyone in the U.S. a favor and refrain from voting in the next election – I don’t really care which way individuals swing, but people who know nothing about pretty in-your-face news events scare the crap out of me) it goes a lil’ something like this: Libya is an itty bitty country in Africa that has a deadly combo of a lot of money and a history of political strife. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens so happened to be in Benghazi on a most historic anniversary – that of September 11th. Residing in a “secret” location called the Compound, Ambassador Stevens was surrounded by State Department staff . . . .

“Not combat Cos, they’re intel collectors. They’re fucking glorified desk jockeys, that’s what they are. They’re smart people, but smart doesn’t outsmart a bullet.”

The muscle? Local militiamen who (in theory) would make sure no harm came to the property or government officials residing there.

Down the road was another compound known as the “Annex” which housed private security personnel consisting of retired members of some of the military’s most elite special forces. When the poo hit the fan and the gates of the main Compound were flooded with dozens of armed men it was those men who risked their lives when the hired help (and pretty much everyone else) failed to save the day . . .

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13 Hours was a remarkable story. Told by the people who were actually participating in the events, there’s no political posturing to be found. The style reads more of a “just the facts, ma’am” with the only conclusion being one that at this point in time seems so obvious . . .

“The attacks could have been prevented. That is, if only the State Department had taken appropriate steps to improve security at the Compound in response to numerous warnings during the months prior.”

I haven’t yet watched this movie because . . . well because generally I read my movies. I am intrigued, however, by the casting of Krasinsky of The Office fame in a dramatic action film. Word on the street was he was on the shortlist for Cap'n ‘Murica (which I would have been allllllll over because true to my nature I hate the current choice. Oh Chris Evans, your smarmy face is nearly as punchable as the Affleck and Damon). And while his newest endeavor has brought much joy to my Thursday evenings, I’m ready to see what else he can do . . .

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