Commentary by Kerry Patton
When Lt. Col. George A. Custer moved his troops into a defensive fighting position in his iconic final battle, it was over. Custer knew the Battle of Little Bighorn would end with extremely close and intimate fighting and only a miracle would save him and his men.
Ambassador Chris Stevens needed a similar miracle that didn't arrive, and evidence exists today suggesting events preceding his death were similar in nature to what Americans call “Custer’s Last Stand.”
New evidence depicts one major difference between General Custer and Ambassador Chris Stevens—Stevens probably wasn’t supposed to be killed. There are grounds to speculate that the ambassador was supposed to have been taken alive.
Conflicting reports imply that Ambassador Stevens had a small security detail comprising at least two former Navy SEALs. Some reports, as recounted by retired CIA Officer Clare Lopez and journalist S.E. Cupp, indicate the Americans were shot in the head—executed.
Whether these former SEALs were actually assigned to Ambassador Stevens’ security detail doesn’t matter. They likely saw the assailants and transitioned to what they were trained to do—find the most valuable asset (Stevens) and do everything they could to secure him—a true act of heroism.
At least two SEALs were intentionally killed. But Stevens did not die in the same fashion—he reportedly died from asphyxiation.
The Ambassador was likely moved to a secondary “hole up site” location prior to his death in an attempt to literally fight for time. His security elements moved him to what appeared to be a defensive position or safe haven—but, every safe haven will sooner or later get compromised unless a quick reaction force comes to the rescue.
Why would Stevens be taken alive?
Former Canadian diplomat and U.N. envoy Robert Fowler was abducted in southwestern Niger in 2008. Those involved in his abduction are the same people believed to have been involved in the recent killing of Ambassador Stevens—Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
AQIM has been known to conduct numerous kidnappings in the past. Some may claim that they have actually mastered the tactic. Kidnappings are a valuable tactic for any opposition. It causes fear, leverage, and often induces poor decision making due to an incredibly high peak of emotion.
Further reports have recently been uncovered showing Al Qaeda sought the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman—the man behind the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. He was also one of the leaders of the group Jamaa Islamiya (also known as al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya or, in English, Islamic Group)—a terrorist organization closely tied to al Qaeda.
Putting two and two together, it is feasible to speculate that Stevens was intended to be used as a pawn by Al Qaeda to secure the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman. They wanted our Ambassador alive.
As in the death of Custer, we may never know exactly who killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. But we don’t need to know who actually sparked the fire that later allegedly caused Stevens’ asphyxiation and death. We know Ambassador Stevens’ death resulted from a group of individuals who breached the defensive fighting position during Libya’s “Battle of Little Bighorn.”
As for UN envoy Fowler, he survived and wrote a book about his kidnapping. Fowler told National Public Radio (U.S.):
"You cannot discuss peace with the al-Qaida guys…They are simply not interested in any such discussions. The only thing they're interested in is ending the government of men and substituting it with the government of God.”
~~Kerry Patton, a combat disabled veteran, is the author of Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies and the children's book American Patriotism. You can follow him on Facebook or at kerry-patton.com.
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