My version: Hardback
Genre: Fiction Britain, counter-terrorism
Publisher: Macmillan (Pan Macmillan)
First published: 2018
From the cover:
A harrowing account from the brave men who fought back during the battle of Benghazi.
On 11 September 2012, terrorists attacked the U.S. Compound and a nearby CIA station in Benghazi, Libya, one of the most dangerous corners of the globe. On that fateful night, a team of six American security operators, employed to protect the U.S. Embassy and their fellow Americans, went beyond the call fo duty and fought to repel mounting enemy forces and escalating firepower. They ignored orders to stand down and instead choked back smoke, fought wave after wave of machine-gun fire and, after 13 fraught hours, retook the compound.
In this gripping and blistering read, the Annex Team set the record straight about what really happened on the ground, in the streets and on the rooftops of Benghazi.
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I saw the film a while back, and only being aware of the rumpus there had been back in the USA over ‘the whole affair,’ I’d wanted to see what – naively, I suppose, as if I could from a film – see what the fuss might have been about. I couldn’t see anything wrong with what the guys on the ground out there did. They were attacked, by a rabble at first, but then it seemed to get more organised, and consequently more deadly, they fought bravely but sensibly and got the job done, all said. The book is, as far as I can see, what the film was based on, except the book seems less fraught, but no less deadly, than the intro blurb and the film, would suggest.
The problems in Benghazi, would seem to arise from the fact that the ‘operatives’ could see that there was a problem brewing, coming the Embassy’s way, and happening, but couldn’t get the U.S. officials in charge to give them the order to go in. Even when the officials could see what was happening, they held back for some reason. Wether is was uncertainty or stupidity or waiting for orders, the operators couldn’t figure it out. They eventually decided enough was enough and went in regardless. And though the delay caused the deaths of at least two officials, the people who were rescued at the end of it all, owe their lives to their disregard for protocol.
However, there isn’t a thought given to the idea that contractors were protecting the Embassy in the first place. Someone might say ‘well, that’s how it’s done in other parts of the world!’ But they aren’t Libya, just after the ‘revolution.’ Even with all the assurances and feelings that things had changed, at least in Libya, with the regard to thew Arabs feelings about the USA, a blind man would have seen that contractors working in a job that should have been done by the military, wouldn’t work. They had to wait for approval from another entity. Instead of, as I presume would happen, the Army being given control of protection. If that was the case, more concern would have been given to the general tension, rather than isolated cases of thawing relations, and the order to go in would, presumably ben given much earlier. And the people who died might still have been alive today. That’s what I get the surviving contractors feel.
Their actions under circumstances they would never have allowed to happen, are exemplary. As they were, mostly, ex-SEALs or Army, that is understandable. But still, not getting help from just about anywhere from their own country, and not being sure which local militia they could or could not trust to help, made a bad situation so much worse. It is also clear in several places in the book, that they want to make sure we know they took every precaution to save, or at least not to deliberately take, civilian lives. The Army couldn’t have done better, maybe just have done it earlier.
The book also goes out of its way to distance itself from what ever went on in the USA afterwards. It describes, from the many points of view of the operators and other US participants, what happened and when, the ‘controversy’ is referred to, but merely to state where it originated. And make no mistake, it was originated maliciously, to taint Obama and Clinton because there was an election just around the corner, by the Republicans. Nothing else. No security concerns or other fine phrases, maliciously and callously.
The book is tense, tight and nerve-shredding, however, in the case of Benghazi, the worst fighting took place back in Washington.
You can buy 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi from The Book Depository