Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Obama's 'cowardly act' to blame for Benghazi, Hawkins says

Henderson County Commissioner Grady Hawkins blamed "a cowardly act of the commander in chief and the secretary of state (going) AWOL" for the deaths of four Americans one year ago at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi in a politically flavored Sept. 11 memorial on Wednesday.

The Board of Commissioners last week unanimously endorsed the use of the Historic Courthouse steps for the event, which was organized by the Sons of Liberty Riders motorcycle group and Hawkins and included remarks by two Henderson County Tea Party leaders.


There was scarce mention of the terrorist attack on the U.S. that killed almost 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001. Instead, speakers urged those who attended to demand answers from Congress and the Obama administration about the Benghazi deaths.

"We know no reason why Ambassador Stephens and his team were not rescued in Benghazi," said Hawkins, a retired Air Force colonel who flew more than 300 combat missions in Vietnam. "Resources were available. There was a vacuum of leadership and a cowardly act of the commander in chief and the secretary went AWOL."
About 100 people turned out for the event, including the Sons of Liberty activists wearing shirts that said, "Benghazi: Demand the Truth."
"It's our purpose here today to continue the quest for a full understanding of the circumstances surrounding the tragedy in Benghazi," Hawkins said. "Of particular interest is the question that former secretary of state Hillary Clinton asked, 'What difference does it make?' I can't think of a better example of an answer to that question than the actions of Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez in May of 1968 in Vietnam."
Benavidez, a staff sergeant, braved a hail of enemy fire and, badly wounded, saved the lives of eight soldiers. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Hawkins and a fellow Vietnam veteran and retired Air Force colonel, Mike Scruggs, drew a contrast between the courage and valor of men who risked everything to save fellow soldiers and what they regard as the failure of the U.S. military and State Department security under President Obama to save U.S. ambassador Christopher Stephens, information specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty from a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012.
"It was 13 years after Sgt. Benavidez before he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor," Hawkins said. "We will not wait 13 years to get answers on Benghazi. It is our hope and prayer that our new secretary of state will not have to ask the question of 'what difference does it make.' Anyone in a position of authority that makes decisions affecting the lives of Americans who does not know the answer to that question is unfit for the office."
Scruggs, the past chairman of the Henderson County Republican Party, also spoke.
As an Air Force combat pilot, he had participated in and been the recipient of heroic rescue missions himself. The armed forces live by mottos that commit soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to go after the wounded and the imperiled no matter what, he said.
"The Air Force Never Turns Back," is one of that branch's motto, Scruggs said. "It's not a suicidal drive. It's simply a dedicated duty and honor to make every reasonable effort to support our comrades who may be in desperate peril."
The motto of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, "Duty, Honor, Country," the Marines "Semper Fideles, the Coast Guard's "Always Ready" and the Navy's "Not Self but Country" all express that commitment to helping comrades in need, he said.
"These are the mottos we must forever uphold," Scruggs said.