GOP View On Benghazi ‘Cartoonish’ Says Former Bush Defense Secretary (VIDEO)

Screenshot, Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates on Benghazi

Screenshot of Benghazi discussion on Face the Nation; Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates

On this weekend’s broadcast of CBS’ Face The Nationformer Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke to Bob Schieffer about his views on the GOP frenzy over Benghazi, calling their ideas about military capabilities “cartoonish.”

The former Secretary of Defense, who served in the position from 2006 to 2011 under both President Bush and President Obama, said that he heard the testimony given by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint  Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey. Based on that testimony, Gates said,”I think my decisions would have been just as theirs were.”

Gates made it clear that while he has not been briefed on Benghazi, his experience as Secretary of Defense gives him the ability to address the issues regarding whether or not the military could have been mobilized in time.

“We don’t have a ready force standing by in the Middle East — despite all the turmoil that’s going on,” Gates says, “with planes on strip alert, troops ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. And so, getting somebody there in a timely way would have been very difficult, if not impossible.”

The former Defense Secretary goes on to address those who have suggested that a plane could have been sent into the area to scare off the attackers. Considering the dangers posed by surface-to-air missiles, sending military aircraft into the volatile situation was too risky.

“I would not have approved sending an aircraft,” Gates said, “a single aircraft, over Benghazi under those circumstances.”

In the interview, Gates goes on to respond to critics who assert that the Special Forces or another small team of troops could have been deployed to the area:

“Based on everything I’ve read, people really didn’t know what was going on in Benghazi contemporaneously, and to send some small number of Special Forces or other troops in without knowing what the environment is, without knowing what the threat is, without having any intelligence in terms of what is actually going on on the ground, I think, would have been very dangerous. And personally I would not have approved that.”

Secretary Gates makes clear how ridiculous the GOP’s criticisms are regarding the response in Benghazi.

“It’s sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces,” he says. The military must have time to plan and prepare before going in to dangerous situations, and Gates said that in this case, “there just wasn’t time to do that.”

Gates’ statements reflect what the Pentagon has been saying as well – namely that any military support could not have arrived in time anyway. The idea that the military forces stationed in Tripoli could have been sent would have done nothing more than leave an already threatened complex defenseless, and still would have done nothing to prevent the Benghazi attack.

Here’s the video: