***** 5 OUT OF 5 STARS
13 Hours in Benghazi is the story of what happened on September 11th 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, when The Annex and Diplomatic Compound were invaded. It is the account according to the security contract operators who were hired at the CIA base, The Annex. There were six operators in total, one losing his life that day along with three other Americans; an American Ambassador, a state department computer specialist, and a former Navy SEAL, all of whom lost their lives.
The book is written as a narrative which is different for a nonfiction book but also makes it so gripping. I read the book in two days as I was not able to put it down. The book was based on the accounts from the five surviving contract operators and everything that was stated was either said or heard first hand by them directly. If there were any varying accounts the author sited them directly.
This dramatic account was not intended to be a political piece but it serves very well to outline the flaws of the Obama Administration handling of the situation before, during, and after the attack. To say the situation was handled poorly is an understatement, accountability also seemed to be non-existent after.
A few specific things that stuck out to me in this book were the parallels to the mistakes and lack of support and communication similar to the Battle of Mogadishu. At one point, one of the operators even recalled believing that if the rebels were to overtake the compound they would drag the lifeless bodies through the streets as they did in Mogadishu. Both were tragic losses, that seemed avoidable with better communication.
It was stated in the epilogue that because the operators were contractors and not active military or CIA staffers they were ineligible to receive certain awards. Awards that other personnel who played minor roles were awarded. This is obviously irritating knowing that these men put there lives on the line to SAVE AMERICAN lives, to attempt to protect an AMERICAN AMBASSADOR, but could not receive the recognition they deserved. I understand that men like this do not complete their missions seeking awards, but when credit is due, active military or not, they should receive the recognition they deserve. Lastly, on the very last page of the book, it is stated that the surviving operators hoped that the four men who lost their lives that day would be remembered "not as victims or political pawns but as brave Americans who put themselves in harms way, believed in their work and their country, and who died serving others." Those men died hero's in every form of the word, however, there are still so many unanswered questions regarding our governments role in this situation.