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Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective

The blog is a view of life, science, politics and education from an engineering perspective. As engineers, we are taught to view the world objectively. We can hope, believe and calculate a particular outcome, but natural laws are inflexible and pay no heed to who we are or what we believe. We must approach the objective dispassionately, while compensating for our own distorted perceptions. Balance is also a key element; balancing between the ideal and the pragmatic, balancing cost and functionality, balancing analysis with action, etc.

Scheduling routine critical self-analysis is the foundation to objectivity. If we do not fully understand and compensate for our own failures, tendencies, habits and skewed thought processes, we will not see the world as it is. Without a regular critical self-analysis we will see the world as we are and then fall prey to self-delusion.

Failure is a great teacher. When failure is coupled with perseverance, it produces the fruit of patience and humility. An engineer, fresh out of engineering school is typically set up for failure early and often. The failure breaks the new engineer of any ideas of self-importance, arrogance and book smarts. Only then can the new engineer be formed and molded into a productive element in the industry.


The Benghazi attack

Benghazi, Chris Stevens

Benghazi attack timeline

  • April 6, 2012: Consulate attacked with EIDs
  • April 7, 2012: Ambassador Chris Steven asks for DC3 and a security team
  • May 3, 2012: State department turns down Stevens’ request for DC3 and security
  • May 22, 2012: The Red Cross in Benghazi is attacked.  Al-Qaida leaves message of further attacks
  • June 6, 2012: Terrorists blow a hole in the consulate wall.  Stevens again requests beefed up security.
  • June 10, 2012: The British ambassador survives an assassination attempt
  • June 15, 2012: State Dept tells the security contractor, Nordstrom, that the security contract will not be renewed.
  • June 22, 2012: Ambassador Chris Stevens warns the State Dept that extremist groups are operating openly in Benghazi and Libya as a whole
  • July 9, 2012: Ambassador Chris Stevens requests at least 13 more security personnel, citing an unpredictable situation in Libya
  • July 21, 2012: Security contractor, Nordstrom, warns State Dept to be on high alert for terrorist activity
  • August 2, 2012: Ambassador Chris Stevens sends urgent cable to Secretary Clinton requesting “protective detail bodyguard”
  • August 5, 2012: State Dept orders the removal of the security team, Nordstrom
  • August 16, 2012: Security team leaves while sending a message directly to Secretary Clinton of the dire security situation
  • September 8, 2012: Libyan officials in Benghazi warn both Ambassador Stevens and Secretary Clinton of a pending attack on the consulate
  • September 10, 2012: Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahri calls for Libyans to avenge the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi
  • September 11, 2012: 19:08: Ambassador Chris Stevens sends urgent cable to State Dept of hostile crowd gathering at the gate of the consulate 
  • September 11, 2012: 19:30: Ambassador Chris Stevens meets with Turkish diplomats seeking help and refuge
  • September 11, 2012: 21:45: Ambassador Chris Stevens calls Tripoli as shots are being fired
  • September 11, 2012: 22:05: State dept notifies the White House and Pentagon of the attack at the consulate
  • September 11, 2012: 22:45:  The CIA office in Benghazi makes the first of four urgent calls to the State Dept and Pentagon.  In each case they were told to stand down.
  • September 11, 2012: 23:00: Obama, Biden, Clinton, Panetta meet at White House for a debriefing
  • September 11, 2012: 1:08: Body of Chris Stevens found and taken to hospital
  • September 11, 2012: 2:23: Ansar al-Sharia takes credit for the attack
  • September 11, 2012: 3:55: Doherty and Woods killed on roof of annex
  • September 11, 2012: 22:00: Secretary Clinton sends out note suggesting the Internet video is responsible for the violence
  • September 12, 2012: 10:50: Obama and Clinton meet at the State Department
  • September 12, 2012: 18:00: Obama arrived in Las Vegas for a fundraiser
  • September 13, 2012: At a press conference, Jay Carney blames YouTube video for the violence
  • September 14, 2012: Jay Carney claims that there was no advance warning of attack “no actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”
  • September 14, 2012: Arwa Damon of CNN finds the diary of Chris Stevens
  • September 20, 2012: Clinton and Obama go on Pakistani TV to apologize for the internet video
  • September 25, 2012: Obama addresses the UN blaming the video for the attack
  • September 27, 2012: Innocence of Muslims filmmaker Mark Basseley Youseff (aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula) is arrested and denied bail
  • October 11, 2012: In VP debates, Biden claims that he was not aware of requests for security in Benghazi
  • October 23, 2012: In the final presidential debate Obama said the event would be investigated to determine the cause of the attack; “So far, we don’t have any details…”
  • October 26, 2012: Obama claims that he was not aware of requests for additional security in Benghazi
  • October 26, 2012: At funeral of Navy Seal Ty Woods, Biden asks grieving father, “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?” 

Information taken from released portions of Chris Stevens’ diary, congressional hearings, statements provided by General Ham and UKs Dailymail

In my September 21st blog, I was appalled at the attempts by the administration to use the YouTube video as cover for the attack.  I didn’t believe a word from Clinton or Obama; my BS detector was pegged.  Unfortunately, we have many people (mostly journalists and media types) in this country who pretty much believe everything this administration spews out. 

Many on the right want to impeach Obama for criminal negligence; however I believe that this is gross incompetence rather than criminal behavior. In either case, this event indicates that Obama does not deserve four more years.

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