Robert Gates: I would have handled Benghazi the same way

Criticism of the military response shows a "cartoonish impression of military capabilities," Gates said

By Jillian Rayfield

Published May 13, 2013 1:28PM (EDT)

  (Wikipedia/Ed Schipul)
(Wikipedia/Ed Schipul)

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that when it comes to military response to the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, he doesn't believe the would have acted any differently. "Frankly, had I been in the job at the time, I think my decisions would have been just as theirs were," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "We don't have a ready force standing by in the Middle East...and so getting somebody there in a timely way would have been very difficult, if not impossible."

Gates, who was appointed by George W. Bush and kept on during President Obama's first term, continued that he wouldn't have "approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi under those circumstances."

"It's sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces," Gates added. "The one thing that our forces are noted for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm's way, and there just wasn't time to do that."


Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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