What stands out the most from the Benghazi attack is that America lost four great men. Chris Stevens was a very sharp Ambassador who understood Libya like few other Americans. Sean Smith was a dedicated communications specialist for the State Dept and an Air Force veteran who got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Glen Doherty and Ty Woods were two of America’s best, showing intense moral and physical courage the night and following morning of the attack.

Beyond an epitaph for the fallen, Benghazi must also be viewed in the context of American foreign policy and counter-terrorism strategy. What lessons can be learned from the failures of Benghazi? It is beyond concerning how the media lied and distorted the truth around the attack, caught up in the fervor of the 2012 Presidential election, much of both the mainstream and alternative media got it wrong. The lesson to Americans is clear in this case. Take what you hear with a grain of salt and always question the narratives, and the authors background of the stories being sold to you. Even if it is coming from your favorite source of trusted news. None of these outlets constitute a paragon of the truth.

The security failures at the consulate are appalling, however, in the aftermath of any attack it is natural to focus on a lack of security. After any attack, be it 9/11/01 or 9/11/12, security will always be seen as inadequate when viewed in hindsight of a devastating terrorist assault. Still, a more permanent solution should have been implemented in Benghazi much sooner. Ambassador Stevens pushed for this, knowing how important Benghazi would be for US interests.

Instead, it was labeled as a Temporary Mission Facility and never given the support that this mission required. This was the key institutional failure from a security standpoint, that there was not enough support for the mission and there was little continuity between the personnel stationed there on temporary duty as they rotated in and out of Benghazi so fast. Currently, Congress is looking over how budgets will be allocated and how security can be upgraded but these measures have already taken place after previous embassy attacks such as in Kenya and Tanzania and the tangible end result seems ambiguous at best. This is especially true with the amount of political posturing being done by those in Congress.