"As for armed drones or AC-130 Spectre gunships, officials say that they were too far away to help. Unclassified data put the range of Predator and Reaper armed drones at 770 miles and 1,150 miles, respectively. The nearest known base for armed drones, in Djibouti, is about 1,700 miles from Benghazi. Regarding the Spectre gunships, Little said: “No AC-130 was within a continent’s range of Benghazi.”" David Ignatius
Yes, nasty embarassments result from; distances and times and numbers of thingies. That's what adequate risk assesments, measuring distances on maps, figuring out tonnages and throughputs of supplies are all about. I spent months at the Armed forces Staff College in 1974 beginning to learn how to plan expeditions large and small. How to "get there with the most men," supplies and sustainable fire power was always the "name of the game." This will always be the name of the game.
It may well have been impossible to make that "consulate" hard enough to make it capable of holding out until help came. Does that mean that the place should have been abandoned? This is not necessarily the case. Sometimes the national interest requires the acceptance of a lot of risk. Ask soldiers about that. Ask them that rather than chanting the meaningless mantra of your thanks at them.
Should scarce national level assets like Hercules gunships (AC-130) be dedicated to stake-outs for the purpose of protecting little posts like this one at Benghazi? There are 25 such gunships in the whole USAF.
If such aerial firepower had been available should it have been used against unknown enemies on the ground without regard to the effect on the inhabitants of Benghazi?
These are real questions. These are questions that should be answered We should be talking about these factors not some Baron Munchausen nonsense about magic carpets that span the globe in an instant. pl