Marginal Notes on Benghazi

On page 130 of my novel, The Hammer of God, the Ambassador to Egypt is kidnapped. This becomes the center issue of a dramatic debate, which is, I am sure, as old as terror and as fresh as yesterday:  Do you negotiate with terrorists?

As I was writing the scenes that take place in the Oval Office, the words got heated between the Secretary of State and the President. Both entrenched in their diametrically opposed positions, with the President not wanting to accede to the kidnapping and thereby instantly create an open season on US Ambassadors worldwide, while the Sec State wanted some back channel trade to release a mastermind terrorist that America was holding – in a super-max in the middle of the country.  To help me keep the beats of this ethical dilemma straight, I made a note: “The President is saving all future Ambassadors, the Sec State is trying to save the current one.”  This sub-textual motivation helped me keep the arguments between my characters aligned.

Yesterday, I was cleaning my desk, and found my notes from the blog I wrote, “Benghazi and Impotence”. Posted on September 15, 2012, when I ran across something that, even though I had seen, had no meaning on Sept. 15th but I believe does today.  I will attempt to retype it as I wrote it in marginal chicken-scratch of my early 2010 draft of my novel (pictured below).

The writing process: Plot twists and chicken-scratch.

“DS inside plot SS .  Take Amb, trade Sheik, back ch.  B&R disobey ‘unmolest’. Start real FF w/Friendlies.” Bring back CS to unc? Does JeA have GF?”

Okay, so that’s how I really write (misspellings and all) and it even took me a minute to decipher what I jotted down two years ago, here’s the handy-dandy index:

DS inside Plot SS – The kidnapping of the Ambassador was a plot hatched within the Diplomatic Security Service at the Direction of the Sec State. The plan was to force to force a back channel, out-of-the-news prisoner exchange of the Ambassador for a terrorist mastermind Sheik who was caught and held in America.

Take Amb, trade Sheik, back ch. – It’s all staged as a pretext, so naturally, the “bad guys are in on it.”  Both sides are play acting, making believe.  Why?  Because America is really trading the Sheik for 24-suitcase nukes that can wind up in the hands of terrorists. So the kidnapping and subsequent trade for the Ambassador is the cover story to excuse the release of the Sheik, so we could take the nukes out of circulation.

B&R disobey ‘unmolest’ – But two Special Forces guys, Bridgestone & Ross, don’t know it’s a scam and defy the order to allow, unmolested, the transit of bad guys.  In fact, they respond the way dedicated Special Ops and Navy Seals are trained to respond and try to interdict with deadly force.

Start real FF w/Friendlies – So all of the sudden, the play actors on the other side are taking real fire from two US operators who are actually trying to kill them. “That wasn’t very sporting. Using real bullets.” to quote James Mason to Leo G. Carroll in North By Northwest.  So what was originally a staged event became a real firefight and the other side, now feeling betrayed, kill their prisoner.

Bring back CS to unc? – Means: Do I bring back my reporter, Carly Simmone – a character from my first book, The Eighth Day – as an investigative reporter (with a grudge against the current administration) who uncovers the deceptive plot?

Does JeA have GF?  – Or is the plot unraveled by the lead kidnapper, and planner of the deception gone wrong Jamal El Azam’s girlfriend who can’t believe her boyfriend, the American State Department Security guard (and inside man at the embassy.) would ever be a traitor. She knows he must have been following orders.

As readers of The Hammer of God know, I ultimately went in a whole different direction with the kidnap plot.

Those notes above are from 2010. These notes below are from yesterday:

Navy Seals ordered to Stand Down during attack of Benghazi consulate. – Two former Navy Seals disobeyed “Stand Down order” and engaged “enemy”.  7-hour firefight ensued.  “Real bullets”.  4 dead.

Oh, and one last note: a headline from Britain’s Daily Mail:

Egypt’s new president vows to free blind sheikh tied to 1993 WTC bombing


PUBLISHED: 16:10 EST, 29 June 2012 | UPDATED: 16:15 EST, 29 June 2012

Read more:

That’s why I call this blog, It’s only Fiction ‘til It Happens.

12 thoughts on “Marginal Notes on Benghazi

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