13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi: A Review

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My family and I went to see 13 Hours:  The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi on Saturday.  I found the movie to be an exciting and moving recreation of the actions of the CIA contractors, all former  members of elite American military units,  who fought against the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/12, and a damning indictment of the lack of action by the administration which left these men in the lurch, their criminal inaction leading to the death of former Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.  A strong language advisory  as military men under fire have been known to swear on occasion, and I would further note that my wife had to leave the theater because she found the movie too intense.  My review is below the fold and the usual warning as to spoilers is in full effect.


It should be said at the outset that the surviving men who fought acted as advisors on the film, so presumably it is as accurate as any entertainment film can be that seeks to recreate an historical event. The film begins by introducing us to the men who provide security for the “clandestine” CIA Annex in Benghazi.  (I say “clandestine” because judging from the film the compound of buildings might as well have had a sign reading “American Spooks R Us!”, and any terrorists who did not know that the CIA was operating there were too stupid for words.)  The men are frequently profane in their banter with each other, but they are also all family men, heartbroken at being away from their families.  Thanks to 21rst century technology they are in constant contact with their families, which only seems to make the physical separation harder to take.  The security men are looked down upon by the CIA operatives, many of them Ivy League graduates, who view them as simple minded grunts.  Benghazi is portrayed as a city where normal life goes on side by side with gun battles between feuding factions and where it is all but impossible to distinguish between American allies and adversaries.

The film kicks into high gear with the attack on the consulate and the decision of the security team to go to the rescue, ignoring orders to stand down.  The fighting is intense, confusing and sometimes surreal, as the Americans find themselves confronting armed Libyans constantly with little or no clue as to whether they are friend or foe.  They fight their way into the consulate, recovering the body of Sean Smith, information management officer, but find no sign of  Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.  (The Ambassador’ body was later brought to a hospital by Libyans.)  They load up Smith’s body and the survivors from the consulate and make a harrowing trip back to the CIA Annex, fighting off attacks by terrorists along the way.

Back at the CIA Annex, the security team holds out until dawn against ever increasing massed terrorist attacks.  Constant requests for assistance are sent out.  In one scene CIA operatives at Benghazi note how close various military assets are on a map.   A female CIA operative requesting assistance is asked what her authority is.  In stunned disbelief she says she has the authority of asking for military aid for a lot of Americans, including herself, who are going to die if they are not helped. The military is shown as eager to respond, but no orders are ever given to relieve the CIA Annex.  The only reinforcements they receive come at dawn , a group of CIA operatives led by Glen Doherty, a former seal, who, on their own initiative, flew from Tripoli to aid what one of the defenders of the CIA Annex called Alamo 2012.  Shortly after Doherty arrives, both he and Woods are killed in a mortar barrage.

The battle scenes are quite realistic and gripping.  The men are depicted as full fleshed human beings and not as military super soldiers.  They are highly skilled warriors, but they are also men with families they miss.  They joke with each other, and mourn their dead, while dealing with a situation where they are called to fight outnumbered, a thousand to one, without the military support they have every reason to expect.

The film has a main character who is religious.  Quite brave, he states that he has simply assumed that God will take care of him in battle so long as he is doing what is right.  The film gives us a good sense of the individual personalities of the men doing the fighting.

A grand film tribute to men who fought to save American lives when the powers that be in Washington, for crassly political reasons, chose to look the other way.

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  1. “Who cares about Benghazi?” -Hillary Clinton

    “Who cares about Benghazi and e-mails?” – man who introduced Hillary Clinton at Iowa gathering.

    I pray that left leaning voters watch this movie and are disturbed to their very core. I have doubts though. If they are not disturbed by the slaughter of the Innocents caused by abortion in our land, than what’s four more lives? Who cares? Who cares?

    Hillary puts the H in Chastisement.

  2. Clinton and Obama deserve life terms in Marion, Illinois for what they did and didn’t do re Benghazi.

  3. I wonder if the producers of and actors in this film will now undergo investigation by the IRS.
    After a while, I find myself repeating how much I loathe liberal progressive Democrats ho abandoned our men, who murder babies, who sanctify sexual perversion, who despoil the morals of the nation. Eventually this has to stop, but the juggernaut of liberal progressivism is so large that it will take something monumental to reverse course now.
    I hope that regardless of their foul mouths, the men who gave their lives to defend Americans in Benghazi go to Heaven. Those who in their safe luxury gave the orders for rescue forces to stand down may not have such a destination when they are called from their life of material comfort and opulence.

  4. Penguin Fan.

    Amen to that!

    She could practice her “Spin techniques” on the staff and inmates.

    Himself? Well he could smurk his way to homosexual bliss.

  5. Of course Demoncraps will not see this movie. In spite of the foul language of hardened military men under pressure to heroically do the impossible with nothing, it shows Godly patriotism and Demoncraps by definition are demonic and cannot handle that truth or any truth. One day Democraps will stand side by side with Islamic fanatics on Judgment Day and they will share the same fate.

  6. Profanity in the military will be the next target for the libs. Let’s see. Red lipstick will be mandatory for all R.O.T.C. participants during the “sensitivity week” coming up. Remember the red heels not that long ago?

    Argo ____themselves!

  7. Saw the movie Saturday with my 6th grade son. What an incredible story. My admiration for the military contractors was almost surpassed by my disdain for the bureaucrats in the movie, whether they were onscreen or off. Everyone should see this movie before November. At some point, the anger just wells up. Indictments are overdue.

  8. Were justice to prevail, the man responsible for this travesty (and his wife) would, after 20 January 2017, be responsible for their own protection.

  9. Art Deco.

    Beautiful point of justice.

    We will end up paying for their security, but after their life on earth…….

  10. “Were justice to prevail, the man responsible for this travesty (and his wife) would, after 20 January 2017, be responsible for their own protection.”

    Comment of the week Art! Take ‘er away Sam!

  11. My wife and I saw the movie toite. My boss texted me to tell me that he and his wife were going to see it also. Those heroes cursed like drunken sailors and fought like the best of Roman legions. I may write more tomorrow. But as far as I am concerned, the two people who gave the stand down order – Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama – should be tried for treason. Those jerks know nothing of what it takes to preserve their freedom. And if this country elects either her or that commie pinko Bernie Sanders, then we are truly doomed for the Republic will be at an end. God have mercy on those who gave their lives. I do not have their heroism. And as I have already said, I hope they made it to heaven in spite of ther foul language and their rough ways.
    “War is hell and hell is hell, and of the two, war is worse.” I think Hawkeye Pierce from MASH (that old 1970s TV show) said that. Can’t remember. Hope I never find out if it is true.

  12. PS, my Filipina immigrant wife said that the movie is heartbreaking but well worth seeing. She is a typical Filipina Catholic – doesn’t know anything about theology or philisophy, and doesn’t care. Too complicated. But she does know right from wrong. “Why they not send help when asked?” My answer: “Hillary and Obama ordered a stand down.” Her response, “Oh, that wrong. They not send help? That wrong.” Rest assured that when she becomes a citizen, she’ll never vote Democrat.

  13. “But she does know right from wrong.”

    That’s a lot more than many theologians understand nowadays!

  14. Fox News a few months back aired an extensive interview following the timeline of events with these heroes. It was a gripping show and an apolitical show. My reaction at the time was anger that American citizens in the service of our government were hung out to dry and then one of pride in these former military men who were the rescuers despite being told to stay out of it. We plan to see the movie. Over lunch with a friend on Mon. I mentioned that actress Maggie Smith’s son is seen in the movie trailer. Whereupon my friend said, “It’s a movie aimed at Republican viewers.” I had to set her straight.
    I dislike foul language and particularly the use of it in comedies because it is gratuitous and often ruins the show. Foul language is prevalent in the military and I would guess in most all male groups, especially those in stressful situations so the use of it in the movie is realistic. As an aside a foul mouthed woman makes me cringe. Unfortunately vulgar language has crept into the media and as a result in use by the younger generation of both sexes.
    We pretty much know who the cowards are. The number of unsung heroes out there is enormous; they deserve our gratitude and our prayers.

  15. I think trying to figure out who ordered whom to stand down can only end in a semantical rabbit hole along the lines of “it all depends on what the meaning of is is” –if only because I doubt very much a stand-to/stand-by was first ordered and later countermanded.
    My personal guess is that bureaucratic infighting between State, DOD & the CIA, coupled with the complete and utter failure of POTUS to provide direction left us paralyzed for the duration of the crisis.

    The interesting question for me is: were State, DOD & CIA fighting over who was going to take the lead, or fighting to avoid responsibility for taking the lead? My guess here is that State took/was stuck with leading because this was primarily a diplomatic crisis, which they attempted to resolve –by asking the Libyans to do something about it. The reason Benghazi remains a black hole (Obama buried it enough to win re-election, so what does he care now, particularly since he’s tempermentally incapable of accepting culpability for anything.) is because it would reflect discredit upon the former Sec State –and nothing must be allowed to come between her and her rightful place in the Oval Office.

    Granted, that’s all sheer speculation. As recent events in the Persian Gulf remind us, the administration has a habit of ignoring bad news/unpleasant events in the hope that nobody else will notice either. When that fails, they start looking around for convenient scapegoats.

    In any event it seems to me nothing short of a miracle that only four lives were lost. In fact, that may be one of the biggest unspoken ironies in this story. That is, whereas the loss of the CIA Annex as well as the Consulate/Mission/Residential Compound we were renting would have been an inescapable disaster for the Obama administration, it therefore might very well be only owing to ferocious efforts of those contractors, that the Obama administration was able to successfully downplay the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith into a minor tragedy.

    Good movie. But I’m starting to get tired of the valor in the face of extreme adversity, noble stoicism in defeat vibe that’s become a recurrent theme in these dramatizations of modern events (e.g. Black Hawk Down, Lone Survivor, arguably, Zero Dark Thirty –but that’s more of a “what price victory?” vibe; and American Sniper only evades that vibe through the plot device of a fictional Iraqi sniper antagonist.)

    Honestly? I’d rather see a Delta Force remake wherein the elite special forces protagonists defy all sorts of politico-bureaucratic perfidy and incompetence to fight their way, on their own initiative, to relieve the beleaguered American outpost in the middle of greater Crapistan.

  16. The interesting reaction to this film has been a lack of criticism from the usual sources about “lies”, “inaccuracies”, “mischaracterizations” etc. in an effort to discredit it. Could be they don’t want anyone looking into, and verifying, the facts of what happened. While there is clear enough blame at the top, there is no question that some of politicized military and civilian higher ups declined to do the right thing and cowered in the shadows when courage was called for.

  17. T Shaw, to my mind they are equally dangerous in a president.

    If Hillary is nominated, look for bumper stickers with some of her deceitful, inane
    quotes, starting with her Benghazi quote, “What difference does it make?”

  18. @CAM.

    Here’s another one for the stickers;
    “Religions need to change their views regarding abortion.” HC

    What a ungrateful misguided “believer.”
    If her mother had the views that she vehemently professes, there’s a great chance that she, Hillary, would of ended up in a trash pile…dead from abortion…. like so many millions of other children.

    Hypocrite. That is her name.

  19. One must understand that HC is informed by her Methodist upbringing which see social action (liberal) as its raison d’etre. The Wesley brothers, who lived and died as low church Anglicans would be appalled at the church that was founded after their deaths. An offshoot, the Salvation Army was founded in the 1860s by William and Catherine Booth to do religious social work minus the political positions that were coming into the Methodist Church. This division exist today with Methodists seeing themselves in the vanguard of progressive social change and doing what they felt the Almighty would have done.

  20. @ Don Link.

    What would the Almighty do regarding abortion?

    To bad the Methodist, some Methodist, wouldn’t search the scriptures for the answers instead of relying on their own inclinations.
    Jesus made it very clear. “What so ever you do to the very least of my brothers and sisters you’ve done unto me.” Matthew 25:40

    When it comes to Goats v Sheep…the Goats may get the presidential votes needed to continue their social debauchery, but in the end the sheep will Triumph will the Good Shepherd.

    More goat cheese Hillary?

  21. Now that it is certain that Hillary Clinton’s e-mail and server were hacked by Iran, China, and/or Russia..


    ..with even cautious, ever-circumspect former Sec of Defense William Gates concurring (interview 1/21/16)..


    …we need to go back and look at the shoot-down of Seal Team Six, Aug. 6, 2011 (Feast of the Transfiguration, FYI). Of course, 3 months prior, on May 2nd, 2011, criminal-blabbermouth Joe Biden names Seal Team Six as the Bin Laden raid force, in an unprecedented breach of security (later affirmed by the Supreme Egotist, Obama). Aaron Vaughn, one of the ST6 group members, phoned home and notified his family after Biden’s yak-attack that Seal members had been informed that Al-Qaeda chatter, picked up around the world by US intelligence, indicated that all efforts were being concentrated on finding and destroying ST6: he warned his mother and family to clear and delete all social media communications in order to protect them, since they may be the focus of an attack. Their cover had been blown for Obama’s “victory lap”.


    Finally, while seeking a supposedly “high-value target”, a Taliban leader in Afghanistan, for the operation on Aug. 6, 2011, Hillary Clinton, the Sec of State since Jan 2009, who never had a US.gov secretary of state e-mail address on the SIPR-net secure communication system, but was receiving daily updates from Huma Abedin on copied-and-pasted info to her server, certainly received the highest-confidential information such as Seal Team 6’s operation to be scheduled on this day. Based on Gates’ assumption, this information went likely to Iran, who shared it with Al-Qaeda/Taliban operatives in Pakistan.

    A few days later, a heavy bombing raid supposedly killed Tari Qahir, the Taliban leader who had been the focus of the “extraction” of ST6. Dare we ask “why” was ST6 committed at all to this useless effort?
    When the day came, “Extortion 17”, the Chinook special operations helo arrived at the attack site, it was immediately engaged by heavy fire from 3 sides: ST6 had no escort aircraft for covering fire at all (probably just US military negligence and idiocy: we have to admit it happens, and they weren’t expecting anything but a “routine” mission: a Ranger commando unit was already on the ground, and perhaps the expectation was that the sector was secure). 25 Seals died, 5 other US air personnel also. Oh: 6 Afghani Army members, who had all been switched out at the last minute from the original 6 and who didn’t appear on the manifest, also died. Estimates of Taliban infiltration by one US general has been “1 out of 4, 25%”.

    So besides the almost-certain breach of her criminally-unsecure e-mails that informed Al-Qaeda operatives in Libya of his whereabouts and thus catalyzed the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens, as well as ex-Navy Seals Ty Woods and Glen Doherty (the latter, without whom the death toll certainly would have been larger, as well as leading to a likely hostage situation), Hillary Clinton, as the Clintons always do, left a swath of death and destruction by their unfathomably arrogant dereliction of security and responsibility for US lives—not just in Ben-Ghazi, but also in Tangi Valley, Afghanistan.

  22. Reminds me of the Walker family’s treason. From them to USSR to N Vietnam…. our aircraft hit by SAMS and our pilots would say, “It’s just as if they knew we were coming.” Of course, they did.
    What thoughtless hubris combined with incompetence – Biden, Obama and H Clinton.

  23. There is a shit storm coming our way. Both within the Church and within the USA. We are just about leaderless. Those in power ignore reality and speak using vague language. Within the Vatican, especially. The USCCB, a close second.
    Something wicked this way comes. Bet on it.

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