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Baghdad attack brings back memories of Benghazi for survivor

Iraqi Security Forces guard the outside of the U.S. Embassy Compound in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 1, 2020. (DoD photo by British Lt. Col. Adrian Weale)

The attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday brought back the nightmare of Benghazi for a contractor who survived a terrorist militia’s onslaught in Libya seven years ago.

John “Tig” Tiegan, a contractor who fought the terrorists who stormed the Benghazi embassy on Sept. 11, 2012, said he watched Tuesday’s embassy attack in Baghdad unfold over the internet with frustration.

“At least this administration is smart enough to get all the nonessential personnel out before the protest even happened,” Tiegan told the Herald.

In Benghazi, attackers from the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, communications officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Woods and Doherty, who was from Winchester, were working as civilian contractors. A years-long congressional investigation would later condemn former President Barack Obama’s administration for a range of security lapses and missteps leading to the deaths and a slow response to the attack.

There were no reports of casualties Tuesday at the embassy in Baghdad. The State Department said all American personnel were safe, and that there were no plans to evacuate the embassy. The government planned to send more troops to protect the compound.

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The attack followed U.S. airstrikes on Sunday that killed 25 fighters of the Iran-backed militia in Iraq, the Kataeb Hezbollah. President Trump blamed Iran for the embassy breach and called on Iraq to protect the American diplomats.

Tiegan said Iraq “will truly never evolve into anything until they can get disciplined and real leadership without being under a dictatorship. Sad to see Iraq military personnel in uniform protesting against a country that has sacrificed thousands of Americans’ lives so they could be free and live without fear of being fed to lions, shot, beaten, etc. … for just disagreeing with the leadership.”

Tiegan added that if Iraq should have the U.S.’s back after all the effort American troops have put into defending and rebuilding the Middle Eastern country over the years.

“In my opinion we should end all financial and military aid,” Tiegan said.

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© 2020 the Boston Herald