The news of the killing of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, in an attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi is bitter. It was Benghazi, after all, that was the heart of the Libyan revolution last year. Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi vowed to exterminate the rebels there like “rats.”
(PHOTOS: Protesters Scale U.S. Embassy Wall)
It was to protect the civilians of Benghazi that the U.S. went to war over Libya in 2011, along with its NATO, and some Arab, allies. Ghadafi was killed last October and now Stevens — who championed the rebels’ cause from his post in Benghazi — has sadly met the same fate.
The so-called “Arab spring” didn’t lance the anti-U.S. boil that has been oozing in the region for generations. The killings will require a major relook at how the U.S. plans to deal with its fledgling leaders.
The immediate political statements by both sides in the presidential race cheapens Stevens’ sacrifice. Romney said an early statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that “condemns” – now there’s an interesting word choice – “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims” was “disgraceful.” A White House spokesman denounced Romney’s comment as a “political attack.”
Sam Bacile is the 56-year old Israeli-American real-estate developer who who allegedly made the crude film mocking Islam’s founding prophet. It was a 13-minute trailer from that film that triggered the violence in Benghazi, as well as in Cairo.
Bacile is an idiot willing to toss fuel on smoldering embers – and then expresses surprise when it erupts into flames. The young men who stormed the consulate and embassy are idiots, too, zealots stoked by poor prospects for their own lives despite the overthrow of their longtime despots.
Here’s a news flash: American free speech doesn’t exist across much of the Arab world.
When crazed crowds mass – and local security is unable, or unwilling, to protect foreign diplomats – the guys stuck in the middle are people like Ambassador Stevens, State Department IT guru Sean Smith, and the two other U.S. personnel who perished alongside them. Their blood is on both idiots’ hands.