My condolences to the families and friends of the four Americans murdered in Libya. I have my doubts about US policy in Libya, past and present, but I'm certain those four were faithfully serving the United States and doing their part to help Libya transition to democratic society. God bless and keep them.
There are still many questions around the events in Libya and Egypt. Perhaps when our major news organizations quit acting like some sort of insane clown posse they can help us answer them. In the meantime, here are a few points and questions of mine at this stage.
-Obviously the US embassy staff in Cairo had intelligence that something was going to happen on Tuesday. That's why they issued their preemptive statement disavowing the stupid movie that allegedly started this. Exactly who knew what that day and how widespread was that knowledge across the entire State Department?
-While some of the criticisms of the first US embassy statement are a bit over the top, some are quite valid. We should not be defensive to anyone about our freedoms and our government should not take it upon itself to condemn people who exercise them legally. It is, however, entirely proper to truthfully note when an individual's opinion does not represent the position of the US government nor the overwhelming majority of our citizens. Professional diplomats should be able to craft such a statement without appearing to appease the freakin' barbarians of the world.
-When the Cairo embassy learned that something would be happening on Tuesday, what was conveyed to the Egyptian government and who conveyed it? Somebody in the US State Department should have strongly insisted that the Egyptian government take all necessary measure to ensure the security of our Cairo embassy. Did that happen or not? If it didn't happen, why not? If it did, we deserve to know the details around that discussion.
-It was no accident that demonstrators were able to scale the wall of the US embassy in Cairo, roam the compound, and raise the al Qaeda flag in place of our own. The Egyptian government has a massive security apparatus at its fingertips in Cairo yet they chose not to use it, because they orchestrated the whole thing in the first place. Make no mistake, the date, the riot, and the flag add up to a deliberate and deadly insult to the United States. By his actions, Egyptian President Morsi has declared loudly and clearly to any willing to listen that Egypt is the enemy of America.
-I had hoped that the Egyptian military would intervene and save Egypt from the Islamists but it looks like that won't be the case. Egypt ruled by the military was a tragedy. Egypt ruled by the Islamists is going to be a catastrophe. Part of the fury over Romney's remarks is to avoid coming to grips with Egypt being lost and the Obama administration's role in that.
-If you are an American citizen in Egypt right now, get out. Get out as quickly as you can. If you are an American citizen thinking of traveling to Egypt, don't.
-It is the responsibility of the administration, any administration, to see to the safety and security of its diplomatic staff. What happened two days ago in Benghazi was a failure to live up to that responsibility. The murderers themselves bear the blame, of course, but some hard questions need to be asked and answered about the wisdom of having a consulate in Benghazi and the adequacy of the security efforts there, both US and Libyan. We don't need a witch hunt, but the death of those four Americans deserves a serious and thorough inquiry.
-The time for patience regarding the real details of exactly what happened in Benghazi is almost over. We need to hear specifics, particularly about what happened to our ambassador. There are already rumors that the administration is covering up that a mob dragged him through the streets. If that's not what happened, then shame on those who took a handful of photographs and turned those into something that wasn't real. Tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may.
-Libya is a tribal society. Like Afghanistan and Iraq it's not the only major influence, but it is one of the biggest. The Benghazi attackers do not exist in a tribal vacuum. Certain tribes and certain elders enable their existance. Those elders have made America a mortal enemy and we need to publicly name them and declare that we are out for their blood. And while we won't target their wives and children, they probably shouldn't be hanging around their husband or daddy anymore.