BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
(UPDATE– Since this story was originally reported, the country has learned that the version of events handed to the media and the country by the Obama administration was not true. “Hordes” did not kill the ambassador, instead armed insurgents did.)
Islamist madmen have yet again overreacted to the free speech of a private individual, and this time it has cost the lives of four Americans working at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. A mob also stormed the American embassy in Cairo, although nobody was injured there.
Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered by the mob in Benghazi. Adding insult to injury, the attacks took place on Sep. 11 and Sep. 12, while America was marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
The uproar ostensibly started because obscure Jewish writer and director Sam Bacile posted a trailer of a movie criticizing Mohammed to Youtube. Yes, you read that correctly, the rioting Islamic mobs blamed Western governments again for the actions of private individuals, not understanding or caring that the constitutions of most Western countries protect freedom of expression, but do not endorse any particular form of expression.
When the mob violence began in Egypt the American embassy in Cairo sought to calm the angry Muslim mobs who had been instigated by political leaders, including some in the Muslim Brotherhood. The embassy actually released a statement condemning religious bigotry more forcefully than it condemned the mob violence.
The statement backfired when the killings in Benghazi occurred and President Obama hastily renounced the Cairo statement from the state department, as it reeked of appeasement. Online news service POLITICO reported a senior administration official told them, “The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government.”
It being campaign season, the violence and its handling has quickly became of political concern. Referring to the Cairo statement, GOP presidential candidate Governor Mitt Romney said, “I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
Obama’s campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt retorted, “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.”
Conservative critics noted that the Obama administration officially admonished Romney before they officially found time to admonish the murderers of American diplomats.
Obama praised Stevens in a speech Wednesday morning. The president said, “Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.”
Obama added, “I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens…I have directed my administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted, “I had the privilege of swearing in Chris for his post in Libya only a few months ago. He spoke eloquently about his passion for service, for diplomacy and for the Libyan people. This assignment was only the latest in his more than two decades of dedication to advancing closer ties with the people of the Middle East and North Africa, which began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. As the conflict in Libya unfolded, Chris was one of the first Americans on the ground in Benghazi. He risked his own life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the foundation for a new, free nation.”
GOP Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, M.D. (NY-19) released the following statement regarding the heinous assassination of American diplomats including Ambassador John Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.
“United States Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens was a man of peace whose death, together with the death of three of his colleagues, is the result of an act of heinous aggression by criminals who violate the tenets of civilized behavior as they are understood across humanity regardless of religion or ethnicity. The attacks on our embassies in Benghazi and Cairo were predicated on pure hostility. They are a manifestation of evil and they set back, rather than advance, mutual respect of deeply held beliefs. All of us who hope to honor the memory of our murdered diplomats by advancing the cause for which they gave their lives should join in calling on the men and women whose faith the criminals claim to profess, to repudiate these attacks and engage instead in genuine and cooperative discourse about how to coexist in a world whose space and resources must be shared and whose people will always hold a diversity of views.”