Secretary of State Clinton on the other fatalities from yesterday:
Tyrone’s friends and colleagues called him “Rone,” and they relied on his courage and skill, honed over two decades as a Navy SEAL. In uniform, he served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2010, he protected American diplomatic personnel in dangerous posts from Central America to the Middle East. He had the hands of a healer as well as the arm of a warrior, earning distinction as a registered nurse and certified paramedic. All our hearts go out to Tyrone’s wife Dorothy and his three sons, Tyrone Jr., Hunter, and Kai, who was born just a few months ago.
We also grieve for Glen Doherty, called Bub, and his family: his father Bernard, his mother Barbara, his brother Gregory, and his sister Kathleen. Glen was also a former Navy SEAL and an experienced paramedic. And he put his life on the line many times, protecting Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hotspots. In the end, he died the way he lived – with selfless honor and unstinting valor.
Just as a counterpoint, one reason I am not and never have been a Republican:
Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt.Sad and pathetic.
Here is a Sean-Hannity-endorsed highlight reel of Obama apologizing in which, you will notice, Obama never apologizes. He makes what we might call "admissions" that the government of the United States has made mistakes. What these mistakes consist of remains mysterious, because Obama declines to give the kind of specifics that would provide such an admission any rhetorical force. "The United States," he says, "is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history." This counts, in some quarters, as an apology, but it’s a statement even the people most worked up about "apologizing for America" would probably agree with, should it come from someone else. Perhaps the reel is better termed, "things Sean Hannity finds galling when they come out of Barack Obama’s mouth." I take it to be the case, in watching these clips, that it’s hard to find footage of Obama actually saying he is sorry.
For the last forty years, the United States has had two main allies in the Middle East — Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the other ally in the Middle East being Israel. For the President to come out and say, well, he’s not exactly sure if Egypt is an ally any more but it’s not an enemy, that is a significant change in the perspective of Washington toward this country, the biggest country in the Arab world. It makes one wonder, well, was it worth it? Was it worth supporting the Arab Spring, supporting the demonstrations here in Tahrir Square, when now in Tahrir Square there are clashes going on behind me right in front of the US embassy?
The administration later tried to walk back the comment. Meanwhile, Frum questions US strategy regarding Egypt:
The central test of the engage-political-Islamists policy is post-Mubarak Egypt. Nobody remembers now, but after Mubarak's fall there was much debate whether the Muslim Brotherhood should be allowed to participate in Egypt's new political system. It is hardly illiberal to ban a party that aims at the overthrow of a liberal state. West Germany banned neo-Nazi parties after 1945; the post-1989 Czech Republic forbade former communist officials to hold government jobs – and both democracies are stronger for it. In the end, the Muslim Brotherhood escaped the ban by promising not to run a candidate for president, a promise it promptly broke.
Through it all, the Obama administration pressed for engagement, inclusion and acceptance, provided only that the Muslim Brotherhood complied with the rules of the political system. It did – and here we are.
Bush’s foreign policy, especially in his first term, consisted of a hyper-aggressive, hyper-expensive effort to use the 9/11 attacks to extend American dominance of the greater Middle East without much serious thinking about whether such an effort could succeed. Romney can’t continue that effort because Americans are sick of it and the federal coffers are empty. What’s left is bluster and apple pie. Romney rarely discusses how long he wants to continue the war in Afghanistan, for instance, but he constantly attacks Obama for apologizing too much and not believing in America.
Which is why it would be the worst combination ever – diplomacy designed for the Fox News audience and a military follow-through that would permanently cripple the US's already-precarious fiscal standing. John Judis rejects the Frum idea that Romney is all talk:
The right has decided – surprise! – that the whole Romney mess over Libya and Egypt is a function entirely of media bias. Eric Erickson complains that “the media wanted to focus on Mitt Romney” yesterday. Scott Galupo makes the obvious point: The media focused on Mitt Romney yesterday because Mitt Romney asked them to. If he had merely issued a formal statement expressing outrage at the mobs in Cairo and Benghazi, the media would have focused on the aspects of this ongoing story that Erickson finds so interesting — effectively, as Daniel Larison observed via Twitter, it would have done Romney’s work for him. Fred Kaplan spells out what Romney should have done:
Today, anti-film protesters attacked the US embassy in Yemen as well:
The protesters breached the usually tight security around the embassy and reached the compound grounds but did not enter the main building housing the offices. Once inside the compound, they brought down the US flag, burned it and replaced it with a black banner bearing Islam’s declaration of faith: “There is no God but Allah.” Before storming the grounds, demonstrators removed the embassy’s sign on the outer wall, set tires ablaze and pelted the compound with rocks.
Yemeni security forces who rushed to the scene fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators and were eventually able to drive them out of the compound. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was inside the embassy at the time of the attack.
It was not a simple mob that attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday, killing four Americans. Benghazi was the scene of a pitched battle, one in which unknown Libyan assailants besieged American diplomats with small-arms fire for over four hours, repelling several attempts by U.S. personnel to regain control of it.
Nor was what happened in Benghazi a simple story of Americans assaulted by the Libyans they helped to liberate from Moammar Gadhafi last year, American officials say. Libyan security forces and a sympathetic local militia helped the Americans to suppress the attack and get the diplomats inside to safety.
That account is the first official telling of Tuesday’s events. It’s preliminary, as much of what has been initially reported in the media on Wednesday has proven incorrect. And it was provided to reporters late Wednesday afternoon by Obama administration officials who would not speak for the record.
Continued here. Another take on the same lines here:
Sean Smith, one of the Americans murdered in Benghazi was a huge force in the online multiplayer game EVE Online. He was on Jabber when the attack happened. His last words there, one reader tells us, were "FUCK", "GUNFIRE". This is an obituary from his "alliance leader". A reader writes:
I am a player in EVE Online, part of the coalition where Sean (aka Vile Rat) was such an important player. Here’s an excerpt of the coalition’s jabber announcement channel (which on a normal day is mostly filled up by fleet operation announcements), after his death was made public:
(11:08:36 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org/directorbot: My people, we have been dealt a grevious blow tonight, as people and as players. I, and all of us who knew Sean, are still reeling. And yet, to my horror, already Vile Rat's death has become a machination in Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. I do not speak of politics often because American politics do not matter in an international game of internet spaceships. But this sickens me, and Vile Rat would not have wanted to become a tool for the Romney campaign. Just this morning, he said this in Illum regarding the RNC:
(12:41:07 PM) kismeteer: vile_rat: Was there anyone in that group that you even partially respected? (12:41:14 PM) vile_rat: on the republican side? (12:41:17 PM) kismeteer: yeah (12:41:20 PM) vile_rat: nope. not a one.
And now we see this: "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," Romney said in the statement. "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."
My fury is boundless. Our friend should not be used in this way. We have only so many ways to make our voices heard, but if enough of us shout loudly enough we can – as we have seen – force the media to notice. Retweet this. ALL OF YOU. I will not have Sean's memory desecrated by American presidential politics.
Update from a reader:
It was a bit weird to load your blog this morning and see my friend's face on it. I've known Sean for close to 15 years now, and the fact that his death is international news doesn't make any less sad, but it does make it very strange. I don't have much of anything to add to what your other reader sent you, but there is an attempt to raise money for his family, and you can do so here.
Mohamed El Dashan dreams of a more reasonable response to anti-Islam speech from the West:
Is the film insulting? Yeah, sure. But the best reaction would have been to ignore it completely. There is no virtue in displaying lethal outrage (as in Benghazi) whenever anyone throws a feeble punch at Islam and Muslims. Doing so is only a display of weakness, a fear that our religion cannot withstand even the silliest of skits. This idea is insulting in itself. Bring on the insults, I say — bring on the hatred, the mockery, the piques, the spitballs. The amateur films, the Danish cartoons, the Geert Wilders, and the like. There is little harm than can befall Islam as a faith. It has withstood, over the past fourteen centuries, infinitely worse attacks, yet it has neither weakened nor vanished.
In some ways, [the aftermath of the Danish Muhammad cartoon] was the beginning of an era of manufactured outrage, with a group of fringe hate-mongers in the West developing a symbiotic relationship with radical clerics across the East. The Westerners deliberately cause offense by describing Islam as a fundamentally violent religion, and all too often mobs in Muslim-majority states oblige by engaging in violence.
Murphy reports that the protest and attacks in Egypt were sparked by a religious TV station there:
A reminder of the real victims in this whole saga:
(Bottom photo: Libyan civilians help an unconscious man, identified by eyewitnesses as US ambassador-to-Libya Chris Stevens, at the US consulate compound in Benghazi in the early hours of September 12, 2012, following an overnight attack on the building. Stevens and three of his colleagues were killed in an attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city by Islamists outraged over an amateur American-made Internet video mocking Islam, less than six months after being appointed to his post. By STR/AFP/Getty Images.
Top photo: The outer wall of the United States Embassy in Egypt covered in graffiti, the morning after it was vandalised by protesters during a demonstration on Septmeber 12, 2012 in central Cairo, Egypt. By Ed Giles/Getty Images.)
Daniel McCarthy explains how it makes events like those in Egypt and Libya possible: [T]here is no such thing as worldwide free speech. It’s not simply that few countries other than the U.S. have constitutional speech protections as broad as those of our First Amendment. What’s more important is that few people in the developing world separate tolerated expressions of hatred from official endorsement of such views.
Rosie Gray created an (unembeddable) video highlighting the heavy dubbing of the trailer. She theorizes that the "anti-Muslim 'movie' that served as the spark or pretext for a wave of violent unrest Egypt and Libya may not be a movie at all":
[N]early all of the names in the movie's "trailer" are overdubbed. The video is a compilation of the most clumsily overdubbed moments from what is in reality an incoherent, haphazardly-edited set of scenes. Among the overdubbed words is "Mohammed," suggesting that the footage was taken from a film about something else entirely. The footage also suggests multiple video sources — there are obvious and jarring discrepancies among actors and locations.
Michael Brendan Dougherty uses the recent violence to condemn the Arab Spring. Shadi Hamid rejects this view:
The easy response, for Americans suffering from Arab Spring fatigue, would be to give up on the Middle East. They could disengage, and treat the Arab world as what it seemed to be yesterday — a place well outside the grasp of normal, reasoned political analysis. But that would be a grave mistake, especially now. It should be obvious that disengaging from the Arab world is what both Salafi extremists — not to mention Arab dictators — want. The more the United States disengages, the more room they will have to grow in influence and power, and the more commonplace events like those of last night will become.