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.
He’s trying to win support from his own constituency while trying (somewhat) not to completely infuriate the US and Egyptian military. Yet, there’s another constituency that Mursi must not ignore: the very citizens outside his constituency who gave him the opportunity to lead. Many in Egypt see the US role in the future of Egypt as absolutely critical to the development of that country. Despite a strong current of anti-Americanism — only 19% of Egyptians have a positive opinion of the US – many in Egypt, especially those that stand to benefit from greater links to globalization, are worried that weaker ties between the US and Egypt could result in further deterioration of existing economic conditions. That’s why when asked about future relations between Egypt and the US—55% of Egyptians would like relations to stay the same as before Mubarak’s overthrow (35%) or grow even stronger than that (20%).
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:
Some cynics argue that you should ignore what a presidential candidate says about foreign policy. But this analysis makes a rule out of exceptions. Over the last four decades, presidents have generally attempted to do what they said they would. It is only when they have encountered impediments that they have changed course. Bill Clinton promised to emphasize geoeconomics over geo-politics and did so until he was brought up short by Japan’s resistance to trade pressures and by the outbreak of genocide in the Balkans. George W. Bush vowed to conduct his foreign policy with “humility” and to oppose “nation-building,” but he was confounded by the September 11 attacks.
The Romney campaign’s foreign policy approach ultimately suffers the same basic flaw as its domestic policy approach: in trying to be all things to all people, it ultimately satisfies no one. Those of us in the increasingly marginalized Realist foreign policy camp are left clinging to the hope that the appointment of seasoned hands like Bob Zoellich to the team signals that Romney will be the serious pragmatist that he was as governor of Massachusetts. But the empty saber rattling and cozing up to Netanyahu and John Bolton are attempts to satisfy the neoconservative wing that Mitt’s one of them. The net result is that no one really knows what a Romney foreign policy would look like. Increasingly, I’m not sure that even Romney knows.
(Photo: Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton speaks to Tagg Romney during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.)
Noah Shachtman reports that the man behind "Sam Bacile" is a serial fraudster:
He went by many names, the man who helped produce "The Innocence of Muslims," the inflammatory video now roiling the Middle East: Matthew Nekola; Ahmed Hamdy; Amal Nada; Daniel K. Caresman; Kritbag Difrat; Sobhi Bushra; Robert Bacily; Nicola Bacily; Thomas J. Tanas; Erwin Salameh; Mark Basseley Youssef; Yousseff M. Basseley; Malid Ahlawi; even P.J. Tobacco.
But his real name — the one he used when he was sent to prison for bank fraud — was Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. His habit of adopting other identities earned him a 21-month sentence in federal prison. During 2008 and 2009, court documents reviewed by Danger Room show (.pdf) that Nakoula again and again opened bank accounts with fake names and stolen social security numbers. Then Nakoula would deposit bogus checks into the new accounts and withdraw money before the checks bounced. The scheme worked for more than a year, until he was indicted in June of 2009. Eventually, he was ordered to stay off of the internet unless he got his probation officer’s permission, and pay a $794,700 fine.
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:
Imagine if Romney had called President Obama, asked how he could be of assistance in this time of crisis, offered to appear at his side at a press conference to demonstrate that, when American lives are at risk, politics stop at the water’s edge—and then had his staff put out the word that he’d done these things, which would have made him look noble and might have made Obama look like the petty one if he’d waved away these offers. But none of this is in Romney. He imagined a chink in Obama’s armor, an opening for a political assault on the president’s strength and leadership, and so he dashed to the barricades without a moment of reflection, a nod to propriety, or a smidgen of good strategy.
Romney has all the affect of a traditional, patriotic, mild-mannered Republican, like Reagan or the first Bush. But he isn’t. He’s just Cheney with better hair and even fewer scruples.
By the way, to read all Dish coverage of this week’s big political story in one convenient place, go to the “Embassy Attacks In Libya and Egypt” thread page. (To jump to today’s coverage, click here.)
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.
John Herman tracks down the latest on the apparent Keyser Soze of blasphemous film. There is reason to believe that "Sam Bacile" is an alias for one Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian:
In [Jimmy] Israel's telling, it was Sam Bacile — a man he met a number of times, and who insisted that was his real name — who turned the film into a piece of religious incitement. "Sam portrayed [Muhammed] as being a sex addict and killing people left and right and having henchmen kill people and so forth," he says, "I don't know about Muhammed at all." The reason for his initial participation was money: "It was really just for hire, I'm not a wealthy man."
In my discussion with Israel, which ended when his phone apparently died, he provided a bizarre sketch of Sam Bacile, who it seems very likely is, in fact, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. (While Israel said he had never met anyone by that name, the name Bacile gave to Israel for the SAG registration was Abnob Nakoula Basseley, and Israel describes him as about the same age as that given in the AP report.)
The actors had no idea what they were filming. The whole thing is like a plot from a Mel Brooks movie. Many readers have made this point:
Say Sam Bacile out loud. From the first time I saw it I thought it sounds like "some imbecile." My guess is that it's a made-up name like Ben Dover, Amanda Huggenkiss, etc.
Not to go down the conspiracy rabbit hole, but it strikes me that the word "Islam" would be part of any anagram for Sam Bacile. Dropping the remaining letters into google translate from Latin, "Ceba Islam" translates into "… said Islam." Could this be the author reinforcing his sour message about Islam? Or perhaps the movie was secretly produced by Islamists to stir up protests and undercut the Arab Spring. I'm not sure, but maybe your readers can flesh out possible translations of the various combinations of the letters C B E A.
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:
This is Libya’s extreme right.
And, while much is still uncertain, Tuesday’s attack appears to have been their attempt to escalate a strategy they have employed ever since the Libyan revolution overthrew Colonel Qaddafi’s dictatorship. They see in these days, in which the new Libya and its young institutions are still fragile, an opportunity to grab power. They want to exploit the impatient resentments of young people in particular in order to disrupt progress and the development of democratic institutions.
A good rule when trying to absorb breaking news like this is to wait. That applies to bloggers as well as presidential candidates. J.D. Tuccille asks why Ambassador Stevens wasn't better protected:
By contrast to the Benghazi compound, the U.S. embassy in Cairo, which also came under attack with a better outcome, is described as a "fortress-like U.S. mission." Granted, the U.S. embassy to Libya is in Tripoli and the Benghazi consulate is a lesser facility, but Libya strikes me as the sort of place where any American presence should be "fortress-like."
Why in the world [Stevens] was in an insecure minor consulate in a provincial city on September 11 is a mystery to me.
(Photo: An armchair and parasol float in the swimming pool of the US consulate in Benghazi on September 13, 2012, following an attack on the building late on September 11 in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other US nationals were killed. By Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images)