**Posted by Phineas
The Islamic World sent its regards on the anniversary of September 11th:
Looks like President Obama’s much-touted Arab Spring has become the Arab Autumn.
Tuesday Muslim militants stormed the American Embassy in Cairo, tore down the U.S. flag and raised their own banner. In Libya, militants stormed an American consulate, set it on fire and killed four people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
The alleged reason: Someone made a video that insulted Allah. So, naturally that’s the United States’ fault. Never mind the $9 million a day U.S. bombing of Libya to rid those folks of Col. Qadhafi and his amazing hat collection. Never mind the $1 billion in annual aid to Egypt and not-so gentle nudging out of democracy-challenged President Mubarak last year.
Apparently the ever-so-sensitive Muslim feelings were hurt by a short, badly made video criticizing Muhammad. The video had been available since at least July (h/t Howie), but it took until, oddly enough, until September 11th for the mobs to become enraged enough to actually do something, much like the murderous riots over the Muhammad cartoons several years ago.
If the words “coordinated” and “pre-planned” come to mind, you’re not alone.
Libya is, of course, by far the worst of the situation so far: at least three, perhaps four Americans are dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was visiting the Benghazi consulate at the time. I don’t know if the consulate had any Marine guards, but there’s a disturbing report that the Libyans hired to protect the consulate first whisked to ambassador to a “safer” location, then told the mob where he was:
Wanis al-Sharef, a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi, said the four Americans were killed when the angry mob, which gathered to protest a U.S.-made film that ridicules Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, fired guns and burned down the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
He said Stevens, 52, and other officials were moved to a second building – deemed safer – after the initial wave of protests at the consulate compound. According to al-Sharef, members of the Libyan security team seem to have indicated to the protesters the building to which the American officials had been relocated, and that building then came under attack.
For what it’s worth (and it isn’t much) the Libyan president (more like the “Mayor of Tripoli”) has issued an abject apology:
Libya’s interim president has apologized to the United States for the attack on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi that killed the American ambassador and three of his staff.
Mohammed el-Megarif described the attack as “cowardly” and offered his condolences on the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans. Speaking to reporters, he vowed to bring the culprits to justice and maintain his country’s close relations with the United States. He said the three Americans were security guards.
While I don’t hold the Libyan government at fault in this –they’re just too weak– this atrocity cannot go unpunished. Though we often criticize (and sometimes rightly so) our diplomats for being too accommodating, Foreign Service Officers are accredited representatives of the United States, often spending years away from home working in very dangerous places to further American interests. They are entitled to absolute protection by the host country under centuries-old international law and, when that protection is denied or fails, it is the duty of the United States to retaliate for any outrage. Our diplomats, volunteers all, deserve no less.
President Obama must do more than issue a condemnation or fire a perfunctory volley of missiles at some tents. If the Libyan government cannot bring these barbarians to justice, Obama must order the intelligence and military services to hunt these people down and kill them. If an organization was behind it, he must order their destruction. Whether it’s accomplished tomorrow or years from now, the enemies of the United States must know they will pay a fatal price for killing our people.
Anything less will be interpreted by the jihadists as weakness and only invite more atrocities.
RELATED: In a new low for US public diplomacy, while trying to fend off the mob in Cairo, the US Embassy there issued a groveling apology for Americans exercising their natural right of free speech. On September 11th. What a surprise, it didn’t work. (And if you want a legitimate reason to criticize our diplomats, here ya go.) Questions: The Embassy in Egypt is sovereign American soil. It is entitled to protection from the host country. Where the Hell was the Egyptian Army during all this? Did Muslim Brotherhood member President Morsi approve of his Salafist allies’ actions? Does he understand the words “act of war?” And about our Smart Power leadership: When it became clear the embassy was not getting the protection it needed (or any at all), why wasn’t the Egyptian ambassador hauled into the State Department and read the Riot Act? It was 3AM. Why wasn’t Obama on the phone with Morsi demanding he clear the streets? We give them a billion dollars a year in aid Cairo desperately needs, and I say that gives us a damn lot of leverage. As in “if those streets aren’t cleared in two hours, or if any American or native embassy employee is hurt, kiss off every last cent.”
RELATED II: It’s been noted in several places that the
peaceful and tolerant Muslims barbarian mob in Cairo raised the al Qaeda banner. It’s a little more nuanced than that, as Raymond Ibrahim explains:
Some clarifications for context: Islam’s black flag with the shehada and sword inscription is not an al-Qaeda banner but rather Islam’s most ancient banner, popularized by the Abbasid caliphs in the 800s. In other words, these protesters were not imitating al-Qaeda; rather they—and al-Qaeda—are imitating Islam’s heritage, replete with jihad against the infidel. Same with the phrase “worshippers of the cross”—Islam’s ancient appellation for the hated Christians.
Read the whole thing. As Ibrahim explains, Muslim outrage over their hurt feelings is especially hypocritical, given the wretched and often murderous discrimination against Copts in Egypt.
RELATED III: Governor Romney and President Obama both held press availabilities on the North African crisis. For what it’s worth, I think Romney said the right things and acted like a president should act. He also wouldn’t let the press get away with trying to cover for Obama by presenting Romney’s criticisms as the problem, not the events in Egypt and Libya. President Obama, on the other hand, took no questions and voted “present.” Again. For those who criticize Romney and say “politics should stop at the water’s edge,” I reply “forget it.” The Democrats haven’t played by those rules in years, and we shouldn’t unilaterally disarm.
RELATED IV: Sarah Palin unleashes her night stick on Obama. Boom! You don’t want to miss it.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)