U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, along with two other Americans, were killed Tuesday night at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. A group of about twenty militants stormed the consulate wielding automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. The militants were chanting, ‘We are all Osama,’ in memory of the slain terrorist. They were protesting a low-budget film being produced in California called, “Innocence of Muslims,” which is a satire of the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
A few days ago, in response to the film, several protestors in Egypt scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down the American flag. U.S. embassies were then issued warnings to be aware of potential attacks. No one was expecting the magnitude of what happened at the U.S. consulate in Libya on Tuesday night. Secretary of State Clinton asked, “How could this happen in a country we helped liberate and in a city we helped save from destruction.” Egypt and Libya are currently trying to deal with the turmoil that has followed the ousting of their longtime dictators just last year.
Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty in over 30 years. Unfortunately, senior U.S. officials feel that more attacks could be just around the corner. President Obama has promised that justice will be served, and has increased security at U.S. diplomatic posts around the world. The U.S. has deployed a team of Marines to safeguard Americans in Libya, and sources told CNN that unmanned drones will be sent over the skies of Libya to search for jihadi camps.
The group suspected of the attack that resulted in the death of Stevens is called Ansar al Sharia, a Libya based group with an ideology similar to al Qaeda. The group has denied responsibility, but Libyan President Mohammed Yussef Magariaf has pledged his government’s full cooperation to bring the culprits to justice.
What do you think will happen in response to these recent events? How do you think the U.S. should respond to this and to future attacks on U.S. consulates? How far can the U.S. push the limit regarding the security of its ambassadors in foreign countries and in investigating attacks in these nations without violating international law? This attack has brought several foreign policy issues to the forefront, and GOP candidate Romney wasted no time in taking his stance. To what extent can this tragic attack affect the upcoming election?
In response to these recent events there will no longer be any reliance on units other than U.S. Marines as the main protective force for consulates and embassies. Marines are the normal protective force for U.S. embassies and, as stated above, a U.S. ambassador has not been killed in the line of duty for over 30 years. Marines were not assigned to this post.
A U.S. embassy is sovereign U.S. territory. An attack on an embassy can be viewed the same as an attack on any town in the United States. This would be a terrible way to view this attack though because we know that our embassies are a bright target and in many countries are surrounded by people that already dislike us. This was not an attack by the government and so a declaration of war would be uncalled for.
The best thing that the U.S. can do is exactly what it is doing now. Sending Marine security teams to embassies and consulates that are in high risk areas, upgrading building security measures and being offensive in our defensive tactics by sending patrol drones to look for the enemy.
The reason this particular consulate was attacked is because the enemy saw a weakness in its security. There are other embassies in Libya but this one was the most vulnerable. A short term solution is beef up security to the point where the enemy will know that if they attack, they will most likely end up just getting killed. A long term solution is to win the hearts and minds of the people that we have embassies around so that people don’t think about attacking us in the first place.
Candidate Romney will most like just focus on how, in his view, President Obama failed to protect our sovereign territory leading to the death of a patriot. President Obama will have to show, through some kind of military action, that he will not tolerate attacks on U.S. embassies in order to avoid being seen as weak.
The attack at the United States Consulate is certainly a tragic event that warrants some sort of retaliation on the part of this country. On one hand, I do believe the United States has taken proper measures thus far by deploying a team of Marines to protect our Americans in Libya, in addition to sending unmanned drones over the skies of Libya to search for jihadi camps. But on the other hand, to truly make up for these events, I do think some sort of military retaliation is necessary to demonstrate that we will not be taken advantage of as a country. Some analysts have said that this might only be the start of more attacks to come. If that is the case, then perhaps more aggressive measures need to be put in place. Since the attack, foreign policy has come to the forefront in the presidential campaign. Mitt Romney has taken heat for his comments aggressively condemning the attacks and the Obama administration. Larry Sabato, professor of politics and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, stated that “this could become a new defining moment for the campaign or it could fade away in a week.” Whether one is in support of Romney’s comments or whether one views his comments negatively, it will be interesting to see how this issue plays out leading up to the November election.
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/09/12/embassy-attacks-us-election.html .
This attack is yet another example of the poor reasoning that went into deciding to back rebel forces in the overthrow of Khadafi’s regime. Now that there is only a shell of a working government in Libya, that nation is quickly turning into another hotbed of terrorist activity. I am certain that if Khadafi was still in power, this tragic attack would not have occurred. I am worried that if the Assad government falls in Syria, the same kind of thing will happen. The bottom line is that these revolutions in volatile regions of the world are not good for U.S. interests. The U.S. must learn from what has happened in Libya, and think twice before backing further revolutions.