US Ambassador To Libya Killed


The United States ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed along with three of his staff in an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi Tuesday night by an armed mob angry over a short American-made video mocking Islam’s founding prophet, the White House and Libyan officials said on Wednesday.

In a statement confirming the four fatalities, President Obama said he strongly condemned the killing — the first death of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades — and had ordered increased security at American diplomatic posts around the world. Previous accounts of the events in Benghazi had spoken of only one death among State Department officials.

“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,” Mr. Obama said, calling Mr. Stevens “a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States” who had “selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi” and, as ambassador, “supported Libya’s transition to democracy.”

< Are the Phone Companies Gouging Law Enforcement on Wiretap Costs? | Wednesday Morning Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Our profound ignorance and arrogance (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:15:53 AM EST
    Obama's statement is fine, no complaints with it, but unfortunately we seem just too pathologically stupid to understand that the forces at work in this region are far beyond our power to control or even influence except in the most NON-MILITARY of ways.  We are a fully corrupt nation ourselves, our own political system bought and paid for by corporate power and representing no one but its own greedy interests. We have nothing to offer anyone right now except humanitarian aid during disasters and thoughts and suggestions and that's it.

    Now Jamie Rubin is yapping on CNN, and he is the perfect example of a highly educated and articulate American diplomat who just doesn't possess the savvy understanding of human behavior and psychology to be anything but dumb as a brick. He said earlier it was sad when the Libyans gained their "freedom" we didn't do more to help them set up democratic institutions, yap yap yap...good lord, my man, wake up, they don't WANT our help, they don't WANT our institutions, period, none of them, they don't WANT to be like us. Our lack of political imagination is just mind-boggling.

    Condolences to the families of those killed.

    Watching the same thing (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:20:10 AM EST
    and gritting my teeth.

    As you may remember, I opposed the actions in Libya precisely because we do not understand or have much influence over the forces in the Arab world.


    I'm just trying not to be too depressed (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:27:46 AM EST
    My brother is still in the military (was supposed to be out by now, but I just learned he's still in officially), and since he can pass for middle eastern (most think he's Morrocan), I always get worried he's going to be sent off on some special assignment.  Kid's gone through far too much already with four tours.  

    At some point, though, these societies and cultures are going to have to be allowed to finally throw off colonialism and stagger their way toward their own history and, hopefully, evolution to a better future.


    Link to my mother's Egypt documentary again (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:23:45 AM EST
    BTW, during filming in a Cairo slum... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:39:39 AM EST
    ...my mother and her cameraman drew too much attention and found themselves in secret police custody for 6 hours, with my mother hiding her videotape, she claimed, in her underwear until they were released, after the police discovered she had business cards of some very influential people in Cairo.  This is the same woman who was on food stamps and welfare with her little boy 40 years ago.  Come a long way is right.

    Props to your mom, for sure. (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 11:00:55 AM EST
    Should the U.S. close all i (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:27:34 AM EST
    State Dept. facilities in the ME?  Your comment is probably directed at the news coverage but that is not how it struck me.  

    I think you have the paradigm flipped (none / 0) (#6)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:29:16 AM EST
    It should be do THEY want State Dept. offices in THEIR country.  But I do think we need a radical redesign of most of our foreign policy, how could we not?

    Not every Libyan did this (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:03:02 AM EST
    Then what? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:02:27 AM EST
    Isolation?  We need embassies, and it will always be dangerous from time to time to time.

    Fuel up the drones... (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:27:24 AM EST
    it's all so sad, so very very sad.

    I have a real hard time wrapping my head around a movie causing so much trouble...I kinda think it is our presence in the muslim world, our meddling...a movie is just a convenient excuse so people don't question the foreign policy, we can just shrug it off as barbarians being barbarians and go about our business of hegemony.

    otoh, if hard right muslims really can't critique a movie without bloodshed, sorry to say but f*ck them. Close up the embassies, cut off the foreign aid checks, and walk away.  Ya can't reason with that sh*t.

    I agree with you Kdog... (none / 0) (#12)
    by samsguy18 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:35:27 AM EST
    Yesterday was the 9/ 11 anniversary......

    It's Not Even a Movie... (none / 0) (#18)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:06:38 AM EST
    ...it's a 13 mins skit.

    Surely this is about much more than stupid American insensitivity.  We assumed because we hated Gaddafi and the Libyans hated Gaddafi, that we should be walking hand in hand down the isle.  No one thought to ask the Libyans.

    Sam Bacile has gone into hiding.


    Holy piss christ, batman (none / 0) (#32)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:43:17 AM EST
    you cold be correct.  But then again, maybe not.

    Can someone tell me why the (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:55:51 AM EST
    State Department is on Twitter?  Especially for something that calls for a really deft touch with diplomacy?  Because it was the State Department's tweets that seem to have gotten Romney all riled up (three tweets - I've extracted the text - but there are others):

    1. Sorry, but neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry

    2. Of course we condemn breaches of our compound, we're the ones actually living through this.

    3. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

    It's easy enough to misinterpret regular communications, but Twitter just doesn't lend itself to nuance and, you know, diplomacy.

    So, of course Romney's trying to take advantage; on his best days, he's an ass - so no surprise that he's got his on full display and words are coming out of it, but I think it was stupid for the embassy to tweet about the killings.  

    Is that too old-school of me?  

    It is a normal stance for an embassy to take (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:04:33 AM EST
    I have no issue with the substance of (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:11:55 AM EST
    their tweets - I'm just questioning whether Twitter was the best source for disseminating them.  

    We know Romney would find fault with anything that was said that did not confine itself to pure condemnation of the attacks, and he's latched onto these tweets as if they were teats.  And he's going to milk them til they run dry, which is, I fear, only going to make the diplomatic fence we need to straddle here that much harder.


    He called off his speechifying about it (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:16:17 AM EST
    I think he may realized this is poised to blow up in his face taking such an extremist stance.  Then its just extremists against extremists and they blow up all functional Americans and Libyans caught in between two small psychotic groups.  Very Bushesque, very de-

    Not great (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:06:22 AM EST
    but hardly what Romney said was said.

    When did that ever matter to Romney? (none / 0) (#25)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:28:04 AM EST
    He can respond as if it was said, and that way he can have the argument he wants - and the wingers can have a field day with it.

    The whole thing makes me want to make sure my basement can serve as a bomb shelter, because with Romney in the WH, it just might come in handy.


    Romney is behaving deplorably (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:30:25 AM EST
    I'll leave others to analyze whether people under fire should be second guessed with regard to their reactions to those events.

    Hear hear (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:38:38 AM EST
    I thought their words embodied my values and principles as well.  Extremists seeking to be disruptive and hope to incite violence will not define my life.  They will not destroy my functionality.  Very American

    With the bodies still warm..... (none / 0) (#8)
    by NYShooter on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:43:13 AM EST
    "Romney branded the administration's early response to the attacks as "disgraceful," in a statement the former Massachusetts governor released before confirmation that the American ambassador had been killed."

    Beyond sick.

    Strap yourself to the roof, Mitt... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 07:54:53 AM EST
    ...and we'll air-mail you over there.  What a tool.

    The Canadians withdrew their diplomats (none / 0) (#10)
    by samsguy18 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:16:08 AM EST
    From Iran four days ago....

    The question is this (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:08:25 AM EST
    Supposedly the activities happened because of a film.

    Shall we destroy our Constitution and forbid freedom of speech by condoning attacks by people who are "insulted?"

    The facts are that the "Arab Spring" and Obama's response to it is the father of this. He has demonstrated nothing but weakness.

    We can now see the result.

    Can any of you actually say you are surprised??

    Good Lord... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:18:04 AM EST
    ...these are not facts, they are opinions
    The facts are that the "Arab Spring" and Obama's response to it is the father of this. He has demonstrated nothing but weakness.


    Can any of you actually say you are surprised??

    Yes Jim, along with the rest of the world, we are all surprised except apparently you.  If only you could have told the Ambassador yesterday instead of saving this knowledge to brag today...

    But keep up the, "It's Obama's fault" mem.  But you could really save yourself a lot of time and just copy and past this here on out:

    Bad stuff in the world is always Obama's fault, anything good, give credit where credit is due, the republicans."

    Who is condoning the attack? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:19:06 AM EST
    You think Obama is condoning it?  

    I think you need to read his initial statement again.

    I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.


    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.

    Seems pretty clear in its condemnation to me.


    There you go again... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by NYShooter on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:32:27 AM EST
    I thought to respond to Jim, too.....for a nanosecond.

    But, then I caught myself. This is Jim, for goodness sake. No one has to actually "condone" the attack for Jim to imagine it. He was simply  channeling what Rush will be telling him to think about how Obama (deep down inside) condoned it.

    I thought you knew this, Anne.


    I do, Shooter, I do. (none / 0) (#33)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:44:04 AM EST
    But Jim's reaction just proves that Romney didn't have to respond to what was actually said, he could respond to what he wanted Obama to say, secure in the knowledge that it wouldn't matter to people like Jim.

    What was it someone once said?  Something like, "a lie can travel around the world while the truth is still putting its pants on."


    LoL, Gotcha n/t (none / 0) (#36)
    by NYShooter on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:50:54 AM EST
    First Amendment... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:25:25 AM EST
    is non-negotiable, end of that discussion.

    The father to this is much older than the Arab Spring Jim...it goes back to Operation Ajax and 60 years of meddling.

    Ask victims of drone attacks how weak Obama is...I wish he was what hawks consider "weak", that would mean he's trying to spread peace.  There's a reason foreign policy hasn't been an issue this campaign (till now anyway), Obama's foreign policy is so similar to Bush's Brand R policy, Brand R can't say sh*t about it.


    Now is the latest version (none / 0) (#30)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:39:26 AM EST
    of a recurring play.

    This goes back to one thing and one think only.  Islam.   Not Islam in and of itself but the way this part of the world chooses to practice it.

    The people who want to control these countries are able to use a form of it to keep the majority of Muslims in that part of the world in check.   They are naturally upset but they choose to blame the outside world instead of themselves.

    That is their problem and despite our best efforts, which are often bad efforts, they don't seem to get it.

    We tried.   Time to stop trying.


    This goes back to nothing greater then xenophobia (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:46:53 AM EST
    Xenophhobes in America desire to clash with xenophobes in the ME hoping to get a bunch of innocent honest decent hardworking people stuck in the middle killed.  Occassionally they succeed like a broken watch.

    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 10:44:55 AM EST
    Thanks for putting it so succintly.

    Has nothing to do w/Arab Spring, nothing to do w/years of us involvment in the ME, it is merely nutjobs on either side of the fence playing tit for tat with each other.  This time w/terrible consequences for the families impacted, and who knows what long term impacts to efforts to engage each other.


    SORRY It is nothing greater THAN (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:50:32 AM EST

    We never had problems... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 10:01:33 AM EST
    with the muslim world till after WWII, when we decided to play World Cop and prop up dictators,  back coups, help create Israel and arm her to the teeth...which has fueled all this anti-americanism more than any movies ever could.

    We may disagree about what we actually tried to do, whether our motivations were benevolent or selfish or a lil' a both...but I agree wholeheartedly we should stop.  Stop meddling, remove our military presences, and see what happens.


    We also didn't have problems (none / 0) (#39)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 10:23:37 AM EST
    until we needed their oil after they found it.

    Let's be honest.  If we had our own oil we wouldn't even bother with this backwards part of the world.

    It's easy to focus on us because we made many mistakes but I contend that we could have done a 100 different things and it wouldn't matter.

    It wouldn't matter because the majority of the people in that part of the world cling to a perverse form of Islam that makes even criticizing the stoning of a women blasphemy.

    Too often we hide our eyes from the reality of the religion being practiced in that part of the world.

    To put it mildly it's freaking nuts.


    It is nuts... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 10:48:12 AM EST
    you'll find no defense of that way of life from me my friend...but like I said above, if you think it's all about a movie you're freaking nuts too.

    Criticizing islam is a red herring, imo...as far as our role in the troubles is concerned, it's all about our foreign policies.  It's the best recruiting and propaganda tool the islamo-loons have.  


    It doesn't matter what we do (none / 0) (#50)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 11:28:05 AM EST
    That's my point.  We can free them from a dictator (as we did and Libya) and they still kill us.

    The people that attacked that Embassy want to take Libya back to the 7th century.   They are ta power hungry group of thugs using Islam to convince downtrodden men that theirs is the only way to feel good about themselves.

    The west could have single handedly lifted these people from an ancient way of life.   But we didn't.  We couldn't.  We couldn't make people believe in the rights of all individuals and because of that they attack us for believing that very thing.

    It's unfortunate but we are a small part of the problem.  The big part of the problem is the way that part of the world chooses to live their life and that my friend won't change no matter what we do.


    They Are ? (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 11:44:34 AM EST
    Like the folks here that want to take us back in the Stone Age ?


    We can do the easiest of easy things, stay the F out of their business.  Maybe they don't want Americans on their soil, which is proof of nothing but wanting to keep foreigners out, especially the only who preach human rights and freedom and all that jazz, but who rarely actually live it.

    we keep poking the hornets nest and wondering why we are getting stung.  Enemies just don't magically appear, they are cultivated.  And we have been telling Muslims how to live, put bases on their lands, and been treating them like colonies my entire life.  

    How many foreign military bases in the US, how many US military bases on foreign lands.  

    Who's provoking who ?


    Thank-you, Scott. (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by vml68 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 12:05:08 PM EST
    As someone who was raised in the Middle-east and has various family members living in almost all of the ME countries for the past 60 years, it grates on my nerves when I see comments from some posters here who have never stepped foot in any middle-eastern country but think they are f@cking experts on Islam, Arabs and the middle-east.

    This is (none / 0) (#59)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 01:24:27 PM EST
    what a lot of conservatives fail to realize: a lot of these people do not even know what a democracy is and how it operates. Oh, they might know in the intellecutal sense but never having experienced it themselves, they haven't a clue as to what to do with it. Look at our country over 200 years ago. It's taken up quite a while to get where we are. They are going to have to figure it out themselves just like we did and everybody else did.

    Completely discounts the fact (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 10:27:06 AM EST
    That the world is incredibly smaller now and the internet has all of us in each others lives and realities  and that will not change unless you were out ahead of this like say...North Korea.

    Xenophobes are always looking for a way and reason to attack, they will sometimes find one too.


    There's a difference between... (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 10:53:04 AM EST
    simply fearing the other and fearing meddling by the other, domination by the other.

    Like say muslims in America, I got no problems with 'em, if they try to weaken the first amendment to where a Mohammed joke is a crime, we got a problem...that's meddling, that's dominating...the furthest thing from a coexistence based on tolerance and mutual respect.


    If Muslims in the ME are going to get on the (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 11:01:25 AM EST
    internet they are going to see Americans depicting Muhammad because we have free speech.  Now you are just being ridiculous.

    I don't get your point... (none / 0) (#49)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 11:17:32 AM EST
    so what?  If they can't handle the internet without busting out in a violent rage, stay off the internet.

    Believing it is all about cartoons and movies is what is ridiculous.  


    It is though (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 11:32:36 AM EST
    To pretend that such extremists don't exist in the Muslim faith is to only want to certain facts and not all the facts kdog.  To pretend that Muslim extremists don't kill others for what we consider small slights at best is to live in your own bubble.  The terrorism that the Dutch have survived is testament to all that.

    I know such people exist... (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 11:51:08 AM EST
    people kill each other here for drinking the last beer...such people are a miniscule minority in all cultures.

    Gotta be more too it, which leads me to foreign policy...but of course our government and media would like us to believe it's all over a movie or a cartoon, it exonerates them.


    There is an important Dutch study on (none / 0) (#56)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 12:04:50 PM EST
    the terrorism evolving there, they took a very gutsy look at it.  After some kind of terrorist effort the non ME population would recede from the population that was of ME ethnicity.  Then the whole ME population would begin to feel the alienation and more members would feel compelled to join the extremists because alienation is a painful experience.  They have evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood working on NOT GOOD things there were aware of how this works.  So alienating also feeds the violence and the Dutch are doing what they can to challenge their basic instincts.

    My husband has a study too about how we all naturally abhor what is not like us until we become a little familiar with it.  When you first come in contact with something alien the first thing you attempt to ascertain is can it kill you?  If it isn't dangerous to you then the next thing you ask yourself is if you can have sex with it?  The next thing we ask ourselves when confronting something completely foreign is can we eat it?

    We are very animalistic still, and we still distrust anything that we are not familiar with and it takes time to become familiar.  Exposing ourselves to each other and including each other is most a catalyst to peace, not war.


    We (none / 0) (#42)
    by vicndabx on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 10:45:46 AM EST
    as in Christians have had problems w/the Muslim world since forever.

    I ain't part of that we;)... (none / 0) (#44)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 10:49:59 AM EST
    American christians had no problems either though...European and Middle Eastern christians, yeah, that's a thousands year old superstitions beef.

    Heh, and they've had a problem with us for (none / 0) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 11:04:05 AM EST
    like forever.  If I'm a Jew though I'm related to Abraham.  If I'm a Christian I'm related to Abraham, if I'm Muslim I'm related to Abraham.  This is the largest longest family fight ever, and it is dumb all the way around :)

    Politics is a rough sport (none / 0) (#28)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:35:54 AM EST
    BTD you say that all the time.   Save the indignation for a non jaded community.

    As for this tragic event unfortunately it is all to predictable.   A whole region of the world is completely mucked up because of its fervent practice of religion.   We in the US tip toe around the reality, we try and play the moral equivalency game but all to no avail.

    Until the Middle East stops using Islam to keep 1/2 of its society (women) in the stone age we can't help them.   By even involving ourselves with them for a variety of reasons we are the convenient scape goat that helps keep this backwards society going.  

    We need to get out of the Middle East and get out fast.   We need to stop pretending we can help people who don't want to help themselves.   We'll deal with them only when we have to but we have to  stop pretending we can help these people.

    Ron Paul isn't right about much but he's right about this.

    Speak for yourself (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:40:05 AM EST
    The bodies are not even cold and you think this is ok?



    Romney was referring to the reaction (none / 0) (#37)
    by Slado on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:52:30 AM EST
    of the Embassy.

    A statement Obama is now disavowing.

    Obama is so shook up that he will make sure to hit a campaign stop this afternoon.



    huh? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by ding7777 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 12:01:31 PM EST
    It was the U.S. Embassy in Cairo who issued a statement re the video and was posted hours before the American's death in Libya was reported.

    What would Romney say (if anything) about the video before the attacks in Libya?


    Lies to defend lies (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 12:37:35 PM EST
    Romney was lying and there's no excuse for his disgusting attempt to politicize the attack:

    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.

    The statement issued by the embassy (to which Romney was referring) was issued before the attacks in response to the hate-film.  It was not a response to the attacks, as Romney claimed.

    More importantly, Romney's attempt to manufacture a political football before the bodies were even counted was (and is) disgusting.


    Ha Ha (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 11:49:16 AM EST
    Priceless, you champion the women of the Middle East while empowering all rapes of women in your own culture and nation but "legitimate rape".  What a scab