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Archive for Wednesday, September 12, 2012

US ambassador killed in consulate attack in Libya

September 12, 2012, 8:48 a.m. Updated September 12, 2012, 10:17 a.m.

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— The American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed when a mob of protesters and gunmen overwhelmed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, setting fire to it in outrage over a film that ridicules Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Libya's new president apologized Wednesday for the attack, which underlined the lawlessness plaguing a region trying to recover from months of upheaval.

Ambassador Chris Stevens, 52, died as he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as a crowd of hundreds attacked the consulate Tuesday evening, many of them firing machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

By the end of the assault, much of the building was burned out and trashed. Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since 1979.

A Libyan doctor who treated Stevens said he died of severe asphyxiation, apparently from smoke. In a sign of the chaos of during the attack, Stevens was brought alone by Libyans to the Benghazi Medical Center with no other Americans, and no one at the facility knew who he was, the doctor, Ziad Abu Zeid, told The Associated Press.

Stevens was practically dead when he arrived close to 1 a.m. on Wednesday, but "we tried to revive him for an hour and a half but with no success," Abu Zeid said. The ambassador had bleeding in his stomach because of the asphyxiation but no other injuries, he said.

President Barack Obama ordered increased security to protect American diplomatic personnel around world. Hours before the Benghazi attack, Egyptians angry over the film protested at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, climbing its walls and tearing down an American flag, which they replaced briefly with a black, Islamist flag.

"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi," Obama said, adding the four Americans "exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe."

Libya's interim president, Mohammed el-Megarif, apologized to the United States for the attack, which he described as "cowardly." Speaking to reporters, he offered his condolences on the death of the four Americans and vowed to bring the culprits to justice and maintain his country's close relations with the United States.

The three Americans killed with Stevens were security guards, he said.

"We extend our apology to America, the American people and the whole world," el-Megarif said.

The spark for the protests in Libya and Egypt was an obscure movie made in the United States by a California filmmaker who calls Islam a "cancer." Video excerpts posted on YouTube depict Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly ridiculing way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres.

But the brazen assaults — the first on U.S. diplomatic facilities in either country — underscored the lawlessness that has taken hold in Libya and Egypt after revolutions ousted their autocratic secular regimes and upended the tightly controlled police state in both countries.

Islamists, who were long repressed under the previous regimes, have emerged as a powerful force and made up the bulk of the protests in both countries.

Moreover, security in both countries has broken down. Egypt's police, a onetime hated force blamed for massive human rights abuses, have yet to fully take back the streets after Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February 2011.

On Tuesday in Cairo, riot police stood by the embassy's walls but continued to allow protesters to climb them for several hours. The protesters, however, appeared to intentionally stick to certain limits: A few entered the embassy grounds to remove the flags and come back, but otherwise the chanting youth stayed on top of the walls without storming the compound or damaging property.

The uproar over the film also poses a new test for Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, who has yet to condemn the riot outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo or say anything about the offending film. The protest was by mostly ultraconservative Islamists.

In Libya, central government control is weak, arms are ubiquitous and militias are pervasive. The consulate in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, is a one-story villa in a large garden located in an upscale neighborhood. By the end of Tuesday night's attack, much of the building was black and smoldering. Libyans wandered freely around the burned-out building, taking photos of rooms where furniture was covered in soot and overturned.

The violence raised worries that further protests could break out around the Muslim world as knowledge of the anti-Islam movie spread. So far, however, the only sign of unrest on Wednesday was a protest by dozens of Gazans in Gaza City. Some of the protesters carried swords, axes and black flags, chanting, "Shame on everyone who insults the prophet." The rally was organized by supporters of the Popular Resistance Committees, a militant group aligned with the ruling Hamas movement.

Afghanistan's government sought to avert an outbreak of protests. President Hamid Karzai condemned the movie, which he describes as "inhuman and insulting." Authorities also temporarily shut down access to YouTube, the video-sharing site where excerpts of the movie were posted, said Aimal Marjan, general director of Information Technology at the Ministry of Communications.

Ultraconservative Islamists also were suspected of being behind the Benghazi attack. Advocating a strict interpretation of Islam, they have bulldozed Sufi shrines and mosques that house tombs in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and other cities, including ancient sites dating back to 5,000 years ago.

Heavily armed, ultraconservative groups like Ansar al-Shariah, or Supporters of Shariah, have claimed responsibility for the attacks on the shrines, declaring Sufi practices as "heretical."

Libya has been also hit by a series of recent attacks that served as evidence of the deep and persistent security vacuum in the country after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi's regime, which was ousted by rebels backed by a NATO air campaign. Many Libyans believe that unrest in their country is in part the work of Gadhafi's loyalists who want to undermine efforts to rebuild the country after last year's ruinous civil war.

Stevens was a career diplomat who spoke Arabic and French and had already served two tours in Libya, including running the office in Benghazi during the revolt against Gadhafi. He was confirmed as ambassador to Libya by the Senate earlier this year.

Before Tuesday, five U.S. ambassadors had been killed in the line of duty, the last being Adolph Dubs in Afghanistan in 1979, according to the State Department historian's office.

The two-hour movie that sparked the protests, titled "Innocence of Muslims," came to attention in Egypt after its trailer was dubbed into Arabic and posted on YouTube.

Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old California real estate developer, said he wrote, produced and directed the movie. Bacile told The Associated Press he was an Israeli Jew and an American citizen. But Israeli officials said Wednesday they had not heard of Bacile and there was no record of him being a citizen. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to share personal information with the media.

Separately, the film was being promoted by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian campaigner in the United States.

Bacile said he had not anticipated such a furious reaction. Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, Bacile, who went into hiding Tuesday, remained defiant. He said he believes the movie will expose Islam's flaws to the world.

"Islam is a cancer, period," he repeatedly said in a solemn, accented tone.

Israel, however, sought to distance itself from Bacile.

"It's obvious we'll have to be vigilant. Anything he did or said has nothing to do whatsoever with Israel. He may claim what he wants. This was not done with or for or through Israel." Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said on Wednesday.

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Michael reported from Cairo. Associated Press writers Matthew Lee in Washington and Joseph Federman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Comments

Mike Gerhardt 1 year, 7 months ago

Wait until the left realizes that two of those killed were ex-SEALS and private security contractors.

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headdoctor 1 year, 7 months ago

It seems the idiot that did the movie wasn't any better at picking a fake name or at hiding. I would say that if he thought he had reason to hide he really should have a good reason now. If the Feds don't get him as part of their investigation the radical Muslims probably will.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

The best commentary I've read on this event--

"The tragic consulate killings in Libya and America's hierarchy of human life The murder of American staff over a hate film is an unmitigated wrong. But so are deaths caused by the US that go unremarked"

by Glenn Greenwald

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/12/tragic-consulate-killings-libya

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Mike Ford 1 year, 7 months ago

Gotland, when my father went to Berlin in 2000 for the Bonhoeffer Conference the Germans there apologized for the atrocities of their country to the other delegates from around the world. Germany had democracy until the allies at the end of World War One put all the blame for that war on the Germans economically with reparations instead of Serbia and Austro Hungary who incited the war to begin with. This blame situation led to some World War One veteran writing Mein Kempf and eventually pulling a George W. Bush in 1934 gaining power over Germany without an election acting like a nationalist and a fascist and scapegoating Jewish and Gypsy people for their economic problems. You know....I don't know of any American political party scapegoating anybody and requiring papers right now....you wouldn't know anything about that would you???? There are laws against said German neo party from WW II era saying anything offending in public in Germany now that involve the threat of jail time. Germany learned from it's transgressions and apologized and actually paid of WW I reparations in recent times almost a century after the Great War. Americans don't apologize for anything....they have little historic memory and too much blowhardedness......at least that's what a Canadian Ojibwe War Veteran told me in Brantford Ontario in the summer of 2003.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

And the people who made this film are a bunch of cowards. Apparently, the maker's name is a phony and his is in hiding. Real brave soul. Another person involved has a record. Some of the actors said that some of the script was dubbed. What a bunch of losers.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/09/12/161003427/what-we-know-about-sam-bacile-the-man-behind-the-muhammad-movie

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Roland Gunslinger 1 year, 7 months ago

What you won't see on Fox news or any other mainstream media outlet:

http://imgur.com/a/tlCyI

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Mike Ford 1 year, 7 months ago

Are you as a typical american ignoring how much your views are imposed upon others.... are you as a typical american ignoring the whole US policy dealing with Native Americans involved crushing their culture by imposing american views upon them at will much as this country could and still trying to do the same around the world to other cultures. My father recently went to his sixth Bonhoeffer Conference in Stockholm Sweden. At the one in Prague in 2008 a German professor and friend of my father's joked with him stating......"America....if one doesn't behave we will bring them democracy whether they want it or not" . How imperialistic......I don't buy the extremity of any fundamentalists including the ones involved in GOP politics here for the last three decades or worldwide. If a country doesn't want to experience hatred in the world maybe they should behave with a little more respect for others and own their own transgressions historically. Do you view Muslim followers as people or do you denigrate them to the point where their countries are just another place oil can be drilled and maybe you can take a nice vacation once the problems are quelled? If you knew British or US policy maybe you'd understand the historical rage some people have. I'm not a fan of the Iranian Government currently but I was ten years old when the hostage taking took place. The US installed a puppet and the Iranians overthrew him in 1979. They don't have to manufacture hate. This country and Britain have done some bad things in the past which serve as recruiting tools just as the Bush Administration did from 2000 to 2008. This whole free speech thing stops at the yelling fire in a crowded theatre occurance that Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes stated. If you do so deal with the harm caused by the actions.

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Mike Ford 1 year, 7 months ago

Has anyone learned......don't clown Allah.......people here have to put up with baseless troll humor thinking there's no consequences for saying or doing stupid things. don't poke a bear in the nose.....don't hit a nest full of hornets and don't make fun of Allah. If there is to be mutual respect between cultures it's going to probably occur when some countries stop acting like imperialists and their oblivious populaces finally grasp how bad the US and Great Britain have acted in the past four centuries in some parts of the world and the another side realizes that the loudest trolls speak for the smallest portion of the US population and no one agrees with the trolls. I spoke with a Dutch/US citizen the other day at Dillons over lunch and we both agreed you can't fix stupid especially in this country. Some of the trolls on here and the one who made this wonderfully aggravating movie prove this point. A country gets respect when it shows respect. This country ran a respect deficit from 2000 to 2008. There is a lot of work to do especially when half of the US populations acts as if this period never happened much to the detriment of the thinking populace of this country. Gotta love the Islamaphobe hate factory in this country.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

Flag is at half staff for Ambassador Stevens and the others. May they rest in peace, and may the killers be caught and dealt with, hopefully by the Libyans. I'm real sure their punishment would be pretty harsh in that part of the world. And may the bigots who made this film meet the wrath of God, since they haven't done anything illegal, just highly immoral. Try paying attention to your own religion and leaving others alone.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

Interesting to note that, to this time, Mittens hasn't retracted his statements, nor apologized for them. The mainstream press from CNN to ABC to CBS to NBC to just about everybody in the press pool is roundly drubbing Romney for those statements with a general consensus that he overstepped his bounds. FOX Noise, on the other hand, is deliberately scrambling the timeline of events to excuse him while the WSJ (a Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper) just says that he "looked weak today". Paul Ryan kept his comments on the situation on the low down, not out and out attacking Obama, but saying it was a "reminder that the world needs US leadership" and using it to attack Obama's defense spending cuts. You can see that attitude in the right wingnuts above, never mind that the US already spends more on "defense" than the next 52 countries combined, all of which but one are our allies. More saber rattling but at least it was low key saber rattling. Think he's positioning himself for the Presidential slot in 2016?

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pizzapete 1 year, 7 months ago

It's a real shame people are being killed because of a stupid movie. If the movie really is that bad maybe the theatre should just offer refunds to all the movie goers that didn't find it entertaining. I can't imagine it's any worse than all the movies Adam Sandler has appeared in this last decade.

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rockchalk1977 1 year, 7 months ago

Obama has invited Egypt's newly elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to the US as Washington pledged a "new partnership" with the Arab nation. However, Obama can't find time in his busy campaign schedule to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss Iran's nuclear program. Let's end the nightmare in November. Romney-Ryan 2012.

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btsflk 1 year, 7 months ago

Those who should be held responsible for this, except you cannot force irresponsible people to be responsible, are extremists, both Christian and Muslim.

Extremists.

If my friend or family member had been killed in these attacks, I would blame the nutjobs here who went looking to incite those over there.

Wrapped in the flag and wielding a Bible as a weapon. Tired of 'em.

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Flap Doodle 1 year, 7 months ago

So, what I'm hearing from the usual suspects is that we need anti-blasphemy laws in America to protect the tender feelings of the Islamic mobs. BTW, sedition refers to calling for violence against a government. NA in this case.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

Bigots all. The film maker was a bigot for making the stupid film to begin with. And the murderers and protesters are bigots to think that all US citizens were involved in such a stupid film. Send them all to Saturn. And none of them are even the least bit religious.

I agree with free speech, but this is like kicking a rabid dog. He knew exactly the reaction he would get, and made the film to get that reaction. Are all Jews and Christians mean bigots? No. Are all Muslims ready to kill any US citizen because of a bigot's stupid film? I'm tired of bigots.

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headdoctor 1 year, 7 months ago

If your post snap, is to mine you obviously didn't bother to read the second paragraph. There is also the small detail that not all artistic expression is covered under free speech. The last time I bothered to pay attention. Movies are a form of expression and not covered by free speech or freedom of the press. If Sam Bacile and or the likes of Terry Jones caused problems in country they could be found guilty of Sedition. I am very certain Sedition beats out freedom of speech or in this case expression every time.

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jmadison 1 year, 7 months ago

This story was published on page 7A of today's print version of the Journal World, page 8A of the NY Times and page 7A of the Wall Street Journal. All 3 entities seem to have missed the ball on the importance of the killing of a US ambassador.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

Interesting to note that Forbes Magazine (FORBES!) has slammed R-Money for his statements and behavior.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2012/09/12/the-lost-soul-of-mitt-romney/

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Flap Doodle 1 year, 7 months ago

If you think that Islamic Rage Boy should decide what is acceptable speech in America, you've got another think coming.

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headdoctor 1 year, 7 months ago

And there are the Americans who still can't understand why there is a sizable population of the world that can't stand us. Radical zealots excluded from that population because they don't agree with anyone but themselves. The only thing larger and more harmful to the US citizens than our national debt is our arrogance. We occupy a small part of the world yet we expect everyone else to bow and kiss our butt.

We should have free speech but with that comes the responsibility to use some common sense especially involving things outside the US. Free speech doesn't exclude a citizen from the law where inciting a riot or Sedition is involved. If Sam Bacile really believed he was doing the right thing and was willing to stand behind his handy work he wouldn't be in hiding right now like a typical coward. The likes of him and Terry Jones knew and knows exactly what they were doing. Playing the ignorance card here doesn't fly.

You can have your own smug US attitude and arrogance all you want but in global situations or relations, pissing off a couple billion people is never a good idea. Especially if those couple of billion people are Muslims.

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justfornow 1 year, 7 months ago

I can't wait for Gov.Romney to take office, it's now held by a ding dong and sad to see what's happened the last 3.5 years. Keep your chin up America.

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Agnostick 1 year, 7 months ago

Man + Y = Fred Phelps

Man + Y = Eric Robert Rudolph

Man + Y = Father James Porter

What is value "Y"...?

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Gotland 1 year, 7 months ago

We should cut all food aide to these hostile countries. The can starve to death.

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tbaker 1 year, 7 months ago

The US Embassy in Cairo issued a statement that’s says it “condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims…”

The Cairo embassy statement was obviously talking about the movie “The Innocence of Muslims” being made by an American in California. It is not very nice in its treatment of the Prophet Mohammad and is being blamed for inflaming the passions of people in the Arab world leading to the deaths that included the US Ambassador to Libya.

Just so I understand this – Americans exercising their 1st amendment rights are “misguided.” The behavior of some American film maker caused the Egyptians to riot and storm the US Embassy and caused the Libyans to kill our ambassador. This sounds a whole lot like and apology for American freedom to me. Sickening…

I’m not the only one who noticed this. When the Obama Administration was questioned about it this morning they said, “no one in Washington approved that statement before it was released and it doesn’t reflect the views of the U.S. government.”

Rest assured folks, US Embassy’s do not make press releases, most especially when they involve the death of four Americans including the ambassador, the burning of a consulate, and the breech of embassy perimeter (in Cairo). At the bare minimum, such a press release would have to be vetted by the Secretary of State. This is especially true since all of the embarrassment caused by diplomatic cables that were released during the Wiki Leaks scandal.

Either the Obama Administration and it’s State Department are out of synch and have no actual foreign policy which begs the question who is running things, or they have scorn for the constitution they swore to protect and defend.

No matter what you chose to believe one thing is clear folks - these people are rank amateurs. They are in way over their heads and need to be replaced before they get more people killed.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

To anyone suggesting we "do" something, now would be a good time to take a deep breath and think about what is the best thing for us to do. I certainly hope President Obama is spending his time thinking before he decides what to do.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

And the saber rattling by the chickenhawk faction begins.
R-Money didn't even have the decency to wait until 9/11 was over before he tried to make political quicktime by using a statement that wasn't even made by the administration, much less the President. His handler really meant it when he said R-Money's campaign "wouldn't be run by fact checkers". The man is a sleaze. And you seriously want him to lead this country?

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Gotland 1 year, 7 months ago

Obamer's cousins in north Africa are up to no good.

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donttreadonme 1 year, 7 months ago

"rockchalk19773 minutes ago

The death of our ambassador is an act of war and should be dealt with accordingly. .... Now it's complete chaos over there."

So, are you and your little weapon going to head over there to defend our honor? Or will you just complain about the President? I suspect the latter.

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Enlightenment 1 year, 7 months ago

More senseless deaths because of religion. Religion and politics do not mix and should never be combined or used to influence political gain.

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rockchalk1977 1 year, 7 months ago

The death of our ambassador is an act of war and should be dealt with accordingly. Clearly the Obama administration, which encouraged the Arab Spring and the rise of Islamist governments in both Egypt and Libya, had no game plan for the aftermath. Now it's complete chaos over there. Obama has the reverse midas touch on the economy and foreign policy and should not be re-elected.

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Alceste 1 year, 7 months ago

Disgusting. Did "we" at least take some of 'em out as they over ran American soil?

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Shelley Bock 1 year, 7 months ago

Prior comments reflect my opinions exactly. Any embassy in a country undergoing civil upheaval is dangerous. Most likely inflamed by extremists unable to do damage in the US, so they attack what they can get to in their own country. Security for embassies depends on the Marine detachment assigned, but that isn't like Bravo Company,1/8 Marines, which could destroy any angry mob. Hmm...ever wonder where "...to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight..." came from? (words of the Marine Corps hymn for those who didn't memorize it as a child.)

So, what is Governor Romney proposing to do? Launch an air strike? Land the Marine MEU assigned to the Med? I assume that President Obama and Secretary Clinton will have an appropriate response and not "shoot-from-the-hip". Now is the time to be supportive of the government, not to take cheap political shots! .

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drake 1 year, 7 months ago

We should send the apologist-in-chief over there so that he can bow before them...

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 7 months ago

Part 2. At a time when international affairs are at a high level of peril, do you want a President of the United States who chooses to inflame the situation with his attacks on the current President of the United States and his handling of this problem??????

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 7 months ago

The scumbag bottom feeder ARomney has already tried to make political hay from this terrible event. I just observed him on CNN making his usual blathering diatribes blaming the Obama Adminisration, the U.S. GOvernment, and most of the free world for this tragedy. Theis low life jerk could not resist the opportunity to try to pander to voters with his statements on this terrible event. Do you REALLY want this jerk as President of the United States???????Blah, blah, blah, blah................

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geekin_topekan 1 year, 7 months ago

I see Romney wasted no time grabbing an opportunity to dance on American's graves.

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Claire Williams 1 year, 7 months ago

A definite tragedy, especially because the Ambassador has long been posted in Libya, and was the official Liaison to the transitional government during the uprising against Gaddafi. This incident is particularly haunting for occurring on the anniversary of 9/11.

Before anybody tries to make political hay out of this horrible occurrence, let me point out that

1) The overly conciliatory statement Mitt Romney is attacking the President for was actually made by the US Embassy in Cairo early on Tuesday (before the extent of what happened in Libya was known), and without White House approval.

2) The White House has disavowed the statement by the Embassy and is fully condemning these actions, along with beefing up security at all of our facilities through the Middle East.

3) This isn't a time to politicize the deaths of Americans.

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