Libyans Kill U.S. Ambassador, Other Americans; Egyptians Storm U.S. Embassy, Burn Flag
Enraging news out of Libya this morning:
The U.S. ambassador to Libya died as Libya militants stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
The death of Christopher Stevens, 52, on Tuesday came as two American State Department employees were also killed in Benghazi as an 20 gun-wielding attackers stormed the U.S. consulate, angry about an American made film that depicts Prophet Mohammad as a fraud and womanizer.
Stevens, who was a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and served two tours of duty in Libya, was nominated by President Obama to be ambassador to Libya early this year. His term of appointment as ambassador to Libya began on May 22.
Our ambassador’s body was carried through the streets by the mob. “Reminiscent of Somalia,” says Toby Harnden.
As I’m sending off the Jolt, there are unconfirmed reports that two U.S. Marines are among the dead.
Before the awful news out of Libya, the worst news appeared to be from Egypt – you know, the showcase nation of the Arab Spring, where the Muslim Brotherhood is now calling the shots . . .
Dear Egyptian crowds: You decide to hold large-scale protests, storm our embassy’s walls, tear down the American flag and replace it with an Islamic one . . . and you do it on September 11? To hell with you guys.
Reuters relays what happened in Cairo Tuesday:
Egyptian protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy on Tuesday, tore down the American flag and burned it during a protest over what they said was a film being produced in the United States that insulted Prophet Mohammad.
In place of the U.S. flag, the protesters tried to raise a black flag with the words “There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his messenger,” a Reuters witness said.
Once the U.S. flag was hauled down, some protesters tore it up and showed off pieces to television cameras. Others burned the remains outside the fortress-like embassy building in central Cairo. But some protesters objected to the flag burning.
That last sentence is subtle, huh? BREAKING: NOT ALL EGYPTIANS SUPPORT BURNING THE AMERICAN FLAG. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM HATE CRIMES, YOU UNWASHED XENOPHOBIC AMERICANS. THANK YOU.
But the good news is, we really came down on that violent mob like a ton of bricks. Check out the statement from our Embassy:
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
. . . Er, wait, what?
We’re condemning the folks who offended the Egyptians, not the Egyptians storming our soil – yes, all embassies are the sovereign soil of the country they represent, not that the Iranians ever cared – and burning our flag? Why is the U.S. Embassy in Cairo determining what constitutes an “abuse” of the “universal right of free speech”? I’m pretty sure there’s something in the Constitution about the federal government regulating freedom of expression. To quote Jon Stewart, “Not sure which amendment covers that, but it’s probably in the top one.”
Bryan Preston: “The fact that the US embassy in Cairo would issue such a statement to Islamists, on 9-11 of all days, is a deep low point in American history.”
Well, at least we’re getting tough with the Egyptian government for failing to control the crowd or meet its duty to protect our embassy. Oh, wait:
The Obama administration hopes to go to Congress soon with a plan for using $1 billion in debt relief to help Egypt stabilize its economy and expand its private sector, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Friday.
“My hope would be is that we would go to the Congress very shortly with a framework of how we recommend that this money be allocated,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides told reporters during a conference call to discuss goals for a U.S. business delegation headed to Egypt this weekend.
President Barack Obama promised in May 2011 to relieve Egypt of up to $1 billion of the $3.2 billion debt it owes the United States, and to guarantee another $1 billion in loans for infrastructure and job creation programs.
Following Egypt’s first free elections, which brought Islamist president Mohamed Mursi to power in June, the United States has started detailed discussions with Egyptian officials on how the money would be used.
“We’re still in those discussions. I think we’re getting close to finalizing it. Obviously the Congress has to approve what we’re doing and we’re consulting with both Republicans and Democrats and there’s really, quite frankly, bipartisan support for this,” Nides said.
Not bipartisan support anymore, I’d bet.
New rule: You burn our embassy’s flag on 9/11, you get jack squat in foreign aid for the next five years.