I’m saddened by the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, his colleague Sean Smith, and two other colleagues. It’s especially vexing that they should have been killed by Libyans after the role the U.S. played in liberating Libya from the dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Perhaps the Libyans weren’t thinking about that when they killed them. Perhaps they weren’t thinking at all. Apparently, the Libyans, like the Egyptian protestors at the embassy in Cairo, were protesting a movie that hasn’t even been released yet. Really. The protestors attacked the consulate and the ambassador and staff were killed as they tried to escape. These attacks on diplomats and embassies represent not just an attack on the U.S but an attack on the entire international system. Diplomats do the work of promoting international cooperation, of forging the settlements and agreements that promote trade and the kinds of cultural and inter-personal exchanges that form the basis of our hopes for long-term peace. Ever since there were countries there were diplomats and since every country has them every country understands the importance of protecting the safety of the diplomatic corps and their embassies. We can only hope that the authorities in Libya (who presumably are more enlightened than an enraged mob) will act quickly to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Image Credit: U.S. Department of State/Wikimedia
Update 12:01 PM 9/12/12: The New York Times is reporting that there are now suspicions that the attack was planned and not an example of mob violence like yesterday’s embassy attack in Egypt: The protesters in Cairo appeared to be a genuinely spontaneous unarmed mob angered by an anti-Islam video said to have been produced in the United States. By contrast, it appeared the attackers in Benghazi were armed with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Intelligence reports are inconclusive at this point, officials said, but indications suggest the possibility that an organized group had either been waiting for an opportunity to exploit like the protests over the video or perhaps even generated the protests as a cover for their attack.