Many people have differing opinions on the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi. I would say that apart from the Sandy Hook shooting and the actual presidential election, the attack in Syria was the most hotly-debated political issue of the past year.
Before the attack, Ambassador Stevens, the United States’ voice in Libya, voiced concern over the safety of the compound. However, his plea was ignored and the ambassador is now deceased. Whether it was an uprising or an act of terror was a large part of the mystery surrounding the attack.
I’m the kind of person who examines and gets facts before I form an opinion, which, to me, makes the attack so interesting. Information on the attack was slow to come out and was, in many ways, vague. The time it took for the president to declare the attack an act of terrorism was a major theme that permeated the incident.
I have trouble seeing how it would take time to declare this a terrorist attack. Ambassador Stevens was widely liked by the people of Syria, according to a CNN report back in September. Due to that fact, the chances of the attack being state-sponsored, despite political turbulence in the nation, was fairly small.
If this was an act of terrorism, many people may wonder why our troops have entered Syria. This mostly has to do with decade-long contingencies in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The American people have war exhaustion. They have seen huge amounts of tax dollars go toward the military industrial complex and would like to see their now-hiked taxes go towards tackling domestic problems, such as the always-rising national debt. This nation absolutely has to beef up security for state department officials in dangerous locales.
An ambassadorship is considered a tremendous honor. However, these civil servants must be protected. At the beginning of his first term, President Obama named Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the 30th ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. The chances of the Irish Republican Army (a recognized terrorist organization) capturing or killing Rooney are slim to none, but if they did, because of his standing as a National Football League owner, the nation would be up in arms over the incident.
The attack on the consulate has taught us that, in more volatile parts of the world, the United States is a target. In response, our nation must be more vigilant about protecting our state department officials. Ambassador Stevens and his staff had reported security deficiencies prior to the attack on the consulate, according to CNN. Clearly the ambassador was, unfortunately, correct in his assessment.
Our Department of State has to realize the very real danger ambassadors face in some parts of the world. Sure, the United States ambassador to Canada does not have all that much to worry about when he or she walks by Parliament Hill in Ottawa, but the ambassador in a nation such as Pakistan faces very real danger.
All in all, the Obama administration needs to make a concentrated, visible effort to protect the voice of our nation in foreign lands. Not doing so could lead the United States back into the theater of war, something our fragile economy could barely handle.