Friday, October 30, 2015

Benghazi, Libya...

Benghazi was not the first time an American diplomatic outpost was attacked. It has happened many times before, in different parts of the world, usually in war torn countries. One of the worst US Embassy attacks in recent years happened in 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon, where 63 people were killed, 17 of them Americans. Foreign service officers and staff realize that there is a certain amount of risk involved in diplomatic missions overseas...It comes with the territory. I am bewildered by the continual blaming of the consulate attack in Benghazi exclusively on this administration. Rather than focusing on the reason why it happened, the emphasis should now be on how to better secure an American Embassy. About a year ago, the American Embassy in Tripoli was closed due to security concerns. In December, 1979, less than a month after I left Libya, the American Embassy in Tripoli was burnt down. In my book, THE LIBYAN, I wrote about a meeting in the "Bubble Room", which I suspect is the equivalent to a safe room. It was in such a room where Ambassador Stevens was overcome by smoke inhalation. He was eventually rescued by some Libyans who managed to get him to a hospital where he died, despite attempts by Libyan doctors to save him. Why does it matter what spurred those fanatics to attack an American outpost? Isn't the answer obvious? In the past, when these tragic incidents occurred, Congress worked as one, as non-partisans, as Americans, examine and improve the security for our diplomats overseas. Instead, millions of dollars and countless hours on Capitol Hill have been wasted for no reason except to try and discredit the then Secretary of State. I have friends who knew Ambassador Stevens personally, and every one of them speak of his love for Libya and Libyans. The feeling was reciprocal. Thousands of Libyans went out on the streets all over Libya to protest his death and reaffirm their love for him. Sadly, the attack on the US consulate, the death of Ambassador Stevens, and the other three Americans emboldened the extremists and other militia groups to continue their attacks on Libya and Libyans... The destruction of Libya is ongoing, with Benghazi suffering the worst. Besides the four Americans, thousands of Libyans have lost their lives since that fateful night of September 11, 2012 Esther Kofod

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