Strong Horse

Eleven years to the day after the 9/11 attacks, a mob in Cairo attacked our embassy -- sovereign American soil -- and was allowed to tear down our flag. Security apparently knew they were coming, and had cleared the embassy of diplomatic personnel. They fired warning shots, but chose to allow our colors to fall to the mob rather than fire for effect. Perhaps they thought this would save lives, in the short run.

In Libya, another mob attacked a consulate. Another mob killed our ambassador and paraded his corpse in the streets. Three other embassy workers died as well.

Our response, for the first day, was limited to statements of sympathy with the attackers, and condemnation of the "abuse" of free speech. Only after the matter became politicized here at home did the US Embassy in Cairo retract its apologetic statements. Today we have progressed as far as a written statement from the President "strongly condemning" the "outrageous" attack in Libya. The Secretary of State has reiterated that America condemns insults aimed at the Islamic religion, but says also -- "let me be clear" -- that she likewise condemns the attacks on her diplomats.

31 comments:

Lars Walker said...

Here's what I posted on Facebook: "OK, White House, stop equivocating. Would it be OK for the Mormons to kill Matt Stone and Trey Parker or not? The people want to know."

Russ said...

I feel sorry for our Marines. To have to obey such an order must really rankle.

bthun said...

"Our response, for the first day, was limited to statements of sympathy with the attackers, and condemnation of the "abuse" of free speech. Only after the matter became politicized here at home did the US Embassy in Cairo retract its apologetic statements. Today we have progressed as far as a written statement from the President "strongly condemning" the "outrageous" attack in Libya. The Secretary of State has reiterated that America condemns insults aimed at the Islamic religion, but says also -- "let me be clear" -- that she likewise condemns the attacks on her diplomats. "

That diplomatic posturing sounds vaguely familiar, give or take 32 years.

If memory serves, in 1979 the Iranians viewed our then POTUS as anything but a strong horse. I suspect the view from the Islamic world of the current U.S. leadership is much the same.

Obama's Smart Diplomacy has worked so well it now looks like the Muslims, or those with the strength to lead/control/push-hotheads-buttons, e.g. the M. bro-hoods, are dead set on escalating war with the West.

Aside: I wonder if it is too late to void that $1.5B U.S. Treasury check to the Muslim Bro-hoods in Egypt?

Cass said...

There are other reports that he was not dragged, but rather helped by a group of Libyans.

Which is true? I don't know. May God comfort this man's family, and the families of all those hurt or killed in this deplorable incident.

Miss Ladybug said...

Not to pick nits, but it was only 11 years.

Jimmy Carter all over again. Let's just hope the upcoming election has the same result as Carter's re-election run...

bthun said...

Miss L.B.

Being what is sometimes called an antiquated methane eruption, and one who was released from active duty just a couple of years prior to the Iranian hostage taking incident at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. My comparison was intended to be with Jimmy Carter's response to the Iranians in 1979-81.
//removes shoes to doublecheck math//
Make that 33+ years.

As I recall, there was a lot of wind blowing about the White House and State Department then too.

I was not referring to 11Sep01. Apologies for not making myself clear.

"May God comfort this man's family, and the families of all those hurt or killed in this deplorable incident."

Amen.

Anonymous said...

Grim open with "Twelve years to the day". That's what I was referring to, bthun.

Miss L

bthun said...

Heheh...

Then allow me retract my apology and give the floor to Grim. ;)

Grim said...

Honest mistake on my part, MLB. It's two-thousand twelve; why shouldn't it be twelve years?

Grim said...

OK, should be corrected now.

douglas said...

Listening to the local news radio today and someone was talking about this and made a statement that said something about 'when we can get back to religious tolerance instead of trashing each others religions...' and I wanted to choke the radio. That's not tolerance, it's endorsement. This is America- you're free to say my religion is cockamamie, just don't try to get in the way of my practicing it. You don't have to endorse it. I DON'T endorse Islam, that's for sure, but I'll tolerate it- for now, and within civil limits, but ultimately, I'm not sure Islam is compatible with American values. Thing is, we're hardly allowed to talk about values anymore- at least American values.

battleblue1 said...

What I don't get is why this is continuing to happen again and again. Its not like the Marines in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, etc did not know of a threat.

You would think that the foreign service would have learned from the Tehran embassy take over and authorized some force if things get out of hand.

Someone explain this reasoning to me. You can't tell me that Embassy Marines wouldn't want to don their desert cammies, pull their SAWs out of the armory, and defend the US soil & flag. Would their be weeping and knashing of teeth from the families of the dead intruders? Yes, but the photos would show that the pile of bodies was on the inside of the embassy wall. (Mainly because our current 5.56 round can't penetrate to save your life, but that is another topic)

Is the foreign service so screwed up in their ROE that they won't even save their own lives?

I think a squad or two on line would send the message it doesn't pay to break into an American embassy.

This is completely ludicrous (and I am going to stop typing now as I am rambling)

E Hines said...

Its not like the Marines in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, etc....

The murders occurred at the consulate in Benghazi, where there were no marines present. The consulate was protected by a rent-a-cop or few.

By the accounts that are trickling out, he/they did the best that could be done, but it was insufficient. I also suspect (though I do not know) that the training and equipage for the rent-a-cop(s) was wholly inadequate.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

Well, it appears from the reports in the press that we were dealing with professionals in Libya. They had intelligence support of some kind, and a mortar team that knew what it was doing.

Cass said...

The murders occurred at the consulate in Benghazi, where there were no marines present. The consulate was protected by a rent-a-cop or few.

...which is in no way this administration's fault, by the way! Just like it wasn't their fault that the folks in charge in Cairo seem to have been under the impression they didn't need to coordinate their response with Washington :p

I mean, who could possibly have predicted a terrorist attack in a Arab country right around the anniversary of 9/11? Sheesh :)

Mr. "If I've learned anything, it's that leaders are responsible for everything that happens on their watch" has a lot to answer for. Fortunately, the press is firmly focused on holding Mitt Romney accountable.

battleblue1 said...

I was more addressing my comments to the Embassy in Egypt where the people climbed over the walls and hoisted the AQ flag. Sorry for not making it clearer.

I can understand the murders in Libya better due to the lack of security and seeming training of the attackers, but letting people breach your position... I still don't know what to think. If local protesters had climbed like this into my FOB in Iraq, I don't think we would have let them do this sort of thing. The whole thing is frigging disgraceful.

http://frontpagemag.com/2012/raymond-ibrahim/islams-black-flag-flies-over-egypt/

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/09/2012911183011369379.html

Anonymous said...

The Jawa Report is carrying a story about a different outcome in Yemen.

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/213558.php

Rent-a-mobs are a long-standing feature of places like Egypt, Libya, and Iran. And, these governments are wel capable of quelling riots.

During the Tahrir demonstrations in Egypt, the demonstrator caught some of the "rioters" and posted pictures of their government identification cards on the Net. In Egypt, the government pays for "political" violence.

Valerie

battleblue1 said...

Now there is a post on Drudge where some unnamed Marine blogs stated the US ambassador to Egypt did not permit the Marines to carry live ammunition. I really hope it is not true.

http://freebeacon.com/reports-marines-not-permitted-live-ammo/

Cass said...

This story may be a game changer, come November.

Russ said...

Being a civilian, my BS meter is not calibrated correctly for this situation. Could they really have been so derelict in their duty as to force the marines to go unarmed?

bthun said...

"Could they really have been so derelict in their duty as to force the marines to go unarmed?"

Russ, I'd not doubt it. That said and being one whose in the know is limited to only knowing what I read, i.e. that info which makes it into some form of publication, I'll certainly defer to anyone who has first hand knowledge.

Among the things that I do seem to recall is a fairly recent Panetta visit to A-stan where the attending Marines were disarmed.

I also recall that Border Patrol Agent Terry, the man killed by Fast & Furious firearms allowed to walk, was armed with beanbag ammo.

Sensing a pattern, I recall the published reports of hostility and disdain directed towards our uniformed military service members by the Clinton's during POTUS 42's administration.

I'm certain quick searches would turn up a barge load of commentary on those two items alone.

Personally I recall that as Vietnam was winding down, the military was the Federal Government's redheaded stepchild. We we short of funds, equipment, replacement parts, etc., etc., etc.

Training with live rounds was, in many if not most cases, not in the budget.

Getting back to/on POTUS 42, IIRC Clinton's CinCin' in Mogadishu resulted in requested Armor being denied to the commanders on the ground. Billy Jeff did not want to upset/offend the locals. The rest is history...

David Hackworth, RIP, had this to say about that cluster <expletive deleted>.

Our nation's leadership seem to periodically cycle through a fantasy world where a strong military is not a necessity and if we would only disarm, roll over and offer our collective neck, the rest of the world would embrace us. Idjits...

Hope this is not too disjointed a comment, I'm supposed to be doing a chore rather than playing hooky.

Russ said...

Thanks Bthun,

Cass said...

I'll put my 2 cents in.

The military is there to help the civilian leadership achieve our foreign policy objectives. Sometimes we do that by fighting.

Sometimes we do it with humanitarian missions.

Sometimes we do it by engaging in nation building - Seabees building infrastructure, etc.

It doesn't particularly bother me that the Marine might not have live ammo for a crowd control situation. I rather doubt they couldn't have gotten their hands on it if needed. Riot police often have only rubber bullets, and they're facing violent mobs too.

While I"m not particularly inclined to trust either the State Dept or this administration, this isn't really unprecedented. A large part of our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan was a presence mission: it's not all fighting. We treated wounded Iraqi and Afghan children and did other things one doesn't traditionally associate with the military.

It's hard for me to put my emotions aside here, but I do think it's important to try because we think more clearly if we're able to look at things fairly objectively. I'm very concerned that we're projecting weakness abroad, but that impression doesn't get fixed by a single incident or our response to it.

What really does worry me is that we won't take the necessary steps to keep a lid on this mess. Calm resolve is not a trait I associate with this president.

Russ said...

Cass,
Do you really see that as a crowd control situation? At what point would it become a attack?

Miss Ladybug said...

Cass, I don't know, but I would imagine that in the US, even when there is a violent mob, the police don't necessarily have to worry about the mob actually trying to kill people in most cases. The same cannot be said about certain Middle Eastern nations. Having non-lethal ammo at the ready, but live ammo accessible, if needed, is one thing. But, if they were actually FORBIDDEN to use the live ammo? That's just suicidal...

And now, I've learned that there was NO Marine presence in Libya. WTF?

The situation we are in now is the result of 4 years of apology and weakness demonstrated by the current occupant of the White House. He didn't attend PDB for the week prior to the 9/11 anniversary. He went to bed on 9/11 before finding out the results of the attack in Libya. He didn't attend the PDB yesterday, either. I hope the American people, collectively, are smart enough to vote him out on November 6th. God help us all if they don't...

bthun said...

No matter the diplomacy involved, I can not imagine a valid justification for prohibiting US Marines on sentry/guard duty on US Embassy grounds from having live ammo on their person, if not in their firearms. Trusted and trained Marines on guard duty, on sovereign U.S. territory, and all that... Especially in regions of the world where mobs are prone to attack and kill our official personnel.

As always, I am open to being shown the error of my view/opinion.

E Hines said...

I can not imagine a valid justification for prohibiting US Marines on sentry/guard duty on US Embassy grounds from having live ammo on their person, if not in their firearms.

It's quite clear, really, We wouldn't want to hurt those who've spent their all to attack us. Shame on us for getting in the way of their gasoline bottles and RPGs.

Eric Hines

Cass said...

Sorry guys - I'm not ignoring you. We had a chili cookoff today at work and I was up until late last night roasting chiles... then of course my back went out on me.

Cheeky thing.

douglas said...

"Riot police often have only rubber bullets, and they're facing violent mobs too."

They may have a shotgun with rubber bullets, but I guarantee every cop on the street has live ammo in their sidearm. I'd expect our Marines to have more than that.

Cass said...

It would seem that we're discussing something that didn't happen, unless we believe that the Marine Corps spokesman is lying about this and the Commandant and ACMaC let him get away with it.

The other night, I started to post a long response, but my back was really killing me and I was very tired and on re-reading it, it sounded more heated than I was comfortable with. I like and respect you all and did not wish to offend inadvertently, especially as I knew I'd be tied up the next day with work stuff.

I don't mind discussing current events, but there's enough that infuriates me about this administration that I'm not looking for more things to be angry and outraged about (such as things that didn't actually happen).

Unless we're willing to accuse the Marines of lying (and I'm not, especially as I know the people involved here), they were NOT forbidden to carry live ammo.

My only point earlier was that, had such an order been issued, it would not have been unprecedented. Which is not the same as saying it would have been a smart idea. I don't believe that and neither does anyone else I know.

I hope that clears up my earlier comments. Russ, as for "when would it become an attack", I'd say that when we are in a foreign country, we don't want to be firing live ammo into a crowd of angry protesters. At the point where, in the judgment of the folks entrusted with guarding the embassy, they cross the line between angry and violent/threatening, it becomes an attack.

The old self defense rules work well here: lethal force is not justified in defense of property but is justified in self defense or defense of others. It's not a bright line because that judgment is made by someone who is actually threatened (what I mean by this is that it feels different when you're the one on the scene, vs. reviewing the scene from the comfy chair).

douglas said...

"The old self defense rules work well here: lethal force is not justified in defense of property but is justified in self defense or defense of others."

Tell that to Texas ;)