Debra J. Saunders
Debra J. Saunders, Chronicle Columnist
Published 7:22 p.m., Wednesday, September 12, 2012
They don’t fear us, and they don’t respect us. That’s the only message you can take away from an Egyptian mob’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo during which rioters scaled embassy walls and tore down the American flag on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. President Obama helped ease out President Hosni Mubarak – a dictator, yes, but also an ally – to facilitate Egypt’s “Arab Spring,” and this is the thanks America gets.
Sadly, a separate assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that took the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other diplomatic staffers presents a different lesson. Despite ample U.S. military assistance, Libya’s civil war isn’t over. Stevens’ brave support of Libyans’ efforts to overthrow strongman Moammar Khadafy probably made him a target.
“How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asked. She placed the responsibility on “a small and savage group,” not “the people or government of Libya.”
Over time, Americans will learn more about what happened and why. Already, the attacks are playing a part in presidential campaign politics.
As protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday, the embassy released a statement that condemned “continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” It was a salvo against Quran-burning preacher Terry Jones and the movie “The Innocence of Muslims,” which deliberately lampoons the prophet Mohammed.
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