Originally published on Sept 21, 2012 in The Tribune Papers.
On September 11, 2012 Anti-American demonstrations began to take place all across the Middle East.
Protestors rioted (and continue to do so) in Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Libya, and elsewhere.
Libya’s Embassy came under attack resulting in the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.
Why it happened:
According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, an anti-Islam YouTube video is the source of anger.
“It is in response, not to United States’ policy, not to obviously the administration, not to the American people, it is in response to a video, a film, that we have judged to be reprehensible.”- Jay Carney
However, there has been no real evidence shown to back up these claims that the violence could be directly attributed to the video.
Others, moreover, point out the attacks were planned for the eleventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on American soil in retaliation to the Obama Administration’s drone strike on the number two leader of al-Qaeda.
“The killing of Sheikh Abu Yahya only increased the enthusiasm and determination of the sons of Omar al-Mokhtar to take revenge upon those who attack our Prophet” – al-Qaeda state released in the Arab Peninsula.
“The attack in [Libya] was not a protest or demonstration but a major terrorist attack — planned and organized in advance by men who had access to mortars and other weapons. It had nothing to do with any film. It was timed for Sept. 11.”- Elliott Abrams, former national security adviser for President George W. Bush.
“There’s clear evidence these were planned in advance, especially in Egypt. The movie wasn’t up online until Sept. 10, and they didn’t know about it when these things were planned.”-Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“This movie trailer is the flimsiest of pretexts that they exploited to mobilize a mob and then use it as a cover for political violence. People in Egypt and Libya are sufficiently literate to know the difference between something the U.S. government sponsors and something an individual artist does. But U.S. credibility is at an all-time low in the Muslim world, or sufficiently low, for people to exploit it to commit heinous crimes.”-Ebrahim Moosa, professor of Islamic studies at Duke University.
Were we warned?
The Obama administration had the following to say on the subject of whether or not the U.S. was warned of these attacks:
“There was no intelligence that in any way that could have been acted on to prevent these attacks.”-Jay Carney
However, once again there are contradicting reports.
“We firmly believe that this was a pre-calculated, pre-planned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the US Consulate. A few of those who joined in were foreigners who had entered Libya from different directions, some of them definitely from Mali and Algeria.”- Mohammed el-Megarif, interim Libyan President.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office had issued travel advisories for citizens stating that a British Embassy convoy was attacked in Benghazi on 11 June, a parked empty British Embassy vehicle was targeted by a grenade in Sabha late 8 June and a bombexploded near the US Consulate in Benghazi on 5 June. Obama didn’t bother attending security briefings the day before or the day of 9/11. Obama has skipped more than half of his daily intelligence briefings. He reads the reports instead. His last in-person briefing before 9/11/12 was on Sept. 5.
“The U.S. intelligence community sent a cable to the embassy in Cairo, Egypt, warning of the concern”-CNN source.
How is it being reported?
The vast majority of the main stream media continues to kow-tow to the White House line and report that the terrorist attacks were a result of the release of a movie. These claims seem to be largely unsubstantiated and speculative in nature.
This squares with the view of Libyan officials, who say they believe the attack was the work of Islamists linked to al Qaeda. Peaceful protesters don’t typically carry rocket-propelled grenades and other heavy weapons to a demonstration. The fact that the attack happened on the anniversary of September 11 also suggests terrorist planning.
A mounting body of evidence suggests a low-budget film about Islam and Muhammad was not the primary motive behind a series of violent attacks on U.S. embassies abroad, foreign policy experts say.
“The attack in [Libya] was not a protest or demonstration but a major terrorist attack — planned and organized in advance by men who had access to mortars and other weapons,” Elliott Abrams, former national security adviser for President George W. Bush, told the Free Beacon. “It had nothing to do with any film. It was timed for Sept. 11.”
“There’s clear evidence these were planned in advance, especially in Egypt,” Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told the Free Beacon Friday. “The movie wasn’t up online until Sept. 10, and they didn’t know about it when these things were planned.”
These were blatant attacks on sovereign U.S. soil internationally, resulting in the tragic death of four Americans including an Ambassador. Rather than promote their agenda through diplomatic means, the very reason we have Ambassadors there, they instead have resorted to senseless violence. This violence continues today and requires an ever-vigilant eye by the American people and our State Department.
What it disturbing is that our State Department seemed to be ill-prepared for the prospect of an attack on September 11th of all days. Troubling still is the fact they seem to have no real grasp on the situation, blaming all of this on a simple YouTube video. A reactive government puts Americans in harms way, a proactive government attempts to prevent such attacks. An out of touch government just adds to the mess of international affairs.
This isn’t a political game. This administration should not be blaming a video in what appears to be an attempt to take focus off of their foreign policy during a crucial election year. In 2009, President Obama delivered a speech in Cairo, Egypt. During this speech, he laid out how his foreign policy would be different than that of the pervious administration’s. That through open discussion, peace can come to these warring nations and states. Three years later, this type of rhetorical diplomacy has resulted in the same violence that was supposedly caused by our international strength.
“I long for the days before YouTube when our embassies weren’t stormed in the Middle East.”-Erick Erickson, conservative commentator.
“Our leaders shouldn’t let our enemies know that when they kill our people and attack our emassies that the U.S. government will act like a battered wife making excuses for her psychotic husband.”-Kirsten Powers, Democratic strategist.