By Alexandria Jezina Columnist
On the anniversary of Sept. 11, America was hit with another attack in the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and other Americans. The assault, which was first thought to be a violent reaction fueled by protesting in Cairo due to the made-in-America film “The Innocence of Muslims,” is now understood to be associated with extremist terrorists. Recently, James R. Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, indicated that new information has led them to believe that the assault was a “deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists.”
The reaction of the Obama administration to this assault has led to criticism from the more conservative, specifically those from the Romney campaign. They hammered Obama for his so-called weak and apologetic response to the situation and the protesting in Cairo. Personally, I do not believe Obama’s reaction was weak. He was respectful of the American deaths and in no way commended those who were behind the assault. He specifically stated in his first press release before his official speech in the White House Rose Garden that his first concern was with the security of the remaining U.S. personnel in Libya and elsewhere. He also addressed the issue of religious differences between countries and reinforced the U.S.’s intolerance of senseless violence.
Some are criticizing the Obama administration for not instantly announcing that acts of this assault are connected to terrorism. Yet would it be responsible to make these accusations before investigating the whole situation? When such a serious tragedy occurs, it is not wise to make such harsh accusations that can involve our country in further combat before thoroughly going through the facts. Some of these facts are only now coming to light. Even if terrorist organizations did fuel the attack, it does not mean that this act of terrorism is tied to Libya in whole.
The Obama sdministration has stated that the Libyan government has cooperated in investigating those tied to the assault and have tried to help in the aftermath of the attack, even taking the ambassador to the hospital before he passed away and later carrying his body to safety. This may seem like a bunch of political sweet talk to some, but I believe the Libyan government is showing good will. For example, the media platform Al-Jazeera released an article and video on Sept. 30 describing government and civilian assistance in handing over weapons and the disarming of citizens who possessed arms due to the previous revolutionary state of Libya. In Benghazi, over 800 civilians turned in weapons during rallies held by the government on Saturday. This disarmament movement in Libya has been gaining momentum since the death of Stevens and four other Americans.
I stand by our current administration in support of its efforts to honor what can never be fully rectified: the death of a U.S. ambassador and four other American lives taken in vain. I understand the severity of foreign affairs. The way we interact with Libya is crucial to the future of America and the question of involvement in more warfare in the Middle East. Let us first figure out whom to blame before jumping to conclusions.