Today, the bodies of Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith, and private security guards Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods are being returned to American soil.
They are the latest apparent victims in the War on Terrorism which reignited this week. In fact, conditions for new violence and chaos in the Middle East are greater than ever, given the new Islamist governments now positioned in the unstable region.
It seems that U.S. intelligence was caught off guard by the attack in Libya earlier this week that claimed the lives of the four Americans. Although it was the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, U.S. officials did not see any advance intelligence that suggested a need to boost security at the consulate.
Some commentators have suggested that the recent attacks were well planned and orchestrated, and not the acts of a disorganized mob whipped to frenzy by the controversial movie that denigrated the Prophet Muhammad. According to some reports, the Benghazi raiders were well-armed and knew what they were doing throughout the attack.
The U.S. should be swift and measured in its response. Adam Schiff, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the focus now "has to be on finding out who is responsible and bringing them to justice."
President Barack Obama was also firm in giving an official U.S. response. Speaking at a campaign event in Colorado Thursday, he said that "no act of terror will go unpunished" and that "no act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America."
The president needs to show the radical regimes of the Middle East, especially those which hate our democratic ideals, not to mention our very existence, that America will not tolerate barbaric acts like the murder of its citizens.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton denounced the content of the rogue video that was posted on the Internet and fired up the Islamic world, stating that our government had nothing to do with it. Clinton was correct in clearly pointing out that no matter how offensive it is, the film cannot be used as an excuse for the violence against innocent Americans.
Some of the strongest protests against the U.S. have come out of Egypt, a country which is receiving about $2 billion in aid a year from the U.S. Among the earliest protesters were Islamists who marched on the U.S. Embassy in downtown Cairo, scaled its walls, went into the courtyard and tore down the American flag.
The protesters brought the flag back to the crowd outside, which tried to burn it, but failing, they tore it apart. Some shouted, "We are all Osama," a reference to al-Qaida leader bin Laden who was killed in a U.S. raid on his Pakistani compound on May 2, 2011.
In his campaign speeches from now on, President Obama might want to drop those references to the killing of Osama bin Laden, which he and many Democrats have been using to pump up his foreign policy resume.
Any thoughts that radical Islam was dealt a death blow or would disappear with the killing of bin Laden disintegrated this week in Libya and now the whole Middle East again finds itself in a very volatile and dangerous time in history.
By Jim Zbick