Washington Post Editorial: The Death of an Ambassador
The Washington Post editorial board weighs in on the terrible events in Libya and Mitt Romney’s crass political hay-making: The Death of an Ambassador.
At a news conference, Mr. Romney claimed that the administration had delivered “an apology for America’s values.” In fact, it had done no such thing: Religious tolerance, as much as freedom of speech, is a core American value. The movie that provoked the protests, which mocks the prophet Mohammed and portrays Muslims as immoral and violent, is a despicable piece of bigotry; it was striking that Mr. Romney had nothing to say about such hatred directed at a major religious faith.
Mr. Obama struck the right tone on Wednesday, saying that “we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others” but that “there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence.” Lauding Mr. Stevens’s service, the president promised “justice” for “this terrible act” while also committing the administration to continue cooperating with Libya’s democratic government — which apologized for the attack.
Since the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gaddafi last year, Libya has been plagued by armed groups that have refused to submit to the new government. Now the United States must press the government to take action against Ansar al-Sharia and other jihadist organizations that have established themselves in the eastern Libyan desert. Security assistance, which has been limited so far, ought to be stepped up, by the Obama administration and by other governments that joined last year’s NATO intervention.
As for Mr. Romney, he would do well to consider the example of Republican former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who issued a statement Wednesday lamenting “the tragic loss of life at our consulate,” praising Mr. Stevens as “a wonderful officer and a terrific diplomat” and offering “thoughts and prayers” to “all the loved ones of the fallen.” That was the appropriate response.