Assassination in Benghazi

There’s a lot we don’t know yet, but the president has himself confirmed that the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, along with three other State Department personnel, were killed yesterday by an attack on their car as they were (apparently) fleeing a besieged consulate. While the organization affiliation of the killers is not yet know, the protests during which Stevens and the others were killed were clearly inspired by earlier Egyptian protests, all stemming from an intense Islamist backlash against an obscure anti-Muslim video made in the United States. Unsurprisingly, the provocateur and alleged minister Terry Jones had drawn global attention to the video as part of a “Judge Muhammad Day” Jones had declared in connection with the 9/11 anniversary. Having shown he could inspire deadly riots in Afghanistan last year, Jones seems to understand his symbiotic relationship with Islamists very well.

Well before the killings in Benghazi, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo released a statement condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” After the assassination news broke, Mitt Romney used that statement to say:

It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

Just can’t resist any opportunity, however erroneous and opportunistic, to add a contrived data point to the fictitious “apology tour” case against Obama, eh, Mitt?

I’ll have more on this later in the day, I’m sure.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.