Thursday, July 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Getting the story straight on Libya

By
From page A10 | October 05, 2012 |

The issue: Our confused response to the tragedy complicated important assessments that are under way

In the public relations business there is said to be a maxim for handling disasters: Get the information out right, get it out first and get it out your way.

IF THAT FIRST RULE is botched, the other two don’t much matter, and the Obama administration is paying the political price for that in its handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who grew up in Davis, and three other embassy employees.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, three possible explanations surfaced: It was a spontaneous reaction to a video Muslims considered blasphemous originating in the United States; a terrorist group opportunistically used those demonstrations as spontaneous cover to attack the consulate; or the attack was carefully planned by known and well-organized groups of Islamic extremists.

In the week following the attack, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice offered the first explanation; the secretaries of Defense and State, the White House press secretary and the president of Libya said flatly it was a terrorist attack; and President Barack Obama, ever cautious, initially said extremists used the video as an excuse to attack the consulate, perhaps overlooking the symbolic importance of the date — 9/11.

Given the initial — and short-lived — uncertainty about the origin of the attacks, the confused response by the administration is perhaps understandable but hardly encouraging.

IN NORMAL TIMES, a dispassionate congressional investigation would be in order, but in the current climate that’s not going to happen. An FBI investigative team is on the ground in Libya but is being held back because of security considerations. Presumably, Pentagon and State Department assessments are under way.

And it is reassuring that ordinary Libyans tried desperately to rescue and revive Stevens; that the attack was followed by pro-U.S. demonstrations; and that Libyan President Mohammed el-Megaref was deeply apologetic and reportedly is carrying out his promise to crack down on extremist groups.

Predictably, the Romney campaign sought political advantage from the lethal attacks, finally a chance to attack Obama on his foreign policy strong suit. Typically, the GOP response was devoid of details and specifics. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said on Sunday that Obama’s foreign policy was “unraveling.” And “so what Mitt Romney is going to do is lay out a very different vision for foreign policy, one that is a policy of American strength versus what I would claim (is) one of weakness.”

MEANWHILE, our spooks and special operations forces have become extremely adept at exacting revenge in cases like this. Congress should keep this in mind when it talks so casually about dismembering the defense budget.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • PatOctober 09, 2012 - 11:04 pm

    Get the information out right? Regarding the attacks in Libya. In the immediate aftermath, there was no other explanation - other than the infamous video. Five days later both Hilary Clinton and Ambassador Susan Rice blamed the video. Even the president. Gradually it is coming out that this may have been avoided, most likely it was a terrorist group. . .Pres. Obama and State Dept. botched this. It still is a PR nightmare. What to do?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Teens lead the way in fight against cancer

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Ag officials predict bumper almond crop

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Official: Air Algerie flight ‘probably crashed’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    New-home sales plummet in June

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    CSU pumps brakes on enrollment growth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Victim of fatal crash identified

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Diplomas all around for professor and sons

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Consumption guidelines for Cache Creek fish updated

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

     
    Davis Flea hosts night market Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Free technology help offered to seniors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Contestants sought for Yolo County Fair Queen contest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Parents can learn all about IEPs

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Museum sells market bags as fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    City of Davis recruits for its advisory commissions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Local singer/songwriter will perform Friday on KDRT

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Colleges woo Native Americans with new programs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Zip Book: Request it, read it, return it

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Battle lines are drawn

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Act now to support middle school students

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Don’t tell me I can’t help him

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Water trains through Davis

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

    Water storage must be a priority

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Sports

    UCD coach has navigated a Maze of experiences

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lethargic and roster-thin, Post 77 loses Area 1 opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Pence outscores Phillies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Quincy Amarikwa: years in the making

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Area sports briefs: Nelson earns All-Academic honors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Youth roundup: Aftershock finishes second in tournament

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    Majka makes winning look easy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Transportation fellowship goes to Aggie

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Arts

     
    ‘South Pacific’ storyline still making waves

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    ‘The Miracle Worker’ auditions set for WOH

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Death notice: James Thomas Feather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, July 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8